Thursday, October 23, 2014

Ten Birth

This event is a bit difficult to explain. When I was coming home after work on Saturday, after swinging by Bouzu Fest again, I headed over to Central Park to find out what the stage being erected earlier in the day was for. It was dark at that point and the area was abandoned except for a few workers. There was an event schedule that mentioned 3 stages: the main stage for the Sunday portion of Asian Kagoshima, and satellite stages in Berg and Pira malls. However, on Sunday, it turned out that Berg  was still hosting the Wine Fest, so I headed over to Piramall, next to the 7-11 in Tenmonkan. There, they had "Tenmon Birth", with various tables set up to sell cosmetics and hair care products. One sign mentioned that this was the anniversary of this part of the Tenmonkan complex.

The stage set sign listed acts from 11 AM to 1:30 PM, which I guess was part of the Asian Kagoshima event, and that Tenmon Birth was scheduled for the rest of the afternoon in the same space. Unfortunately, I couldn't find anything listing the later acts, so I don't know who this woman is.

She started out playing the main theme song from the Johnny Depp "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies, doing at least 4 instruments at the same time, with the 2 keyboards, and the 2 sets of foot pedals. It sounded exactly like the original song, so I was really impressed. Then she switched to a slower song that I didn't recognize, but still playing 4 instrument voices simultaneously. After that, the announcer stood up to introduce the next act, and I left because the wind had changed directions and was blowing volcano ash at us. Even so, it was a busy weekend for events.

I saw 3 clowns working the crowd and making balloon animals.

This is the best view of the full synthesizer.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Kagoshima Asian Fest, 2014

On Friday, the 17th, on the street car, I happened to meet one of the women from the lunchtime English lessons that's conducted at the International Center. She mentioned that she was volunteering as an interpreter for a group of Singaporean students in Kagoshima for the Asian festival being held over the weekend. I hadn't heard anything about the fest coming up, but I was expecting it to be some time soon. The one time I was able to watch it, 2 years ago, I was really impressed by the performance of the Malaysian students. The fest is kind of an exchange program, where students from different countries in the Asian Pacific perform various traditional songs or dances. Since I work on Saturdays, I missed the main performances held in Houzan Hall. But, there was a separate event on Sunday, in Central Park, that included food booths, and an outdoor stage.

Part of the event was sponsored by a travel agency, with employees handing out advertising for various domestic and foreign trip packages. The big plush fish is very cute.

I guess there were a couple hundred people in the park, some just there to play while the weather is good, others to listen to the music, or eat.

Most of the music acts on Sunday were Japanese. This guy is a local folk singer.

He was pretty good, but it's not my kind of music.

The activities booths included examples of various traditional Asian instruments, clothes, demonstrations of origami, and Japanese calligraphy being taught by school students.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


KKB is one of the local TV stations, and they had a small event on the 18th in the plaza in front of the main train station. I had to teach English lessons from 1 to 3 PM, and I spent some time at Honganji watching Bouzu Meets before going to a store to do food shopping. I didn't get to Amupla until just before 4 PM, and at that point all the stage acts were finished and the crew was working at prepping for something else. I have no idea what, because there were no signs announcing it, and I had to leave to teach another lesson at the same school at 5 PM.

Note that the short guy to the left of the photo, in the weird stretch pants, is a local TV talent that I've seen at other events in Kagoshima in the last couple of years.

The rest of the event consisted of booths advertising some of the TV shows that air on KKB, plus a small goods shop.

Some police drama.

Poster to the left is for another crime drama. The katakana at the bottom of the building case says "Before After"; maybe it's for a show about renovating houses.

I'm not sure if this booth was for a police drama, or if it was a recruiting center for the Kagoshima police department. It's a nice, shiny bike, though.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Wine Fest

This the "4th Wine Festa" (Oct. 18 and 19), but there was one in Berg Mall, in front of the Lotteria, a couple months ago, so I doubt it means "4th annual". Maybe just "4th one this year." I didn't get anything to drink partly because of the prices, but mainly because I still had English classes to teach later in the afternoon.

Like the previous festa, this one has shops selling wine and food, and people sitting around eating, drinking, but mostly talking. There's a lot fewer people this time, though, and no foreigners from any of the cruise ships.

Live music to set the atmosphere included a solo trumpet player doing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow".

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Bouzu Meets, 2014

The weekend of Oct. 18th was really busy, event-wise. We had Bouzu Meets Fes, Kagoshima Asia, Birth of Tenmonkan, KKB Day and the Wine Fest 4. Some of them overlapped so much that I ended up missing a large portion of the stage performances, which apparently were mostly singing and dancing. I've seen all of these events before, so I knew what to expect.

"Bouzu" is the Japanese name for a Buddhist priest. The main Buddhist temple is Honganji, between Tenmonkan and Central Park. They have kind of an "outreach" program where a priest will answer questions on a local radio station, and they also host an event day on the temple grounds once a year in the Fall. This year, it was on the 18th. There were about 20 booths selling food, drinks and local crafts. One booth was run by Aloha restaurant, selling grilled chicken for 300 yen ($3 USD). I bought a piece. It was pretty good, but I would have liked a little more chicken for the price.

One of the priests stood by the front entrance and offered some kind of ashes for people to anoint/purify themselves with.

One booth allowed visitors to dress up as priests and nuns.

Last year, Bouzu Meets had a stage set up in the parking lot where a radio announcer interviewed several priests on a live broadcast, and I was expecting to see that again this time. Instead, the temple had the music inside the main building. Here we have the a Capella group, Atorie Nowa-ru (Atelier Noir?).

There was kind of an outdoor space for music, but it was under-utilized.

The next group consisted of about 10 musicians doing a traditional flute and drum song to accompany a Chinese-influenced dance.

The drum on the right is a lot more elaborate than what I've seen before.

The dancer. He has a very strong dragon motif here.

The event continued until 9 PM. One of the booths had been selling handmade candles, and these may be from that shop.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Kent Ad

More inexplicable cigarette advertising. The text reads "Zero Man-made Additives. Naturally flavorful. Kent Taste Plus." The image of a dead leaf always reminds me of a cancerous lung x-ray...

Friday, October 17, 2014

Kagoshima Map

This map is a reproduction of an 1841 drawing of Kagoshima, located next to the aquarium. I knew that the water edge from the Bay was much farther inland than it is now, but I had no idea by how much. The bottom-most horizontal red line, about a block from the docks, represents modern-day Tram Street. This means that maybe 40% of the Tenmonkan shopping complex would have been underwater 170 years ago. There's a couple square miles of reclaimed land in that area.

The big yellow block towards the center of the map is the location of the old Satsuma castle grounds (Tsurumaru). The green hilly area directly above the castle is Shiroyama, the big hill that currently has the Shiroyama hotel at the top. The blue line to the upper left is the Kotsuki river. My apartment is near where the hills reach the Kotsuki.