Life and tuba players are the same no matter where I am.

I’m sure you can’t tell, but it’s raining. It has been on and off for the last week.

I  feel compelled to stop lesson planning, if only for a few moments, to post a little about my school. I’m not sure why, but the Kyouto-sensei (Vice Principal) decided that today was the day to test out the emergency microphone system. I’ve gotten to hear every announcement, buzz, siren, and boop that the school p.a. system can make.

Amid the ruckus of the sirens and extremely polite announcements came the sound of a single tuba. At first, it was hesitant. Clearly the player was still trying to figure some things out. Then it happened, the announcement tone rang again across the entire school. That same lone tuba player, not two seconds later, joined in in perfect time and pitch, albeit several octaves lower, to the gentle tones of the warning system.

It was at that moment that I decided I needed another picture for this post and instead wound up in the music teachers room. It was an inevitable place for me to go considering my extensive ( seventeen years playing the flute, double major in performance and education in college) musical background. Amid the chaos of suddenly intimidated faces I made my way through the sea of practicing children and finally managed to find my way to the music teacher’s, Sato-sensei, room.

To the best of my Japanese language ability and the best of her English language ability, we had a short conversation about the upcoming band competition they are competing in. About half way through the conversation a poor dejected young boy excused himself and entered with his head hung and an inverted cymbal held in his hands.

All ready to be helpful, I sprang back down two flights of stairs to ask Adam the best way to fix that problem. Adam was a band director for five years, so it’s right up his area of expertise. When I had the solution, I bounded back upstairs. Sato-sensei was talking to someone, and I realized belatedly that I probably shouldn’t have been quite to cavalier in entering the room. I suppose mistakes will be made.

When she was finished, I explained the method that had been explained to me. She listened politely and then informed me that she would have to ask the percussion instructor the next day to make sure that it was the correct method of fixing the instrument. I won’t lie fixing cymbals is rather violent. It involves feet and pulling on things that don’t look like they should be pulled on. Since it was the typical response I was told to expect I merely said that I understood, and I do.

The view from the top of my school out across the city of Hiroshima.

Also the rain really does come straight down here.


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