- Piano Surprise - ピアノの驚いた  

kingofmonsters 39M
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9/11/2005 10:16 am

Last Read:
3/5/2006 9:27 pm

- Piano Surprise - ピアノの驚いた

I think one of the best parts of my job here in Japan (and if hadn't guessed yet, I AM an English teacher) is getting to do things with my students. There are several reasons for this.

The first reason is that they can speak at least a little English, so if I can't say it in Japanese, I can probably say it in English and they will understand. This is very important in a country where English speakers are few.

The second reason is that they already know me and so do not fear me. I'm a big guy; I'm 6'4" tall (about 190 cm), and I weigh somewhere between 280 and 300 pounds (between 140 and 150 kg). And I'm outgoing AND foreign. I have had numerous people keep away from me, and even had a few people actually run away from me. My students provide me with people I can hang out with and that I KNOW won't run from me.

The third, and most important, reason is because my students are really cool people with interesting hobbies and jobs. My students include scientists and chemists, high school and college students, housewives, other teachers and business owners. Heck, at my old job I taught a stripper and a woman who worked at a hostess bar.

For these reasons, doing things with my students is something I look forward to. Sometimes I get thrown a curve; for example, one of my students is a college student who is into the goth scene. She showed me pictures of her room and they included - I'm not joking - a bed that looked like a casket. While I'm not into the goth scene, we're planning on going clubbing in Osaka next month.

Today was another such surprise. One of my students told me earlier this week that she had a concert today, and I said I would come. She was really happy and even brought me a program. Of course, since the program was in Japanese, I couldn't understand it.

Before the show I went a picked up a few flowers to give to her after the performance, and when I got there I noticed an unusually large number of kids in the audience. This struck me as very odd, until I realized the truth; this was not a concert, it was a recital.

I sat down slightly discouraged; I don't want to sound rude, but I came expected a concert, not kiddy amateur hour. A lot of that washed away as my student approached me (fortunately, I'd hidden the flowers under my seat so she didn't see them) and the look of surprise and happiness washed a lot of that disappointment away.

It took me a moment to realize, but my student was there because she was these kids' piano teacher. Armed with the new attitude, I found the rest of my disappointment quickly washed away by these kids; they were all good, and some of them had SERIOUS piano chops. There was one boy, maybe 12 years old, who played Beethoven without making a single mistake.

My student actually did play one song at the very end, and I was also impressed; she played beautifully. Of course, she's been playing for 20 years, so that should figure. Another musical highlight was the 3rd and final act of the performance. The students played music from Laputa - Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, and Spirited Away. As a big fan of Hayao Miyazaki, it was a big (and unexpected) treat.

The last surprise came shortly before I left. I met my student for a few minutes and gave her the flowers I got for her, and she gave me a potted plant that was extra. I feel sorry for the plant, though, because I've got the touch of death. I'll be surprised if it lasts until the end of the month. At least I remember from the last time that I'm not supposed to water it with beer.

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