Alphabet Questions: M-S (especially R)

Alphabet Questions: M-S (especially R)

M – Most favorite book?:  Tokyo Bandwagon

N – Nicknames?:  Mimi Gomez

O – One wish?:  All animals get saved

P – Person who texted me last?:  Vivienne

Q – Question you’re always asked?:  Where did I put that?

R – Reason to smile?:  Chocolate, my overweight chihuahua, many, many, many good books, Billie Holiday records, my mom’s cooking, quote like ““Maybe we should all just listen to records and quit our jobs.” by Jack White, smell of freshly opened bag of Sun-dried Ethiopia Yirgacheff coffee beans, oranges, dog paws, depressing music grabs my heart, English accent, movie like Liberal Arts, independent bookstores like Shakespeare & Co., tasty pastries at Crumble and Flake,  Joseph Leonard, New York City especially East/West Village, Rent, Stomp, handwritten letters, text message saying “i love u,” holding hands, Paris, Paris, Paris, Staub pots, vintage housewares, Bangkok, warm and cozy bed, sound of rain drops, sound of cello makes, Picasso painting, Maria Kochetkova, point shoes, stylish looking glasses, snow,  flower bouquet made by Ayako, Emily Dann, the Corson Building, Autumn, claw-foot tubs, old wood chairs/tables, well-polished shoes, home cooking, chopping vegetables with my Aritsugu knife, beach, ocean, sunset, I can go on for about 2 days to list what makes me happy so I will stop right here.  And, Archie.

S – Song I sang last?:  Cups (“When I’m Gone”)

Do You Have Your Marching Band in Manhattan?

Do You Have Your Marching Band in Manhattan?

Every time I hear this song, my throat tightens up as if I’m starting to cry but I always managed to stop right before that.  This is a song I want to listen to inside of my car when it is raining outside, while hearing raindrops continuously hit the roof of the car.  I sometimes actually stop my car to listen to the entire song then wait to see if my sorrow drips into my heart through a pinhole.


I have countless number of songs that are dear to my heart, but this is a special song and a favorite for the last 10 years.  It is bitter sweet.  This is a song that you want to listen to when you are remembering someone who is out of your life but you still wish that person, whether  your grandma, your long lost friend, your English literature professor, a crush, whoever that may be, is still part of your life.  And you day-dream about the time when you and that person happen to see each other at your favorite coffee shop, but it feels really strange so you guys only exchange an awkward smile.  Then, you know that person is no longer a part of your life and you know that he/she knows that too.

You carry on your life but for one small moment, you think about that person.  Maybe while selecting an Etta James vinyl record at this vintage record shop.  Maybe when you are looking at this huge painting that you have no idea what this is all about.  Or maybe at red light.  Maybe when you are spreading almost expired cream cheese on a bagel.  Maybe when you are at the zoo with your 5-year old niece looking at penguins on one Sunday during winter.  Maybe when you can’t sleep and it is 2am and you are watching “Roman Holiday” by yourself but not hating the fact that you are alone.  Or during the time you found comfort in the sound of a faucet leaking slowly, and finally you can let your tears run down your face.

Mine is “Marching band in Manhattan” by Death Cab for Cutie.  How about yours?

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Sweet sound of clarinet: Artie Shaw

Artie Shaw…I wish I had been born in 30’s.

When was the last time you felt that you could not even register what’s happening to you?

I must have been 12 or so when I learned about the difference between woodwind instruments and brass instruments in music class.  I remembered the difference as knowledge then just to pass the test.  In my late teen, this sound hit me like a ton of bricks.  In the middle of this vinyl shop in Shinjuku, Tokyo, my body froze and I could not move.  It was sweet, warm and lovely sound of clarinet.  I remembered about the music class all of a sudden.  Clarinet is woodwind instrument and this is why the song sounded so tender to my ears.  My heart started pounds fast and my throat tightened up.  I was trying very hard not to burst into tears.  It was just like love at first sight.  After the song ended, I run to the store sales person and asked who it was.  He told me it was Artie Shaw.  I grabbed a couple of his record and went home.  I listened, listened, listened, listened, listened and listened to his record.  And listened.  As soon as I dropped a phonograph needle on his record, his music would transport me to a jazz club in Chicago or New York (depending on songs).  I would be wearing this Gatsby-esque dress, small hat, and smoking a very skinny cigarette.  I thought I could hear people chattering, foot taping on the wood floor, cocktail glasses clinking.  I wanted to be inside of his records. And I still do.

I started to listen to other clarinetists (what a great word.  clarinetist) and enjoyed them all, however to me, no one could replace Artie Shaw (what a wonderful name…Artie Shaw).  Tender, beautiful, humorous, quiet, playful, classy, sexy, introverted and romantic sound of clarinet.

Side note.  He must have had a great ear because he hired Billie Holiday (my hero) to sing with his band.  The world’s tightest pair in the music history.  Thanks to my music teacher to make me realize this not-so-flashy woodwind instrument could turn my world upside down.

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