Ethnographic Puzzle

by johnmccreery

Tonight a funny thing happened. Before the chorus practice started, a Japanese colleague came up to me and told me that at the Tokyo Marathon I was slipping back and forth between the Tenor 2 and Tenor 1 parts. Later, during the practice, the fellow sitting beside me started nudging me when I missed a note. When I came home and told my wife about it, she grinned and we happily hugged each other. How would you explain these events?


2 Comments to “Ethnographic Puzzle”

  1. *Your efforts to sabotage the group successful enough to draw a defensive response, time for Phase 2 of your diabolical master plan?

    *You’ve earned a battlefield promotion from Baritone 4?

    *Random range variations and missing notes now countable in single digits, yesssss!?

    *Your singing now more interesting than watching skinny people sweat?

    *You’ve started to remind them of their little brothers?


  2. Ruth’s response and mine, too, is that this kind of feedback is a sign of acceptance by the group. What’s going on seems similar to what I have observed at a sports club we belong to when members of a team gather in the bar after a game and talk about each other’s performance. Tempering constructive criticism with good-natured joking and teasing is a way in which members of the group communicate to each other, “You are one of us.” In this case, the first fellow, the one who caught me drifting between parts at the Tokyo Marathon, ended his riff with “uwaki shinaide, ne“, which might be translated, “You shouldn’t be having affairs like that.”

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