Monday, June 9, 2014

Amupla Activities

Saturday, the 7th, I had to work and I spent the time between lessons hanging around the apartment. Sunday, I focused for a few hours on some stuff involving the Endtown webcomic. The creator, Aaron Neathery, has been suffering from a severe leg infection and was readmitted to the hospital for a few days a couple weeks ago. He's back out and hopefully recovering, but the comic is on hiatus for a month. During the break, I've been hacking out some 4-panel gag strips (the art quality on them is non-existent, it's just intended as a way of lightening the mood until the real strip returns), plus I've been asked by Jenner (artist on Doc. Rat) to upload some of his Endtown song parodies, one a day when the GoComics server rolls over to the next day's strip (at 2:10 PM my time). I spent a few hours Sunday prepping the song parodies (adding links to the strips for when the song first ran, and images of the strip for that day). I got out of the apartment at 4 PM and headed up to Amupla to see if anything was happening.

Amupla (the Amusement Plaza connected to the main train station) is celebrating its 10th year, and has several events scheduled during the June weekends. The previous week, there was a live performance of some female singer to promote a new single release. The plaza in front of the station was PACKED, as was the balcony walkway on the second floor. Couldn't even see if a stage was set up the other side of the barrier walls where paying members of the audience were watching the actual performance.

This time, there were 3 activities in and around the plaza. First was a set of tables for local merchants trying to sell local produce. I'm not sure, but I think some of them were selling honey. Second was the Match Flag Project. I guess a bunch of Kagoshima fans are planning to fly to Brazil for the World Cup, and they wanted to have signed flags to take with them to wave at the games. Most of the writing on the little blue flags (the national team is the Samurai Blue) is just encouragement to "do your best".

At the other end of the plaza was a stage for the 3rd Annual Live Station, a combination of musical acts, conversation and other stuff. LS was scheduled to wrap up at 6 PM, and when I arrived the announcers were just starting to talk about the winners of a photo contest held as part of the event. Apparently the photos had been displayed earlier and passersby were asked to put sticker dots on sheets below the photos. The more popular photos would win money awards. The MCs read off the names of the winners, and the first 5 people had left the audience long ago. Only the top winner was still hanging around. I looked at the photos when they were wheeled to the front of the plaza afterward. They were all good, but mostly kind of generic (flowers, the tram line, the Amupla Ferris wheel). Nothing worth taking a shot of.

The MCs weren't all that popular with the audience, which was made up largely of old people with nothing else to do. The fact that there were 2 other stages set up on opposite sides of the train station didn't help keep people here at the main stage. One of the earlier scheduled events was a meet and greet with the Kagoshima professional soccer team, Kagoshima United FC. It would have been interesting to see how popular that was. Over the last few weeks, people dressed up as United FC had been handing out fliers in Tenmonkan in an attempt to get fans to come to the games. I got the impression that some of the people handing the fliers out were players on the team, but the pedestrians were ignoring them. I'd like to hope the players got a little more love from Kagoshima here at the Live Station event.

Cyan Sane, the co-MC on the right, above, was also one of the scheduled performers. I've seen his name on flyers for other live music events in the last couple of years, but I have yet to see him do his act, so I don't know if he's a comic or a singer-musician.

What really got people's attention, though, was the R&R Steel Drum Orchestra. They were the last act on the main stage. They were good. However, they chose to play a slower piece by Superfly, so at 5:45 I headed to the stage just outside the train station's west exit. There, KC Succession was just setting up. The name is an obvious play on RC Succession, but they weren't really in the same league. I didn't feel like taking photos of them, so I went into Bic Camera to look at used games until the event ended at 6 PM.

youtube video of R&R Steel Drum Orchestra

There's more stuff scheduled for the next few weeks, so I'll drop by again if I can. However, the Kumo Gassen (Spider Fights) is in Kajiki, Aira, on the 15th, and I want to go see that, too.

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