Thursday, November 19, 2009

Singing Contest

And now I present to you the promised story of the singing contest, bullet point edition.
  • One day in September, without knowing why, the music teacher, who had never spoken to me (has a few more times since, nice guy, good sense of humor), came over and gave me some sheet music. He chatted about the song, pulled it up on YouTube and promised me a CD. I was kind of touched (?) but kind of confused.
  • A few days later I realized that all of the teachers were given the sheet music and a few days after that, a CD. I felt a little less touched in a special way (heh) but still glad to be included in... whatever this was.
  • I learned around the edges somehow not directly that there was a big singing contest in town coming up in a month, and these were our study materials so that we all could practice and be super awesome. Every day after school I could hear students practicing their songs, so that`s how I figured out the contest wasn`t just a teacher thing. The contest was apparently kind of a big deal in Tiny Town.We even met to rehearse the night before the big event.
  • On some random day in early October, the morning of the contest, I was told that the teachers would also be singing an additional song. This surprise song was one that another teacher had previously told me we would be singing, but that was before another teacher said we wouldn`t, after which I didn`t bother giving it a glance because latest word trumps something I only kinda maybe heard days ago. Gotta have a system. That`s mine.
  • ConflusterwtfJapanannoyed, I YouTubed it, found the lyrics online (lots of unknown kanji that I had look up for pronunciation - wasn`t even concerned with meaning at this point) and was doing everything I could to learn it within a couple hours, between classes, so more like 20 minutes, and I was kind of freaking out that I'd make us lose or something. It was hopeless, and I knew it.
  • So, the entire school got to the venue (short walk to anywhere in Tiny Town), and I was puzzled that only my school was in attendance. As the fog slowly lifts to reveal all some of the bits that were lost in miscommunication land, it turns out that not only was it a competition only between the different grades at my school (and not my school vs. some other school or something), but the song the teachers had been practicing for a month? Wasn't even part of the contest at all. It was just a nice little song for us to sing to the students.
  • The last minute "surprise, we`re singing this, too, no we aren`t, psych yes we are, hahaha, good luck" song that I tore my hair out trying to learn (unsuccessfully) the morning of? Yah, that was just a general warm up for the vocals not sung on stage or in any way that it mattered whether I knew any of it or not. The adrenaline rush trying to learn perked me up and was nice that way, I guess (?).
  • I thought there would be some person, likely an older woman, playing the piano throughout. No. Amazingly (still in awe, really) from every single class of each grade (total of 12 classes) there was not one but TWO students who could play well enough to each accompany their own class in a singing competition. And do it well.
  • These are junior high kids. I have no idea when they find time to practice. They are at school all day, then have clubs often until well into the evening and usually all day Saturday and Sunday (sucks to be them, truly, and I`ve stopped asking either students or teachers if they did anything fun over the weekend, already knowing they probably didn`t), plus they have homework and probably have to sleep once in awhile. Somewhere in that mix of waytoodamnbusy, some of them get purty damn good at plinking out tunes on the piano.
  • Moral of the story: even if you think you know what the hell is going on because you speak a little of the language and have asked a few questions, you probably don`t.
  • Similar versions of the misconfuzzleddoesnotcomputesaywha? parts of this story play out approximately daily in one instance or form or another.
  • It keeps things interesting and reminds me that I`m not in my native land.
  • Some days the surprises are better than others.
  • The song from the 1972 Sapporo Winter Olympics has staying power because that`s what we sang. (My heart will not be broken if you don`t watch the video. All good.) It`s called Niji to Yuki no Ballade, or Ballad of the Rainbow and Snow by Toi et Moi.


  1. I take it you warbled successfully - but who won?

  2. I give you a lot of credit. Not knowing what's going on would have me out of my mind, but you really go with the flow. I admire that!

  3. Oh I love your storytelling! That is hilarious! never quite knowing the full of what's going on might drive me a little crazy but it's awesome that you can roll with it!


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