DJ Tutoring and New Keitai

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Sunday, I took my roommate Eriko on a record-shopping spree in Shibuya.

The principal goal of our expedition was not for me to pack up on yet more records that I will probably have to leave behind when I move, but rather to help her get started with her career as a world-renowned DJ.

People coming over and asking you to “teach them how to DJ”, is pretty much par for the course whenever you start playing outside of your bedroom. This is how everybody get started, this is how I got started… You pick a DJ you know or that you particularly like and humbly go asking for advice and guidance.

DJ’ing, in that respect, still holds much of that old “master-apprentice” tradition that you get, both in western and Japanese craftsmanship.

But enough with the Mr. Miyagi bullcrap: Eriko didn’t turn to me because she was blinded by my turntablism wizzardry and had a striking revelation in the middle of a dancefloor. Rather because we live under the same roof and she couldn’t help but become increasingly curious about the pleasure I seemed to draw from playing with all these colorful knobs in my bedroom.

Note: If you didn’t grin stupidly upon reading that last sentence, you are way too pure to be reading this blog and have probably lived a very sheltered life so far.

Anyway, after explaining that she probably didn’t need to get the full Midi keyboard and TB-303 kit just right now, I gave her the usual drill. In a nutshell: “Sure, go for it, but not with my records, please”.

Hence the trip to the store, hence the last two days spent enduring the same continuous soundtrack of mismatched beats from the same two records for hours on end…

To her credit, she’s definitely made it into the top percentile of wannabe-DJs by not giving up after the first hour of fruitless beatmatching attempt (actually, a good 90% of people run away when they learn that there’s more to DJ’ing that pressing start on each turntable and moving the fader left and right).

Beat-matching is no fun to learn. And to this day I haven’t seen a single person to whom it came naturally (there might be such people out there, just haven’t met any yet). It’s tedious and requires long hours of practice. In fact, it’s so tedious and boring that computers do it much better than humans. But pushing the “sync” button on a DJ’ing software is obviously not what most people are thinking of, when they state their desire to learn DJ’ing…

I shall therefore be indulging her sincere efforts and clench my teeth in silence for the next few days, until she either gives up in frustration or master the first step on the path to DJ Zen… whichever comes first…

There was something in it for me though: in exchange for my art consultant services, I had asked her to assist me in the purchase of a brand new keitai (yay! new toy!).

Keitai purchase is hardly the biggest language challenge there can be, even for the most basic of Japanese speaker… and I could probably have done bravely on my own…

But I had some very specific requirements as to what features and standards I wanted on my phone. And if you have ever spent three hours trying to figure out the katakana pronunciation of every other English word in a Japanese brochure, then I won’t need to explain why this is not something you want to attempt by yourself. Merely hearing the Japanese rendition of the BREW acronym, made me bless the presence of my personal English-to-Engrish interpret.

This cute little toy comes equipped with a lot of cool functionalities, most of them utterly crippled by AU, in the typical tradition of cellphone companies (“why should we let the user do that if we can’t make money off it”). Trying to work around all the limitations imposed by the embedded system and the company’s gateway has been quite frustrating so far. I’ll post a sum-up in a separate entry.

In the meantime, this also means the quality (and quantity) of pictures posted to the Keitai logs will be increased exponentially.

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