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  • My Student is a Japanese Pop Star | Hitomi Takahashi

    Nov 17 | Evan | No Comments |

    Well technically, since she graduated and I am not teaching anymore, Hitomi Takahashi is not my student anymore, but while she was in high school and I was her teacher I couldn’t really blog about it. Hitomi was my student when she was a freshman in high school at Shiogama Girls High School. She was this shy, teeny-tiny girl (147 cm, what is that, about 4’8″?), who sat in the back and never volunteered to answer any questions unless she was called on. When I realized who she was, and after hearing her music I couldn’t believe that such a loud, incredible voice was coming from this little girl! Even more incredible than that was when I went to see her perform live. On stage, she was a completely different person. In class, Hitomi was a quiet, down to earth, humble, shy girl, but on stage, she was this all powerful, attention commanding, loud women. What an incredible transformation it was! Seriously, it is so hard to believe how much power–and what an incredible voice– this girl has, especially at a live performance. After a teaching few months, I had found out that we had a common interest in photography, so we made a trade. I gave her a small book of some of my photographs and she hooked me up with a autograph on her CD… I definitely got the better end of the bargain there! 😉 Thanks Hitomi!After the break are some of her songs, even if you can’t understand Japanese, I think you will still appreciate her voice! This first one was her first single that debuted at number 1 in the Japanese Pop Charts, something only one other women singer had done at that point. I am not a huge fan of JPOP, and maybe it is because I am biased, but I really like Hitomi Takahashi’s music! More

    Missing Japan: Sapporo Snow Festival

    Feb 03 | Evan | No Comments |

    Japan has a festival for just about everything you can imagine. To be honest, most of them are over hyped and once you have seen one, you have seen them all. Of course, there are some exceptions. One of which being the Sapporo Snow Festival, which is in Sapporo every February. This was by far my favorite festival in Japan! The main attractions are the huge snow sculptures, some of which are functional, some artistic and some are both. Equally as cool, in the entertainment district Susukino, there are some amazing ice sculptures…the best of which are actually ice bars that open at night and serve hot drinks! Throughout my years of living in Japan, I only went once… now I wish I went every year and can’t wait until I get the chance to go back!