Paris never ceases to amaze me; it is unbelievable for me to think that I have lived here for several years now. While being constantly refreshing, the city also has the power to make people feel nostalgic. Every time I think back on my life, I end up thinking about Paris and its unique and difficult character.
I moved to Paris the year I graduated high school. Having studied French from a young age, I was familiar with the unique sounds of the language. However, my experiences during the first couple days there lead me to realize that the communication aspect resided in a different realm. While I made the constant effort, many nights were spent feeling a sense of discouragement. As Paris experienced societal change within the country over the years through events such as the Charlie Hebdo Shootings and terrorist attacks, I too unconsciously seemed to have experienced my own internal revolution during my time here.
Spending my first years in Jordan, I started playing the piano the same time I returned to Japan at the age of 4. In kindergarten, I was the kind of child who often cried when was scolded by my teacher, or when I unintentionally hurt a friend’s feelings. My sensitive and aware natures lead me to be a very timid child. In elementary school, I was introduced to the realities of developing countries, clashing religions, and about the activities of UNICEF and the United Nations. This further expanded my scope of awareness, now to the whole world. This was also around the time I decided to solely dedicate my spare time on playing the piano, eliminating all other extracurricular activities I indulged upon. Determined to pursue my passion, I transferred to Toho Gakuen Music High School, relocating myself to a musically focused environment. As I spent my days going to concerts, building relationships with fellow musicians and enhancing my abilities as a pianist, life felt complete. However, such enriched experiences made me question whether I needed a new challenge. I decided to apply for the Conservatoire de Paris soon after.
It has been six years since my decision to move to Paris, if I were to lay out my usual days, this is what it will look like.
8am: Wake Up, Jog, Breakfast
10am～: Practice at home
1pm～: Lunch, Class, Take a Walk, Study outside or in the Library
6pm～: Practice at School
9:30pm～12:30am: Dinner with friends, watch a movie
Photo: The Conservatoire de Paris
Ever since moving to Europe, I established a habit to take walks while listening to the sounds around me. Whenever I reach a dead end in practice, I walk around the Bois de Boulogne or the Parc de Monceau, taking advantage of the beautiful scenery of Paris.
As a Pianist, acquiring a desirable location to practice the instrument is a challenge. The walls of many Parisian apartments are thin and old. I receive complaints from the couple living beneath me on a daily basis. I remember feeling devastated when I was asked to “lower the volume”, already having been playing Mozart as light as I can. Currently, I have made an arrangement with my landlord to notify me whenever my neighbors are out of town on a vacation. When they are gone, I give it my all. When they are here, I play carefully, looking out and analyzing their facial expressions from time to time. During the night time, I practice at school. However, despite our daily conflicts, we still attain a strong relationship. Just the other day, they were telling me how they loved visiting Japan.
The city of Paris is one of a kind. For the better or for worse, people of Paris take the rough with the smooth. I often enjoy people-watching during my rides on the metro, viewing the unique individuals. Whether it’s a lady with extreme sense of style, a group of pickpockets, an elderly couple holding hands, or a man skillfully playing an instrument; everyone is different. Yet, all are guided by the same baseline of expressing the sense of “self”. Differences often cause conflict. However, the accepting nature of Paris allows such differences to coexist. Living in this environment, I am still in the midst of figuring out the ways of how I can express my “self”…
Gabrielle Chanel, like me, was also an artist who lived under the unique environment of Paris. I am extremely thankful for the organizers and audience for giving me the opportunity to perform for The CHANEL Pygmalion Days program; an event in which symbolizes the spirit and represents the thoughts of Gabrielle Chanel. Each of the six of my recitals will be telling a different story, all eloquent and moving. It is my honor to be allowed to communicate with each and every one of you through my music. Please enjoy the show.
Moeko Ezaki, CHANEL Pygmalion Days 2018 Artist