As sort of an escape from my new daily routine in Kudamatsu, I sometimes listen to music. I have mainly been listening to three artists since landing over the sea – Mike Midwestern, Iron & Wine, and the National, but mostly Mike Midwestern.
Familiar songs become entirely new to me as I bike up and down the hills of Kudamatsu, sweating profusely, trying to focus on the positive aspects of the bike ride (i.e. “Look at that beautiful mountain over there!”).
Yesterday (which is now many yesterdays ago), I left Kubo Junior High after two one-hour sessions with students: speech practice, then I hit the hardwood for some much needed ball-handling exercises. Damn, those kids are good! The gratifying thing about Kubo is that when you leave, you get to enjoy coasting down the hill that nearly killed you two hours previous. This is a massive deal in the late summer heat, especially when you can recharge with a beverage halfway down from one of Japan’s 5.6 million vending machines.
As I was coasting down said hill, I clicked my iPod to a Mike Midwestern tune that has recently become one of my top 10 introspective songs of all time. The song, “Sail Away”, is from his forthcoming record, Inhibitors, due out at the end of this month. It is a gentle tune, a smart tune, and one that did not completely hit me until I discovered my new home in Japan, as I was lying in “rooms unfamiliar, until now” (thank you for that line, Iron & Wine).
It is intriguing to me how a song you have heard a many times before can take on an entirely new meaning with the click of a button and a bike ride/train ride/taxi ride somewhere. Then, that same song can flip meanings again, potentially on the same day, as it enters the room to unfold a brand new situation. So, potentially, your mind can relate one song to an infinite number of experiences, and that really is kind of a beautiful thing – almost too intense, though. Please do not think about it too much. I cannot quite process the words in my head on to this word document.
Anyway, I look forward to more moments like this, but need to remind myself not to force them. Press play, let it happen, and eventually create mental moments that will stick with you forever.
And Mike’s new record needs to be heard!
Sail Away live: