After many weeks of planning, yesterday was the day I got to see many of my primary school classmates. I have not seen some of them for 17-18 years. It was great to see them in person. Last October when I was in HK, I organized a similar gathering. At that time our form teacher came back to HK for visit. So many schoolmates came because of the teacher. This time we didn't have the teacher, but many still managed to come despite their busy schedule. We went to a Shanghainese restaurant on the 12th floor of Times Square. Some got plans afterwards and left early.
Afterwards we went to karaoke in Causeway Bay. It was great fun and I got to sing til my throat got so sore :) We sang til 4am and got home at 5am. Interestingly I only slept for less than 5 hours and woke up at 9:45am. What did I do? Of course I went to church on Sunday! I couldn't believe myself as well. Since I actually went to a Friday night service I don't need to go on Sunday too. But I managed to get up and attended the church at Tsim Sha Tsui.
I think it is such a precious thing to be able to keep in touch with primary schoolmates. Of course, some classmates don't like coming out with various reasons. Although maybe we do not know each other extremely well, but just seeing them is a joy. These are the kinds of gatherings I will never forget.
A friend came over on Saturday and we had a wonderful jam session. He is expert in guitar and he randomly played a few tunes. I just follow along on my drums and we had a blast. We did a few songs like 'Masquerade', 'Lovin' You' and a few mandarin pop tunes. We converted everything into rock version and it was truly fun. Now I am trying to get more irregular patterns with the bass and more creative fillers :) I just love playing drums. It is a lot of fun plus it gives me energy. I should start comparing myself with the likes of Yoshiki , wahahahaha!
Saturday night I went to a piano & violin duo concert in Palo Alto. The program includes works from Bartok and John William's Schindler's List. Encores include hymn 'Give Thanks' and a Chinese tune. All in all a lot of varieties and an enjoyable evening.
Recently I have found the reason why I enjoy j-pop so much. Ever since I went to highschool, my pop music taste has been primarily j-pop. At that time, i enjoyed it mainly because there are cute japanese idols who sing cheerful tunes. But slowly, I listen to more singer-song writers who produce their own music. So what is different about j-pop than all the other pop music in general?
The main reason, as I recently found out, traces back to j-pop history. I read an article about the early influence of j-pop after 2nd world war. To start off, j-pop has its root to jazz music in the west. Jazz in usa is a form of personal expression with more complicated arrangement and irregular forms. A lot of jazz music are originated from the south where a lot of african americans reside in the late 19th and early 20th century. They are very expressive when it comes to jazz music - a lot of improvisions. With a background in piano and voice, I naturally enjoy music which are more expressive and free-form.
Another important reason why i like j-pop is because of japanese people enjoying western music. Japanese people enjoy listening to English songs even when they have no idea what the lyrics is about. This influence their music-making as the melody and arrangement of j-pop songs are always catchy and good sounding. So a lot of times we hear a lot of j-pop songs which feature very generic lyrics. It's almost like the lyrics are the leaves and music are the flowers - lyrics complementing the music. As a beginner in Japanese language, a lot of times I put more emphasis on the j-pop melodies than the lyrics. This fits my pop music profile completely as I concentrate more on the music than the lyrics of the songs.
It was the Americans who defeated Japan with 2 atomic bombs and ended World War II. But the Japanese people didn't feel ashamed of it and even borrow American culture like music and tranform it into their own materials. I admire their willingness to accept and adopt.