Saturday, October 15, 2005

Fresh Jazz

October 10th is Health and Sports Day aka another national holiday. Seeing that I did enough walking on the weekend to last me a week or two, I stayed at home and did my usual cleaning, washing and ironing.

Today I headed out to Himeji to see the famous Kenka Matsuri (Fighting festival) but alas, when I got to the train station in Himeji I saw a sign that said it would be postponed till tomorrow because of the crappy, rainy weather. Never to be defeated, I went shopping instead.

That evening I was invited to go to the Hyogo Community Centre's Autumn festival by one of my adult conversation class memebers. It had run all day with various musical performances (shamisen, Japanese opera), dances (hula dancing), Bingo, Japanese kimono fashion and other demonstrations from clubs and groups that use the community centre.

I went in the evening to watch/listen to Dixieland Jazz by the Fresh Jazz Band. My friend who invited me knew some of the band members and said they have been playing together for over 20 years! They played jazzed up renditions of popular Japanese folk songs and some English songs. They were really good and I really enjoyed it, especially the songs I could understand, The Astroboy (Atom Boy) theme song and "I scream, you scream, everybody loves/wants icecream".

The hall wasn't overly packed out but it was a nice family, community atmosphere with the audience mainly consisting of parents with young children and older couples and groups of friends. In between stages, a dance group would perform. Cute litte girls in funky kimonos and the older girls gyrating to hip hop music.

Whilst being in Japan there are many times when reality does decide to drop in for a bit and remind me 'Yes, you are alive and yes, this really is happening.' Times that require me to stop and pinch myself to see if this pseudo-reality/Japanese bubble I'm currently living in is actually taking place not just in my mind.

Such a time is when I found myself doing a second lap around the hall in a huge congo line with people my parents' and grandparents' age to "When the saints go marching in."

What am I doing? What is going on? Is this for real?
Then I thought, "Why bother thinking about it? Just savour it and enjoy it." And I did.

You wanted new experiences. Well baby, you got it.

We went for tea afterwards then I headed to Sanners to meet up with Hana, Sam, Leigh, Alison and some other Kobe JETs at Chey's Bar/House/Place? Adam was going to take us to a gay club but it was closed...on a Saturday night?! Lame.


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