Yesterday we visited Kinkakuji and Ryoanji to check out the autumn leaves. It was Mewby’s first time to see Kinkakuji. It was of course massively crowded with tourists all trying to get a snap of themselves with the famous Golden Pavilion.
The garden at Ryoanji is gorgeous at this time of year.
I’ve taken to using my i-phone to speed things up when I’m with her, but Mewby doesn’t like it if I take too many pictures…
I went to see the Robert Doisneau exhibition at the Kyoto Station Art Gallery today and it made me want to live in Paris AND become a black and white photographer. Robert Doisneau really knew how to wait for the perfect moment and he knew where to wait too. Pure genius. Every picture is a fascinating character study of a person, or place, or relationship… or dog. Wonderful stuff. I was sorely tempted to invest in the book of the exhibition but didn’t have ￥10,000 on me. Probably a good thing. I’ve got too many books as it is. Anyway, I recommend seeing it if you’re in Kyoto. It continues until February 22nd and you can find it on the 7th floor of the Isetan building.
This month sees Deep Kyoto‘s debut column in Kyoto Visitors Guide. I’m hoping some of those 15,000 a month readers will be interested enough to come back and check out my site. Anyway, I’m getting name recognition and the editor has agreed to do a monthly guest column for Deep Kyoto in return so everyone’s a winner.
A short while ago, another Kyoto blogger Ted Taylor, told me about a music event at TakuTaku, a pretty famous live music venue I’ve been meaning to check out for ages. You can read about TakuTaku here. The event was Soul Flower Mononoke Summit and their guest Ainu musician Oki. Soul Flower Mononoke Summit is an acoustic offshoot of rock band Soul Flower Union developed after the Great Hanshin Earthquake. At that time SFU decided to help keep people’s spirits up by playing for them in the streets, and because they were in the streets they swapped their electric guitars for Okinawan sanshin and supplemented them with old-fashioned chindon style street-band percussion. They are obviously very popular in Kyoto, TakuTaku was packed, and everyone (young, old, families, babies…) seemed to know the songs, singing along, swaying, dancing, waving their hands in the air… A great night with good community feeling. Many thanks to Ted for letting me know about that one. You can read more about the gig and specifically Oki’s performance on his blog here. Here is a video.
How do you plough through a door? Please God – NO!!!
Meanwhile, here in Japan, we celebrated Taisho’s birthday at Joao last Saturday and followed the party by going to Alphabet Ave. and drinking till dawn. Here’s a picture of my gang all lined up at the bar:
Aren’t they lovely?
This is what happens to them if I play with them at Photfunia:
Last night I went to Woodnote which is a fine little 25 year old cafe in the Kitaoji area where you can hear Irish music and drink organic coffee and eat cinnamon toast. And you can see pictures of that here: LINK
And tomorrow I’m meeting up with Kageyama-san for the first time since Small Town Talk closed down in February and I’m really looking forward to it!
Once again, as every year, the spirits of the dead, have visited the homes of their loved ones, then whistled back over the hills around Kyoto, following the symbols written in flames that guide them back to their heavenly homes.
And I love my camera. I love it because I can take pictures like this:
And even this:
Which aren’t in themselves great pictures, and it’s not as if the world really needs yet more pictures of the firey kanji on the mountain but considering how far away I was and what a crappy viewpoint it was with tonnes of people jostling about and clickety-click-clicking with their camera phones and me with no tripod but the top of Nana-chan’s head (thanks Nana!) – I think they are pretty good. So I love my camera.
I also love my camera because I can take nice videos like the one at the bottom of this post. Last night, I went to see Satoko Okuda (of Viva Sherry) performing solo at 都雅都雅 (togatoga) which I won’t be recommending on Deep Kyoto today because as a live music venue – it kind of sucks. I’ve been there once before and the same things got to me on both occasions. The place has no atmosphere. One thing that makes a show is the interaction between the performer and their audience. But at 都雅都雅 they shine the lights into the performer’s eyes so they can’t see who they are singing to and the audience is totally unresponsive anyway. So, there is that, which would probably be enough, but they do this one little thing when you get there which really gets my back up. You pay your entry fee and you think ok. Then you go in and sit down and they say you have to buy one drink. And that’s fine too because I want a drink anyway (several probably). But then, (and this is what really winds me up) you have to buy one food item off the menu too whether you are hungry or not. So you end up buying something you don’t want, like a bowl of tasteless chocolates (they obviously got at the ￥100 shop) or some sweaty potato fries and it just gets left there uneaten and wasted. So basically, your entry fee is at least a 1000 yen more than the price stated on the ticket. Why can’t they just be honest and up the entry fee instead of wasting food and winding me up? Well, despite all this Satoko’s performance was as splendid as ever and I did get to take a couple of very nice videos. The first of which I’ll share with you today. This one is called “銀河の橋を超えて” which means something like “Crossing the Milky Way Bridge” and is about going on a date and holding hands under a starry wintry sky (just imagine it’s a starry summer sky she said)…. Anyway! Just setting the mood for you… enjoy!
