Waking up on my last day in city. I would have rather slept well past noon. Mind you, when I woke up then I'd just have felt like I wasted my day, so it was probably for the best.
Why was I waking? Was it to go see the festival where a number of sumo wrestlers hold babies to make them cry, thus warding away evil spirits? No it was not, though that event was also taking place in a different part of the city. I was off to the orchestra. With three other people, none of who really seem all that into the orchestra. And I wasn't either but I was into cultural experiences, and I do like live music.
In preparation for this event I thought it would be best if I leave my pack at home. No camera, no books, just me and the music. Let this be a lesson – no matter how freeing you think it will be to not have your camera, you will miss it and you will regret not having brought it with you. Only for those beyond the addiction to photography should ever attempt such a feat. Even they will, ultimately, be missing out.
The one hour subway ride? Less than ideal. Yes, I had a seat, but with no book time simply existed. I put myself into a thought-based trance, trying to think of everything I still had to plan to round out my year, and time seemed to kick right along from that point on. But, once more, point noted... don't leave your book behind.
At the orchestra we filed in, grabbing our general admission seats, trying to tell ourselves that we would not fall asleep.
One by one everyone nodded off – the most obvious being he who had his program notes resting on his lap, which went crashing to the floor during a particularly silent bit. Still, he was not to be blamed. All around peoples eyes were closed, perhaps begun as a way to experience the music, but the lifeless lean and spittle forming at the corners of their mouths gave evidence that it went far beyond that not.
It was not only in the audience that things were dropped either. On stage one woman dropped her bow, and the guy in the back crashing the symbols together hit them too hard, the right half of the pair leaving his hand, flying through space slow enough that you could recognize the range of emotion from shock, terror, regret, and awkward awareness before it smashed against the ground, one extra note out of place.
That part? It was my favourite part.
It dawned on me that I did not dislike lyric-less music. While I may not be the biggest fan of classical music, one of the pieces was quite agreeable, if only because it reminded me of a piece from Final Fantasy. Were I to put together my own orchestral set list many of the pieces would come from games – though not all, movies would have their place too.
And I wondered, what is it about those pieces that connects with me? Why not the classical works that are said to be most excellent?
Emotional investment? Understanding? Simply that the music of today is 'better' quote-unquote. I'm not sure, but hey – it wasn't half bad!
For what it's worth I think I was the only person to not fall asleep. I did close my eyes under the prompting that it would best allow me to connect with the songs. This was dangerous advice, as my mind quickly began to wander. But I do not believe I fell asleep, because I do not remember ever waking up.
Could have happened?
Outside the music hall, down a great straight street stood the Tokyo Sky Tree – still under construction just over half its final height, now touching the 349m mark.
The Sky Tree? It's like the Arc de Triumph in Paris. You can walk towards it, and you know that you must be getting closer. Still, you never make any progress. Step after step, you close in, and yet there it is – just as far away as the last time you looked up at it.
It's hard to say when you transition from being far away to right beside it. I imagine it's a sort of portal that you warp through. There really is no other excuse. For twenty minutes it will be off in the distance, and then – just like that – you're against the wall that was erected to keep curious Japanese from getting too close with their cameras. I guess foreigners take pictures as well, but I wouldn't know – I was the only one, and my camera? Left behind. Who knew I'd see this?! Who even knew this existed?
After far too long sitting on a railing, being impressed by simply looking up, we whisked ourselves away to Shinjuku for food. My last meal. More types of okinomiyaki. Japanese food? My lord is it delicious!
My buddy joined us all after he finished work, and we kept ourselves well fed into the night.
Once others had left for sleep, and other such important things, the two of us headed off for one final episode of karaoke. Oh the songs that were sung, and the night that was had. Probably to just leave out the fact that I sang many a female pop song from the mid-nineties. And belting out Pearl Jam, it was decided that we were old, and that was sad.
Tokyo – you've been a lovely place, and Japan? A great country. I'll see you again I'm sure. Some day.
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