Three things you should know before reading this entry:
1. Japanese radio stations are odd. There is no rhyme or reason to what they play: old American, new American, Japanese pop, classical, long periods of talk, etc.
2. Japanese DJ's are notorious for talking way too much on the air, as well as interrupting songs, in the middle, to talk. So, you'll be jamming away to a great tune when all of the sudden, in the middle, the song will lower, and the dj will talk right over the top before shortly ending the song long before it should.
3. Never, ever, ever take a wrong turn in Japan.
It's no secret that I don't love living here. I find it tolerable mostly, and semi-enjoyable at best. I work really hard to make sure I stay busy, and this story takes place as I was driving to job #3, teaching adult ESOL classes. As usual, I was replaying the day's conversations in my head, and singing along, this time, to Boys 2 Men. When the song was over, the Japanese DJ came on to talk for a long time. Often, when the DJs speak in Japanese, I listen really carefully to try to pick out as many words as possible. Tonight's topic was fairly easy, and although I don't know why, I did understand that she was talking about ice cream, and comparing flavors, varieties, and calories.
I swear, three people had just cut me off, and I was feeling particularly nasty, when out of nowhere, I hear the first four beats of Flo Rida's song, 'Low'.
IMMEDIATELY, the biggest, biggest smile burst onto my face, and I (of course) began bumping along. Memories of actually LOOKING at Apple Bottom Jeans in Florida, or dancing with Tiff and Nik came to my head. Man, you couldn't have found a happier gaijin in town!
Then, two minutes into the song, it all went wrong.
I guess it all started when I decided to pass my normal street so that I could finish listening to this rare listening gem on MY local station. This was mistake number one, because as I drove past my turn, the DJ, on cue, lowered the song and started talking.
Mistake number two was when I, in my disappointment, decided to take the next left to quickly turn around back to my street and my lessons and my adult students who were patiently waiting. Except that when I turned left, I accidentally turned into the hospital.
MIstake number three? Not being able to read the signs that probably said things like 'Hospital' or 'Patient entrance only' or 'If you come in here and can't read Japanese, you'll never get out!' Immediately, this turned into a panic for me, and by the time I mazed my way out to them man in the ticket booth, I just looked at him and shrugged my shoulders as if to say 'Just let me out of here before I swear at you in English and then kick your ass.' He obliged.
In the end, I barely made it in time, but arrived safely. And I can chalk one more adventure in Japan up to a favorite song that brought amazing memories of my friends rushing to my mind.
Now, what I haven't told you yet is probably the almost-funniest part... When the DJ cut the song off early, I quickly realized that playing the song had been a marketing device for selling low-fat ice cream, because she mumbled a bit in Japanese before claiming such and such ice cream was 'low, low, low.'
And that is only funny if you are one of my friends.