Saturday, October 21, 2006


Some would simply call them coincidences. I prefer the term "synchronicities." It has a kind of Taoist sound to it. What I'm actually talking about is running into people unexpectedly. It happens so frequently in Sapporo that it almost be eerie if it weren't so very, well, Tao.

This evening it was when I was coming home from a conference in a suburb. I stopped in Sapporo Station for my monthly cheeseburger fix, and standing in line right in front of me was a student from yesterday's (Friday's) class, in fact, one of the guys who's most active in the class. (Aside: yesterday I got a kick out of watching the lightbulb flash over his head when he made the connection between "auditorium" and "audience," and practically shouted, "So "audience" means "listening people," which I affirmed.)

I had thought that would be my synchronicity for the day, but just as I was coming out of my subway station, I ran into a part-time teacher from the same university whom I haven't seen for a while (a piano teacher who studied in Hungary for a number of years). She said that she's teaching Wednesdays instead of Fridays this semester, which is why I haven't seen her.

Last week Sapporo Station was also the scene of a synchronicity when, after chorus rehearsal (held downtown that evening instead of at the concert hall near my apartment), I ran into a student who was in my TOEFL class at Sapporo University the next day. Then, the American exchange student who had been taking my Teaching Development class, also at Sapporo University, was riding on the same subway car. I think he was a bit embarrassed because he hasn't shown up for the class this semester. I didn't have time to ask him about it, since I saw him just as I was getting off, so I said, "Email me." He didn't. And the other student I ran into didn't show up for class this week. Oh, well.

A few weeks back, I went to a concert at Kitara Hall. The friend who gave me the ticket wasn't able to go, but when I was looking for a seat, a student from the educational university was in the audience. Her mother, who was with her, was kind enough to give up her seat so we could sit together and talk about her experience student teaching.

Going back to September, when I was on my way to Singapore (actually to the airport near Osaka where I would change to the plane for Singapore), another student from the educational university was on the same plane. That's five times I can think of when I ended up on the same plane as someone I know, going from or coming back to Sapporo. So I guess the chances of that happening are 5 in 1,800,000!

One of the more pleasant synchronicities, again in Sapporo Station, was running into a friend, Kathleen, and her husband, Terry, last August right after I had finished the audition for Sapporo Symphony Chorus. The experience had been so intense, and I really wanted someone to share it with, since my cats don't fully appreciate it. Kathleen and Terry made a great audience. What wonderful timing!

These are only a few examples of the synchronicities that I have at least once a month. I don't know what to make of them, although others in Sapporo have also told me how they seem to run into someone they know everytime they go downtown. In fact, a couple of my friends are convinced that the population of Sapporo isn't anywhere near 1,800,000. It's really more like 40,000, but the same people just keep moving around so that it gives the illusion of there being more.

If you're from Sapporo and have "synchronicities" like this, let me know about it!

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