This week at Affinis Music Festival has been a week of welcome, of new friends from America, Germany, and Japan, of Japanese translated into German, of chamber music and chamber orchestra, of engaging musical experiences, of new Japanese terrain. After two years of playing in an orchestra in Japan, I admittedly sometimes feel stifled, sometimes feel alienated from the place where I live. It can be hard to fit into a different culture, hard to navigate a world and interact with it when I don't speak or read the language, hard to feel welcome or be open to welcome after the initial welcoming period has ended, tiring to blend my voice with a hundred others and follow one artistic direction on the podium, challenging to relinquish my own identity for the sake of playing and working with others. These are challenges that I feel in Japan, challenges I feel from playing in an orchestra, challenges of being with a small group of friends who are also feeling these challenges. It has been reinvigorating to perform chamber music again, to have a new beginning, new introductions, new welcomes.
There is so much power in novelty. There is certainly a great deal of value in having new experiences. But there is also the danger of relying on new experiences to escape what we have established, to break from responsibility when it is difficult for the breath of new smiling faces and new horizons of possibility. I'm extremely grateful to have had this experience, but also grateful to return to a my home in Japan, my life in the orchestra and all the challenges that will await me there. Perhaps with an approaching horizon for my time in Japan, the future will present a counterpoint which will bring the present into a novel sort of relief. These periods of feeling alive, knowing that there will be an end, being aware of it, and seeing the everyday as something unique and irreplaceable; a new, old way of being.