Sunday, October 22, 2017

Asian Kagoshima 2017

The city of Kagoshima had been advertising Asian Kagoshima 2017 for at least a month leading up to this weekend. I've seen the previous years' events, and I was mostly looking forward to this one. School students from southeast Asian countries, including South Korea, China, Malaysia, and Indonesia are invited to Kagoshima to perform songs and dances over the weekend. Generally, Saturday is the indoor day, with the main performances in the auditorium in Houzan Hall, next door to Central Park. Then on Sunday there's food from the ethnic restaurants in the city, served in the park, plus a few more performances on the outdoor stage. The problem was that Japan was in the path of another typhoon, which would hit Kyushu on Sunday, and I didn't know if things would be cancelled or not. We've already had two other events cancelled during this summer, only to have the typhoons completely miss Kagoshima.

Saturdays are usually my busiest day of the week at the English school, but on the 21st I had a long break from 4 PM to 8 PM. So, during the break I went over to Houzan Hall, which is only a couple short blocks from the school, and the outside of the hall was devoid of people. There were some greeters in the lobby, but no audience members lounging around. Since the place looked almost abandoned, I took a few photos of the hall and the park in the rain, and went to a coffee shop for the rest of the break. My expectation was that even if it wasn't cancelled, there really wasn't anyone watching the performances because of the bad weather. After the break, I returned to the school for one class, then went back home.

I got out of the apartment at 1:30 PM on Sunday, and sure enough workers were already halfway done tearing down the food booths.

"Today's Asian Kagoshima Fest in Central Park is cancelled because of the typhoon."
This is especially a shame because I know one of the guys that works at the Sri Lanka curry restaurant nearby in Tenmonkan, and they were really excited about having a booth here this week to make up for weak sales because of the sagging economy. I'm hoping that things pick up for them soon.

I decided I was going to go up to Amu Plaza from here, and to do so I'd cut through Tenmonkan. As I got up to the 7-11, I discovered that the outdoor performances had been moved to the intersection here, and I was just in time to see the school girl from Malaysia doing a balancing act while bouncing a ball from her right foot (video below).

A lot of the performance was actually spent carefully arranging the bricks, chairs and bottles to ensure that they'd be stable enough. The girl's performance time was only about 7-8 minutes, total, but she's still pretty talented.

She was followed by students from an Indonesian dance school. These students were also good, and I enjoyed the dance. Not sure what the story behind the dance was, though...

This dance lasted 7 minutes, and was the last performance of the day. Everyone started packing up and heading out, so I continued on my way up to Amu Plaza. I'd been told there was some other event slated for this Sunday next to the river near the train station, but when I got there, all the food booth tents had been dismantled. A security guard in the area mentioned that the event, whatever it was, had also been postponed, but might be rescheduled for next week. At Amu Plaza, the big plaza in front of the train station was empty, and it looked like the department store had pulled everything out and removed the AstroTurf to keep it from being damaged by the typhoon. However, at 3 PM, the rain had stopped and the skies were turning blue, so the city's panic was again misplaced.

Also scheduled for this weekend was the 12-mile Myouenji Walk, which usually starts from Terukuni shrine, next door to Central Park, and continues out to Ijuin. I'd considered doing the walk again this year (having done it 3 times before), but the route is pretty boring. With the rain and all, I figured I'd be better off staying home. One of my students had talked about doing the walk this year, though, and I'll have to ask her if it had also been cancelled or not the next time I see her.

Over all, a quiet, albeit somewhat interesting weekend.

Direct youtube link

Saturday, October 21, 2017

El Sonido

El Sonido is a new bar that opened up near the apartment, in a space that had been vacant after Bakery Shoe went out of business a year ago (before that, Shoe had been Anniversary, located near City Hall. I liked them because they made good dessert cakes.) El Sonido is a small bar, very intimate. But, I think the sign is more interesting.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Blackboard Collection

There's a shop in the Maruya Gardens department store in Tenmonkan that carries something called Blackboard Collection. I'm not sure which one, though. Anyway, they're advertising Pokemon figures.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Bar Prison

Bar Prison opened up recently in the red light section of Tenmonkan. I'm not sure I want to spend the money (approx. $45 for a dinner set) to get inside to see what the concept is.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Loop Shoes Sign

Sign for Loop Shoes. This is the same company that had a character on the sign apologizing for their "final sale," saying "If you don't buy these shoes, we'll be in trouble." The above character is Funashi, mascot for Funabashi, Chibi (area north of Tokyo). Here, it's advertising the new Fall line of shoes.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Tsugi no Asa and Mister Donuts Card

I had to run out of the apartment yesterday, and I'd forgotten to upload the day's post when I got back. So, here's two posts for you today.

