Singing to the unprepared listeners

My mom and I pondered the questions, “When did you last sing for someone else?  For yourself?” the other night at dinner together.  She chuckled when I first read it aloud, and answered how I had sung to a kid at school.  I sing a lot, and hum and whistle often, too.  But that one was a special one.

It was an odd day, with only about half of my students in class, and I had already done the lesson with the missing half the day beforehand, so I knew it was and easy and short lesson.  I let the kids take their time for the warm-up, leaving them to chat around the room, as well as around my desk.  When I sent the kids at my desk away to go do their warm-ups, one of them said, “I’m so tired,” with a it of emphasis on the last word.  Without any hesitation beyond the appropriate amount of timing between the phrases in the actual song, I responded in song.

…of fallin’ in love
I’m finding it easier,
to fall out
I can’t deny it,
I feel it inside
I’ll keep its fire,
Oh, you can’t hide

I’m fallin’ in love again
Ain’t nothing I can do
Fallin’ in love again
And this time its with you
When I fall,
it’s always the same
And I’m so tired
of playing this game

Been so long now
since I gave up my heart
I’ve kept it locked down
I don’t want to get it harmed
So let me tell you now
I just want to be sure
that you won’t hurt me
Can you promise me that?

I’m fallin’ in love again
Ain’t nothing I can do
Fallin’ in love again
And this time its with you
When I fall,
it’s always the same
And I’m so tired
of playing this game

The kids asked me questions as I sang, but I just kept on singing to them, and even danced around a tiny bit, too.  Who knows what they thought about it, but they weren’t upset by the incident, nor were they mean about it.  They seemed really joyful and somewhat giddy from it all.

I played the actual song via the computer after I finished my own singing, and my brief explanation as to why I even knew the song (my college neighbor in the dorm my freshman year always played it on her guitar).  Then we continued on with the lesson, having music playing in the background every time they got up to do practice problems and the likes.  We had some Moana to go with our Eagle Eye Cherry, and it was good.  🙂

Post-a-day 2017

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What’s next’s what’s next

I have been worrying lately about my future.  Every time I aim to figure out how to steer my career for the long term, I end up somewhat sad and upset, and totally uninspired.  Thinking about this this weekend, I had the sudden obvious realization that I don’t have to know my long term – I don’t have to know what’s next after what’s next.  Just one what’s next is good enough.  It’s better than good enough – it’s actually great.  Ideal, possibly.  Yes, I have all sorts of ideas for my future, but they don’t need to be solid, set in stone now and forever.  Every year, my dad is ‘about to retire’, and that’s been for the past decade, I believe.  And yet, he’s still chugging along happily (mostly happy with it, anyway) at his job.  And he’s one of the most plan-y people I know when it comes to work, finances, and career choices.

So, if I go for this now, I can be looking for what’s next while doing it.  I certainly know that I end up becoming a new, different person after every phase of this or that, so how could I possibly know now what the future, new I will want most?  Though I have my amazing moments, I’m not God, so I don’t know all.

I guess it is kind of just a slightly altered perspective of “What About Bob”’s baby steps.  Worry about this room… then, when I’m in the hall, think about that hall…, and so on and so forth.

Yeah, I’m down with that.

Also, Brad Paisley was interviewed by Jeff Foxworthy on the radio this evening, and it was delightful in an unexpected way.  Find the recording, if you can.  They now plan to write a song together, as a result of the interview.  I’m looking forward to it. 🙂

Post-a-day 2017

Shower Surprise

I’m staying at my mom’s house tonight, and so am using my old bathroom and bedroom.  In the shower, she still has two of the bottles (for there were many) of shampoo and conditioner that I had used in high school.  They are from two different sets of shampoo and conditioner, and so they have different scents, but they both take me back.

