Tag Archives: friends

Diary: Opera Day with Kimono and Seijinshiki + Piano Recital

Heading to opera today / Ryoko is purple kimono with silver obi & orange sandals. Stunnnning. Also complicated (it ain’t just “putting on a robe” – its a whole process choosing the right one for the occasion and then whoa putting it all on is an art (which is kinda the point).

Anyhow, furthermore, today is national holiday to celebrate and welcome crop of 20 years olds to adulthood with all sorts of dress-up ceremonies & events. [Read about Seijinshiki}

Should be real colourful in the city / we’re riding bus, i’m having a warm bevvie.

Note: to be clear, this wasn’t a full opera production but rather a variety of songs by a troupe (is that the right word?) or a company of singers doing various ensembles, bits, songs, snippets from opera. I have the program and would share notes but hey… it’d just be a tease right.

Let’s meet some of the singers:

Here’s Ryoko and I with Matsumoto-sensei who was singer & MC – sharp and graceful gent

Continue reading Diary: Opera Day with Kimono and Seijinshiki + Piano Recital

Diary: New Year’s Holiday “Kojo Piano Club” Friends Music Party

Ren-san, Dave and Hamazaki-san at Kojo Piano Club party
having laffs with my pals Ren-san – Left (master of Piano Bar) who played some John Cage-ish piano composition, and Hama-san who served as MC and due to his recent birthday, received a groovy hat gift from Ryoko and me

Note: In the day’s between / around New Year’s – there are plenty of activities… today’s activities include hanged up the New Year’s decoration, drinking all the coffee to try to wake up & thwart headache, then going to an afternoon friends party/talent show where we will be singing a duet with Ryoko on piano.

Our selection is a modified (taking out the sort of dodgy creepy lyrics) version of “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” with an arrangement vaguely based on this lovely scene in TV programme “The Crown” season 1. 

Do not expect video documentation of our performance though we diligently practiced and made a special vocal arrangement with some trade offs and whatnot. 

However, I will present some insta-photos as evidence and to provide a bit of flavour of the 5th annual Kojo Piano Club (there was even a theme song) party / event in which all the friends (many of whom, perform or learn together) perform music in various ensembles, plus usual eating, drinking and frivolity. 

Continue reading Diary: New Year’s Holiday “Kojo Piano Club” Friends Music Party

Diary: New Year Tea Ceremony at Matsuka-sensei’s house

Studying tea ceremony… I’m not sure if studying is the right word, maybe practicing, refining or just enjoying… with a wonderful circle of folks.

Together, we enjoy refining the sequence, admiring the artifacts, eating lunch (fabulous of course), and in some cases also practicing/refining/studying/enjoying wearing kimono.

This was a special one to kick off the new year. So lovely (other riffs elsewhere in this archive). 

My sweet Ryoko riffed out a riff, ergo:

Continue reading Diary: New Year Tea Ceremony at Matsuka-sensei’s house

Diary: Christmas Concert with Mae Maes and Friends

Mae Maes Christmas concert (plus fresh poster for a show in Tamano featuring Ryoko’s painting & design).

On Dec. 22nd at a store in Tsudaka, Okayama, Ryoko and her Mae Maes bandmates held a Christmas concert with 2 shows which included their originals, some festive standards including some sing-a-longs. I rolled out with M-i-L and met up with some of the usual fans, enjoyed some conversations and coffees. 

The ladies were in fine form and their new pianist Kazuko-san getting more comfy each gig.

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Diary: Christmas Forthcoming / out n about and at home in Okayama, 2019

Some kind of phone… possibly from a battlefield or remote office

We headed out on some errands to return the felt sheets used in the tea ceremony at assassinated Prime minster Inukai Tsuyoshi’s home to a strange little office in a corridor with the cigarette smell cemented into the cracked linoleum floors which all evoked the lost Showa times.

Along the way, a saw some shops, ate ramen, developed film, checked out cameras and whatnot. 