Tsugi no Asa

"Tsugi no Asa" translates to "Next morning." The sign says "dining farm," but I'm not sure what that means. I just like the way the cat forms part of the kanji for "asa," and the tail curls into "no".

Mister Donuts Card

Mister Donut has an e-money system where you can get a plastic credit card-like piece of plastic (same size and thickness), but the card only has a barcode that gets scanned into the computer, and money gets credited to the Mister Donut database somewhere, rather than written to a mag strip on the card itself. I got this one as kind of a money-back points system for buying $18 worth of food and coffee, for 250 yen back. That's the value of one more cup of coffee. Kind of worthless, but the artwork is nice.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Oct. 13-14 Weekend

KKB Days

The KKB TV station had their seasonal event to promote their new TV shows. I had to go up to Amu Plaza on Thursday, and I saw the crews putting up the stage, and the camera people blocking out the shots for the live events, so I knew what was going to be happening over the weekend. However, I had to work on Saturday, and wasn't able to get to Amu Plaza at all on the first day.

And it rained off and on on Sunday, so few people showed up to be in the audience then. (There were a lot more people in the department store, they just couldn't be bothered to go outside.) On the other hand, most of the stage events consisted of the program hosts talking to the audience, and interviewing guests (the woman above is wearing a red apron from some restaurant). There were a couple of music acts scheduled, but they looked like the standard boy bands, which I'm not interested in, and one manzai (comic duo) that I've seen before. The manzai guys are good, but their routine doesn't change much.

There were signs around the stage saying "no cameras or cell phones." A number of people ignored the signs, and the security guards didn't bother trying to enforce them. Even so, I didn't think that recording the event was worth the risk.

KKB also had booths on the promenade for people to pretend to be a voice actor, or newscaster, but no one was taking advantage of them when I was there. It's always the same booths from year to year, so I didn't take extra pictures of them this time.

The virtual reality booth in the back used the standard polarized 3D viewers that everyone else has, so I didn't bother seeing what they were showing. I assumed it was a 3D version of one of their regular programs.

I just hung around long enough to tell that there wasn't anything I had any interest in, then went home to work on the computer some more.

Milk Day

I'd been wondering when the next milk promo event was going to happen, but I was surprised to see that they'd scheduled it for this weekend. I had classes from 2-4 PM and then from 5 to 6 PM, and I got to the stage in front of 7-11 in Tenmonkan on my way to the school at about 1:45. That didn't give me much time to take photos, although at that point, all they had going on was a promo by the foamhead mascots, and giving out little cups of milk. The line for the free milk was too long, so I just kept walking.

(Mascot for Satsuma City, left.)

During my break, I headed back to Tenmonkan, but the milk table was already gone, and the stage was being torn down. Guess I didn't miss much.

Wine Festa

Also during the same weekend, there was a Wine Festa in the open space in front of Lotteria in Tenmonkan. I didn't look at the announcement board too closely, but in the past they've charged 1,500 yen ($13 USD) for tokens for three glasses of wine. I couldn't justify drinking that much wine during my break between classes on Saturday, and I didn't really want to spend the money on only three glasses, either.

Apparently I wasn't alone in that sentiment, since the space was mostly empty. Previously, the sponsors also had a live stage with musicians playing classical music, but not this weekend. That was another reason why I didn't bother spending the money.

Again, it rained on Sunday, and I just went up to Amu Plaza to check out the KKB Days event, and didn't walk back to Tenmonkan this time, so while I had the time to drink the wine on the second day, I didn't take the opportunity. Overall, a low-key weekend spent working, reading, and using the PC.