Sunday, August 10, 2008
Yesterday, Kaya was taken by her other grandfather to see a planetarium. Mitsuki and Miasa were envious as double five-year-olds when they heard about Kaya's pending good time, but then they were told that they were coming to our house for the afternoon and evening, and their envy waned a bit; at least we have different toys, plus we live on a mountain.
When they got here we told them we were taking them to a concert. They'd apparently heard of the word, and seemed excited at the prospect. (What did 'concert' mean to them? What does a five-year old twin female expect from a ‘concert’? How do you ask such questions of a 5-year-old twin female?)
When all the travelly stuff was ready we took them down along the lake, around the mountain and into the beautiful narrow valley on the other side from us, where we drove the curving road in the deep shade along the lazy mountain stream until we found a good spot, went down to the stream bank and the twins went out of the hot day into the clear mountain water for a cool swim, enjoyed picking up larger and larger rocks from the bottom and tossing them further out, making the biggest splashes possible all over themselves and effecting their changes in the general layout of the universe, then after an hour or so of waterfun they toweled off and we went on to the concert, which was just down the road.
The ‘Haruya’ family, whom I've mentioned herein a few times, the most natural and simply living family I know in these parts (e.g., none of their three sons goes to school, they are home-schooled, extremely rare in Japan) (I have a lot of great stories about the family I should get to herein sometime). They live in a traditional Japanese village house in one of the small villages along that river. For their livelihood, in addition to occasionally serving excellent reservations-only meals in their home, restaurant-fashion, they travel around the country to various ecoevents where they sell delicious home-made organic ready-to-eat foods. As well, they are movers and shakers in a lot of the events that happen over in their valley neighborhood and elsewhere. They are also a rock/folk band, and were going to play the first set of the concert, starting at 4pm.
The twins knew none of these details, and seemed unusually quiet sitting right in the front row before a stage that was the deck of a rustic farmhouse up inside the edge of the woods. There were a lot of kids running around (almost all boys), but the twins stayed fascinated before the stage, watching the band set up; then the performance began. The Haruya band, Yamamoto 844 (mother on piano, father on lead guitar, sons on vocals and drums; another woman on bass, her two sons helping with the vocals). Five boys in total, from 5-8 years old, did the vocals in the first song. The Haruya folks’ three sons, 8, 5 and 2, took turns playing the drums during their set. Believe it or not, the 2-year-old did a responsibly credible job on the drums-- he stayed seated, pounding now and then, and finished with a big satisfying crash on the cymbals.
During the set, I was watching the twins now and then to see how they were taking all this; was it too noisy? Totally bizarre? Was it their first actual concert? They were too busy watching to answer silly questions; they never moved from the bench, sat there eating their snacks and drinking their cold tea, eyes locked on the performance.
After the first couple of songs, the oldest brother, 8, became the main vocalist and really belted out the tunes. During the closing song, Mitsuki kept pulling at Echo's sleeve and saying something, but Echo couldn't hear clearly because of the volume, so she just nodded. After the song ended, Mitsuki said Sonno hito wa kakkoii... Mitsuki sukii desu! Which situationally translates as: That guy is really cool... I like him! She wanted his autograph.
Echo went over and found him behind the stage with his friends, horsing around like an 8-year-old, and persuaded him to come and give his autograph to one of those cute twins over there (seems it was his first autograph, and he was uncharacteristically a bit shy about it). He came over in his Grateful Dead bear t-shirt, and in his immediate presence it was clear that Mitsuki, who had just turned five a few days ago, had a major crush on this guy nearly twice her age. He signed his name in normal-sized letters. Echo asked him to sign it BIG; he did. Mitsuki held the paper with just the tips of her fingers, like a basically untouchable treasure.
As the sun was setting and the featured group was setting up for its session late into the night, before leaving (we had to meet Kasumi at home around 7) we went over to where the Haruya family was now selling their foods, and told the boy's mother about what had happened. She said to her son, who was there helping out, why don't you draw her a picture of a samurai on the paper? (He loves drawing and Japanese history, so draws a lot of historic figures). He took the paper, M&M following, and went over to an outdoor worktable of plywood over sawhorses and began to draw. The twins watched in close fascination; he joked, they laughed. I took some pictures. His 5-year-old brother came over. Echo said That doesn't look like a samurai. The younger brother said It isn't a samurai; it's Napoleon. Napoleon? said Echo; It doesn't look like Napoleon, either. It’s Napoleon the third, said the home-schooled 5-year-old.
When we got home, Napoleon III in his own special folder, Mitsuki commandeered Echo to write a fan letter, inviting her crush to “come by Shinkansen and stay at my house and go to a restaurant where we can have spaghetti, pizza and dessert.” Echo asked who else would go on the date; Miasa said I'll go! Mitsuki said His mother, my mother, and Miasa.
Then she carefully colored his drawing of Napoleon III and gave it in its folder to Echo to keep for her, put a bunch of her own drawings and newly learned writings in the envelope with the letter for Echo to give to her one and only.
That's Mitsuki in the last photo, holding the paper...
Five years old...