Wednesday, August 15, 2018

One Piece Decal

Saw this decal for Ace on a car back window.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

True Gakken Kit for Adults

New DIY kit going up next door.

Partial construction of the ramp section. Notice that the wall beams aren't anchored on one end yet. This is subassembly A.

All of the other parts have been taken out of the box and sorted prior to assembly.
Estimated time to complete the kit - 90 minutes.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Lotteria Beer Garden

I wrote a few days ago that at the same time we had the two-day Yukata Night, with its beer garden and limited live stage performances, that there was also a smaller beer garden set up in front of the Lotteria burger shop a couple blocks away. This smaller garden was scheduled to run 10 days, with alcohol sales, some snack food, and occasional live stage performances, too. During the week, there were generally 3 sets per day, most of which were lame comedy pieces. I didn't bother dropping by every day. Instead, I'd swing by the Lotteria on my way to the school if I had classes any given night. Often, there was nothing happening then.

Here were have Tomoyo Noda, doing an acoustic set of copyrighted covers.

Saturday, on my way to the school at 12:40 I caught Bijin to Yajuu (Beauty and the Beast). The "beauty" is a female comic who mainly relies on her fright wig to get laughs. The "beast" is the occasional MC that I find annoyingly loud and self-absorbed. The thing about him is that he'll also partner with a female drummer for an Okinawa-style folk song and shamisen duet, and sometimes he's not that bad.

As I wrote for the SDF event, I had a break between lessons at 4 PM, and when I got out, "beauty" had teamed up with someone else to do a folk music piece, under the name "Kyuu-chan and "A-chan" (I'm not sure how to read the kanji, Kyuu might be "Miyu" instead). I think the point was to be funny by showing what happens when you take untrained slackers and have them pretend to be professional musicians. It was pretty painful to listen to, so I didn't hang around after taking my photos.

Then on Sunday, I got out of the apartment at 3 PM to see if there was anything interesting going on up at Amu Plaza as well as at Tenmonkan. Amu didn't have much, but the Southern Cross idols were performing at the Beer Garden.  In the past I've kind of been dismissive of the girls because they dance and do karaoke over CDs of copyrighted AKB-48 songs. However, they went into AKB-48's Aitakatta, with two of the members staying on the stage and the other two running out to work the audience. The one on the right above was much better at interacting with the kids sitting at the tables than the second girl was. The active one went around high-fiving people while singing "Aitakatta, Aitakatta, Aitakatta - yay - kimi ni" (I wanted to meet you). The next thing I know she's worked her way over to me, singing directly at me and getting ready for another high-five. I didn't have much of a choice so I returned the five, and found myself singing a full chorus with her. Then she moved on to someone else. I have to admit that that had been fun, and she was good at what she does.

Afterward, I headed back home to get out of the heat for a while, and write up this blog entry. I was tempted to get some beer, but I really wasn't feeling up for it that early in the afternoon, and at 500 yen ($5 USD) a cup, it's more pricey than I like. Plus, I'd bought my share of beer at Yukata Night the week before.


I wrote there wasn't much happening at Amu Plaza. There wasn't, but what was happening was the celebrations for school kids that had completed the 16th Kagoshima 100 km Walk. Basically, the event just consisted of some city officials congratulating kids from different schools for their participation in the walk. No idea what the route was.



Ok, while I was at the beer garden, I checked out the schedule to see who else was supposed to play in the afternoon. The only people on the list I had any interest in were Wicky Toshi (owner of Wicky's House live bar) and his wife, Kana, at 7 PM.

