So, I bought a Tin Whistle

A famous Japanese TV drama series “Roosevelt Game” was on air in 2014

There was a sound I have been fell in love with for long long years. Hearing the sound many times but I had no idea what the instrument is. Sometimes, sound is the most difficult thing to explain. In terms of that, I am seriously admiring people who invented and brushed up a musical score. Anyway, The video clip is a track from a TV drama series, and from 0:27, there comes the sound. Sounds like flute or something, but it sounds more like a clear, more transparent sound as if you are breathing air in heaven or top of a great mountain. The sound have caught my heart since I was young.

And now, I became 28 and I suddenly realized that now I can ask my college of musical teacher about the sound. Then, at an office, I talked her to listen the song and begged her to teach me what the instrument is. She listened the part many times, and thinking, and searching on the Google and after 7 min., she told me that “Maybe it is Tin Whistle, I guess”. “Tin Whistle”. Is that the name of the spiritual transparent sound maker? I was so excited that I suddenly checked it on youtube and then I got goosebump. This is the sound I was looking for. I felt as if I could meet my 100% girlfriend (@HarukiMurakami).

This is the sound, man. How beautiful sound it is.

Then, I found myself searching Tin Whistle on Amazon, and I clicked it. It was about $20. Not that expensive, eh?

Today, the whistle arrived a my house, and I played a bit. Such a heart fulfilling moment. I felt I could become a Celtic Woman although I am a man.

Anyhow, There was an explanation about the Tin Whistle. It seems so lovely that let me type it down and share the whole sentences here.

The melodies and lyrics of the music of the Celtic nations reflect their lives and their history. In their music can be found nostalgia for their loves and hates; the battles and victories; the beauty of their countryside and their longing for it when they have to leave it; the fun and joy of their comic outlook of life – birth, marriage and death; as well as the ideal accompaniment for a vast array of dances. One cannot hear a slow air played with depth of feeling on a tinwhistle by a true Celt without being drawn into, and sharing, th emotions expressed by the player.

Each of the Celtic nations has its own instrumental tradition and each claims their right to specific instruments. The Scots will assert that the bagpipes are their national property; the Welsh, the harp. The Irish claim the Uilleann pipes as their own as do, indeed, the Bretons claim the cornemuse. One instrument, played by all, and adopted by all is the tinwhistle.

When Robert Clarke invented Tinwhistle in 1843, little did he know that it would become the perfect wind instrument to be played universally in all the Celtic lands. It can be heard in concert halls, broadcasts, churches and above all, especially Ireland, in the pubs. It is easy to learn to play; inexpensive; and can be conveniently carried so as to be available for performances on all occasions.

Now, I’m starting from here. Thanks for reading!

What I realized when I asked an elementary student “What do you want now?” in Cambodia

Traveling around the world is a dream everyone dreamt once in a life, and I am still dreaming about it every single day. If I had enough money, if I had enough time, if the coronavirus passed away, … Every such boring excuses hinder you not to try (especially these days for me). We do know such excuses are not a real excuse, and we do know it’s totally depends on our seriousness to achieve that goal. Today, I’d like to give you an inspiration by sharing a story with you. A story about a girl in Cambodia.

One-a-day, I was walking and wondering if I could travel abroad with my precious friends someday in my college days. I wanted to travel to the U.S. , Russia, England, Germany, or everywhere except Japan. Japan seems nice country though, we are pretty much boring living in Japan. On one level, Japanese looks pretty neat, but on another level, it is just boring, peer pressured, stupid obscene anime characters everywhere, super aging society to me (some younger generation).

Then, one of my university friend talked me in a classroom, “Tomoharu, are you interested in traveling abroad during this coming Spring vacation with me?”, then I was getting excited and said “Wow. Really? It’s such an honer to be asked. Sure! But, where are we going?” Then he said “I’m wondering Vietnam or Cambodia, such rising, energetic country I want to travel as a backpacker!”. Backpacker was a dazzling word for such nobody college students in my days (maybe still?). Then I totally accepted his request. And lastly, we invited two girls taking a same lecture with us were going to Vietnam, Cambodia and Singapore for 2 weeks as a backpacker.

