Life in the Land of the Rising Sun

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Hit and Run Update

The word hikinige (heekeeneegay) in Japanese means "hit and run". Normally it applies to the crime of the same name. However, I have heard Japanese use the term to describe any action which is carried out on the fly, so to speak. In this case, it applies to my drying to cover some lost ground case I have any readers left. My posting has slowed to a deer-in-quicksand rate of progress because I've been so tied up elsewhere. Just a few points:

- I described the almost miraculously successful Kashima Music Fest in my last post. It really did make an huge impression on the city of Kashima and everyone who participated in it. Mssr. Maestro Ogawa, who came back from his "retirement"(?) as conductor of the Kashima Philharmonic in order to direct at the Fest, was impressed, thankful, and much relieved by our performance. So how did he show his gratitude? By completely severing every last tie to it. He even resigned as musical advisor, a post he'd vowed to continue as long as the orchestra continued to exist.

He put it this way: "The performance was great, like a dream, and for that I'm thankful. However, I'm fed up with the half-assed attitude of many if not most of the Philharmonic's members. There's no point in my continuing, so I'm out."

I understand exactly what he's saying, but that doesn't really help matters, especially since so much has been dumped in my lap as a result. I'd basically been left with a choice, either shoulder much of the burden myself or kill the Kashima Philharmonic and toss eight years of effort and progress into the dustbin. I think you know what I chose. I'm now the only one ensuring that the Philharmonic has a place to rehearse, instruments to use, a rehearsal conductor on standby, and student musicians ready and able to provide desperately-needed support at performance time. I got the first taste of my new role last Monday, when I had to hold the fort at Ye Olde Academy during a meeting of the Kashima Philharmonic's planless planning committee. The meeting was typically directionless, pointless, and grievously dull. They promised to be done by 9:00, got told to get out by a security guard at 9:30, declared the meeting over at 9:45, and finally got their asses out of the building well after ten. It was eleven p.m. by the time I got home and had my dinner. I was NOT happy.

It's looking like the "chairman" of the Philharmonic is going to have us (attempt to) perform Schubert's "Unfinished Symphony", a piece we have no business even trying to play. We tried sight-reading it on Monday, and it was so pathetic several of us were about ready to cry. The level of the Kashima Philharmonic just isn't yet to that point. If the chairman does ram it through and into the performance folder, several members including our concertmaster/chief violin trainer will likely bolt. I may do so, too, though that would pretty much doom the orchestra once and for all.

- The 4th of July came and went. In recent years it has actually been given some media attention, so I was able to acknowledge and celebrate it. This time it just sort of blipped by while no one was watching. If it weren't for some Happy Fourth e-mails I got from certain friends on the 5th, I probably would have missed it completely. As it was, I was too busy to do anything anyway.

- The Tanabata Festival (July 7th) also whipped by in the shadows and vanished. It is a Japanese tradition which has faded practically to zero during the time I've been here. At Ye Olde Academy Tanabata trees used to get set up in classrooms, hallways, in the lobby, etc.. This year I didn't see a single one. No one can be bothered with tradition much anymore. They're too busy with their cell phones, their Nintendo DSes, and their neuroses. Welcome to 21st century Japan.

(A picture of a lonely, little Tanabata tree at the school in 2005.)

- I just got my BLUE RAV4's annual checkup taken care of, and it came through beautifully. I've been using it for eight years now, and it is still going strong. I'd say it's still good for some more years.

The new RAV4's do look cool, however...and it would be nice to have a 4WD version...with a sunroof...


- My mother-in-law's condition has deteriorated rapidly, and the doctors say it's only a matter of time. She's just skin and bones now and can't move very far on her own. The worst thing about it is that the worst culprit is her own attitude. The doctors say there is treatment available and waiting, but they can't use it because she has more or less given up the ghost. Unless she gets her spirit back and makes an honest effort to beat this thing, she doesn't stand a prayer. Unfortunately, all she has done since coming back from the hospital last April is whine, complain, make demands, and wait for death. It has been really hard on everybody.

Alright, back to The Project...


  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Olivia, at 5:56 AM  

  • Oops, bad English in previous comment. Let's try again:


    If your MIL is ready to go, then nothing will stop her and trying to "save" her will only make it worse.

    When my Gran went into hospital last March, the whole family flew in to Dallas. But *much to her frustration* she recovered and was released, albeit with hospice care. Granted, she spent the next few months looking younger than ever, as if she was back for a reason, but she was still waiting to go and frustrated that God had spared her, kept asking him why. She did finally pass in July 07 when her systems shut down...but essentially she had said goodbye to everyone month earlier.

    By Blogger Olivia, at 5:57 AM  

  • Sorry to hear about your mother.

    I think it is time you look at the number of responsibilities you have, the time you have to do it in, your job, your health, your family, and consider whether or not it is time to make a sacrifice. It may be only temporary, but you can't put the world on your shoulders. I have been reading your posts for a long time. Don't you think numero uno needs to be higher on the priority list?

    By Anonymous Dave, at 7:46 AM  

  • I like the little tanabata tree, it's like my x'mas tree at home.

    Sorry about your MIL. Hope the best for her.

    Btw, did you ask for a slap? Ok.. will do it :D

    *slap.. slap... slap*

    Have a nice weekend.

    By Blogger Selba, at 10:24 AM  

  • Busy busy busy indeed. Sorry to hear about MIL. It is no fun being in pain, that's for sure.

    I hope things work out okay for the philharmonic.

    By Blogger Don Snabulus, at 1:01 PM  

  • That's shocking news about the Phil after such an awesome concert. The part about the long pointless meeting is not surprising - aren't they all? But that Mr. O (the KPO's Mr. O not that other guy) bailed and that you might also lose the concert mistress as well is distressing. Seems a shame, and yet I followed a similar roller coaster with the Maui Symphony Orchestra. It did die, but lives on in name only in my opinion, since it is no longer a community orchestra in the true sense of the word. Bummer.

    Slap! Wake Up! Your Blue RAV4 is still new. Your next vehicle should be a bicycle, so if you are so attached to driving, keep that Toyota rolling.

    K's Toyota is 15 years old. Just a few months ago I finally got her to let me take the factory plastic cover off the passenger sun visor, having convinced her that it would not affect the resale value. (I am not making that up).

    Sorry to hear that your MIL has lost the will to carry on. Try to remain compassionate rather than let the situation pull you into scornfulness. Live in gratitude that she gave birth to your wife. That does not mean giving in to her every whim, but rather to let the irritation you feel slide off your back offer up a smile. It is up to her if she will accept that or not, but it will be off your shoulders. Putting up with whining and complaining is not much compared to what she must be going through. ne?

    By Blogger Pandabonium, at 9:29 PM  

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