Category Archives: Up-and-coming…

New Directions Vol. 3 @ Urbanguild, Kyoto; July 9th

new directions

Our pal, Christopher Fryman, is hosting a series of New Directions events at Urbanguild these days, and has asked me to help spread the word about the next show on July 9th. As Christopher is a pal, and the list of performers does look rather good, and especially as this will be a NON-SMOKING EVENT (!!!) I am very happy to oblige.

First the details:

Date: July 9th 2015
Doors open: 19:30
Show starts: 20:00
Tickets on the door: 2200 yen + 1drink
Tickets in advance: 1700 yen + 1drink

Directions: To get to Urbanguild from Sanjo Dori, go down Kiyamachi Dori (This is the narrow street running alongside the Takase stream). Urbanguild is on the east side (the left hand side as you walk down from Sanjo) about 150 metres. It’s on the 3rd floor of the New Kyoto Building – access by elevator or stairs. Here is a MAP.

Here’s the list of performers:

Hitomi Shimizu
Takeshi Unate & Yuko Nazuna (calligrapher)
Siete passos para el cielo & Himeko Narumi (dancer)

Christopher is particularly keen that people come to see Kyoto-based composer Hitomi Shimizu who will be playing a quarter tone keyboard that she made herself. Here are some more details…

hitomishimizuHitomi SHIMIZU is a composer for film and TV soundtracks and winner of the Japan Academy Award 2001 for the Japanese film “Waterboys”. Hitomi has studied music composition since the age of 14 and is especially intersted in micro tuning. After graduating from Toho Gakuen Conservatoire, she built herself a 43-tone microtuning organ and made frequent live performances with violinist Hiromi NISHIDA as a duo “SYZYGYS” in Tokyo. She plays “microtuning pop” which is Hitomi’s life work. “SYZYGYS” CDs are available worldwide, produced by John Zorn on his TZADIK label. For her solo works, she plays 205/octave microtonal keyboard called “Tonal Plexus 6s” as well as her self made 43 tone organ.
unate
Takeshi Unate is an Asian style, one-man-band ‘pokopoko’ musician. He plays with body and spirit. His hands use many melodic instruments, singing with his mouth and nose, beating with his feet and an array of flutes, whistles and other rare instruments.

nazuna

Yuko Nazuna is a shodo (Japanese calligraphy) artist. She has performed live calligraphy at shrines and temples in Nara.

siete

SIETE PASSOS PARA EL CIELO are an esoteric free style band playing a beginning, middle, and end. Their influences range from Mahler to Mingus. They are

Kurata Kenichi – Bass
Ito Makoto – Sax
Christopher Fryman – Trumpet
盛田泰三  – Drums

himeko

Himeko Narumi is a dancer and art model who has danced all over Japan and participated in many International Festivals. She is currently a member of “The Physical Poets” that use body movements and dance. At the same time, she has a career as a solo dancer and has been working with music in improvisation dance sessions. She focuses on invisible things, a sense of air, music, mind and energy, and the spirit of the land…

All pictures courtesy of Christopher Fryman & Urbanguild.

Maruzen Bookstore Returning to Kyoto!

MaruzenIt’s been ten long years since Kyoto’s best bookstore closed it’s doors… but now Maruzen is coming back! Kyoto’s legendary bookstore occupied a special place in the hearts of expats because of it’s huge English language book section. Locals too were sad to see the historic shop close down, for Maruzen had occupied a spot on Kawaramachi Street since 1907.

kyotobal20150630_01

The new Maruzen store will occupy two basement floors of the renovated Bal building which reopens on August 21st. Apparently it will include a cafe, western books and stationary – and it is going to be huge. This is a team effort with Junkudo, so we will have to wait and see if the new shop really has that old Maruzen magic. I’m going to be there on August 21st to find out though, and I’m sure a lot of other Maruzen fans will be there too. You can find a map for the Bal building and other details on the Bal Kyoto website here: http://www.bal-bldg.com/bal-kyoto/

Thanks to Mewby for giving me the hot tip on this breaking news!

