Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Bachelor Pad

I've always loved home decorating, and Ethan's room particularly so.  When he was small, his room had a 1950's era cowboy theme.  I raided my friends' antique store, and was so proud of the work I did in there. Wish I had some pics with me.

When we moved to Japan, the only things Ethan brought for his bedroom was a map he'd made, a few Playmobil vikings, other small mementos to remind him of home, and some books.  As hard as it is for me, I've allowed Ethan to decorate his room as he pleases.  Ok, ok, so maybe I've had a say in the decoration a little....

We lovingly call this room Ethan's bachelor pad, as he's been spending more and more time in there, listening to music, or playing his guitars.  Wanna take a look around?

Ethan has filled his bulletin board with pictures of my uncle Herman, when he was a young man in WWII.  My mom was sweet enough to send Ethan copies of these.

Oh, that couch.  It was in the living room, until we bought a nice, new one.  But Ethan loves it.

Ethan's two guitars.  The acoustic we found in the apartment when we moved in, and the electric we bought him for Christmas last year.  I'm amazed at how much he's improved!

Besides playing guitar, Ethan's other hobby is making model airplanes, particularly WWII era.  These are not fun for me to dust.

Just a portion of the map Ethan made about 2 years ago.  It takes up one whole wall.

Ethan continues to sleep on a futon at night, which gives the small room much more space.  I think Ethan likes his room - I think it's important to have spaces you can call your own.  It's a little bit of Japan and America, I think.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

All the World's a Stage

This weekend, Ethan's school had a Shakespeare Festival.  It was performed by the junior high and high school students, and consisted of not only scenes from some of Shakespeare's greatest works, but also a Renaissance museum, Shakespearean food, and a minstrel.

Ethan was the minstrel.  He practiced classical guitar songs and everything!  

I was really impressed with the performances of the students.  Shakespeare is difficult to perform for native English speakers, and for most of these students, English is not their first language.  Great job HIS!!!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Doing what you love

I remember the first time I sang in front of an audience.  I was about 10, and it was for my dad's Full Gospel Businessmen's Meeting.  I sang a song my mom helped me pick out, a religious ditty called "Hearts Courageous", and subsequent church performances followed in the years to come.  But as I entered my high school years, whenever my mom would tell me I should perform again, I would brush her off.  Although I was in choir and never stopped singing ( I had several solos and duets in high school musicals and choir concerts), I didn't really have confidence in myself.  And once I became a wife and mom, singing became reserved for mainly for car rides and tucking Ethan to bed.  But even still, every once in a while, Mom would say, "Sarah, you really should start singing again....."

I met Takuya at a picnic of a mutual friend.  He started playing a song from the movie "Once" on the guitar, and I chimed in (I can't help it, I gotta sing harmony).  We discovered that we both like the same kind of music, and our friendship grew from there.  We started exchanging songs from bands we liked, and then we started singing them together.  Our friends encouraged us to perform in venues, and our first "performance" was about two months ago at a small bar with a few of our friends.  Yesterday, we performed at TK6, a popular foreigner bar in the Susukino area of Sapporo.  Honestly, we didn't know what to expect; I'd only been there two times before, and wasn't sure if the crowd would even like our romantic, moody music (we seem to be drawn to those sad love songs).  

We had one microphone, no mic stands, no amp for the guitar, so I guess you could say we were a little unprepared.  We decided to play upstairs for a more intimate feel, and so our friends who came could listen best, but it turned out that there was a rather large, noisy crowd of men taking up most of the space.  But we played through, singing as loud as we could - I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous.  But seeing all our friends there, listening and supporting us, made it all worth it for me.  At the end of the night, we were asked to sing there again some time, and we'll be sure to be more prepared!

But the crowds and attention is not what this is about for me.  Singing and practicing with Takuya these last few months has reignited my love of singing, and singing for my friends.  Sure I still have those insecurities I've battled with in the past - like my voice not being good enough - but I feel myself overcoming these thoughts.  In the end, it's about doing something you love, and that for me is singing. Sure, I'm not gonna become a professional any time soon, and we likely won't be signing any recording contracts, but having your friends tell you they want to hear you again is worth it all for me.  

So there you go, Mom.  I'm singing again.  Wish you could be here to see it.   

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

mt tape expo

I really wish I could go to the mt tape expo in Tokyo, going on now until November 18.  Washi tape is quite an obsession here in Japan, and after seeing these pictures, I can see why.

Amazing what you can do with tape!!