Letter from Tokyo 3 (Honky Tonk Woman and “the elevator incident”)

I just picked up my alien card. For ages, I had been calling it something I can’t spell or pronounce now, which it was pointed out to me the other day was kind of like saying “I’ve come for my Honky Card.” Bit embarrassing. Then again, languages are not my strong point. Those of you who know that I kept saying “voila” instead of “au revoir” when I first went to Paris, will not be surprised to hear that when I was in Akihabara recently I kept saying Akihabara instead of Arigato (thank you) and that when I am VERY flustered I say Arigato instead of Konichiwa (hallo). No one seems to mind. Maybe because I bow a lot. Bowing is cool!
However, no amount of bowing could fix ‘The Elevator Incident’ which happened to me the other night when I was all froo frooed up in my black net over violet dress and got into the elevator at B3 just as a young man in a chef’s hat burst out of it. As the doors closed on me I realized he had left behind THE most appalling well … shall we say, emission … and the elevator goes express after the first floor so I had ahead of me 45 floors of coughing and choking to endure,
But then, just when I was thinking it couldn’t get any worse, a man got in at the first floor and… Well, there was I, (all gussied up, which somehow makes it worse) COMPLETELY ALONE in the elevator and there was this terrible smell and … well, what would you think? Of course I mimed “Goodness, what is that terrible smell?” with lots of flapping of my hand in front of my face, and screwing up of my nose. And he, of course, joined in (Tokyoites are very polite). But he was obviously thinking to himself “arigato/konichiwa/akihabara” (which would be my Japanese for, “First one smelt it dealt it!”).
Naturally I now see him ALL THE TIME, and my musicians, Philip and Francis, are both agreed (judging by the expression on his face whenever we see him) that he clearly thinks it was me. Now I merely have to say the words “elevator incident” to Philip and Francis to totally crack them up, which makes me feel very witty. By the way, the picture on Letter from Tokyo 1 of this blog is of Philip’s cat.
The music is getting easier. It really helps when one of YOU comes — as has happened 5 times (if you count Reiko coming twice and Anna and Alan coming at least twice, and Raj coming with a huge posse — THANK YOU). And I realize that people ARE listening, just very discreetly (i.e., while talking among themselves and swigging champagne and martinis). Here, by the way, is a picture Raj took of the most important drink in the house — sans diamond, of course. That’s me on the stool in the background.

And I am learning so many new songs. Wichita Lineman, for one, which Philip and I agree we both deemed horrendously cheesy when we were kids but which now seems cool. This is the first sign of aging, I think. Nostalgia for the stuff we sneered at in our youth. And I wrote a whole new arrangement of Eleanor Rigby, which Francis, the percussionist (who also is an amazing singer), does fantastic backing vocals on. As for the standards… some of them are fantastic! Who knew? We have FUN.
Akihabara! (Trans.: I can’t wait to see you next month!)