Pendulum – Japanese Traditional Music Course @ Kyoto Geidai; August 18-20

Alison Tokita is running an intensive 3-day course on Japanese traditional music at Kyoto City University of Arts, August 18th – 20th, 2015.

Click to download PDF

Click to download PDF

This short-short course will introduce many of the genres of traditional Japanese music that have been transmitted to the present and are still actively performed. The course will also discuss the varied ways of experiencing musical modernity in the context of the overwhelming dominance of western music in Japan. It will provide an accessible overview of Japanese music culture for non-Japanese participants, including performers, composers and musicologists. It is also intended for Japanese participants who are interested in an international perspective on Japanese music, and students planning to study abroad who want to know something about their ‘own’ music as well as western music.

The major genres include gagaku, shōmyō, and shakuhachi and koto music. The narrative genres of heike and jōruri and their place in the nō, bunraku and kabuki theatres will be introduced. Practical encounter with some genres during learning sessions, and an evening concert will be included.

Cost: 5,000 yen (payable in cash at the commencement of the course)

Schedule: There will be two sessions per day over three days. Morning session 10:00-13:00 Afternoon session 14:00-17:00 (The following schedule may be adapted depending on the interests of participants.)

HOW TO APPLY: Registrations must be received by Friday July 31 by email. Payment will be made on the first day of the course, August 18, between 9:00 and 10:00. Registration form can be found on the website.
Enquiries and registration: public@kcua.ac.jp
Enquiries can also be made to the course convenor, Alison Tokita: tokita@kcua.ac.jp
Here is the link for further details and a contact form: http://jupiter.kcua.ac.jp/jtm/events/c_course/2015/hogakuatgeidai.html

The 4th Kyoto Photo Walk – Sunday, July 5th with Javier Montano

photowalk 4

Good news for would-be photographers – Javier Montano of Daijoubu! Photography is organizing another Photo Walk. It’s a great opportunity to socialize, pick up some tips from expert photographers and improve your own shooting technique. No special equipment is required to join the walk – all you need is a camera or i-phone.

Details:
Day: Sunday, July 5th
Time: 4pm
Location: Hankyu Arashiyama Station Entrance

After the walk participants will get together for dinner and drinks.

See also:
http://www.javiermontano.net
https://www.facebook.com/Daijoubuphotography

The Toy Film Museum – おもちゃ映画ミュージアム

IMG_0262 (Medium)

Kyoto’s newest museum, the Toy Film Museum,  opened on May 18th 2015 on a tiny little side street just off Koin Doori in the Mibu area. I ventured down there shortly after it opened to see what it was like. My general feeling after visiting is that the place has a lot of potential, but if you are not fluent in Japanese and/or super interested in old movies then this place isn’t really for you. I am interested in old movies, so I really liked the place, but I would understand if it wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea. However, they will be holding events, talks and movie screenings there, which may be of more general interest. More about the events later. First here’s what I found when I visited:

* It’s in a cute old machiya building, but at present only a small part of that building contains exhibits.
* The main exhibits are antique cameras and home movie projectors. These are not individually labelled with information.
* I was given a print about the contents of the museum and there is some information on the surrounding walls about movie history but naturally this is all in Japanese.
* Likewise the staff only speak Japanese, but they are super friendly, and they very kindly gave me a cup of coffee and a biscuit!
* There are some toys and toy projectors you can play with, but by themselves they are probably not enough to warrant the 500 yen entry fee.
* They also have some old silent movies on show on a TV screen hooked up to a computer. These seemed to be mostly swashbuckling samurai chambara movies, which back in the golden age of Japanese movie making were as popular as Hollywood westerns.

Some of those old timey projectors.

Some of those old timey projectors.