We tried hard to have a precious and rare experiences in there, so we somehow applied visiting to an elementary school in Cambodia through a Japanese NGO. I remember the day clear like yesterday. There were about 100 students at the school, and to them, most surprisingly, the first foreigner for them was us. Therefore we were so nervous for being their first foreigners. They were actually really cute and they have the most dazzling smiles I have ever seen. Then I though like, wow, any media tell Cambodia as a very poor and surviving and unhappy country though, they ARE actually very happy to me.

Education matters. I have never seen such beautiful smiles.

We attended a class, and a woman introduced us as a Japanese. Children welcomed really hard by singing their welcome song, and we tried to sing a very famous song to return for their gratitudes.

After a while, the woman gave us a chance to ask anything to the students. I was very excited to know a thing, so I asked “What do you want now?” before about 40 students. Then, almost everyone in the classroom raise their hands and tried to be chosen as an answerer. So, I chose a girl just in front of me with smile, and I said, “What do you want now?” with my smiling. Then she said something not in English, and then the woman translated to us and said “It’s knowledge”.

I got goosebumps by listening the answer. I was totally shocked and felt defeated, because I was thinking their answers would be “toys” or “money” or something like that. But the girl, who seems just 6 or 7 years old, said without hesitation but with clear eyes, she said “Knowledge” to us. I really, really felt bad at the time because I realized how stupid I am. I live in Japan and can study at elementary school to university as normal thing, and have never experienced war or famine or serious lack of basic knowledge. Library or schools seems pretty natural existence and I felt even boring for it. But for her, it was not natural.

Then I thought I have been wrong. Everyone seems that they easily throw dreams away very easily even they are really rich in getting opportunity these days in Japan. The situation surrounding the children are really sever (they don’t have enough books and teachers to study), nevertheless, every student before me at that time had specific dreams like to be a doctor, teacher or scholar or etc. Then I asked to myself, what the heck am I doing with anger. I strongly thought, if I can’t find and achieve my dream with blessed environments, who can do that? The role of me at that time should be telling how great to have dreams and achieve it. But then I couldn’t.

After coming back to Japan, every-time I feel fear for dream or becoming lazy to achieve a goal, I try to remember the girl with so clear eyes. And not only me, you can do something to change tomorrow. Let’s throw excuses away, and have a clear eyes to the future like her.

Thank you very much for reading. Traveling is learning.

5 Questions to Know Me

Everyday give yourself a present. I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Everyday, once a day, give yourself a present. Don’t plan it, don’t wait for it. Just let it happen. It could be a new shirt at the Men’s store. A catnap in your office chair. Or two cups of good, hot black coffee.

Good-evening everyone. I am a fan of Austin Kleon‘s (a writer who draws) blog, and he posted a short article on the clip . “Everyday give yourself a present”. What a groovy tip for us. Sometimes I felt like pretty disappointed when I check my credit card bill on my app, for I realized that I have received too much presents from Amazon (When I lived in Tokyo as a university student, I literary spent about $10,000 in a year mainly for buying books and good toothpastes. How awful it was. Now I left Amazon at all. A bit sad, actually.).

So, tonight, I’d like to give myself a bit of gift, which is “easy blog topic”. Since I’m trying to keep writing everyday, sometimes you can’t hit upon any ideas with what you should write about. Thus, just answering self introduction question is such an easy entry for me to blog. I really understand there are almost nobody who can get any profit from this article, I wish you could somehow enjoy this article.

1. Who is your hero?

My hero is Conan O’Brien, and Kurt Vonnegut. I think those who can make us laugh the most know the worst despair. Comedy or Irony is a kind of desperate and risky way to overcome their difficulty or hardship. In terms of that, I’m so proud of them and I want to be a person like them. They are my life savers at the same time.

2. If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

My first overseas trip was to New York when I was 18 years old to attend a kind of summer school in Tarry Town (the language school was EF) for 3 weeks. There was a huge story concerning on this topic though, anyway, that actually changed my life. Every scenery I see walking in street in N.Y. looks like an enormous movie set, and I suddenly fell in love with the city. Of course, my impression would have been changed after about this 10 years though, I frequently wonder if I could live in the NYC. But I have no idea what am I doing in N.Y.

