Saturday, June 5, 2010

Random Encounters

My plan from there was just to explore. I had spotted a music store and figured I might be able to find something for cheap for Alec. As I got closer to the store, a man came up to. He was wearing a robin egg blue Japanese jacket, the kind you see on typical Japanese game shows or competitions…I hope that explains it well enough. Anyways, he asked me if I’d be willing to take a picture with this singer that was appearing there in 10 minutes to do a concert later. It would be in the Japanese newspapers as well, if I agreed to it.

Of course I said yes, since he asked politely. I didn’t really care, but I figured it would be something to talk about. There was a tall skinny box covered by a black sheet in front of the music store, and I figured that she would be coming out from behind that. I was close, instead they tore the sheet down to reveal a young woman, presumably the singer, in a beautiful purple kimono, typical geisha makeup and chimes in her hair. She was very pretty and very elegant; she remained as still as possible, resembling a Barbie in her box but when she did move, she moved with a gentleness yet intensity that I didn’t realize people still possessed.I got close enough to tell that her nails weren't done at all, quite beat up looking actually.

The photographers took their pictures, and then the same man who had originally approached me explained that I needed to go sit next to her now and stare at her. I did as I was told, but the whole time I didn’t really understand why I was doing this. I mean, what was the point choosing a foreigner to stare up at her? Were they trying to show their superiority over foreigners? That seemed pretty tactless on their part. Maybe they just wanted to show that she’s even admired by non-Japanese people? Whatever the case may be, I did what I was told and because of this, I was given free admission to her small 30 minute concert.

I headed upstairs with the other group that had gotten privilege, mainly a bunch of older men but a few older women as well. I soon realized not only was I the only foreigner and one of the few women in the room, but I was also the youngest person there aside from the singer herself, who was probably around her 30s. Her audience is probably based upon the fact that she sung more traditional style music, but even as an outsider I was impressed. She had an excellent singing voice, with a larger range than I gave her credit for. She sang four beautiful songs, laughed with the crowd several times, and then got us all to sing along with the first song she had begun with by reading the back of the pamphlets we had received. Luckily most of the kanji had hiragana above it, so I could read the rest from there.

When she finished, she went to the back of the room, and in a neat ordered fashion, we got up line by line to get signatures from her. I was grateful I knew how to spell my name in Japanese, albeit in katakana for foreign things. After everyone had a signature, she went to the stage again, to take individual pictures with everyone. By this time, I had had enough so I quickly slipped out the room. I had wanted to buy one of her CDs but I believe everyone who wasn’t able to get into the concert bought one, because there were none to be found.

The way they advertised this girl was incredulous to me. On the one hand she wanted to be famous, so I can understand. On the other, she looked tired having to do each individual thing one by one. I don't know but I hope she's well in the future. She was nice, giving me a worn smile of understanding when I was awkwardly staring at her for pictures.

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