Monday, December 27, 2010

And while we're at it, let's have some Boredoms...

When I was teaching in Japan, my students often asked me, "Why are you interested in living in Japan?" I think they usually found my answer pretty mystifying, since I never once met a person who knew anything about Boredoms or Melt-Banana. So they'd ask, "Are Boredoms or Melt-Banana popular in America?" they'd ask, and I'd have to reply, "Well... not really..." and we'd have to go the "long way around the barn" to come to the mutual understanding I was in Japan for intensely personal, largely sonic and visual reasons, none of which anyone found interesting.

Eventually, I learned to just answer, "I'm here because I like modern Japanese music." If the students pursued that further and asked what groups I like, I'd say, "Different kinds. Not popular ones," and try to turn it into a discussion of the kinds of music they enjoyed. Sometimes this went over pretty well. We had one young woman who was so totally into Glay she went to practically every concert and she'd always light up and start chatting with enthusiasm about the latest show she attended.

In my highest level class-- the one that always left me giddy and out of breath from the super intense effort of keeping up with the two students and their quick witted repartee-- one girl (who spoke flawless, native speaker-level English, by the way) was a dedicated SMAP fan. One December afternoon late in the semester, she got excited talking about how much she was looking forward to their New Year's TV special.

The other girl in the class laughed, rolled her eyes and declared, "I don't give a shit about that!"

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