Freelance Announcer Aika Kanda, “My Secret Wish”. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Freelance Announcer Aika Kanda, “My Secret Wish”.

My Secret Wish" [Serial No. 56] Me, Pink, and Sometimes New York

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Illustration drawn by Kanda-san

I have three stuffed animals that I treasure. A light brown bear, 23 cm tall when sitting. A dark brown sloth, also 30 cm tall. A yellow duck that is 33 cm tall when standing. He goes to bed every night with them all lined up by his bedside, and dresses them as soon as he wakes up each morning. To treat each stuffed animal equally, he does not name them. When I am near them, I call them “omaetachi” or “soitsutachi,” and when I talk about them at a distance, I call them “aitsutachi. We have known each other for almost five years now.

The first one that came to our house was a sloth. It was a driver head cover originally sold by a golf wear brand. My husband fell in love with it at first sight and bought it. However, after our second round of golf, I was zipping up the caddie bag with the head tucked in, and a hair from the back of my head got caught in the zipper. Then my husband said, “I’m going to stop using this thing! He’s too pitiful!” and he ended up entering the house as a stuffed animal.

The next addition was a bear. He was given to me when I was invited to a PR event. It has a yellow five-star embroidered on its chest. I have never been a fan of stuffed animals that already have an image attached to them, because it is difficult to picture the process of their growth in my mind. However, when I let him meet the sloth, he seemed to be happy to see me and said, “Oh, my friend! I welcomed the sloth with open arms. So I welcomed him in.

The last one was a duck. It was sold at a Scandinavian general store during the Easter season. It had a flabby belly, a long neck, and thin legs. It looked as if it would have difficulty standing, but when a battery was inserted, it walked on two legs. Having served as a robot contest host for a number of years, I was impressed that a product costing only around 1,000 yen could achieve this kind of balance! I was impressed and bought it. About six months ago, my right ankle snapped off, probably due to age-related deterioration, and now I spend my time leaning on Sloth and Bear.

In the beginning, I would occasionally stroke their heads or confirm their presence when they came into view. But when I came home tired from work, or at night when I went to bed alone after a fight with my husband, I began to relax when I saw their faces. The next thing I knew, they seemed to have expressions on their faces, and I started talking to them, “Oh, you look happy today!” I began to talk to them. Then one day, my husband started putting T-shirts on them. He said, “You’re family now, you should put some clothes on. (I was so happy, and since then, I have been very happy.) ) I was so happy, and from then on, he became like a real pet to us, an irreplaceable part of our lives.

Omaetachi, you can move, okay?

Nowadays, I always take one of them with me when I go on an unfamiliar overnight location. When I had a weekend bullet trip location in Hong Kong, I secretly took a sloth with me. It had been 16 years since I had been abroad for work, and my schedule required me to get up early every day. I was definitely too preoccupied to sleep. The moment I arrived at the hotel and touched the sloth in my suitcase, saying, “Sorry for the cramped space,” something fluffy permeated my whole body, as if my fingertips had been doused with fabric softener. As usual, I put it under my pillow and was able to sleep well, and the location shoot went on happily until the very end.

When I returned to Japan, the humidity in Hong Kong made me smell a little funny. (I thought to myself, “You must have had a hard time, too,” and the next morning I let him sit on the balcony in the sun. In no time at all, he became a dry, crispy guy, and we both returned to our daily routines.

My current wish is that one day, like in the movie “ted,” he will suddenly come to life, talk, and move. To that end, I have repeatedly spoken to them, telling them that it is okay to suddenly start moving. My husband, who is listening beside me, says, “If it starts to move, it will be very difficult. They will eat a lot of food and poop all over the place. One day, he said, “Hey, Omaetachi. You’re taking such good care of her, isn’t it about time she started talking? When I was talking to her, my husband said, “Miracles happen to people who don’t ask for such things in return. Then I won’t talk about it anymore. But (may life come to you someday when you feel like you don’t eat anything, don’t poo, just talk and move!) ), I look into Omaetachi’s eyes with a guffaw, wishing strongly in my heart.

©Kazuki Shimomura

Born in 1980 in Kanagawa Prefecture. After graduating from Gakushuin University with a degree in mathematics, she joined NHK as an announcer in 2003, and left in 2012 to become a freelance announcer. Since then, she has been active mainly in variety shows, and currently makes regular appearances as the main MC of the daytime TV program “Poka Poka” (Fuji Television Network).

From the July 5 and 12, 2024 issue of FRIDAY

  • Illustrations and text Aika Kanda

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