Monday, December 15, 2014

Dec. 14, 2014

This was another one of those days where I walked around Tenmonkan and Amupla, running into a number of events that would take a full week to cover if I did them one per day. So, I'll just cram them all into one post and get it over with.

The night before, when I was coming out of the school near City Hall, I'd noticed that the seasonal illuminations had finally been put up along the boulevard leading to the bay. I walked the block over to get some photos, and saw some booths set up at the west end of the boulevard, for an event to be held on Sunday. The event schedule showed things running on the small stage from 10 AM to 2:30 PM, so I wanted to come back the next day and check if there was anything to record for the blog. Sunday comes along, and I head out the door at 12:30. I'm cutting through Tenmonkan, and as I get to the Lotteria, I hear really bad rock being played, with the lead singer shouting coarsely into the mike.

Getting closer, I discover there is a university-sponsored event in the plaza across from Lotteria. I took a couple photos, then had to stop because one of the students wanted to talk me into buying food from the various booths (other booths had used clothes and CDs, and the table at the "entrance" was hucking heads of cabbage). Since I'd just had lunch, and was planning on having a family bonenkai (year-end party) at Amupla for dinner, I had to come up with excuses for why I didn't want to spend money. All of the bands scheduled for the early afternoon slots were university amateurs, and the second band up was equally bad, so I wanted to leave as soon as I could. I mentioned the other event at City Hall, and ran off after talking to a couple other people that wanted to practice their English on me.

The second band tried starting out, then spent another 5 minutes adjusting their instruments and sound levels.

The event in front of City Hall turned out to be another promotion for locally-grown produce. Shown here is the mascot for Kagoshima on the left, Guri-buu, and I think the one on the right is supposed to be a goya. Some of the booths sold fruits and vegetables, while others had prepared meals like soba.

And others had children's activities. Here, you could make your own New Year's wreath to take home with you.

I'd arrived just as one chorus group had finished singing and started posing for photos.

The boulevard runs several blocks down to the bay. Since the next stage act wasn't expected to begin playing for a while, I wanted to get some shots of Sakurajima.

Specifically, the snow. I'd seen the "snowcap" on my way from Tenmonkan to City Hall through a break between the buildings, but I couldn't get a clean view right away. During the time that it took to get down here, some of the snow had burned off. But still, there was enough to justify the shot. At sea level, the temps were probably in the 40's. Cold enough for wearing gloves, but not enough to cause snow to fall in the city.

From where I was standing, I could see a big balloon over a small rise in the direction of Dolphin Port. Thinking there might be an event there as well, I walked over. It was a second "local produce" fair, this one sponsored by JA (Japan Agriculture).

They had a stage with a small brass band playing slow classical music. I expect that the instruments weren't that comfortable to hold.

At first, I thought they were school students, but as I got closer they looked more like adults. I didn't see a stage schedule so I don't know if they were an amateur group. Again, the music wasn't the kind of thing I wanted to record.

Back at the City Hall event, Erica + Erika were just going back up for another two songs. The first one was a Christmas song that I didn't recognize. I was at the wrong angle to the sunlight, or otherwise I would have recorded it. The singer was pretty good, and the violinist was very perky.

They were accompanied by a guest keyboardist that I don't have the name for.

I think this is Erika. They finished the Christmas song and started on the opening theme for the "Tonari no Totoro" movie (My Neighbor Totoro). The second the children in the audience recognized it, they rushed the stage to participate in the walking part of the dance. Things were scheduled to wind down from this point, so I headed up to Amupla.

There, they had another local products fair, and stage performances by some high school bands. The plaza was packed, and most of the booths were being ignored in favor of the stage show.

From where I was standing, I could only see the back row of musicians, who alternated between playing percussion instruments, dancing, and holding up the letters for "Chuo Eki" (Central Station).

The second floor balcony was just as crowded, so I took a couple more shots, then went home to prepare for going back out for dinner. (It was a good dinner. Chinese, Japanese style.)

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