Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Zaa Zaa....ざあざあ

One of the beautiful things about the Japanese language is how much you can get by on onomatopoeia. "Pera Pera" refers to how fluently one speaks. "Doki Doki" the beating of a nervous heart. "Gucha Gucha" is messy and "Fuwa Fuwa" could describe a fluffy pillow. "Don don," the sound of work and stress piling up. As I have proven not to be so "pera pera" when it comes to speaking Japanese, I am grateful for the mixture of sounding words and hand motions which enable me to "niko niko" with friends, be "poka poka" in the winter, and sit down and "mogu mogu" at restaurants from time to time whilst living in Japan.

I had one of those rare heartwarming experiences recently which arise once in a while to remind me how much I should appreciate the life I am living. "Zaa Zaa" said the rain as I stood on a creaking stool ("mishi mishi") playing music for a gathering of friendly faces under the soon-to-be-torn-down shed-like tunnels of Shimokitazawa. The all-you-can-drink (nomihodai) and all-you-can-eat (tabehodai) acoustic music event was held at Usaya, a tiny bar/restaurant in this hip neighborhood of Tokyo which is on the cusp of being developed into giant ugly high-rise apartment buildings. The 2 staff members worked tirelessly with smiles on their faces, filling glass after glass with sangria, wine, beer, shochu... and placing dishes piled high with oishi (yummy) eggplant, somen noodles, grilled fish, plump shrimp and crisp vegetables.... which were ravished within seconds. The bar's ground floor was too tiny to accommodate everyone so people spilled out onto the street. Luckily there was a roof, albeit leaky roof, over the alley way. Soon the rain hammered down... "ZAA ZAA ZAA ZAA!!!" drowning out the sounds of the "pecha kucha" chattering. One adventurous spirit danced out from underneath our cozy shelter... she was soaked instantly. Andi (from Autumn Collective, and SF)started out the evening crooning what I think were romantic songs in German (my German is no where near as amazing as my Japanese)and we all "yeah yeahed" along with him. Tyler Ensrude took the "stage" (aka bottom of a ladder) next. I never would have pictured his rustic alt-country songs as "cute" but that's what the crowd was exclaiming. His voice is so gravelly sincere...I wish there was onomatopoeia to describe it. Takachiho livened things up with his ultra-funky dance moves and Tsuji's puppet-like jig was a hit. It never fails to make me crack up. Next it was my turn. I've played some pretty strange places in my time (a supermarket parking lot, a geology museum, in front of winos in Ireland...) Now I can say I played standing on a stool during a torrential downpour. I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a different perspective (haha) After me, Takachiho (from the band SF)swaggered out some tunes in his throaty Jagger-esque fashion and then, to quiet things down, Mike and Andrew (from the band Karenin) brought some folks upstairs to Usaya's loft to ease our over-boozed minds with "pitter patters" on pillows with flickering lights. As I looked around me I felt so content to be where I was at that moment in time. These things can never be planned. I know there will be many big changes in my life soon and I already feel nostalgic for these moments in Japan. I am grateful to my friends Mike and Tyler for sharing some photos taken at this event. ありがとう