The last few weeks here at APU have been filled with various cultural themes. For example, Chinese week, Vietnamese week, Thai week, and the list goes on. Believe it or not i am actually partaking in the Thai week festivities. By doing a voice over for a skit that they are performing. Just the other day I had to go down town and subject myself to a few hours in a room with no air circulation and about 4 people clustered in a small space. The windows were closed and fans turned off due to the noise it would create. Other than those minor details it was a good experience and I am looking forward to seeing the final product.
To kick off the festivities of cultural week, there was an event held in AP House (the on campus dorm) called "World Festival." During World Festival every floor of every building organizes either a performance or a food booth that is reflective of its residents. Needless to say, there was a large variety of food to select from. There were many traditional and contemporary dances. Some better than others but all entertaining to say the least. It was during these dances that I witnessed the most cross-dressing i had ever encountered in my life. There were a few groups who were doing dances and had boys dressed up like school girls (my roommate included; boy on the left in the photo). I guess here they don't have as big an issue humiliating themselves as a drag queen. Whats more is, due to the petite frame of some of the boys, they actually looked like girls and one might be hard pressed to distinguish the difference. But like i said it was entertaining nonetheless.
Instead of partaking in my floor's performance i opted to do an individual performance for the APU's Got Talent (talent show) as well as perform a few songs with a band. Both of which were huge amounts of fun. For the weeks leading up to World Festival me and my band had hardly had any practice outside of my room (aka without full drum set and amps etc.). Therefore i was a little apprehensive when we went on stage.
Backtracking, the night before World Festival was the opening games of the 2010 World Cup. Naturally, we went downtown to the local Sports Bar for nomihoudai and game watching all for the low price of 2000 yen. I was cautious not to yell too loud lest i lose my voice for World Fest. But that is a hard thing to do when everyone around you is going insane over a goal.
When I woke up the next morning, i felt my voice was fairly groggy and was concerned that i would embarrass myself, more so than i might already have done, with the way i sound. I was slotted to play my talent show at 1pm. Once it rolled around, i was all business. I played many well known songs that i thought would appeal to an international audience and i think it was well received. I walked out to thunderous applause after my video played and got the crowd going. A few short minutes after, it was time for my band's performance. Once we started playing, i noticed the room start to slowly fill up little by little. And by the end noticed there were people standing on tables and filling the doorway trying to get in. It was also cool seeing a bunch of people with their cellphones and cameras taking videos that I'm sure have hit the web by now. I will forever be part of these people's memories and i don't even know them. It was all going really well up until we went to play my original song and at the end my microphone got turned off or unplugged. I guess they didn't really like it. But nonetheless, i had a really fun time playing and as i walked off the stage there was literally a line of screaming Japanese girls trying touch/talk to me. Never before had i felt like such a rock star...don't worry it won't go to my head. I hope...
The ensuing hours after my performance, i couldn't walk across the courtyard to get food without being stopped at least 3-4 times talking to people and having them tell me how much they liked the show. Before i knew it i was posing for pictures with complete strangers, parents, students, boys, girls, boys dressed like girls. I was waiting for someone to ask for my autograph...but that did not happen (probably for the better). Little did i know that this small amount of success at World Festival would propel me to school wide fame.
The following days and weeks, i would be waiting outside my classroom, and a young man approaches me and asks, "Are you Matto?" I reply, "yes." His response, "OOOOOOO. I see you play at warudo fesutibaru!! you berry berry goodo dayo!!" i reply, "thank you. but i still need more practice." He says, "iiee." then he motions to his friend while pulling out his phone and proceeds to ask if its ok to take a picture with me. I humbly accept and then we go on our way. Similar occurrence took place in the elevator one night where a girl asked me, "are you matto?" then she introduces herself and tells me how she saw me at World Fest and how she thought it was good. We would be here a long time if i list all the times this has happened but most of the conversations follow that general format. Furthermore, there is pressure from administrators to have me play in "Millenium Hall" which is the schools major auditorium. But the feasibility of that is slim due to my short time left.
By the end of World Festival i was exhausted. But the coming days and weeks are proving to provide 0 respite due to my heavy morning classes, and late late nights staying up watching SOCCER. I find myself becoming more and more interested in the sport that for so long has bored me. But i still think they are pansies the way that they fall down and pretend to be injured when in reality they tripped on themselves. It sickens me. I'm excited the US is doing so well and am spreading a theory of USA dominance on the global stage. That being that if the USA wins the World Cup the rest of the world will stop liking soccer. For decades, the one thing the US was not good at was soccer. If we take that away from the world the world will be inclined to lose interest in the sport all together and move to another sport which the USA does not partake in on a large scale (cricket, curling, etc.?). I heard an interesting argument from one person who said, "If America wins i will be so pissed. You guys are already good at everything..." It made me chuckle. This theory is gaining credibility if you look at the evidence. I figure that if Switzerland can beat Spain, North Korea can hold Brazil scoreless in the first half, and England can go 3 games and not win one match, then America has a chance to win the World Cup.
In other news, hitch hiking has become a hobby of mine. Instead of paying 500 yen both ways to go downtown for groceries, pay only once then hitch hike back up to school. I've done it 4 times already and thought it was funny how every time someone picked me up they would tell me how NO ONE picks up hitch hikers in Japan. Some quality irony.
Also, i have grown fond of messing with Japanese people while they walk. Some background information, Japanese hate uncomfortable situations (like most people) and do their best to avoid them. Japanese people also don't pick up their feet when they walk. So you can always hear one coming behind you. When this happens, i notice they are walking at a slightly faster pace than me and can tell that they want to pass me. So i speed up, just as they are trying to pass me and we walk side by side for probably what seems like an eternity to them until they decide to kick it into high gear and pretty much sprint away. Its the best when you do it to girls, because they never make eye contact and will just duck their heads and do their best to stay out of your way.
Lastly, classes this quarter are not all that great for me. Everyday i have 1st period which could be a contributing factor. But, the teachers aren't doing the best job holding my interest.
No major plans in the immediate future but I will do my best to keep you posted on the significant happenings in my life. Until then, enjoy these pictures and videos. I was not able to post to youtube because the videos were too long. if this site doesn't work contact me individually and i will do my best to accommodate people who want to see. The first link is the band performance (actual performance starts around the 2 minute mark) and the second is my individual performance.
Until Next Time,