Today marks the return to my new Japanese class. As some of you may know, I stopped taking classes in my own city and now go with a neighbor to a nearby "suburb" where I study with a group of volunteers, most of whom are really wonderful folks.
Being quite groggy from the endless insomnia I have been experiencing, I was dreading classes because in this class, you work with a tutor and I hadn't prepared anything to study that day.
Having spent two years in Japan, I shouldn't have been at all surprised to discover the entire 2 hours would be spent doing an opening ceremony, self introductions, and learning to sing the town's anthem. They handed out sheet music for Motomiyamachi's official song, and we went through it 3 times, doing all 4 verses each time.
I'm not sure how to describe the song, except that it could have been written in the 19th century, with the express purpose of putting elderly people to sleep. Sheet music is almost always written in Hiragana (the easy script) so my usual iliteracy excuse failed. It was the kind of song that evokes nostalgic images of one's hometown, the Japanese countryside, and Motomiyamachi. Due to my still somewhat limited Japanese, and unfamiliarity with local references, I couldn't understand the entire song. But it repeatedly mentioned the seasons, the the rice and some traditions of the local area.
Perhaps I was supposed to break down and start sobbing about 'mom and apple pie,' but I wasn't particularly moved.