Sunday, June 2, 2019

June 1-2


Kind of a short weekend, but still some stuff to write about. I had some contract work I had to finish on Friday and Saturday, in between my regular English lessons at the school on Saturday. I'd just gotten done talking to one woman, who is concerned about bone loss problems, about the milk promotional events that occasionally occur in Tenmonkan, and how they include bone density testing, when I discovered that Tenmonkan was running another milk event Saturday afternoon. It was a little too late to let her know this was going on, and when I got out of my lessons for a break at 4 PM, everything was over. This was a much more streamlined event, though. They didn't have the tables giving out milk samples, and the primary stage event was a bingo game giveaway. In the above photo, they're trying to hand out bingo cards to the few people in the audience. I didn't have time to hang around since I was on my way to the school, so there was no opportunity for me to even try taking one of the cards.


I had a huge amount of shopping and stuff to do on Sunday, but I did know that something was going to be going on for the one day up at Amu Plaza. So, I made a point of heading out of the apartment at about 2 PM, and swinging over to Amu first. Turned out it was their Gambaru Festa, which, among other things, is intended to promote increased wheelchair access to businesses around the city. These events always have three stages for music (the main boulevard, the big stage in front of the train station entrance, and the west side of the station). The smaller stages usually act more like scheduled open mikes, while the big stage has more of the main headliners. This time, though, the west stage acted more like the main stage, with the more recognized acts playing there, and the east boulevard stage hosting mostly amateurish folk groups. It didn't help that it rained all day.

The area in front of the train station had a lot of food booths, a table for promoting the Japan Self-Defense forces, some of the local foamhead mascots, and what seemed to be a stamp rally of some kind. I didn't have time to enter the rally, so I don't know the details for that.

The big stage was mostly wasted. From 2-4 PM, the only scheduled thing there was a live feed for a Japanese soccer game. At 4 PM, they did have the Little Cherries school jazz band, but I've seen them before. There was a manzai comedy duo or something at 6 PM, but by then I was back at home preparing for dinner.

Over 100 people, no one getting food, all watching the game on the big screen.

I had to use the walk under tunnel from Amu Plaza to Aeon department store at the other side of the big streets, and I was surprised to find there was an informal 4th stage in the tunnel. Not many people in the audience, and no schedule, but there was music here.

I didn't catch this guy's name, but he did a simple acoustic set. Interestingly, there was a whole wall of guitar cases along the edge of the area to the right. My thought is that this was where the musicians played for each other in a pure open mike setting.

Up at the west exit, Gaze Santos, the Canadian violin player I met at the Kagoshima Music Fest in May, was playing with one of his groups, Deep Pink. They performed Crossroads, and Sweet Home Chicago (singing "Kagoshima" instead of "Chicago"), and did a pretty good job of it.

"I went down to the crossroads, trying to find a meal..."

At the east stage, we had the duo Again. They played guitar ok, but their voices were too sharp.

The main reason for hanging around after my shopping was done, and I had about 20 pounds of stuff in my backpack, was that Toshi the Wanderer had a set at 5:20 PM. He did three songs I didn't recognize. The crowd had thinned out by then, but the people still in the audience clapped and sang along with him. It was a good set.

The rain had stopped by 6 PM, and I went home for dinner, and to process the photos for the blog. Not too bad, as far as weekends go.

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