(wonk uoy naht noitceffa erom deen I)

(Ten points if you get the reference in the subject line.)

The Utada Hikaru concert in Matsuyama tonight was fantastic. The music was amazing, the visuals were stunning, and the company was awesome. I actually recognized at least half the songs, mainly because I’ve been listening to “Ultra Blue,” her latest album, a lot this week. She was fairly pitchy, though, and her vocal-cello duet on “Be My Last” was a huge disappointment. But she sang some songs off her English album (“The Devil Inside,” “You Make Me Want To Be A Man”) which make really want to give that a listen now. I now definitely consider myself a committed Utada fan–she’s incredible, and I adore her voice and style, and the versatility and dynamic evolution her style has demonstrated over all these years.

What made this evening especially memorable for me was that it was my first time driving legally in Japan. I wasn’t driving my car (I can’t yet, but hopefully I can go next week to the Land Transport Bureau to finish the transfer/registration!)–Saori and Julie picked Brian and me up–but Saori’s been ill lately, and she started feeling ill not long after we got on the expressway, so she pulled over and I (as the only other licensed driver present) took the wheel and drove us all the way back to my apartment, and it was just fine. If only those test proctors could have judged me based on my driving tonight…”anzen ja nai”/”abunai” driver, huh? I’ll admit that I was really tense the whole way, and constantly looking between my mirrors and the road to make sure I wasn’t going too far to one side, because the road was fairly narrow and Saori’s car was a little wider than I was used to, but it was completely fine the whole way home, and it was a real thrill to know that I was driving in Ikeda. Nearly-empty expressways at night really are the best way to jump in and get started.

For whatever stupid reason, I thought we’d be home 2 hours ago–my boss knows I’m at the concert (my entire BOE is thrilled and jealous simultaneously; I didn’t realize what huge Utada fans they all are) so they’ll understand if I’m a bit late tomorrow, but even then, I still should get to sleep. I couldn’t help it, though–I stayed up trying to figure out the line in the subject, and I even went so far as to grab a clip of this line and reverse it to hear the English words properly. It sounds really cool, actually.

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