Most people don’t know this, but I’ve been involved in the Sailor Moon fandom for a long time. I started my first Sailor Moon website on Angelfire.com when I was 12 years old; so at this point, I have spent more than half of my life running one Sailor Moon website or another.
Although Miss Dream has been the website I’ve focused the most on, and the one I have run for the longest, I will never forget my first effort. I used to advertise it heavily on an old e-mail BBS at Sailor Moon.com back in the late 1990s – and that is where I met a girl who went by the alias “Cherry”.
“Cherry” ran what was the only English site on the internet at the time dedicated to a story called “The Cherry Project”, by the author of Sailor Moon, Naoko Takeuchi. (You can still access her site via archive.org @ http://www.angelfire.com/ak5/cherry/) She and I became really close friends. When I bought my first domain in 2002, I hosted Cherry’s site. Eventually we lost touch after I changed hosting providers half a dozen times. To this day I have no idea where she is or what became of her.
But I have never forgotten about “Cherry”. She was one of the very first friends I made in the online Sailor Moon community, and her site was what originally sparked my interest in reading the other stories by Naoko Takeuchi. I began studying Japanese at a young age mainly to be able to read The Cherry Project along with my friend; over the years I began to study for more selfish reasons, but really it was my dorky love of all things Sailor Moon and Naoko Takeuchi as a pre-teen that I spent hours deciphering words and phrases with my first Japanese to English dictionary. It was a sweet and innocent time in my life, and I still feel nostalgic and sentimental about my friendship from way back then.
To that end, this year I have devoted a substantial amount of time to going back and translating all of the comics written by Naoko Takeuchi. I was lucky enough to receive a box of donated Naoko Takeuchi books by a fan of Miss Dream in late 2010; and after I finished the manga project for Codename: Sailor V and Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon last summer, I began to make raw scans of all the books for eventual translation.
Although the vast majority of my translations for the “other” works of Naoko Takeuchi have not made it online yet, I have translated all of her books…except for one last serialized project. The Cherry Project. As I begin to translate through the final three books of Naoko Takeuchi’s work to complete my goal, I can’t help but feel a little sad. When I finish this project, I will have translated 31 books. I don’t even know how many thousands of pages. It’s been a long road.
Upon completion of this project, I am ending a chapter in my life. I’ve devoted more than a decade of my life to learning Japanese so that I could share the story of The Cherry Project, with high quality graphics and a fresh translation, with the world. And I feel that I am finally doing justice to my friend “Cherry”, who managed to ignite in me the same passion and joy she got out of the stories of Naoko Takeuchi.
“Cherry”, if you are out there reading this, I want to thank you. I hope you’ll get to read my translation of The Cherry Project; it is dedicated to you. My wish is that my translation of this project (and the others!) will invoke the same joy and friendship to others that we shared as kids. Wherever you are, I hope you are doing well.