Diary: Setouchi Out n About / community arts festival with Mae Maes

 I tagged along with Ryoko and her Mae Maes band for a gig in Setouchi at a community centre. There was an autumn arts festival of some kind with musical performances, a few food stands and an exhibit of crafts, arts and tea ceremony. Such pleasant slice of life, just being part of the local scene.

Mae Maes played a short-ish set but a song i hadn’t heard before, Ryoko laid out some good stage banter and the room was small and more acoustically pleasing than the big convention hall the day before. 

The band (usually a 4 piece) had 2 guests, frequent supporters/collaborators Yano-san (who is a noted player, arranger, teacher and has released a few albums) on an acostic-electric bass ukulele – great sound! + Mitsuko-san on congas and percussion, she rode with us and is such a charming elegant lady. 

Of course, the shoes are always coming on and off in Japan and the community centre is no exception, the stylish shoes are replaced by ugly slippers – yet the ladies were cool enough to pull it off – maybe… :) 

Also noting that a lot of old folks who have a hard time getting out were there with home care helpers – so great to see them enjoy the various entertainments. In this case, some tai-chi-ish Chinese sword work… i really don’t know what this is called or anything but i watched and duly enjoyed. 

Anyhow, a bunch of the usual Mae Maes supporters gang was there and we hung out and did various activities. Horiwaki-san was taking snaps (including this one of the band and supporters with a timer). 

I played a bit of taiko drums, drank super strong matcha, and ate this and that. Made a video of taiko drummers too

Pus met a nice lady named Yoshiko Yoshida who makes great Shodo calligraphy in various abstract/unique style and exhibits in Paris and Turkmenistan (or was it Uzbekistan?) either way, super enjoyable chatting with her and learning more about her style. The long vertical scroll is the heart sutra done up in a fresh manner. Dig it!

She snapped me and Kobayashi-san (middle, piano player) Hamazaki-san far right, who like me is a semi-pro music fan and supporter who doesn’t really play anything. Super nice dude and ladies, he’s single. 

And got to hit up a tea ceremony, been learning more and more about this tradition by (again) tagging along with Ryoko who practices with a group which includes (again) Yano-san (next to me). So i kinda know what i am doing now with how to hold the bowl, when to bow, how to eat the wagashi, and remember to take off rings etc.

Hatsumi-san – Mae Mae flutist took some cool snaps of the process so follow along as i try to look serious – ha!

Anyhow, its not a big deal, its about taking a few moments to enjoy the taste and process and materials. Kobayashi and Hamazaki joined in on the fun. Problem for me is legs falling asleep sitting this way. 


I was in the “important spot” so get the special-est one! Also go first so had to try to remember the steps instead of copying like i usually do. 

Dang, nice technique, right hand on side, left hand on bottom, turn clockwise 1/4 turn, two times, sip, savour. 

Yano-san is like a mysterious samurai of old and does everything with grace: singing, piano, ukulele, kimono, o-cha and he obviously charming the ladies like no big deal. 

Again, great fibre crafts – quilting! with tea/coffee cups! dig it. 

Whatcha think?