Thursday, August 2, 2012


     My wife loves sales. So much so that often when we are walking along the sidewalk, I get ripped to the side to stare into a store window at some widget that is marked thirty percent off. I don't even know what it is, but because it is marked down we gotta have it. I hear cries of "Sale!" and "Discount!" I swear, you could sell my wife a sack of wet dog shyt if you marked it 70% off.
     I did not think my wife's penchant for discounts and freebies could intrude on an evening of entertainment, but it did.
     Walking along the street Saturday night, we happened upon a block party thrown by a union of Asian students. Hundreds of college-age students sat on the ground before a raised stage. When we walked up, Chinese performers danced on the stage. My wife took an interest and looked for a place to sit.
     Me? I learned to sit seiza in aikido, but sitting seiza on asphalt is not my idea of fun. I appropriated two chairs to our use. We sat at the back of the crowd so as not to hinder anyone's view. Others followed my example, and soon there sprang up a row of chairs at the back of the audience. As I looked left and right, I saw all the chairs were occupied by young Japanese women in kimonos.
     I practiced my limited Japanese on these girls, and they -- once they discovered how limited my Japanese is -- practiced their English on me. Mostly we smiled and, together, suffered through a number of bands from Beijing who sang off-key. Loud and off-key. With fireworks. The lead -- (ahem) -- singer for one band informed us in English that they had formed the band on Monday before that Saturday. She told us the band's name in Mandarin. For all I know, that name could be translated as the Cacophonous Caterwaulers. That would fit. They then proceeded to screech in Mandarin. Many Chinese attendees -- marked by Tee-shirts that proclaimed 'China' on the back -- applauded. I didn't. Nor did any of the kimono-clad girls sitting near me.
     That was about all the fun I could stand, but in answer to my unspoken prayers, the action took a break while the stage crew reset the stage for the next act: the first Japanese band.
     Four young, skinny men took the stage -- lead guitar and backup, bass guitar, and drums -- calling their band 'ulma sound junction' -- all lowercase. I slumped down in my seat, steadying myself for a Japanese round of caterwauling. Then -- WHAM! -- the boys got off to rolling start, dueling riffs back and forth between lead and bass. And it was good! I sat up a little. The drummer entered with a crash of cymbals, and the bass guitar player started to sing -- in English! With a strong voice and on-key!
     I sat up all the way. The style -- heavy metal -- was not to my taste, and maybe my judgment was affected by the juxtaposition of  ulma sound junction with the Cacophonous Caterwaulers, but, hey, these guys were good. After their second song, they introduced themselves -- in English -- as coming from Okinawa. They came for the exposure. The skinny bass guitarist-lead singer pointed high over the audience and announced, "We have CDs in the back. Take! Free!"
     The echoes from last syllable had not died before my wife rocketed up like she had pulled the triggers for a jet's ejection seat. Luckily for bystanders, there was no one between her and the table where a couple of smiling roadies held out CDs for the taking. My wife stormed up to the table and rattled off a question to the roadie to confirm that this CD was indeed FREE. Not understanding English so well, the poor guy hesitated. That hesitation nearly cost him dear. My wife snatched the CD from his hand. A little shocked, he quickly inventoried his fingers to make sure she had not taken more than just the CD.
     I had not had time to move except to turn my head to witness this incident. Smiling, my wife sat down, waved the CD, and said, "Free!" She was as happy as a clam now. This fortuitous concert had yielded a freebie.
     WARNING: Do not stand between my wife and a sale.

     ulma sound junction's website for PC and for mobile phone

My wife read, laughed at, and approved this post. She, too, says you should check out 'ulma sound junction'.

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