Jazz Rendezvous

Thursday, October 18

Thursday mornings mean a bike ride to main campus and a Japanese class for me. It was another fine day in Takamatsu. Just as a quick note, it is nearly November and we’re are still seeing 70 degree (F) days. Yes, the nights are colder, but so far, aside from when I was sick, I haven’t needed more than a sweater. This place has a truly wonderful climate.

Class that day went a bit more smoothly than the previous week since I wasn’t the focal point of conversation with the entire class. This week we worked on a worksheet together with the class. Thankfully, I had a friend sitting next to me to help me read the kanji characters that were unfamiliar to me. So far, the best help that I’ve gotten from all my classes have come from the topics that the worksheets are introducing, and from my own self-directed study that furthers what is introduced in class in my own way. But right now, my vocabulary simply isn’t big enough to follow along in class.

12:00pm

Upon completion of class, I make my way to the covered mall. I hadn’t seen my host father in about two weeks at that point so we had decided to grab lunch together that afternoon. We meet at 12:30 and he leads me across the main road and we dive into the side roads that litter the back areas of Takamatsu, until we find ourselves on the doorstep of a small little hole-in-the-wall ramen noodle shop. I was excited! Before coming to Japan, one of the things that I was most excited about was trying some real ramen. But since the Kagawa area is famous for udon, there hasn’t been much of an opportunity for me to try any ramen, until now.

I’ll tell you what, this place was awesome! We were the only customers and it was family run. Not only was the food delicious, but after we had finished, Takao-san told me that there was going to be a jazz concert hosted there that very evening! Some of you know this, and others don’t, but here is a fact about me and music. For those times when I’m not flooding my ears with some various form of electronic music or a DJ set, I will be listening to Jazz. Also, for the mornings when I have the time, my favorite tradition is to listen to jazz while drinking my coffee, especially on Sunday morning. I don’t know what it is, but that combination is just better on Sunday. So needless to say, I was stoked, and signed onto the guest list for that evening.

7:00pm

As I was getting ready to leave I noticed an orange glow coming in through my sliding door. So I step out onto my balcony to see what it is.

Speaking of nice weather…

After failing at my attempt to gather a partner to join me on such short notice to bike all the way back to Takamatsu from the dormitory in Yashima for the jazz concert that evening, I hit the road solo with my headlight flashing and a red tail lamp clipped to my belt. After about 25 minutes, I (surprisingly) found my way back to the little ramen shop. Once I pulled up however, I knew I was in the right place. From around the corner the sounds of jazz were wafting over my ears and at once my foot started tapping.

When I entered, I was surprised to see how full the place was, but I was recognized by the owner from that afternoon and ushered to an empty table near the back. At that point, my host father had yet to arrive. He was going to be busy until later with business. I was quickly served a drink and then I was free to begin enjoying my evening.

This was the owner’s favorite sake. You can see him there in the background. Here however, all alcohol is referred to as sake, even beer and liquor and wine. It took me a while to pick up on this, but here, rice wine is referred to as Nihon shu.

On the left hand side you can see the daughter helping out.

The full house… Everyone was whistling and clapping after the solos. The place had a great atmosphere.

The guy with the trombone rocked!

the guitar and the blues harp (harmonica)

This guy rocked as well!

The trombone player switched off to this at some point. Still have no idea what it is…

Here he is rockin’ out!

Takao showed up after the second set was done and we were in the middle of an intermission. It was then that he requested permission for me to take up the guitar and entertain. I was very nervous and out of practice, but regardless, it was fun!

After another set and some conversation, I decide to make my way home. The jazz was done for the night, and so was I. It was a lot of fun. When I got home, I cooked up some food and retired to bed.

Salmon, sautéed vegetables, and soba

The End

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