HGC East Asia Tour: Day 15

Our first concert in Japan!

My day started with a shower. At the youth hostel, there was only one private shower stall, the rest was a public bath area. Thankfully, I was one of the first people up, so I had time to wait for the shower stall to open before breakfast was served. I spent the morning in the student lough area of the hostel, catching up on tour budget work and emails. I had been having a really hard time trying to get my computer to connect to wifi the previous night, but with everyone out of the hostel, I was able to get things done. One of the notable parts of the student lounge was the bookshelf filled with manga. English language books were relegated to the side of one of the columns of shelves.

I wanted to get some gifts and a winter hat to replace the one I left on a public bus in Korea, so I joined a group of people who were going to the train station for lunch. Although the restaurant we went to didn’t have a word of English on their menu, we were still able to order food. Our waiters led us outside to the plastic models of the lunch options, and we pointed out our choices. I ended up eating some pork katsu topped with an egg.

After lunch, I visited Daiso, where I picked up a kinit cap, and Libro, where I got a gift book. I was also looking for stationery, but I wasn’t able to find anything good. I told the tour manager before I left for the train station that I would meet the rest of the Glee Club there, and ride with them into town to the concert hall. However, I stood on the wrong side of the station (which was the size of a small mall) and missed them entirely. I would have to make my way to rehearsal by myself.

However, this was an unexpected blessing. As much as I enjoy laughing, talking, singing, and travelling with the Glee Club, it’s difficult to find space for oneself on tour. Therefore, on the ride from Shin-Osaka to Osaka, and then from Osaka to Osakajokoen, I enjoyed the silence and anonymity of the train.

img_2916With that refresher, I showed up to the concert hall just in time to walk to Osaka castle, where we took some pictures for tour. The castle looked magnificent from the outside, and I was a bit sad that I didn’t take the opportunity in the morning to go and see the interior. We returned back to the concert hall, and rehearsed our set for the concert. By this point in tour, there’s a danger of having the concert become rote. Even with the added element of doing pieces from memory, it’s easy to fall into complacency, and this definitely showed in our rehearsal. I was a bit nervous for how the concert was going to go, especially given that we were still very much on book for our encore, the Japanese folksong Hana Wa Saku.

img_2919I had a quick dinner of catered sushi, which was as delicious as one might expect Japanese sushi to taste, and then ran an errand to the subway to get tickets for the journey back to the hotel. Laden with 60 tiny thumb-sized tickets, I came back to the concert hall, got into my tails, and prepared for another concert. img_2924The first half of our concert was the best we had every performed it. The concert hall had told us to manage our expectations for audience size, as it was the first day back to work in Japan. However, we had a sizeable crowd, which was encouraging but not overwhelming. It also helped that we went back on book for some pieces we were a little shaky on.

The second half of the concert was a little shakier, but still well – received, especially the encore. Apparently, people were mouthing the words to “Hana” as we sang, and as we held out the last chord, people started to clap before our conductor had even put his arms down.

After the concert, I grabbed an onigiri and some mochi covered in red bean from Family Mart, and relaxed back at the hostel. This was a nice way to wrap up our short stay in Osaka.

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