Lake Union, Seattle, Washington
Sunny Seattle Summers
Summer in Seattle is usually the best time to visit here. Most of the time we get a lot of sun. That’s Mother Nature’s way of making it up to us for the rest of the time during the year when we get a lot of overcast and cloudy days.
This Summer has been fun. My kids and I have had a lot of water fun. One day we all (including my almost 3-year old granddaughter, Evie, who just loves the water)……
…….boarded the boat and headed to Yarrow Bay, on the Kirkland side of Lake Washington.
We dropped anchor and we stayed there for about five hours. We were actually in the water for about three hours out of those five and Evie was the last holdout. She didn’t want to get out even after three hours.
In a previous post, “Row, row, row your own boat….to the music of the Fabb Four”, my son Tim and I rowed around Lake Union in a two-seater kayak to the rhythym of four of my favorite female singers.
That was both exhilarating and peaceful. Tim and I defied ordinary that day.
That spawned a new idea inside my scannerbrain: KAYAKOKE
I’ll explain in a moment but first I digress:
It was the late 80’s. I think Karaoke was just starting to become popular. I lived in South Korea. I worked in the military as a Korean translator, side-by-side with some very sharp and educated Korean soldiers who were also translators.
They would translate from English to Korean. I would translate from Korean to English. We would help each other out with the idiomatic expressions, slang, and cultural aspects of certain phrases, et cetera, that were hard to comprehend.
I cherish that time spent at the United Nations/Combined Forces Command HQ Translation Branch, more than any other place I worked while I was in the service. I learned so much from those guys about the Korean language, customs and culture and different ways of looking at life. I enjoyed the mutual endeavor and collaboration with the other translators.
I was very busy at that time. By day, I worked for the Air Force but when I wasn’t working for the Air Force, I worked as a free-lance translator in Seoul, a part-time model, an English teacher, and I was finishing my B.A. in Asian Studies.
Two of the Korean Army soldiers I liked a lot were about to be discharged from the Army and they were looking for work.
I told them I would introduce them to the President of the International Translation Company where I did free-lance translation.
So I did and they were hired.
So fast forward one month.
One evening, I got a call from the two guys (Mr. Lim and Mr. Lee). They said they were so happy because they got their first paycheck from the translation company and they wanted to treat me to a drink or two as a kind of thank you for helping them to get the job.
So I met them at a bar in Itaewon, in Seoul.
We were drinking and talking and drinking. So we got a little silly. Mr. Lim got down from his bar stool, came over to me and said, “I don’t understand.”
I said, “What don’t you understand?” “How can I help you?”
He began laughing at that remark, and said, “I am Korean and I am from here. But you are American and you are not from here. So how come you could help Mr. Lee and I get jobs in our home country? It doesn’t make sense.”
I said, “…’cause I got connections!”
Of course that was so funny to us at the time. All three of us cracked up. (Did I mention we were drinking and talking and drinking?)
So later on that evening, during the course of the conversation, I asked them, “What is Karaoke? Where does it come from? Is it Korean or what?
They told me it started in Japan and it is a word made up of two components. “Kara” , a Japanese word meaning empty, and “oke”, which is a slightly mispronounced abbreviation for the “orche” part of the word orchestra.
I said, “Hmm! That’s interesting!”
Then we all started laughing again, although I don’t know why.
That was one of the last times I saw them before going back home. The night ended and a good time was had by all.
So going back to the future, which is now, I sometimes go to Korean Karaoke clubs to sing Korean songs, and I go to American Karaoke clubs to sing American songs.
One of my favorite American songs to sing is “Texas Flood” by Stevie Ray Vaughn.
So since I like being outdoors, out on the water, and I like to sing, I got this notion to do what I call “Kayakoke”, which, by now, you may have surmised to mean, “Kayak Karaoke“.
I’m coining the term. That’s right! You heard it first here, folks!
Hope you enjoy it!
This goes out to Mr. Lim and Mr. Lee, wherever you are right now.