No Other Choice hr647

I chose music as my lifelong carrier when I was a college student. The first thing I got down to was to form a band. After I realized I couldn’t find band members at nearby universities because students played music just for fun, I expanded my search to the general public. Until then, the whole world I had been familiar with was the small hamlet where I was born and grew up and the schools I went to. I was about to tread on to the unknown, new world.
It was early 80’s when neither the Internet nor SNS had existed yet. The common way to find band members back then was recruitment columns on dozens of pages in a monthly music magazine. When you found someone appealing to you, you would contact him or her by a double postcard to receive a reply. I narrowed down to two postings for a candidate band. As I couldn’t figure out which one was better, I asked my mother out of curiosity. She glanced at each posting and without much attention picked one which address indicated a good residential district. Neither she nor I ever imagined that casual pick would have changed the course of life of mine, my parents’ and of the one who posted the recruitment message. From that point, inexplicable passion moved me in fast forward mode. I jumped on my bike, rushed to the post office to get a double postcard on which I scribbled enthusiastic self promotion on the spot, and mailed it.
A few days later I received the reply card with the phone number on it. We talked over the phone and set up the meeting in Osaka where he lived. Osaka is the big city located next to Kyoto where I lived. It took me about a 15-minute bike ride to the train station plus s 45-minute ride on the express train, which was quite a travel for me who was a farmer’s daughter in the small village of Kyoto. Adding to that going to the big city alone was so nervous in itself, the one whom I was going to meet was a boy. I had hardly talked to boys of my generation since I went to girls’ school from junior high to college. That all felt like a start of my adult life.
Before I set out for Osaka though, there was a problem. I needed to make s demo tape of my songs for the meeting where we were to exchange demos. When he talked over the phone about the exchange of demo tapes, I said “Exchanging demos? Sure, it’s a matter of course!,” which I found myself in a cold sweat to be honest. I had only one song on a tape that I had made for an audition. All other songs of mine were on paper as it was before the era of hard disc recording by a computer. The gadgets for a demo I had were a radio cassette tape recorder, the piano and the guitar. I didn’t have a microphone or a mixer, which meant I had to record by singing to my own accompaniment in front of the tape recorder. Although I had done that before and even done a few gigs too, the demo I finished this time sounded so lame that I thought he would turn me down as his band member at the meeting.
To me, my demo tape sounded as if it made me a laughingstock since I had confidently declared myself to become a professional musician over the phone. He would either laugh at me or get angry for wasting his time when he listened to it. Rather, I may have had excessive self-esteem to think about becoming a musician with those poor songs in the first place. It seemed more and more like the recurrence of my mistake in which I failed the entrance examination of most universities after I had declared to everyone around me that I would go to the most prestigious university in Japan.
I felt hesitant to go to Osaka for the meeting. On the other hand, my sudden loss of confidence showed how much I committed this time. At that point of my life, joining a band was so important. An audition or a gig as a high school student was nothing compared to that. I didn’t have my purpose for living anywhere else. It was the only way left for me to go on. I had no other choice but to be heading for the meeting with my demo tape held in my hand.

Podcast: summer camp when I was a freshman

 
Audiobook 1 : Japanese Dream by Hidemi Woods On Sale at online stores or apps. 
Audiobook 2 : My Social Distancing and Naked Spa in Japan by Hidemi Woods On Sale at online stores or apps. 
Apple Books, Audible, Google Play, Nook Audiobooks,  43 available distributors in total. 
 
The high school I attended held a mandatory summer camp when I was a  freshman. The students chose activities such as swimming, hiking,  cycling and so on beforehand. To spend the time in the camp together, my  group of close friends at school decided to choose the same activities.  We considered carefully which ones were the easiest and mildest, and  chose archery and cycling. A couple of months later the cycling day in  the camp arrived. We set off on each rental bicycle. Right after that,  one of my friends, called Yone, fell. She quickly got back on her bike  and we started again. Immediately, she fell again. We stopped to wait  for her. She caught up with us by pushing her bike and said, ‘Sorry. Now  let’s go!” But the same thing was repeated for the third time, her  falling down, us waiting. We finally asked her what was going on and  heard her astonishing confession. She said, “I can’t ride a bike.” We  gaped. Being unable to ride a bike was nothing, but why did she choose  cycling among all activities then? And telling us now? We pressed her  for an explanation why she didn’t just say so when we decided on  cycling. She told us that she couldn’t because we were joyfully talking  about how easy cycling would be. In our group, she was the tenderest  one, but also a pushover. She always had no opinion of her own and  conformed to others. That was a given, but I never thought this much. We  were talking about pushing our bikes and going all the way on foot with  her when she said, “I’m ruining your plan for an easy activity. I can’t  make you walk all the way because of me. Please ride on. I think I can  manage along the way. I’m sorry. Sorry.” We mounted on the bike, not  pedaling but walking while Yone kept falling and saying sorry for a  million times. Her indecisive, weak-minded attitude has gradually gotten  on my nerves. A girl of other group whom I had barely talked before  pedaled back toward us. She had something to ask me. I answered and  chatted, and we hit it off instantly. When I realized, I pedaled with  her separating from my group. I stopped to wait at the foot of the  downward slope and heard a scream. It was Yone flying down the slope on  her bike and tumbling into a rice paddy.