As I use the shampoo, I remember those 5:20am showers, being barely able to move or see, yet chugging along anyway, so I could get to band on time…, never fully waking up until band practice had been going for at least a little while.  I remember my boyfriend from my senior year… the time we went to see the bats on Waugh Street bridge, and he guessed correctly the brand of my shampoo and conditioner (Herbal Essences)… how he was terrified that I might fall, and grabbed me when I leaned over the edge of the bridge to see the cars below (as if)… how we always did things together with my mom (that occasion included)…

And then I move to the conditioner, which seems to have lost most of its conditioning power in these many years of sitting there.  The same sorts of memories stay in my mind, but then one striking memory produces, and adds itself to the mental exercise.  I recall the morning of my hair surprise.  As I was rubbing the shampoo into my hair, I discovered what felt to be part of a pine needle, or else one of those brown cocoon-looking things that fall from trees and remind me of cattails crossed with pine cones and a thick worm.  “Really?!” I thought.

I had been lying down in and rolling around in the yard the night before, and apparently hadn’t even noticed that I had gottten some of these guys in my hair.  I slept with that in my hair.  How bad is that?

So, I grabbed the twig thing to toss it out the window (which was closed at the time).  As I was starting to pull it from my hair, being careful not to have it fall apart into my hair, I noticed a sort of burning sensation in the joint of my first finger.  As I brought my hand down from my head, twig thing in-hand, I began to panic.  I flung it to the ground in the shower, and began shaking my poor hand that had been holding it.  I might even have shouted, or even begun to cry loudly.  I vaguely remember my mom coming in to check what was wrong as I was crying in the shower… 

“What is it??”

“I just…[sob] got stung…[sob] by a wasp.”

“What???”

“It was in my hair… and I grabbed it… and it stung me.”  The sobbing continued, I believe.

It wasn’t that I was in extreme pain, so much as that I was extremely surprised.  First, I had been surprised at my having left tree stuff in my hair from the night before, rolling in the grass.  And then, I found out that a wasp had somehow gotten in through the closed window, landed on me as I rubbed in my shampoo, and then stung me as I removed what I thought was a stick or pine needle or pod thing.

Perhaps that’s why I left this conditioner here so many years ago.

Post-a-day 2017

Pork Buns and Handkerchiefs

Today, at the train station, my brother and I were looking for a place to sit down and eat our lunch.  We found a single spot on this rounded bench, and went for it.  I originally attempted sitting on my bag, but was uncertain as to its ability to withstand the weight, so ended up sitting on the bench (at my brother’s insistence), with my brother squatting in front of me.  We were chitchatting about the food as he opened up the bags (it was some dumplings and pork buns from this famous local bun shop, 551), and the old lady next to me readjusted her belongings a bit, and scooted to her left enough of army brother to sit down next to me.

He thanked her in a fabulous Japanese fashion (so proud!), and took the seat.  As he had the box of buns in his hands, when he opened it up, he offered one of them to the lady.  After some coercing, she finally accepted a half, and even one of the shrimp dumplings, as well (she seemed to perk up a bit when she saw the dumplings, and had no hesitation in the offer of one of those).

She and my brother continued a bit of chitchat about the fact that the buns were from the famous shop, as well as why each of them was there (This was all in Japanese, of course, so I understood the bulk, but couldn’t quite jump into the conversation due to the Japanese and the fact that we were on a rounded bench, so I couldn’t quite see the lady, unless I leaned way forward.).  Eventually, after she learned that I was his younger sister, I heard the same comment I always seem to get here in Japan: that I am “cute”.  While it is not exactly something we love to be called back in the US, it is actually a quite nice compliment here in Japan.

Then, as my brother explained about my living in Japan, she asked me how I liked it.  I gave a half smile and wobbled my head a bit, but couldn’t bring myself to spit out any words – I truly had no idea how to answer, and I could feel something uncomfortable rising inside me already.  Fortunately, my brother, perhaps sensing my hesitation-slash-unwillingness-to-answer, took over answering the question for me.

His answer, however, surprised me – he was quite open and honest with the woman.  I, just in thinking about it all was already starting to tear up, but I felt a small sense of relaxation and relief as I listened to my brother share with the lady how I was not having too easy or good a time (and that that was part of why I had come down to visit him for the weekend).  I had finished eating what I was going to eat, so I excused myself, saying it would be good to jump in the line for the bathroom before I had to go get on my train.

