The New Challenge
I think I’m gonna make a real effort of trying to update this more often. In order for it to give me a better reflection of my time here when I look back over it once I’ve left, I might try doing a few smaller posts, more often. Let’s see how that goes.
In keeping with my apparent love of biting off more than I can chew, I today find myself in three bands.
When I first arrived here, I decided I really wanted to get to know as many people as I could, and hastily joined three “circles” – basically clubs. One thing I’ve always liked about the school system here, and I’ve mentioned it before, is the club system. The kids are always involved in clubs, and absolutely love them. It’s a great bonding experience for them, and when they leave the education system, they all have an additional skill/hobby to take with them.
So when I entered Uni here, I got a little trigger-happy, and joined a music club, with the intention of being in a band; a tennis club, with the intention of learning tennis; and an international club, with the intention of meeting people – maybe even some who could speak the same language.
The music club quickly arranged and held a concert without me knowing. Suddenly everyone was in bands, ready to perform, and I was not. I was annoyed, and determined to get in on it next time. While waiting, I brought up the topic with a couple of people in the international circle (which is a bit of a misnomer – it must be about 90% Japanese people, and hardly any of them can speak a second language) during one of our frequent drinking sessions. I’ve found that I spend most time with the international circle, due to the fact that in the tennis club, I can’t play tennis; and in the music club I’m not in a band. In the international circle, there IS no skill. You just sort of be there. And that, I can do.
So, in my possibly slightly-miffed, possibly slightly-drunk state, I brought up the idea of starting a band within the international circle. And the guys loved it. I went home and passed out, and when I next saw them, we were discussing what songs we could play and where we could find a drummer. In the meantime, the music club finished their concert (called a “live” in that awesome English that isn’t-quite), and started preparing for the next one, which meant new bands. Not really knowing anyone, I simply put my ideas out there about what I wanted to play, spoke to one guy who seems to pretty much be a living, walking guitar, got no real answer from him, then jumped into the first group that actually invited me – as a bassist. Now, I’ve never played bass. But I’m sure I can work it out. After all, it’s like a guitar, but with two less strings. Right??
Soon after, the walking guitar got back in touch with me and said he wanted to do the group with me, with me being on vocals and guitar. Both that band and the bass band will perform in less than a month. No songs have been decided, I’ve never performed in a group – let alone on stage – before, and I don’t even know where I’m gonna find a bass to start practicing. The international band is picking up speed as well – one of the guys brought his guitar to school today.
I’ve been playing around with guitars for a few years now, but always alone, and always without much motivation other than enjoying the sound, and the occasional diamond-studded groupie fantasies that quickly get blown away with that first chord. Practice always seems to take second seat to… pretty much anything else I have going at the time. Things which involve other people, as I am at heart a pretty social guy. Combining the music and the social aspect into one thing – the band – is something I’ve always wanted to do, but it’s just never happened. And now it has – three at once.
But, my main problem is this – my memory. I can pick up a guitar, look at the music, and after not-too-long, play something which sounds passable enough to be recognised as the original. But, after learn that song, and then put that guitar down, those finger positions fade from my memory so fast I begin to think I might have a pedantically specific form of Alzheimer’s. Learning a second song is almost a sure-fire way of pushing the last threads of that first right back out. Also, while I enjoy karaoke, I’ve never been too keen on singing while playing. My voice is… not as beautiful as it could be, and unlike karaoke, when the only background music is what I’m creating myself, it’s all a very embarrassing spectacle.
But, I’m in now. And no turning back. The day of the concert next month was changed from a cheaper day to one which was more expensive for everyone, just to allow me to attend. I sure can’t disappoint now!
And now, on a slightly different note, here’s an ad for a beverage: