I came prepared for my lesson this week with the tune of the Blue Danube Waltz fresh in my mind. I hummed it for Kaneko-san and his face lit up, "Sooouu!" And he told me how he had heard this famous melody in a movie a long time ago when he was a child, and how ten years ago he had gone to Vienna for the first time and seen the Danube River. "In Japan, we don't have any big rivers."
He went on to ask me if HPAC had ever played this melody. And he asked me what composers HPAC usually plays and then listed some of his favorite composers and some of his favorite pieces–various solo and orchestral works by Beethoven, Johann Strauss, and Schubert. With his mention of Schubert came a short, excited performance of the first line of Der Lindenbaum.
I wonder what these melodies mean to him. He seems to hold them very close, seems to have memories of place and time connected to them. I wonder what the Blue Danube Waltz feels like to him. A child in Japan years ago, a 60-year-old man expanding his world.
I've forgotten about learning Japanese with Kaneko-san, even though I do. I think I learn far more now that I've forgotten that it is our task. Next week, I'll start working through a new book, just to keep the purpose of the lessons alive. But I may also see if I can find another melody.