Felix's blog posts for October 2012

Aiming high



I can hardly believe it's only been two months since I first set wheel onto the Isle. So much has happened in the intervening time, so many things about me and my life have changed, and changed again. I went from being the epitome of the lone traveller to being surrounded by a wide network of friends and acquaintances – and yet I have plenty of time to myself, to retreat and think, to read and write. I went from not knowing where I'd sleep before I'd see the spot, from always being on the move, to having my own bed again – and yet, in nine weeks, I have not been in one place for more than three, and that wasn't the current one, either. I went from having all the time in the world to feeling quite overwhelmed with work – and yet now, I am searching for more things to do in my spare hours.

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Welcome, autumn!



Coming back from summery 25°C in Kyoto last weekend, the air in Brighton felt like it had almost reached the freezing point. I wrapped myself up in winter clothes, shivering regardless, and felt rather sorry for my ailing throat. Air conditioners and a cool evening breeze, alongside with a rampaging virus, had left almost all choir singers rather vulnerable, which in my case took its toll on the last evening in Japan, when what was essentially a farewell party left me quite literally speechless. On the flipside, the same party shortened my sleep enough to turn jetlag into a non-issue – as it turns out, a 4-hour night followed by a 24-hour waking day is quite adequate to readjust my body clock.

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The last two weeks, I've been staying in Kyoto, Japan. And although the 2012 medicine/physiology nobel prize went to Kyoto University professor Shinya Yamanaka, this was obviously not a study trip for me. Instead, what got me to the Land of the Rising Sun started some ten years ago, when the Gewandhauschor Osaka partnered with the Camerata Vocale Berlin – a musical collaboration among amateur choirs on opposite sides of the planet. It started one-and-a-half years ago, when I joined the Camerata Vocale to reinforce their sparse tenor section. And it started a few weeks before Christmas last year, when the president and conductor of the choir convinced me to sign up for the Japan leg of the third series of the two choirs' joint concerts. And thus, on 1 October, I departed for the Far East, travelling outside of Europe for the first time in my life – a Swiss tenor of a German choir, leaving Britain (via Paris-CDG, France) to perform in Japan.

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Domo arigatou gozaimasu!



Picture the title of this entry as being said in conjunction with deep bows and a face-splitting smile, for cultural completeness. It's a hint to where I am right now1, and it means Thank you very much, and indeed, I have much reason to be grateful: To Michelle and the Recruitment Office team for running the Welcome Week blogging competition and awarding my blog; to all who commented on my efforts, in writing or in person, for providing criticism and encouragement; and of course to all of you, the readers, for your lending me your attention and showing interest in my writing, even if the only trace you left was a click.

I entered the competition on little more than a whim – a volunteer urged me to do so when I cycled across campus with all my belongings on the day I moved in. It seemed like a welcome opportunity to exercise my writing muscle and an easy way to let my friends and folks beyond the Channel know what's going on without writing essentially the same letter a dozen times or resorting to bite-size facebook status updates. Winning the competition seemed a distant possibility, a pleasant side-effect in the unlikely event that it did happen.

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