3. What is your biggest fear?

To be honest I don’t care about my life so much. I mean, my mother seems to do care my life. She is always wondering my life plan or place to live or something like that, and briefly, my life was built on a story fighting with my mom to get a controller of my life so far. Anyway, I am 27 years old now. So, my biggest fear is a kind of situation that my life be controlled by somebody else. There is an interesting episode. Do you know why sometimes you feel like vomiting (carsick) riding in a car? That’s because you are not driving the car. I think it is a metaphor of our life.

4. What is your favorite family vacation?

“Onsen” (hot spring) would be one of a major destination of the most Japanese family vacation, and I do love Onsen as much as New York. (入浴: New-Yoku means to take a bath in Japanese. I’m so embarrassed explaining this.)

Once you take open-air hot spring/ onsen bath, you are in golden balance

5. What would you change about yourself if you could?

From when I was around 15 years old, I was almost everyday struggling about my ideal life or personality or dream I want to pursuit till today. I don’t know why I am so sensitive about my feelings or trivial matters in my daily life. I actually pretend to be a generous person who seems never care trivial things at all in my office though, true me is such a sensitive person who can decide anything easily. Maybe I shouldn’t blame such myself but admit. So, I think I want to change my such negative view of my character to the positive one.

Thank you very much for coming with me here. I hope I could present you a kind of inspiration for something. Have a great day/night.

Dear Ashley (a friend who lives in Turkey)

This below is a personal letter writing for one of my foreign friend Ashely who lives in Turkey now. We met on Facebook 7 years ago, and we were a kind of pen-pal at that time. We used to send and receive air-snail-mails. And somehow we haven’t heard each other for 7 years, but we accidentally met again on Facebook this year (I deactivated my previous account 3 years ago for no reason). Anyway, please enjoy the letter as a kind of my self introduction, maybe.

Dear Ashley

Long long time no see Ashley. I heard that you had just come back to Turkey these days. I’m really relieved hearing that because there were a serious political issue around that time, and now, we are in a global pandemic of COVID-19.

How are you seriously. I became 27 years old now, and I currently live in the northern part of Japan, which is called Hokkaido, where I was born. I live in the very countryside of Hokkaido (like the most places in Hokkaido) called Saroma. The population of Saroma is about 7,000 and interestingly, the number of dairy cattle is about 14,000. Yes. The animal population is higher than people here.

And what am I doing in here? I became a high school English teacher now. Are you surprised? You must be. Because I’m surprised at too. Actually, I had no idea to be an English teacher so far. But I’m enjoying this job anyway (However, I’m always wondering if I could go and live in some other countries. I sometimes really wish if I could live like a world traveler).

I’m still a beginner teacher in a small high school. I struggle with teaching almost everyday, and now I finally found that it actually is really difficult thing to teach something. Learning English in Japan is such a difficult thing because anything is translated immediately in this country. Movies, TV dramas, Music, you can name it. Since Japan hasn’t much diversity race (especially in the country side), people really hesitate to speak some foreign languages and feel shy. So, students are also seems shy to learn English, but I’m trying to let them feel easier to learn English everyday.

The first time we met was when I was a university student in Tokyo (I forgot my age at the time). You sent me a letter with absolutely beautiful hand-drawing sketches. You have such a talent of drawing. So, if you still drawing, I really want you to send me some piece of your art. I will definitely put it in the frame and hang on the wall of my room.

By the way, I still have a dream to live in the US someday. So, it is a kind of working-holiday in Hokkaido for me, I’m saving money to go out from Japan someday. What kind of dreams do you have these days? I would really like to hear your dream and recent situation.

Above all, there are so many things to tell you about my history for this 5 to 7 years. So, just communicate through this analog letter, OK? I seriously love this format of communication. It takes time, but that makes our communication more precious one. Please send back to my address below even if you take a year to send me.

Thank you so much for being friend with me, and keep in touch.
I’m hoping you are doing fine and spending good life from Japan.

Tomoharu Watanabe

Thank you for reading and have a good night.
P.S. Have a good dream with this song…

Not Exactly Paris