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!
Along the way, i documented a few slices of every day life, plus visited Okayama castle which was destroyed in WW2 by bombs and rebuilt in 1960-s. I ate lunch, dressed up in a cool outfit, wandered from the top to the bottom of the castle, checked out outbuildings and foundations… then walked to the library to find it closed so rode the bus home.
These images were captured along the way, with minor annotations added from time to time.
Ryoko has her own small company doing tree trimming, garden planning and various workshops (like tree trimming for seniors) and sometimes does a gig teaching children and their parents about gardening using a couple plots in the parking lot of a grocery store (who sponsor the event).
Anyhow, i tagged along to see her in action, drink coffee and do a bit of grocery shopping at the awesome store (plus take care of our household recycling while we were there).
The magical art city of Kurashiki was holding a Jazz Street event with loads of bands playing at various venues around the historic Bikan area with narrow Edo-period laneways, the magnificent Ohara museum (featuring European post/impressionist art) and lots of little shops selling handmade paper, handicrafts of all sort, plus great coffee shops and kissaten (a sort of Japanese diner/lounge type establishment).
One day in late October, we were invited by a relative to pick up a bag of freshly-harvested rice for a wedding gift. I love rolling around the area as there is such a mix of rice fields, houses, shinkansen tracks, tiny roads, medium hills, various scare crows and whatnot.
Anyhow, we met the nice relative lady, drank tea with her and told some stories about our honeymoon ramble and whatnot (the usual things about my country and experience in Japan), picked up the rice and well… evidence follows:
1) The bath is the most sophisticated piece of equipment in our home… A click of a variety of button (there is more than one control panel for extra convenience) and you are transported to a temperature exactly of your choosing #42.
And yes, this is also a bath tub Time Machine which takes to various dispensations & destinations.
2) Very important to paint your toes to color coordinate with the bath tub and tile colours