A Guitar Class
While I was still attending the English school, I found a guitar class in Cork City. I had been interested in learning how to play guitar since I was in Japan. So, I decided to go to a music store to look at guitars. A female staff member kindly helped me chose the one that was the best for me. After I looked around another music store across the street, I went back to the first store and bought the guitar. It was an acoustic guitar with an orange surface. And I started going to the class.
The reason I became interested in playing the guitar was from my experience going into a music store in Yamagata City in Japan. It was in 1997. It was the day I went to pick up a keyboard from someone who had placed an ad to sell it. At that time, I was in touch with some musicians and was thinking of starting a music career. When I went into that music store, I saw many different kinds of musical instruments throughout the store. But what attracted me most were the many guitars displayed in a line all along the wall. They were all different from each other in colour, shape and design. And they shone as they reflected the light in the room. I liked the look of the guitars.
Besides art, I had been interested in music since I was a child. I started listening to music played by rock bands and that led me to like Bon Jovi and other metal bands like Guns’n Roses, Aerosmith, Europe etc. As a young schoolgirl, every time I passed a music instrument store, I stopped and looked in the shop windows, but I had never had the courage to go into the store as I felt it was intimidating and I felt like it was a different world.
I was excited about going to a guitar class and I was feeling that Ireland was like a paradise where anything was possible. The teacher in the guitar class was a slim older man with a mustache. It was held in one of the relatively small rooms in a building. There were usually three people who came to the class. A young chubby woman, a young boy and me. The woman always brought her keyboard to the class and she was always wearing a black T-shirt. I learned some basic chords and how to play rhythm. And the first song the teacher taught me was “Let it be” by the Beatles.
After I had attended some lessons, one day, I heard someone playing “Always” by Bon Jovi as I was walking up the stairs to the classroom. It sounded like a keyboard. And it was the woman with the keyboard who was playing. I asked her about the song and then she said she was a Bon Jovi fan. I was excited. And I said that I was too. She seemed like a dedicated Bon Jovi fan and even told me that Bon Jovi would be coming to Ireland in 2000.
In the next lesson, the teacher gave me the chords for “I will be there for you” by Bon Jovi. I practiced both “Let it Be” and “I will be there for you” regularly in my apartment on Watercourse Road. The teacher also gave me the chords of “Daniel” by Elton John. This song was a little more difficult than the first two songs, but I enjoyed playing it and I really liked the song. The woman kept playing “Always” by Bon Jovi before the class. She seemed to be practicing for some special occasion. One day, we all played “Always” and we sang along. That was such a memorable experience.
One day, after class, I told the young Irish boy that I was finding that Irish people spoke very fast and I often couldn’t understand what they were saying. But he mentioned that the teacher had an accent and he found it difficult to understand him well. Then, I was reassured that even Irish people couldn’t understand some Irish people. It was not only me.
After I moved into my new apartment on Green Street, I found a large health food store on the way home. There were homemade Irish scones there in a basket by the entrance. They reminded me of the Irish scones I had had in a café with my teacher Mary. I bought them and they were so delicious! They were freshly made daily and often still warm out of the oven. I stopped by the store and bought them regularly for a while.
The Art Exhibition and the People I Met
One day, near St. John’s College, I ran into the Australian art teacher from the art class I had attended before. She told me that she was organizing an art exhibition in the Cork City Library and asked me to join in. She told me to bring two paintings for the show. I had new paintings of trees I just had painted from a park in Cork City. I bought two nice natural wooden frames, one orange and one green at Roche’s Store that matched the colour of these paintings. The Australian teacher was teaching at a new building and she helped me decide on the title of my paintings. She named one of them as “Trees” and another one, “Family of Trees”. There was an opening reception for the show and a number of visitors came to the show. One of my classmates in St. John’s College said that she was at the exhibition and saw my paintings and she was wondering who painted them.
I also saw a French boy in the college that I saw once before. I had met him on the first day of working in China Garden. I had been waiting for the boss to come and open the front door of the restaurant. While I was waiting, he and a young Asian girl also came. This girl was from Taiwan and they were boyfriend and girlfriend. She was also working in the restaurant and he was just sending her off at the restaurant. This French boy and I chatted and sang “Sukiyaki” by Kyu Sakamoto together in front of the entrance of the restaurant. He sometimes came to the restaurant to pick her up after the restaurant closed for the night on other days. The Taiwanese girl told me that she was studying at Crawford Art College in Cork City and she was learning screen printing at that time. Crawford College was a four-year college that taught advanced skills and techniques.
The French boy saw me in the cafeteria in St. John’s College and spoke to me. He told me his name was Jerome. He was the second person I met in Ireland whose name was Jerome. He was a little taller than me and slim but seemed fit. He had, in my opinion, quite artistic features and short tight curly brown hair. I asked how old his girlfriend was as I had felt she looked too young for him. He said she was 22 years old and he was 28 years old. I added that I was 24 years old. He was attending a photography course in the college. While talking, he was holding a camera which looked like a very professional one. He seemed to be easy to talk to and an interesting person.