Sunday, November 12, 2017

Marugoto Fair, Nov. 10-12

I've mentioned the "marugoto" fairs before. They're food and produce markets featuring stuff from a particular region. I'm not sure if this one was specifically for Tanegashima, or if it was for the larger area of Kagoshima prefecture, which includes Tanegashima island. Anyway, they have these marugoto markets every few months, and sell tea, mikan (Japanese oranges), shochu, honey and other foods. This one ran from Nov. 10th to the 12th.

Examples of some of the mikan preserves, jellies and fruit sauces available.

The marugoto markets also usually have a live stage. I'd gone up to Amu Plaza on Friday to see if anything was going to happen there over the rest of the weekend, and saw the crews setting up the tables and announcement boards. I found the schedule and checked whether anything interesting was going to be happening for the rest of the day, or on Saturday. For the most part, the activities on Friday and Sunday were just PR stunts for advertising travel around Kagoshima, and some giveaways. But, there was one band, "A Taste of Honey," that was supposed to play twice on Saturday. I had classes at the English school Saturday afternoon, but I'd be able to swing by the department store for the 10:30 AM performance, at least. So I went home and did a web search on the group's name, and only came up with hits on a black female duo that was big in the U.S. from 1971 to the mid-80's. I didn't think they'd be in Japan for something like this. That only served to increase my curiosity.

I got to Amu Plaza a little bit after 10:30 AM, and discovered that A Taste of Honey is a brass jazz band from Tanegashima. They did a soft instrumental version of Sinatra's "Fly Me to the Moon," and other western covers. Nothing really worth recording or sticking around for. I took a few photos for the blog, got some free sample coffee from Kaldi in the basement of the department store, then finished my food shopping for the weekend and returned home to get ready for work at 2 PM.

As mentioned above, I already knew that the Sunday stage events were going to be just PR stunts, but I did want to get some more photos for the blog. I got back to Amu Plaza at 2 PM, and was surprised to hear music as I approached. The schedule board didn't have anything listed for live music on Sunday. I was up on the second floor, and could look down at the stage from there. I didn't recognize the singer at that angle, but he was singing Japanese folk songs, and I didn't hang around long. I went to Seattle's Best Coffee, got a cup of coffee and a blueberry muffin, and worked on some Sudoku puzzles. At 3:30, I returned to the stage for the next PR event, and the guy was still singing. I got closer, and finally realized that he was Kodai, a singer/guitarist from Amami who often MC's the marugoto markets. I also know that he's not particularly approachable when he's working like this, so I just took a couple more photos, and waited a little longer.

I didn't catch this mascot's name, but he's representative of a kind of a generic Edo-era bureaucratic type. Maybe sort of a middle-level samurai. He led a jan-ken (rock-paper-scissors) game with the senior citizens in the audience for a 1,000 yen ($10) certificate for the foods sold in the market. That seemed rather paltry. I didn't stick around to see who won. The market was going to be closing in an hour or so, so I went back home to work on the computer. Friday and Sunday were quiet, but Saturday was somewhat better...

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