Guiness Support and Freestyling with a Beatboxer   Leave a comment

Living in Japan can be tricky at times.

There are moments the Kanji (Japanese chinese-based characters) can overwhelm you, and you feel like curling up under you sheets and grab your teddy bear happily, wishing it was a flesh and blood person. (I don’t own a teddy bear).

But last night, I met a kindred spirit. He was a Japanese man, with a boyish haircut and a bright smile who had lived in Europe for five years. As I told him that I was Jamaican and that I had been living in Japan, he felt the need to buy me all the drinks I wanted. Not to insult him, I made sure to have three drinks as we spoke. He understood the pain and confusion that can come with living in a foreign country, and before he left, he asked me “Daijoubu?” (Are you okay?) at least FIFTEEN TIMES. In me, he saw someone on a search, a person far removed from all they know and love, thrust into a place that sometimes feels like a hot blanket across the sky…

I appreciated that in some small way. His connection with me was sincere in that odd way; I hvae no idea what he must have felt living in Frankfurt and Turkey for five years as a stone cold Japanese adult male. What pitfalls did he go through? What challenges did he face societally, sexually and otherwise? I can’t even imagine. But in me, he saw flashes of the past. In my calm smile he saw a hidden struggle; a person working on creating a shifting paradigm of life. He saw the Jamaican in Japan, and he knew what that was. I drank my guinesses happily with him and his sister, chatting in my best Japanese about what I do here, and what I plan to do next. Then, he left, saying “Ganbatte!” (all the best!) and asking me “Daijuobu?” one last time.

As he walked away, I sighed to myself. It isn’t easy to fit in anywhere you aren’t born is it?
After this, I headed to a club. Second Club. There, I watched a person called Dub FX do a spectacular oratory demonstration. Using a realtime recording device, he would lay down drums, snares, harmonics and vocals.

At some point, he callled out to audience members to perform with him. I felt the pull, and went. Alongside the “human beatboxer” from Australia, I did freestyles in a soft Jamaican accent about living in Japan, the DJ and a bunch of nonsensical rhymes that probably sounded really good to the Japanese people in the audience. I left my camera at home, which I regret, because I didn’t get to capture the moment.

“Where you from man?” he asked me later in his performance, when he asked me to come on stage again with him.
“Jamaica.” I replied, remembering the man who bought me a few drinks, and remembering that I was so far away from everything I knew, but I could still hop on stage…. and chat a little.

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