When I moved to Japan five years ago, I knew very little about the country I would soon call home, and the simpleof saying hello in a new language filled me with . I my new town in Mie Prefecture, and grew worried that I would never make any friends.
What could I even talk toabout? I could ask for basic information, but not much more. It's tough to build friendships when all you can say is "Where are you from?" .
One day shortly after moving to Mie, I went to a localand . A song played over the shop's sound system, and I became . This was like nothing I had ever heard before — it sounded like an android was singing the words, while the music itself was the happiest pop creation I could possibly imagine. I listened to the whole song, which probably made the employees near me . "Why is that guy just staring off in space in the computer aisle?"
Thanks to the magic of YouTube, I soonthe name of the song. It was Love the World by Perfume, a techno-pop trio from Hiroshima. They released a new album the week before my flight in Japan, and I bought it as soon as my first appeared in my .
I loved it — Perfume's music mixedelectronic sounds with human emotion. When I had enough cash in my pockets, I every album the group had released.
Something funny happened in Mie, though, after thattrip to the electronics store. Suddenly, I had something to about with the people around me. The students I taught at the time asked me who my favorite member was, while drinking parties ending in karaoke with my suddenly became easier thanks to my badly sung of Perfume's biggest hits.
Evenstrangers — once my biggest source of anxiety, whether at a bar on Friday night or at the supermarket picking up bread — became easy. , I managed to meet interesting people around the same age as me and make friends.
Perfume opened the door into Japanese music for me. I started writing a blog about Japanese music soon after, and I . I even interviewed the group late last year — a dream come true, and a professional highlight. But the best part of hearing Love the World in a big-box electronics store was how it gave me a great way to make connections with the people all around me.
The Japan Times ST: May 1, 2015