I rather enjoyed talking with the people at the museum who were very happy to talk about old movies with me. It’s also nice to see this aspect of Kyoto’s heritage being celebrated. Kyoto has a long historical connection with the movie industry, Japanese movie making was basically born here, and during Kyoto’s movie-making heyday in the 1930s the local studios at Uzumasa were knocking out 4 movies a month. Remember, in those days, people didn’t have TV, so movies were the most popular form of entertainment and showings were always packed.

IMG_0251

Some of the exhibits at the Toy Film Museum.

During the silent movie era, Japan had a rather unique way of presenting movies. In addition to musical accompaniment, there was also a narrator, called a 活弁士 (katsubenshi). Like the very best storytellers, this narrator wouldn’t just explain the action on screen but would give voice to the characters and really bring the movie to life. Some of these narrators were extremely popular in their own right and people would go as much to enjoy the katsuben performance as to see the movie itself.

Now this brings me to an upcoming event at the Toy Film Museum which presents a unique opportunity to enjoy a silent movie screening in an old-timey Japanese style. As I wrote above, the organizers of the museum are planning to hold some talks and old movie screenings at the venue and there is a special movie screening coming up this Sunday on June 14th. The movie is called 僕らの弟 (Our Little Brother), a 1933 movie by celebrated screenwriter Yoshitaka Yoda, and it will be narrated live by expert movie narrator, Kataoka Ichiro. You can read more about the movie in the flyers which I shall post below. The fee for entry is 1,700 yen and the doors open at 18.30 for a 19.00 screening. Of course the whole event is in Japanese, but if your language skills are up to scratch this could be a really entertaining event. And if they aren’t up to scratch, well it’ll be good practice for you. Here are those (clickable) event flyers.

僕らの弟_表 僕らの弟_裏

Location: The Toy Film Museum is on a tiny side street on the east side of Koin Doori: the diagonal street that runs betwen Shijo Omiya Station and Nijo Station. The side street is easy to miss but there’s a shop with a sign reading “National Bicycle” just opposite and a Toy Film Museum sign to point the way. You can find a map here: MAP.
Address: 〒604‐8805
京都府京都市中京区壬生馬場町29-1
Telephone Number: 075(803)0033
Website: http://toyfilm-museum.jp/

Many thanks to Akira Yamamoto for posting about the Toy Film Museum on the Deep Kyoto Facebook Page, and to the folks at the Toy Film Museum for keeping me posted on events.

FESTIVIN! Natural Wine Festival in Kyoto June 28th 2015

Since 2010, Festivin, Japan’s largest natural wine festival, has been held in Tokyo, but this year for the first time it comes to Kyoto!

festivin_kyoto
What is Festivin?

As the name FESTIVIN suggests (the coinage of the words “festival” and “vin” – vin meaning wine in French), it is not a professional tasting session (we do not have any spittoons at the venue), but an opportunity to share delicious wines with mates. The number of attendees has increased year by year and we were happy to have around 2,000 people (over two sessions on the day), last year. You will be able to taste as many wines as you want from a selection of around 300 labels from France, Italy, Georgia, Austria, Chile, Slovenia and other countries. – From Food & Wine Diary from Tokyo.

Event details:

Date/Time: 2015.6.28 (Sunday) 12:00-16:00

Admission: ¥6,000 in advance ¥7,000 cash at the door (subject to availability) – please understand that tickets for the event may sell-out in advance of the event date and may not be available on the day. Admission includes unlimited tasting of available wines, one tasting glass and a memorial glass holder; yours to keep forever. Please note that food is not included in the admission price and is available on a “pay as you eat” basis.

Online tickets (Ticket Pia): http://ticket.pia.jp/pia/event.do?eventCd=1522191
Ticket Pia Tel : 0570-02-9999
http://t.pia.jp/
P-code: 629470 (using this code, aside from Ticket Pia, tickets can also be purchased at Circle K and Seven-Eleven convenience stores)

You can also buy tickets at participating restaurants and wine bars (see http://festivin.com for details).

