The final day has come.
12AprWhile this adventure is ending, another begins.I will always carry with me the experience I’ve had at Aimachi.I’m excited for what’s ahead,but I’m so sad to leave…What a special place this is.
The last two weeks; a recap:
The full week with Bret Kuhn here was very productive, and also very tiring. 13 days of rehearsal in a row without a night off. For Keith and myself, this is a little easier to digest, but for the rest of the members who have school or work the next day, this is no easy task. Especially considering the different motivations for people to be a part of this drumline. Truth be told, most of the members in the drumline (and I’m talking a few short of all the members) are not here to drum. They are here for the church. To most, this is nothing more than a church band. So imagine how hard it is to push some of these guys to be great when their intent and motivation doesn’t have to do with being in a great drumline. It’s a great lesson in leadership and management to motivate people with very different goals and intentions. For example, the guy to my left wants to be great, the guy to my right simply does not. The guy on my left eagerly takes on the extra rehearsals and more intense atmosphere because he wants us to keep getting better and better. The guy on my right….doesn’t.
I was approached by someone about this issue about a week ago. They were explaining some people are here primarily for the church, so they are not as enthusiastic about the more aggressive approach to rehearsals. One of which is in my section. I thanked them for letting me know how he felt. I think it’s always good to know where people’s minds are - whether or not they’re ideal. As long as you know how people feel, you have a much better idea of how to approach it.
I’ve thought a lot about this and the way I see it, there are two ways to go. One: back off a little - make rehearsals more casual/relax. Don’t address every playing and musical issue. Essentially, just ride out the next two weeks. Two: Push. Use every minute we have left together as a drumline to make this the best product we can. Address every issue and polish the show as much as possible. If Keith and myself were the only bass drummers belonging in the second category with the remaining three members subscribing to the first, we’d have to settle somewhere right in the middle of those two extremes.
Realistically, it’s four to one. Four want to push. Four want to be great.
We’re gonna push.
As unfair as it may seem to the one member who isn’t enjoying himself as much as everyone else, I think it would be even more unfair to back-off for the sake of one guy.
I’m not turning a blind eye to him, however. I know this is hard and I’m making it a point to be as encouraging as I can. I want him to know I think he’s doing well and getting better - something I probably failed to do earlier in the season.
It’s hard when everyone isn’t on the same page. I’m tackling this the best way I know how. I think it’s very important to know where everyone’s minds are. That’s the first step. Same page or not, you need to know what people are feeling and thinking. After that, figure out what’s in the best interest of everyone and do it. Because you’ve taken the time to understand what people are thinking, you’ll know how your chosen course of action will be received by everyone involved.
On a new note, I’m working on getting Korea pictures up and a subsequent blog post so check back soon for that.
Ok, so this is the kind of weather I like. 60’s, warm sun, light jackets (if at all).
First, if you haven’t had a chance to check out my new blog (Chris’ Idea: Idea to Success Blog) you should go do that now! Most of my “blogging energy” has been put towards this over the last week. In fact, most of ALL my energy has been going towards this or something related.
We’re leaving on the 28th and will be there for two nights. This trip will be similar to the one I took last time - it’s arranged through a travel agency and is part of a group package. Meaning they’ll bus us around to different places and one or two meals will be provided by the agency. My last experience in Korea was interesting. I didn’t have any wild fantasies about going back, but the weather is more pleasant and I know what to expect, so maybe I’ll have a little more fun this time around.
Third, the American staff is here for the last time as we start to polish our show. This means I’ll be busy all weekend. The drumline writer is here for 10 days and one of the visual designers and pit arrangers is here through the weekend. Last night’s rehearsal was run by the visual designer, Tim Fairbanks and it went great. We are comfortable enough with our show to start making the little adjustments that will do a lot for the final product. The bass line is continuing to lay down some good beats and I think the rest of the drumline is starting to catch up
I can’t begin to describe how lucky I feel to have been part of Aimachi this year. Not only have I gotten to live in this amazing country and meet so many wonderful people, but getting to spend time with and pick the brains of our American staff, who are regarded as some of the world’s best, has been a dream for me. These are people who shaped the activity I’ve fallen in love with over the last 8 years.
I hope all of you who read this are doing well back home. Feel free to send me an e-mail and let me know all about it! (firstname.lastname@example.org)
First off, I’d like to apologize for the large gaps between my posts. I know many of you reading are close family and friends and enjoy checking up on my “doings” in this wonderful country. Over the past few days I have been very busy preparing for the conclusion of my time in Japan and more importantly, the new chapter in my life that awaits back home in America.
To begin, I’ll update you on the news of today. I arrived back in Japan on January 3rd and was given a 90-day tourist visa. This means the visa I’m currently on expires April 2nd, or 11 days before the drumline will be flying over to America for our WGI competition. Through the internet, we learned that we may be able to extend our visa for another 30 or 90 days by visiting the Immigration Consulate. To give you an idea of what this place is like, it makes the DMV seem like the McDonalds PlayPlace. Today was our second time going there. The first time was to initially apply for the visa and yesterday we received mail to come back for a decision. Keith was granted an extra month on his visa (which just recently expired) but I was denied any extension I have two options: 1) travel outside of Japan and re-enter on another visa (assuming they will grant me another) or 2) fly home on April 2nd and meet up with the group in Chicago 11 days later. I’m not too happy with either option as traveling abroad will cost a few hundred dollars and flying home early would mean missing out on several, VERY important rehearsal days. I would put the value of those rehearsal days above the cost associated with traveling abroad, so assuming I can get one more 90 day visa in Japan once I re-enter, that’s what I will plan to do.
I am very EXCITED about life post-WGI. I am rigorously exploring several career opportunities and look forward to taking the next steps once I return home. As I said in my last post, I won’t get into specifics, but I will say I have a fire inside of me more-so than ever before and I can’t wait to get going.
But for now, it’s time to drum and do my part to make this group something special - literally, rehearsal starts in 30 minutes.
Great things are on the horizon.
Great things are happening now.
Life is good.