Once I reached the bathroom line, I couldn’t help it, the feeling was so overpowering: tears started pouring down my burning eyes, as I gasped quietly for air.  I couldn’t quite understand what was happening with me.  I had noticed that I was a bit borderline already earlier in the day (borderline tears, that is), but I hadn’t known why, nor had I expected something like this to send me into such a state as I was now.

I used the bathroom, brushed my teeth, and went back out to my brother, who was standing ready by my bag.  I broke right back into tears when he asked if I was alright, and he just held me in a big brother hug for a bit, soothing me, before gently telling me that I had about 8 minutes before my train, so we’d do well to head toward the gate now.

He was holding a marigold handkerchief in a little clear plastic bag, and he proffered it to me, explaining that it was dyed with actual marigold, and the old lady and her sister (the one whose son is a pianist, and whose concert the old lady was coming to see) had wanted me to have it.  They said that they wanted me to enjoy my time in Japan, and that they hoped things improved for me.  They had wanted to talk to me, too, but had had to leave, so they left the well-wishes and the handkerchief with my brother to pass on to me.

Naturally, there were even more tears at this point, but with a slightly different edge to them.  : )

As we hurried off toward my train, I expressed how my visit to my brother and his girlfriend was so wonderful, that, now that it was at an end, it was difficult for me to think about going back to my life, my town.  I had gotten a taste of so much of what I had been missing these past seven-ish months, and I didn’t want to go back.  Not that I had any intention of not going back – there was just a taste of dislike for what awaited me.  I had finally started to be accustomed with my circumstances, it was hard being reminded of what had been wanting from my life.  I know that I’ll be okay, and that I likely will very much enjoy these next few months – it’s just never so easy to go back to plain white bread when you’ve had all your favorites available to you.  (That sort of idea, anyway)

Yeah… that’s all I have to say about that.  : )

 

Post-a-day 2017

 

 

Perfection in the Unexpected

Tonight I went to a bar.  (For me, that’s actually a somewhat surprising event, for those who don’t already know this.)  A recent friend just started working there, and invited me to come by on her first(?) night, tonight.  I figured it would be nice to see the friend, as well as get to know a little place in my town (and, by going early, I could potentially avoid smokers filling the place).

In preparing to go to the bar, I figured I would bring along this speech I just wrote (like yesterday), so that I could spend my time practicing the speech, whenever the friend was busy working.  Plus, I knew there’d be a slight chance of getting a local to help me with the speech (because it’s in Japanese, so I can use the help!).

What I was not prepared to have happen, was pretty much everything that happened.

The bar was quaint and cool, and had an art gallery as half of its space, along with fabulous music playing quietly in the background, such that it was never a bother.  The people were not only friendly, but American-like in their open conversations and friendliness with one another – it was as though they were all already friends, although they definitely were not.  Following that style of friendliness, they all rather quickly learned of this speech I was reading over, as well as the details of the competition, and when I have to do what, and the fact that I decided to participate only last night.

As I was preparing to leave, and the people nearest me were wishing me luck on my practice, someone suggested I come back and read the finished product.  We all agreed that it was a good idea.  Then someone else suggested reading the speech now for practice. Seeing as how I had hardly practiced reading it, I knew it would take forever, and said so.

Thirty seconds later, silence was attained throughout the bar, and I read the first section of my speech to my avid audience of these Japanese bar-dwellers.  I messed up.  Of course, I did.  And it was fabulous.

It was totally terrifying, and I did it anyway, and I even did a decent job.  Some of it was perfect, and some of it was not even close to perfect.  But the experience, in and of itself, was absolutely perfect.  (Even though there was a guy smoking off and on…, but he, being the wonderful smoker he is, always held his cigarette high, and blew his smoke up as high as possible, to keep it out of our faces.)  And that’s the point of it all, anyway.  Once I arrived home, I even got to chat with a friend I’ve been missing lately, and that was a blast…  Perfection has been attained tonight, so now I shall sleep.  Goodnight!  😀

 

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