So, I went back for that. Wicky often does Southern All-Stars covers, but this time he did his own music, including the theme song he wrote for the Kagoshima United soccer team - Kick to the Future. At the end, the audience (about 50-60 people) called out for an encore, so the entire set ran a little under an hour. Despite my whining about the prices, I ended up getting a cup of stout for 500 yen, a curly fry for 200 yen, and a cup of shochu and soda for 300 yen. Along the way, I ended up talking to the Southern Cross dancer I mentioned earlier, the sax player for Bon DX (he was there with his daughter because she likes Southern Cross), and one half of the manzai group Party. Plus a couple others. I didn't try talking to Wicky or Kana because they were busy at the end selling CDs of their music. I've recorded a lot of Wicky's performances before, so I just shot Kick to the Future (below) and took some photos, but mainly just grooved to the music. Towards the end, one woman standing nearby started talking to me, and eventually she mentioned that her husband was running one of the food tables, and that he has a restaurant in Tenmonkan. When the music ended, we kept talking, and she gave me a free glass of cider.

Things started wrapping up at 8 PM, and the announcer yelled out "last call."

I taught the woman some English phrases she wanted to learn, and thanked her for the cider, and she went back to help her husband pack up. Then, I finished my drink and returned home for dinner. Overall, I had a lot more fun than I'd been expecting. Not a bad way to start the Obon holiday week.

Direct youtube link

Sunday, August 12, 2018

SDF Day, Aug. 11

The Japan Self Defense Force had its presence at Tenmonkan on Saturday, in part as a recruitment tool, and in part as a way of introducing itself to the neighbors. They do this about once a year, when students are preparing to return to school after a short summer vacation.

The event mainly consisted of showing off 3 vehicles, some gear, a bunch of photos, and providing a dress-up op.

Also present was the Tori-kun (tiger) mascot.

Here, we have some of their heavy metal. Kagoshima's streets are well-known to have serious potholes. You need one of these if you expect to get around the city quickly.

Take a peep at the jeep.

The costume rack. You can mix and match caps, if you like.

I had to work most of the day, but I did have a bit of a break between classes from 4 to 6, so I was able to get out and take a few photos. After that, though, I hung out in a coffee shop, drank ice coffee, and read manga. It was too hot to stay outside for long.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Snoopy no Hi

In Japan, Snoopy's birthday is Aug. 10th, which is officially known as "Snoopy no Hi" (Snoopy Day). This sign is in front of a hair salon, and reads, "August 10, Snoopy Day. Snoopy's birthday. Did you know he has 6 brothers and sisters?"

Happy birthday, Snoopy. You're only as young as you feel. Need a perm and new nail color? Ask inside for details.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Bon Odori, Aug. 8

The Honganji temple in Tenmonkan had their annual Bon Odori (summer dance festival) Wednesday evening. Gates opened at 6:30 PM, and everything ended at 9. I guess it was so short because the temple didn't want to disturb the neighbors with the music and chanting.

While they did have tables selling meat on a stick, shaved ice desserts and beer, the primary point of the event was for everyone to participate in traditional folk dancing in a circle. I've recorded Bon Odori in previous years and uploaded that to youtube, so I didn't bother doing that again this time. On the other hand, I had to work Wednesday night, and that overlapped Bon Odori, so if there was anything that I would have wanted to record, I missed it. Actually, I was scheduled for 6:30 to 9:30 PM, but the last class got cancelled and I had a bit of time to watch the dancing and get two hot dogs (100 yen each) before going home and working on a translation project with a short deadline.

The music for the first dance I caught was from a CD with the drums played live.

The dancing was split up by age groups, with young children dancing at 7:10 PM, and school kids at around 7:40, and adults between 8 and 8:30. As can be seen from the photos, the participants didn't really care about the rules.

The live performers came out for the last dance.
And then it was over. I was disappointed that the event was so short, in part because I had to work during so much of it. Then again, I don't dance, and wouldn't have stuck around all that long, anyway.

I don't know of any other big events this weekend. The next thing is the big fireworks on Sakurajima on the 18th, when I have to work again. Then the Jazz Fest the weekend of Sept. 8th.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Ultra Bad

When Ultraman throws out his back, he goes to Nishimura Chiropractic.