First though, along one of these covered shopping arcades which i totally dig (how does Vancouver not have these everywhere?), continued my rather absurd documentation of phone boxes.

I would call you but haven’t figured out where to buy a phone card. Also noting these “midori denwa” (green phones) are abundant and in beautiful condition but i (not shockingly) never see one in use. 

PS Did someone call a doctor? #joke My friend in Adelaide Australia made the snap into a fun cartoon-y image. I might do this with all photos in future. 

Continue reading Diary: Christmas Forthcoming / out n about and at home in Okayama, 2019

Scrapbook: Wonder Hotel / rejuvenations, inspirations + amusements (2018)

Scrapbook: Wonder Hotel / rejuvenations, inspirations + amusements (2018), cover

I make scrapbooks and journals for all sorts of reasons, sometimes for my own creations and writing, sometimes for specific project and in this case, for inspiration or dareisay therapy. 

Background: I was having hard go of it in life or whatever and moved into a very small room at a boarding-house-type place. While basic, i quite loved having a place which kept me safe and allowed me rest. Reminded me a sign i saw in Vancouver for the “Wonder Hotel – Rooms for Rent – Clean, Quiet, Free Cable, Fridge, Secure” – all the attributes this Ankangan Guesthouse possessed.

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Diary: Autumn Miscellany, scenes of “regular life” in Okayama

made a little photo book for gift and sale featuring postboxes of the world, post offices here and there, and letter writing “still lifes” scenes with stationery and bevvies (note to self: post a link or something to purchase this book)

A few years ago (or less), each day was quite tough. Now, each day i deal with pain and confusion but enough joy and interestingness to compensate. My brain fires but i have to throttle as i get headaches and eye strain very easily, i remain very sensitive to light and sounds so use dark glasses and ear plugs when out and about.

Anyhow, there are several recent “standalone” dispatches of activities and outings (Mae Maes concerts, tea ceremony, museums, tours…) but this post simply gathers up miscellaneous whatnots which don’t really chronicle anything but normal day-to-day tasks and action with brief annotations.

coffee and cake date with the amazing Ryoko who amazes me daily with her tenacity, honesty, grace and endless interests

Continue reading Diary: Autumn Miscellany, scenes of “regular life” in Okayama

Diary: Autumn Miscellany / coffee, ramen, sandwiches, Godzilla, peach tree, ikebana…

“rubber chicken” NOT added to ramen

While dispatches and re-caps of various outings and events exist elsewhere in this archive, life is so wonderful right now i don’t want to miss a thing or fail to appreciate the glorious mundane details of just existing.

As such, what follows are bits and pieces which don’t fit elsewhere,  a round-up of miscellany and odds and ends and mild annotations.

Starting with the pleasantness of stopping for a coffee and receiving a free lil sandwich plate (and seeing Ryoko’s adorableness :)). 

The internets instructs food photos be posted with frequency.

Thanks Shiro-Kuma (white bear) cafe.

Continue reading Diary: Autumn Miscellany / coffee, ramen, sandwiches, Godzilla, peach tree, ikebana…

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. 

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Diary: Kurashiki / handmade market with Mae Maes + pet show

Mae Maes: Kazuko, Hatsumi, Ryoko, Rie

Ryoko’s band Mae Maes had a performance lined up at a handmade goods market fair at a convention centre type place between Okayama and Kurashiki so i tagged along. It was a big hall with rows and rows of booths, a special exhibit of sequin-ed up outfits used by a famous figure skater, a food court and a variety of entertainment with a sorta Hawaiian theme.

Plus a young lady called Suzu-chan with huge stage presence, solid banter and performance confidence.

I strolled around checked some stuff – not the super arts-crafty-crafts i would usually expect but great to see small-scale entrepreneurship in action.

Dug the fabric crafts – especially this Kaki (persimmon) tree in country scene which seems to be representative of my life these days – such pleasantness!

Continue reading Diary: Kurashiki / handmade market with Mae Maes + pet show