Ben Mirin Performs at Nanae Akai Hane (Red Feather) Charity Concert

By Ben Mirin, CIR

Saturday, December 17th, 2011.

Thirteen contestants performed in Nanae’s annual karaoke contest at the Nanae Bunka (Culture) Center in pristine Pioneer Hall.  Out of all thirteen singers, twelve sang Enka, a traditional form of Japanese folk music with vast appeal among the predominantly middle-aged and elderly people who filled the auditorium.  One contestant, however, chose to be different.

In a shamelessly narcissistic post, I thought I’d share the videos of my performances from that day.  I was very pleased with how they turned out, and had a fantastic time participating in the competition.

Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean”:

Ray Charles’ “Georgia on My Mind” (ft. a Georgia Coffee can):

I placed second in the overall contest.  The woman who placed third was a wonderful and talented Enka singer.  I was surprised she didn’t win.

For my prize, I received an official certificate (currently being laminated and framed), and two 5-kg bags of Hokkaido rice…just in case I didn’t have enough already.

In total, more than 600 people attended Saturday’s concert.  Among the crowd were groups of Nanae’s eikaiwa (English conversation) students, several of whom have been studying English with Nanae’s CIRs for many years.

The Nanae Town Council of Social Welfare organized this event in collaboration with Akai Hane Charity.  Akai Hane is an organization that raises money for welfare programs across Japan.  Founded in 1947 with an emphasis on helping survivors of World War II, it is one of the nation’s most famous charities.

The money from Saturday’s concert will directly support welfare programs in Nanae, ranging from educational programs for disabled children to rest homes for the elderly.  Financial figures for this year’s concert are still being tabulated, but projections based on the money raised from last year’s event put the figure at over ¥4 million.

On behalf of all the performers and organizers, I would like to thank everyone who attended for helping to make our show a great success.♦

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