The Night Festival

In this memory, I am five years old. One evening, my parents tell me that we are going to the community’s annual night festival that is happening just a short walk away from our tiny half-dilapidated apartment, on the premise of the nearby shinto shrine.

After dinner, the four of us all walk to the festival. The sound of the festival is audible even before we leave home. As we walk, the sound becomes closer and the lights come into our sight.

One of the main events of this festival is the community’s karaoke contest. Anyone can enter for free and there is a prize for the winner at the end.

The moment we arrive at the festival venue, we are drawn to the stage where the karaoke contest is happening. Somebody is singing, and she is really good at it. Waving her hands, wagging her fingers at the audience with a big smile, this lady looks like somebody who has been doing this for her entire life.

There are monitor screens on the sides of the stage where the singer’s face is zoomed up. The moment I see her face, I gasp in surprise. That is one of my best friends’ mother!

Dressed in a show costume, moving and singing on the stage, she looks so different from my friend’s mother that I see every day. She is really in the zone. She is the star of the night!

Next to me, my parents also seem stunned. None of us has seen her sing before, let alone on a stage like this.

When the singing finishes, we all clap our hands hard in awe.

Because of the shock and admiration I felt, the scene has stuck in my mind forever even though I remember nothing else from that evening.