Saturday, July 19, 2014

"My parents tell me to tune out the hype": John Kirigaya

"My parents tell me to tune out the hype": John Kirigaya

By Touko Fukami
The MiTSS News
October 12, 2072

He sits in his own studio inside the home of his parents, Shaun Kirigaya and Shino Asada, playing an instrumental rendition to a song by the late John Legend called "All Of Me." Across the room, his fiancee. Yanagi Takayama, is dancing like a ballerina in her string bikini, a passionate, emotional woman dancing in silence. And his aunt, Yui, is filming the dancing, often panning to his playing of the piano.

Aside from being one of the most prized recruits in high school football this year, Mitakihara Town Secondary School third-year student Hanato "John" Kirigaya lives a life as a pianist, singer, writer and photographer. The video will be used as part of a project celebrating the joys of young women and the uplifting power of femininity and fertility. Johnno, as he is called by those who know him personally, has a number of programs to visit this week before returning to action to take on the WJ Mouat Hawks.

But as he shortens his list and makes his visits to all the different schools in the West Coast of America, the message by Shaun and Shino is clear: tune out the hype.

"My parents tell me to tune out the hype, and my grandmother Asuna also tells me to just go out there and play," said Johnno after filming and performing had finished to allow Yanagi to take a break. "I come from one of the more affluent parts of Mitakihara. I was not born in the seedier parts of Vancouver, where the scent of weed pervades the air. But even so, I realized that I am doing very well playing my positions and a lot of schools down south have been paying attention.

"My dad spent decades coaching the game in Australia. He told me stories of students who came from very tough families and tough parts of the country, and they wanted an escape from the rough life, so they ended up playing gridiron for Leafa College, who are now the best college football program in Australia. He told me stories of players who couldn't do well with their schoolwork, who let pride and hubris defeat them, and who ended up on the streets, some meeting a violent conclusion, some landing in prison.

"A lot of the players on the other sides of the ball come from single-parent broken homes. They never had a father figure, and their mothers were barely making ends meet. I could have been on one of those teams, and know I'm understanding why a lot of our rivals envy us. We never get into trouble, we're accountable, we're professional, and our parents are the best foundation we have because we look up to them. I look up to my mom and dad and ask them for advice so I can do the things I like to do.

"And the one thing my parents tell me is to tune out all the attention and hype regarding what I do on the field. Because, you know, I'm really just a student getting ready for college and I want to go to a good school with great people and not a lot of bad influences. I don't need to go to Madoka to find my solution. There's a big world out there beyond my city. I want to keep my feet on the ground and realize who I really am. For now, I'm going to enjoy this part of the journey."

Mitakihara and WJ Mouat clash on October 15 at Tatsuya Kaname Field at Mitakihara Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. PT and will be televised by Radio Madoka and CMDO 89.5 FM.

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