Venue: Miyako Messe, 9-1 Okazaki, Seishoji-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 606-8343
http://www.miyakomesse.jp/
http://www.miyakomesse.jp/english/

E-mail: festivin@gmail.com (English enquiries are welcome)
http://festivin.com
https://ja-jp.facebook.com/festivin

For more details see the official Festivin website: http://festivin.com
For a history of Festivin see The Food & Wine Diary from Tokyo.

The Third Kyoto Record Fair @ Zest Oike on May 16th & 17th 2015

This weekend all the best record and CD shops in Kyoto, plus a few guest record shops will be taking part in a big old record fair at Zest Oike. Apparently there will also be some live music performances and “talk shows” during the event. Check below for details.

kyotorecordmatsuri

Dates: May 16th (Saturday) and 17th (Sunday).
Time: 11:00 – 20:00
Location: Zest Oike is an underground shopping mall which lies beneath Oike Street between Kawaramachi and Teramachi. The record fair will be held in the Kawaramachi Plaza. Here is a MAP of the location.
Website (Japanese): http://kyotorecordmatsuri.blogspot.jp

Entry is of course completely FREE. Here is a list of participating record stores.

record stores

Kyoto International School International Bazaar; May 24th 2015

Thanks to Justin Giffin who sent in the following:

On Sunday May 24 Kyoto International School (KIS) is having its annual International Bazaar / Festival. 10 am3pm.
There will be stalls with food from various countries, beer, performances by students and a flea market ( kids books, clothes etc).
This is not just for families of kids at the school – anyone is welcome – there are bound to be a number of people you know there- please do come if you can !

The festival is at the school : one street west of Horikawa, just south of Nakadachiuri (south of Imadegawa).

kis bazaar

Charles Roche’s First Exhibition – “For Friends” @ Papa Jon’s Eatery

Congratulations to Charles Roche on his first exhibition, “For Friends”. On Sunday, Mewby and I popped into Papa Jon’s Eatery to check out his paintings and we were both really impressed. Viewing his work, it really is extraordinary that Charles has only been painting for two and a half years and is completely self-taught.

Charles with one of his most recent pieces, "Inexorable Autumn".

Charles with one of his most recent pieces, “Inexorable Autumn”.

While there I took the opportunity to appreciate another piece of artistry; this Velvet Blueberry Cheesecake.

cheesecake

Art and cheesecake – what more could you want? The show continues until May 17th, and if you would like to meet the artist in person he will be there to greet you from 5:00 pm. I would encourage you all to go and take a look.

for friends

This image courtesy of Charles Roche.

Location: Papa John’s Eatery is on the 3rd floor of the Shimpukan Building, just south of Oike, on the east side of Karasuma.

nariiki – 「CORE」 Album Release Show at Urbanguild, Kyoto; May 29th

Jazz pianist Kevin McHugh‘s “experimental” improv/jazz/punk/chamber group, nariiki, are passing through Kyoto this month on their album release tour.

nariki

Judging from this video performance I’d say they are worth a look.

Date: May 29th (Friday)
Location: Urbanguild, Kiyamachi, Kyoto.
Doors Open: 19:00
Show Starts: 19:30
Advance Tickets: 2500 yen with 1drink
On the door: 2800 yen with 1 drink

Also playing:
Shanti-Cology +
Sébastien Grandgambe & Sophie Maurin

Directions: To get to Urbanguild from Sanjo Dori, go down Kiyamachi Dori (This is the narrow street running alongside the Takase stream). Urbanguild is on the east side (the left hand side as you walk down from Sanjo) about 150 metres. It’s on the 3rd floor of the New Kyoto Building – access by elevator or stairs. Here is a MAP.

20150529

Check out nariiki’s Facebook event page for their other shows in Kansai.

See also:
http://www.urbanguild.net/
http://therealmchugh.com/
http://nariiki.com
https://nariiki.bandcamp.com/