What is something you wish you knew how to do?
Piano. Play the piano.
I am not musical. I did not grow up longing to play an instrument. And to be honest, I don’t have a particular fondness for piano music — I do sometimes covet the ability though.
On new year’s eve in Japan the national past time is to watch a musical show called Kohaku. Japan’s top musical artists are separated by sex — the women are team Red and the men team White (a call back to The Tale of Genji) — and they alternate extravagant performances in a variety of musical styles to win (now chosen by the audience at home through votes made on our remotes).
This year they introduced the pianist/singer/songwriter Fuji Kaze. He’s from a remote village in the north and as a child he wanted to learn piano. He took lessons once a week and filled in the gaps with YouTube videos. When he was in 6th grade, his parents let him start his own channel and by 22 he had a nation wide hit, Nan Nan (see below). Now, an established pianist, he’s started working with major artists in Japan.
You can still watch his older videos on his channel — and I have been, he is extremely charming and earnest. What I want to stress is he is self-made. He didn’t just wish, he did.
Fuji Kaze does sing in English — he taught himself English — and has a very nice cover of Close To You (which you can find on Apple Music). Here is a Japanese song with some English mixed it, I especially like the way he sings this lyric.
“My heart is saying I’m not caring no moreTokuninai, Fuji Kaze
Somebody slap my ass and let me go
I used to dance but I ‘m losing my beat
And now I lost my feet
Somebody bring back to me
That love and just let me be”
Watching Fuji perform on New Year’s eve made me wish I could express myself through music — It made me, once again, wish I could play the piano! — but more importantly, he reminds me that we have the ability to learn anything we want, whenever we want.
Do you agree? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
(The topmost photo in in downtown Yokohama)