Memoirs of a Gaijin Playlist

“Africa” by Toto

I know this seems like a very odd pick, since the continent of Africa is several thousand miles away from Japan. However, I feel that this song is startlingly applicable to the my current situation. Anybody who knows me halfway well knows that I have a fiery passion for this song, and will enthusiastically put it on at any moment, often without any justifiable reason. But I still love it all the same, even after 1000 times. The idea of using the song came to me when I remembered what I read about how David Paich, keyboard player and vocalist of Toto, conceptualized the song: “I wrote about a person flying in to meet a lonely missionary. It’s a romanticized love story about Africa, based on how I’d always imagined it. The descriptions of its beautiful landscape came from what I’d read in National Geographic” (The Guardian).

In the same way that this fictional character is traveling to a new land that he has idealized as he has read about it, I too am going to new land whose image in my head has been shaped by over a decade of consumption of films, anime, manga, books, video games, and cultural classes & research. I do not expect it to meet all of my expectations, and I feel that “Africa,” and what it the story that it tells, will help me to keep that in mind as I embark on this journey.

If you would like to listen to this song or any of the other prior Songs of the Week, check out the Spotify Playlist linked above!

This song went along with this week’s post.

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