Saturday, February 3, 2018

Eve (repost)

Christmas Chicken

It's a miracle! Miracle Chicken.
Merry Christmas.

And here's your Three Wise men for this year.

The 24th

Ok, so, yeah, anyway, on Sunday I had to work at the school from 4-6 PM, and I had a bit more proofing work to do on one of the translation clean-up jobs. I get the proofing done, and that gets me to 3 PM. I get ready for work and walk in to Tenmonkan. A two-woman group, violin and piano, are getting set up on stage, and I figure that I'll get a couple photos and hang around to see if I want to capture any video. I pull the camera out, and finally remember that I'd taken the battery out to recharge overnight, and I'd forgotten to put it back in the camera that morning. Sigh. The women continued to set up, and I eventually got bored waiting for things to get moving. Instead, I went to Tully's, got a coffee and a donut, and read Attack on Titan a bit more.

(Yuko on vocals, and one of the dancers in the foreground.)

I got to the school on time, taught my classes, then went back through Tenmonkan on the way home. The performer at that time was a high school girl playing acoustic guitar and singing soft folk-pop songs. She was pretty good for her age, but without the camera I had no way of documenting her set for the blog.

In the space in front of Lotteria and Yamakataya, the department store had set up a bunch of jewelry and gifts shops, plus some food tables. They added a little shack they labeled "Santa's House, and charged 500 yen to have your photo taken in it. Nothing there was exciting enough to justify my taking photos earlier in the week, but on Sunday they had a jazz band playing to entertain the diners. I was wishing I had the camera battery for that, but as I got close enough to see what was going on, the flute player took lead on the song, and to me he sounded like he couldn't keep tempo with the rest of the group. They all sounded like they'd never practiced together, so I kept walking again.

Also, I had a schedule to keep - dinner. The weather was poor all day, with heavy rain in the morning, eventually tapering off to a drizzle at 7 PM. The family went to a nearby restaurant for Christmas Eve dinner, which was good despite the walk in the rain on the way there, then we got back to the apartment at 8:30 PM. By that point, the drizzle had ended, and a sliver moon was peeking out from the clouds. I figured I might as well try my luck with Amu Plaza. I got my camera battery and jogged the quarter-mile to the main train station.

Even with the dinner and the company during the meal, I was now in kind of a funk because the rest of the day hadn't gone all that well (the rain, missing Bon DX two days in a row, forgetting the battery, etc.) So, I suddenly found myself being amused as I got up to the little restaurant district in front of the train station, and saw Santa sitting behind a BBQ smoker. The chef at a tiny corner ramen shop had the smoker set up on the sidewalk, plus a small table that two patrons were sitting at, drinking and talking. The chef wore the red Santa jacket and cap, and as I walked by, I seriously considered taking a photo. I got even with the smoker, and had this overwhelming need to know what was inside. I stopped and turned, and Santa and both patrons shouted "present!" The next thing I know, they're pressing a take-out tray with a leg of grilled chicken on me, and wishing me a happy Christmas. We talk in broken Japanese and English for a few minutes, and I keep checking to make sure that they don't want me to pay for the food. I get Santa to open the smoker so I can see the slabs of chicken being grilled up, and then we wish each other a merry Christmas again and they wave me away. So that cheered me up a lot.

(It IS miracle chicken.)

When I do get to Amu Plaza, I'm greeted by 4 women doing jazz dancing through the packed audience in front of the stage. The band is on-stage, but they're just standing around as canned music plays over the PA, letting the dancers do their thing. They're very frisky. A few minutes later, the song ends, and the band takes up again, with a kind of rock-jazz instrumental. That ends, and they go into "I wish you a very merry Christmas", with Japanese lyrics that have nothing to do with the original meaning of the song. The singer, Yoko tries hard, but it's not my kind of music. I eat my free chicken leg, which tastes good, even after having had a large dinner 20 minutes earlier, take pictures for the blog, then finally return home for the night. I spend the rest of the evening typing up stuff for the blog, and then crash at 2 AM. It's been a long day, but I had free chicken. I can't ask for more than that.


Happy Christmas.

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