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September 23, 2006

# 02 FLOW #
Myojo 2006.08

"Un." [Okay, yeah etc.]
When my parents asked me in kindergarten whether I wanted to learn piano, that was how I replied. Because I wanted to become able to play the J-Pop that was popular at that time. But I was made to practice only classics which I wasn't interested in, so I ended up losing interest in the piano almost immediately. Practice became more and more tiring, and once I even fell asleep right in the middle of a lesson, when I woke up the teacher had already gone home. We moved two times, I changed the teacher three times, but still I didn't practice. Probably because I was a brat, and felt the difference in music even though I was so cheeky.When I was in sixth grade of primary school, I used the middle school entrance exams as an excuse to stop with the piano lessons, barely able to play "Neko funjatta" [Der Flohwalzer] after eight years of piano lessons.

When I was in first class of primary school, I told my parents, "I don't want to lose in gaki taishô!" [a children's game], and when they suggested "How about learning Shaolin kungfu?", that's how I answered. But I was a weak kid in body and mind, afraid of the teacher who taught by yelling at everyone very loudly so much that I didn't even dare say when I needed to go to the toilet, holding it in instead. We moved again and I was relieved I didn't have to go to that dôjô again, but I followed the words of my parents who said "You want to take up Shaolin kungfu again, don't you." and started going to another dôjô at our new place. Maybe it was because of the homely feel of the dôjô that suited me, but I went to preliminary matches and advanced to the green belt faster than anyone else. I felt that this was something worth doing. But we moved again, and there wasn't any dôjô near our new place, so I had to go to the neighbouring town. Without the strong will to continue I ended up quitting Shaolin kungfu.

When I was in fifth class of primary school, my best friend living next door decided to go to cram school for the middle school exams, and when my parents asked me "Shige, do you also want to try the exam for middle school?", that's how I replied. I didn't think anything about it and just started going to the cram school, but someday my friend gave up. Still, I continued going to the school, about which people said it was too strict. I had experienced frustration with piano and kungfu, but studying wasn't hard for me. And so I was able to pass the examination for the middle school I had hoped for. I realize now keenly that about 80% of my academic knowledge was fostered during that time.

When I was in fourth grade of primary school, my parents asked me "Want to try and send your resume to Johnny's Jimusho?", and that's how I answered. When I told my friends in class that I had send my resume, I was made fun of, and I myself didn't expect a reply from the Jimusho at all. But two years later, when I came home from school, I was told by my mother that Johnny's Jimusho had called and invited me to an audition on the next day. I passed the audition and without a clue what was going on I had a photo shoot for a magazine and appeared in a variety program and dorama. And now, seven years later, I'm here writing this essay.

Before Ishihara Shintarô became mayor of Tokyo he published a book called "The Japan that can say NO", but now that I think of it, as a kid I never went against the opinion of my parents. I was weak-willed and just went with the flow, still, a part of me thinks that living like that isn't that bad, because it's thanks to my parents that I am who I am. By learning the piano I could read music sheets, by learning Shaolin kungfu I remembered just a tiny bit of samurai spirit, thanks to going to the cram school I didn't have to go through the examination hell, and thanks to entering Johnny's I was able to fulfill the dream of debuting with a CD. That's why I think that it's important to, with about the same amount of courage you need for disagreeing and saying "NO!", be flexible and when you're lost just scream "YES!"

But well, I still don't want you to nod and say "Un." when your mom tells you right now "Don't read such an essay, do your homework!"

Translated by riccichan

* Do not repost/retranslate w/o permission *

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