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.
Reason number 182 I love Japan life: thrift stores/recycle shops are absolutely fantastic!
This one features racks and racks of good > great clothes, and great bargains if you aren’t looking for specific “fancy“ import brands, and everything properly washed, labeled, tagged and arranged. And today everything is 30% off!￼
Oh, and this one also has a whole section of kimonos, dozens and dozens and dozens. But today, we’re looking for a dress for Ryoko’s next MaeMaes concert￼.
Noting there are lots of “hip“ secondhand stores with mostly imported stuff, picked from North American stores and marked up to eye-watering levels, this one is just a “regular folks” store yet treasures abound for day-to-day life.￼
Purchased: three dresses and a plaid overcoat for the wife, and a groovy blazer, cardigan sweater with pockets, trousers and lounging robe, all wool, for me
Also noting how pleased I am when wool items are properly prepared for sale, and not thrown in the washer and dryer as so often happens, rendering them useless (so many lost Pendletons!)
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.
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.
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!