Last Saturday was the annual concert at Katerina, the dormitory where I teach. Many of our students attend the prestigious Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, known as Geidai for short.
With the incredible amount of talented students living in the dormitory, the students are able to perform a wonderful show every year.
This year we were able to experience a concert ranging from operatic vocal to a Bach quartet, solos from Debussy and a saxophone solo by a composer whose name I didn't know.
There was even a sing-a-long of Japanese pop songs (of which I knew 2 of the 3! I was quite proud). It seems a luxury to be able to attend a concert as rich and varied as this.
As a staff member, I expected to be assigned a job at the concert like all the other staff members, but I was disappointed to discover I was left off the list. This was more than likely because no one could tell me what to do in English, and I may or may not have understood any Japapnese instructions!
The night of the concert, though, I approached one of the leaders and said the only sentence I could remember in Japanese at that moment: "I want to help."
Not exactly the polite form, but it got the point across.
They all laughed at the foreigner trying so hard to be a part of the group. And they named me the mascot. Not exactly the job title I was aiming for, but they did let me hand out programs.
In idle conversation, I asked what a program is called in Japanese. Three people gave me three different answers.
And people wonder why I am struggling with this language.
So call me the Concert Mascot, the English Teacher and Persistent Foreigner. At least they know I am, and am happy to be, part of the staff.