My week off has ended up being quite eventful so far. Got a call from my old friend Nao, inviting me to the Japanese premiere of John Adams' latest opera," A Flowering Tree", which she had translated and was interpreting for. It's funny because not too long ago my friend Akiko invited me to see "Nixon in China", also by John Adams, at the English National Opera, when she was acting in it. Strange, these Japanese ladies inviting me to John Adams operas, out of the blue.
Anyway, I bumbled along and it was just amazing. It was a semi-staged version with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra and some mesmerising traditional Javanese dancers. It was at Suntory Hall, which is a really great concert hall. Unfortunately, photography isn't allowed, but, just for you, I did sneak a picture of the stage lights, which I thought were pretty cool. On the way home, I took in the Christmas lights. In Japan, Christmas is just another commercial holiday, on the run up to New Year, which is The Big One. Couples spend Christmas Eve together and give each other presents, but that's about it. But they do the lights and wall-to-wall Christmas music very well, which is getting me in the mood. Even though there's not a cloud in the sky here, while I write this, I'm listening to Bing Crosby "...and every mother's child is going to spy, to see if Reindeer really know how to fly". Tonight I'll be putting up my 2 foot plastic Christmas tree, and later this week I plan to ice my mum's legendary cake.
Tonight, another surprise on my week off, my friend and musical hero, Ohta Keisuke the violinist and singer, asked me to play a little duo improvised gig with him tonight. I quickly accepted, as, although a completely improvised tuba and violin duo is a nerve-racking prospect, playing with Ohta-San is like getting a masterclass in musicianship. I've dusted off my electronics, and I'm really looking forward to it.
For now, I'll leave you with some interesting things I've seen recently in Japan. Tara now,
"Unagi Pie" This is a biscuit from Hamamatsu in Shizuoka. Made from butter, sugar, and powdered eel bones (I kid you not). It's actually delicious. I don't know if you can make out the writing "a snack for nights"? This is because apparently eel gives you strength, and is supposedly very good for your wife, if you catch my drift.
The stage lights at Suntory Hall.
This was a cafe I found in Kyoto. It was just a normal, quite smart cafe inside, I was disappointed to discover!
Shop sign in Ikebukuro.Go figure.
One for Pete here. You too can dress like a mushroom.
Suntory Hall Christmas lights.