Thousands of Miles from Home


So You Want To Be A Rockstar?

Today may have been my best in Japan. Amazing.

It started early. My host family was going to Kobe for the day to visit a temple, and I had a rotary meeting and the school festival. I went to school around 8:30 and gave the ESS (English Speaking Society) my poster about myself and West Virginia. There were many displays set up in classrooms and around the school for different clubs. At 9:00 was the opening ceremony for the school festival. It was really neat, with dancers and drums, and was very exciting to watch. The principal spoke as well as some students, then everyone dispersed for the day's activities. I left school, however, to drive with my second host mom to the rotary meeting.

My second host mom is very nice. She picked me up in a Volkswagon wearing a kimono, which looked very japanese/amusing. The rotary meeting was in Okayama city so it was about a 30 minute drive. We talked about her husband and son (the husband is a petrochemical engineer, she is a pharmacist, and her son plays base guitar). Her son is thirteen so is going through puberty and she said that he is very hard to deal with. I know how that can feel. She also told me that we may go jetskiing in a few weeks if I want to (of course!)

At the rotary meeting I met the two other inbound students. One is from Canada and the other from Ohio, around Newport News. The were both very nice and we got along just fine. I gave a small speech at lunch, and then the district governor spoke. He is very old and said that 40 years ago his son went on the first exchange to America, and then something about Woodrow Wilson that I couldn't understand. And then, after he spoke, we played, of all things, BINGO. It was so much fun. I ended up winning a picture frame that was slightly feminine and a pen that smells like "soft cream" when you use it (i have not used it yet, results on a later post).

Around 1:20 I left the rotary meeting so I could get back to school in time for my stage performance. My host mom drove me to the school, and then the fun began. I dashed out of the car and into the back of the gym because I heard some guitars already playing. When I arrived I saw Wataru and he informed me that it was only a sound check. He had brought me an outfit to wear, some punk looking clothes, but I already had some threads picked out. I did use his belt, however, because it looked hardcore.

At 2:00 the first band played, whose name I do not know. They played the Ramones and some original stuff, so that was cool. Then Wataru's band HOOP played four songs, before announcing they had a "special guest." I was very nervous, but I knew the lyrics and probably more english than anyone in the gym so didn't think I could go wrong. I came out from backstage wearing a shirt that said "samurai" in kanji and all the kids went crazy. About 50 kids formed a pit in front of the stage, and a bunch of kids who had been sitting in seats got up to move to the front. I was still nervous, but shouted a "hello tamano!" into the microphone, in true rockstar style. Wataru and Yasu started playing "First Date" by Blink 182, the Kiyoto came in on the base. I don't know if my singing was okay, but between the crowd screaming and the loud guitars/drums/base it didn't matter. I was in a euphoric state when the song ended. I ran offstage to a huge standing ovation and Wataru started the next song. Around 3:00, HOOP finished their last song, and the crowd started to chant "samurai, samurai!" So I came back out and sang "The Rock Show," with a face melting guitar solo and Wataru and I sang back to back with Kiyoto jumping off amps in the background. Seriously, I couldn' belive it was happening. It was like a dream. I didn't even forget any of the lyrics.

After the show I was sweating like crazy, but went out to the plaza the see what was going on. I realized that there were a lot of people there from other local schools to see the festival. A lot of people wanted to take pictures with me, so I felt pretty famous. Sadly, I did not get any pictures of me on stage, but I did get a ton of videos of the band before HOOP and HOOP's earlier songs. I'll try to get some video tomorrow because we play again in the judo dojo.

I came home and told Shoko all about it. There is a new girl staying with us for a few days, one of Miyu's friends. Jittan comes back tomorrow so there will be 7 people in our house. And tomorrow, I'm buying a cell phone! There are really really awesome, much better than anything I had seen in america. At first I thought I wouldn't need a phone, but sometimes I stay late at school and need to call Shoko and all of my friends have phones so it will be useful.

So I still can't believe today happened. I finally got to live my rockstar fantasy.


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