As of next Wednesday, I am officially an ex-student, and the last week has been spent tying up loose ends: listening to teary, drunken speeches at the oidashi konpa, ridding my room of all hardcover books, securing new means of financial support from corporate institutions, maniacally trying to reach level 99 in a stupid portable game I bought for the plane to Portugal. My last government paycheck dropped from heaven into my bank account today, and now I’m going to have to rough up these soft pink hands to keep myself afloat. My visa status will have to be changed, but the transition from Spring Vacation to The Rest of My Life should relatively easy.
Just tonight, I had one of my last “baito” type missions — perhaps the weirdest on record. An acquaintance of an acquaintance has a music project I quite enjoy, and he also does commercial songs for a well known Japanese electronics company. Somehow I got drafted into singing the main vocal of a track related to the firm’s upcoming film festival in Taiwan. I altered some of the English lyrics to better match the company’s original Japanese marketing message — a weird combination of all my sundry half-talents. But, I’m not sure I should ever be singing songs besides my own marginal compositions. Modern technology will probably bail me out and make the track work at the end of the day, but I felt the dull creepiness of being the foreign guy in Japan who gets the job solely because he is the only foreign guy in the room. I will be the first to admit that I am an okay indie musician, but a sham voice-for-hire.
The best part though was doing overlapping harmonies on the final line in the chorus, which happens to be the company’s catch phrase. Imagine actually being the guy in front of the microphone, with the headphones wrapped around your head, singing the 21st century equivalent to a rock version of “Food Folks and Fun.” As a kid, I had dreams of rock stardom, but I’m not sure this kind of scenario ever swam into my mind.