Friday, June 18, 2010
Day12; Paris, people, music...
I'm continuing to orient myself in terms of our working strategy and planning, and it is, as I expected, coming together and building as we go. And things do happen when I show up at IRCAM in person and sit next to them. It is as if when I see their faces and talk to them, ideas and thoughts come flooding out of my head. And their reactions, questions and responses inspire me to come up with more ideas. It is this human interaction that is so important, and this summer residency at IRCAM is so priceless for our work.
After two productive meetings today at IRCAM, I hit BHV---look, it is my commuting trajectory. I literally walk through BHV from Cités des Arts and IRCAM. Today I went to their famous crafts section to buy some things for my children, who are coming tomorrow to Paris to visit; we are spending the weekend together. I am nervous. Will they fall apart, screaming for mommy? Will they look at me and start blaming me for abandoning them since June 5th? I am putting them through a lot, together with my parents-in-law in Picardie where they live now. I like to believe that it is for the good of my children, learning French and get to know their grandparents who normally live an ocean away. They see the cows everyday, run around in the safe field, etc. all things hard to do in NYC's upper westside. They are studying math in French, reading in French thanks to the grandparents. But it is a long time. It's the entire summer. It will mark their lives and the only hope I have is this experience to be the good one for everyone. I might be projecting my own experience, as the similar thing was done to me. When my father, a solar energy specialist, worked at the National Research Council in Ottawa, I was put into a Canadian school at age 4 and a half for two years. Because of this experience, my life was profoundly affected; my life became more international than most Japanese.
The crafts section of BHV is where you can find just about anything to do with art supplies, and I joined many French mothers, who are also buying art supplies for their children. Then, just like them, I went up to the BHV's cafeteria overlooking the fabulous Paris landscape for lunch. Not many tourists are there, but mostly local Parisians who come here for lunch, without much fuss. The food is great--and I have to remind myself, it is a given in France :) This is a salad with cheese that I really should not have eaten, since that Brie-looking cheese was nothing but a glorified butter. French butter. I can hear the cows, and I can hear my extended Yoga session calling tonight.
I came back and practiced my scales for quite a while (which my husband calls "Mari's torture exercises". It is not pleasant to listen to for sure!). Then remembering what the face of the cheese in BHV cafeteria looked like, I was determined not to have a huge dinner. Then I received an email from my dear new Parisian friend, a Norwegian composer I met in a concert of percussionist friend Lê Quan Ninh, named Ida Heidel. She came to my talk at IRCAM a few days ago and she kindly thought of inviting me to her goodbye party, as she was leaving a residency staying at a beautiful apartment the Norwegian Composer's Association owns near St. George in the delightful 9e. Former flutist, she had invited perhaps half of Paris' flute community, and I had an honor of meeting and having dinner with Pierre-Yves Artaud, Professor of Flute at the Paris Conservatoire. It was my first Paris 'soirée' in French, well almost, as they were so kind to switch to English whenever I had problem finding my vocabulary. The dinner table was however, not only French--there were Chilean, Bulgarian, another Japanese composer, and Norwegian Ida. Typical musician's get-together, very New York, very Paris. Again I have to say, because of music, musicians I know and met here, Paris makes me feel very at home, almost as if I'm still in New York, except for the language, different subway smell, and different quality of butter. And certainly a lot more in-your-face chocolate. Whoever invented the combination of dark chocolate and orange? When did it start? Is there a research on the history of chocolate and orange?