These are a couple of photos I took today, which I’m not entirely satisfied with, but I think you can see what I’m stretching for…
Lovely day today. Perfect weather for a picnic in a park and kicking a ball around. So we went to an art exhibition. But we had good reason. It was the graduation exhibition for students of Kyoto University of Art & Design so our friend He Jun had an exhibit there too. The theme and title is “Ten Symbols of Longevity” or 十長生. I like the way she has combined Hangul (Korean) lettering with the Chinese characters and the pictorial representations. Very pretty. Here it is:
Happy New Year! I’m back in Japan (ah to sleep twixt my own familiar sheets once more) and back at work (ah…) and back at my blog (did you miss me?). Scary stuff today – I asked one of my junior high students what she did over winter vacation and she said “I read your blog.” How on earth did she know about my blog? I shall have to be careful what I write… Now I took heaps of pictures and I’ve whittled them down to a few and put them on to a Bubbleshare account (my Flickr account is full you see)and apparently I can easily add them to my blog here… Let’s see if it works:
Good God it does! Marvellous! Isn’t Bubbleshare terrific? Just click on the picture to see them full size with proper titles. I’ll be posting videos later – once youtube gets it’s act together… Ooh! Look I can do this too! Just hover your mouse over the picture to see the titles. So much fun! My Flickr days are done!
These are the gingko trees on Kawabata (before the nasty men come along and cut all the leaves off). This is a lamb. Baa.
My most recent photos (taken in Arashiyama, around Yoshida and also Shin-nyo-do) have been uploaded to Flickr, and can be viewed here:
Just a quick post today. I received a mail earlier from Be Ward (one half of ethnic fusion collaborators “South”) about an upcoming launch party for their new CD and also that Tamara is going to have another photo exhibition next month. Sadly I can’t make it to the launch party myself but I figured I’d post the mail as is for anyone else whose fancy is betickled…
Hola Michael,.. they were wicked photos mate,.. thanks alot. I hope this finds you well and genki. I’ve been away from Kyoto the past month alot but am back here now and just wanted to let you know that on the saturday 7th of 10 gatsu from 11am till 7pm we are making a big day of music and food and workshops and fun, at the beautiful green and friendly place in east Kyoyto called GAEA, for the release party of our (Akira and I`s) new CD. If you would like to sell things, or put on any performance, or show some of your photos, or read an irish poem,.. or contribute in any way,.. we would be most honoured to have you there,.. as we are trying to encourage people to make it a participatory and mutually engaging creative day;.. and if you just want to come and do no more than drink beer and enjoy yourself that is also fully endorsed and encouraged.!! Anyway,.. wether or not you can make it,.. just letting you know that it will be a fun day so tell your friends too please even if you are already busy. Also,.. Tamara is also having an exhibition of some of her photos at the gallery in Higashi Kuramaguchi Dori called PRINZ, ( 5 Tanaka Takahara -cho ),.. from the 10th of the 10th untill the 15th,.. if you are interested in seeing some more of her work. Likewise please spread the word! Yoroshiku!! Ok,.. o genki de ne,.. hasta pronto. BE
So there you have it. And if you need to know more you can call this number: 075-724-0091 or mail them here: firstname.lastname@example.org or check their website here: www.sound.jp/south/
Advance tickets for the launch party are ￥1500 apparently ￥1800 0n the door.
On Tuesday I went to a photography exhibition by みやっち and Tamara Burlando. Tamara’s photography was of Bangalore street children who are participating in the “Born Free” art program there. It’s worth a visit, but be quick because it finishes on August 13th. You can see it at the Dohjidai Gallery on Sanjo (between Teramachi and Gokomachi) and you can find out more about Tamara Burlando’s photography here: http://www.tamaraburlando.com/
“South” (Be and Akira) played at the opening of the exhibition. The pictures behind are Miyacchi’s. The music and the art made a very nice combination.