Today my collage, International House (IH), had the biggest event in our annual calendar, which is “Soiree”. I don’t know why it’s called so, but it’s a multinational cultural exhibition, food stalls and entertainment festival presented by all the IH residents. We sold a variety of foods and beer from 13 different countries, displayed national flags, costumes, traditional arts and crafts, and performed music and dances on the stage.
I enjoyed participating in Soiree a lot. One thing was that I displayed a lot of origami crafts such as animals, flowers and 100 paper cranes hanging from the ceiling. This was such a perfect opportunity for me to display one of my specialties as an art, and also to perform leadership to put each origami craft by many people into one. When I was teaching other people how to make the unit of a paper ball and then put 12 units into one ball, I really liked my job. And this will be something of my future job if I am going to work as a Japanese teacher. I felt more confident of myself after this.
100 paper cranes and the origami world
Another thing was the acapella group. At first I was awkward being in this group because most of the members were those who I rarely talk with because of the language insufficiency of myself, and the difference of the personalities. Say, I’m a rather quiet shy non-native-English-speaking Jap girl, (at least to them probably), and they are mostly very talkative and cheerful “Western” people (at least to me). At first I was like “Oh oh, do I really belong to this group?” as they communicate very fast and loud, and act quicker than they think, and can’t help dancing as they start singing, they were very different from my personality. In addition, some songs were totally new to me but were so common to them that they just sing sing sing and go on to the next. I felt like the leader was irritated as I stopped her for help several times. But gradually I felt more comfortable in this group because there was one thing that I really felt I was meaningful to the group, which was my perfect pitch. I was happy when the leader asked me to press the key that she wanted. As I practiced a lot, I got used to the group and gradually I came to dance with them naturally as I sang. Oh, there was one thing I realized from this experience as well. My perfect pitch is sometimes helpful to sing in a group, but not always, especially in acapella. This was a little shock to me, but I noticed the disadvantage of having this talent. In this acapella group, they didn’t use any music pieces so they just start singing at a key that they ‘feel’ is the right one, which changes all the time. When the key changes, I notice and I get confused, but they don’t care and keep going. As there was no accompaniment, some people shift up the key and some shift down. I was very confused and could not memorize the right key at first until they decided the starting key for each song. I’m good at singing in a choir, but not really in an acapella pop-song group because of my perfect pitch. It was a good thing to learn. But overall I enjoyed so much being in this acapella group. It's good to try something new.=)
At Soiree, the weather was perfectly nice, and hundreds of people came to IH. Everyone in IH was wearing the Soiree T-shirt, working together and having fun. I loved this atmosphere. I enjoyed watching the performances, selling and buying food at the stalls, explaining about origami to children, etc. I participated in the National Costume Fashion-show wearing my kimono. Again, I felt pride in my specialty to wear kimono and behave in a Japanese way. I’ve never felt my identity as a Japanese ever more than today. I was doing something I can do only because I am Japanese. What I was performing was genuinely Japanese, and genuinely me. I was proud of it very much.
Now Soiree is over. I had been away from my studies so badly due to the preparation for today, so now I have to go back to my reality. I sacrificed a lot of my school works to get ready for Soiree, but what I got from Soiree was, I think, worth the sacrifice. Thank you for everyone who contributed to make Soiree successful.