Being Santa in Japan
Every December since I’ve been in Japan, I’ve been asked to be Santa Clause at a kindergarten and this year my services have been requested twice. The first year I played Santa in Japan, the communication involved in preparing me was minimal. I remember being told the morning of, please walk around the gym and greet the kids, then answer a few questions, sing a song, and make your exit. With no music or time to rehearse, I wrote the beginning of each verse to Santa Clause is Coming to Town on my hand – the words we looked up that morning on the Internet. Sounded easy enough until my cue came to enter. With Christmas music playing, I slowly moved the stage curtain to one side and then was nearly blinded by a spotlight… Barely able to see where I was walking, I made my way down some stairs and onto the gym floor. With kids screaming and parents taking pictures, I slowly made my tour around the gym, shaking hands and shouting "Ho, Ho, Ho, Merry Christmas!…" Hardly able to see my hand, let alone a smudge of either verse, the seconds until show time were painstaking. After performing under those circumstances two years ago, nothing could prevent me from bringing the house down with just a little preparation in the years to follow. This year I was looking to expand my range by singing Rudolph the Red nose Reindeer to music, a song which has a Japanese version all the kids know. Replacing my popular a cappella version of Santa Clause is Coming to Town was a difficult decision, but for the sake of growing as an artist, the move was necessary. Today’s show I think went well, a smaller crowd that I’ve been accustomed to, but apparently the school has contacts at my BOE, so they were able to book me for a private show. Next week, it’s the big one… my third go around at Kamihachiman Kindergarten! As the ALT at both junior high schools in the Hachiman area, next week’s performance has a personal importance to me -because this ones for my hood!