New goal!

Learn one enka (traditional japanese) song to perform at karaoke during the nijikai (after-party) of my next enkai (office party). For a more complete explanation of enkai and nijikai, see this article.

According to reputable sources, if i can accomplish something like this, I will instantly become a local legend.

my choice is Umi yuki by Jero, a popular new gaijin singer who hit Japan from Philly last year. His grandmother was a Japanese national, and he learned enka growing up with her. Truth be told, he is actually a huge nerd, confirmed by pictures I saw on the NEWS of his former life in America, and a degree in information science. But now he dresses up like a hip hop star and is making it big because Japanese mainstream culture LOVES it when foreigners can do something Japanese.

I mean people even freak out when they see that I can eat raw fish or use chopsticks without somehow injuring myself. Yes, I am complimented on my chopsticks-using ability several times a week. Of course not all Japanese people share this world-view, but still, there's this attitude that permeates Japanese media and society that only "real" Japanese people can truly understand or appreciate the culture. So seeing a (75%) black guy from Pennsylvania fluently crooning this old-school style of Japanese music makes them wet their levis jeans with amazement.

According to my calculations, the formula works like this:
1. Japanese culture and Western culture are necessarily COMPLETELY different and mutually exclusive to each other.
2. Foreign culture is really cool, we consume and imitate it! (e.g. We like hip hop and obsess of hip hop style.)
3. We loooove famous westerners.
4. This one dude is a real live hip hop star, but he sings ENKA. えっえええ!!

My proposed objective will play right into this effect, even though my Japanese is much less passable than Jero's.

This is my goal. To dumbfound my coworkers and shortcircuit the foundations of their world-view. Otherwise, to chip away at the notion that foreigners are disinterested in and cannot understand anything about Japan.

and... Challenging Convention/Changing our World. I guess.
Thanks, Clark.


James Smyth said...

I want to learn mahjong.

Mike said...

isnt that Chinese?
Learn GO!

I need someone to play with.

Kinoko Times said...

hahaha! I like this goal of yours!

And yea, I totally know what you mean. I've been doing that on my own though... They were surprised as hell to see me reading in Japanese (or at least, attempting to), and they were absolutely blown away to hear me sing Japanese songs(rather badly though). It was J-pop though, not Enka.


Anna said...

karaoke karaoke karaoke...