Special Report

On My 29th Birthday, I Decided to Die One Year Later

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Written by Hayama Amari
Genre : Essay
Published in July 2012
235 pages


How was life in your twenties? Did you live life having a goal to be passionate? If you didn’t have a goal or feel any passion in your life, then maybe you can relate to the character in this story by Hayama Amari. Perhaps this book will be a good chance to think about your life.

The main character (only referred to as she) celebrates her birthday alone with a piece of cake in a 10m2 studio apartment. She ignores her environment and she begins to eat the cake. However, when she eats a strawberry on her cake, part of her mind aches. She feels pathetic about herself because she’s too busy to make things better. She also feels that it’s not her responsibility to change things. She thinks she has a weak mind and hates that because she doesn’t want to do anything. She thinks about her past and wonders if she has enough value to continue living. Without thinking, she sees something on TV that makes her heart beat rapidly. She sees Las Vegas on TV and thinks that it looks like heaven on earth. Because she always faces the same thing every day, she sets a goal to go to Las Vegas and gives herself a one year time limit. For the next year, she resolves to try to do what she wants and to try to achieve her goal.

In order to go to Las Vegas, she takes steps to achieve her goal little by little. She works in a lot of different fields and meets a lot of people. For example, she works in Ginja as a hostess and she meets an Italian, a Turk and a Russian who live in Roppongi. She also gives herself a new name, Amari, and she actively welcomes her new life. For just one short year she enjoys her new life.

When I read this book, I didn’t realize this was a true story because Amari’s life has a lot of dramatic moments. In fact, this book is an account of Hayama Amari’s real-life experiences when she was twenty-nine years old. The description of her life before and after she turned 29 is startlingly different. In the past, she had a passive attitude, which was influenced by her surroundings. Now she has an active attitude with passion and goals. Her attitude completely changed after giving herself one year to achieve her goal and choosing to commit suicide at the end of that year. What she wants to say to us through the events in this book is that she was being brave for trying to achieve what she wanted.

We can feel agony while reading this book. You might ask yourself: “Do I have a goal that will help me enjoy my life and live life passionately?” Amari’s last goal was to go to Las Vegas. Maybe you think that is too small to be a final goal, but a goal doesn’t have to be huge. If you really want to reach your goal and work towards achieving it, that is a great thing that you don’t need to compare to others’ goals. Even if you have nothing that doesn’t mean you should do nothing. If you just take a step forward, fear will disappear. Like Amari, why don’t you try something you want to do?