Category Archives: Up-and-coming…

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.


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):

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.


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.


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.


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

See also:

“The Question of Butoh” – A Celebration; May 18th – 24th

The following information was sent in by our friend Bridget Scott, for further details please see the website:

What is “Butoh”?
What is “Butoh” asking of us who are living today?

For one week from Monday 18th May to Sunday 24th, a series of butoh performances, workshops and lectures will take place in Kyoto. There will be performances, workshops and lectures featuring 30 butoh dancers, held at 5 different venues. This is are great opportunity for butoh fans, as well as those who are discovering the genre for the first time, to encounter what the expression of butoh is today. A celebration of butoh on this scale has not been seen in Kyoto for over 20 years!

The Question of Butoh

The Forum “The Question of Butoh”

It has been over a half century since the word “butoh” was born. Butoh has been continuously changing as it’s passed on from person to person. This event is an attempt to find “butoh” in each butoh dancer / contemporary dancer who is living and expressing today. Over seven days, covering six themes, performances and workshops will be held by over 30 people/groups at 5 different venues around Kyoto. Kansai based performers will be joined by performers from Tokyo, Fukuoka and Yakushima.

“ To Become・To Transform”
19th May (Tuesday) 18:30start@space ALS-D
performers:Hiraoka Hideyuki, Yurabe Masami, Saisaku (from Tokyo)
“SUITAIGAIRO *extrapyramidal movements”

20th May (Wednesday) 19:00start@UrBANGUILD
performers:Kuroko Sanae , Seisaku, Takeshiyo Mariya, Yamaguchi Keiko
“At The Beginning and The End” Solo and improvisation while listening to a faint something

21st May (Thursday) 18:30start@Social Kitchen
perfomers:Atashi Yoshiko, Ichikawa Maya, Ozaki Nobuyuki, Keruko, Sakata Kaori, Takeda Keiko, Tamara Kouji, Nakamura Miharu, Hirano Akihiro, Matsumoto Kiyokazu, Yamamoto Masashi
“Wear, Wrap, Dress, Take Off”

22st May (Friday) 19:00 start @UrBANGUILD
perfomer:Ima Tenko, Kinki Iori, Harada Nobuo(Butoh Seiryukai,, from Fukuoka), Bridget Scott
“Butoh For the Dead”

23rd May (Saturday) 18:00start@Nishijin Factory Garden, Space ALS-D
performer:Seki Noriko, Tanaka Seiji, Rosa Yuki
“The [traditional] body”

24th May (Sunday)17:00 start@Nishijin Factory Garden
performer:Fukurozaka Yasuo, Fujieda Mushimaru (from Yakushima), Butoh Company KIRAZA, Yamamoto Kazuma, Yangjah+Bando Chikako

18th May
(Monday) 10:20~19:00@Space ALS-D
facilitator: Yurabe Masami, Hiraoka Hideyuki, Seisaku

22nd May (Friday) 14:00~17:00@Nishijin Factory Garden
facilitator: Fujieda Mushimaru

23rd May (Saturday)13:00~15:00@Ima Tenko Butoh Kenkyujo
facilitator: Ima Tenko

24th May
(Saturday)14:00~15:30@Nishijin Factory Garden
lecturer:Kobayashi Masahiro(Professor of The Institute of Advanced Media Arts and Sciences)

For more details and reservation, please visit the website:
※Please note each venue has limited number of audience seats.
Kindly reserve your tickets as soon as possible.
Produced by: The Committee of “the question of butoh”

KYOTOGRAPHIE SPECIAL: Night Viewing with Torches of Martin Gusinde’s Exhibition

This looks like fun and there is still time to catch it! From Marguerite Paget:

Experience a special and exciting night viewing of the Martin Gusinde’s exhibition: The spirit of the Tierra del Fuego people, Selk’nam,Yamana, Kawésqar.

Every day from 8-9pm at Kyoto City Hall open square in the Paper Tube Pavilion by Shigeru Ban.
The venue will be plunged into darkness during the event. Bring your torch or borrow one at the venue!

Date: everyday from May 1st until May 10th
Time: from 8 to 9pm
Admission Fee: Adults, Students (University, High school students) 500 yen or KYOTOGRAPHIE passport
Place: Kyoto City Hall open square
488 Teramachi-Oike, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto,604-8571Subway Tozai Line Kyoto Shiyakusho-mae Station” 1 min. on foot from exit 15 Keihan Line “Sanjo Station” 7 min. on foot from exit 12

Fujinomori Festival & Kakeuma Shinji – Acrobatic Horseback Riding


Trick riders at Fujinomori Shrine get ready to awe the crowds.

Mewby and I caught this festival last year and for sheer excitement it can’t be beat. I highly recommend you catch this event on May 5th.


A parade from Fujinomori Shrine arrives at Fushimi Inari Taisha

Earlier that morning (from around 10.30) we saw mikoshi (portable shrines) from Fujinomori Shrine carried in a parade to Fushimi Inari Taisha. It was raining but that did not dampen the spirits of the people carrying the mikoshi – they all had beers waiting for them in ice buckets at Fushimi Inari.

IMG_6003 (Medium) IMG_6014 (Medium) IMG_6010 (Medium)
The main part of this festival though is the renowned “Kakeuma Shinji” (駈馬神事) at Fujinomori Shrine. This is an acrobatic horseback riding ritual,  held on May 5th every year. Participants perform all kinds of crazy stunts whilst galloping full tilt through the shrine grounds. I’ve read that the stunts performed are derived from techniques used in battle, but it is hard to conceive of what practical use these tricks would be, except maybe to distract your enemy with thoughts of “Wow, you’re really cool”. Upside down, side saddle, tossing paper streamers – if you can imagine it, they do it – and the cheering crowds are left gasping in admiration.

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All the riders are from families who have been performing these stunts for generations. The older gentleman at the end of the video below was performing his last stunt before retiring.

The stunt riding takes place at 1 o’clock and 3 o’clock (each time lasting for about an hour). I’d recommend getting to this event early, as it packs out pretty quick. Fujinomori Shrine is a 5 minute walk from JR Fujinomori Station on the JR Nara Line, or a 7 minute walk from Sumizome Station on the Keihan Line. Here is a MAP.


Song: The Streets of Kyoto ~ An Exhibition by Photography Collective “Visions of Kyoto”


Image courtesy of Visions of Kyoto

Here’s a project inspired by a song learned by every child in Kyoto. “Kyoto toori na kazoe uta” 「京都通り名数え唄」 is a folksong used to memorize the names of the streets that run east to west from Marutamachi in the north of Kyoto, all the way down to Kujo in the south.

The Streets of Kyoto: Image courtesy of Visions of Kyoto

The Streets of Kyoto: Image courtesy of Visions of Kyoto

The song goes like this.

Inspired by this song, the “Visions of Kyoto” collective, seven foreign-born photographers long resident in Kyoto, have tried to capture the spirit of modern Kyoto, by photographing these 26 streets. You can see their efforts displayed at Cafe Foodelica until Monday 11th of May. And the opening party is at Cafe Foodelica on Saturday 25th April from 18.30. Check their website for details:

Cafe Foodelica is situated near Shugakuin station. Here is a MAP.

You can also browse from of the photos here:

I shall give the last word to the photographers:

In historical Kyoto, the past is very much alive, tangible and relevant to our lives in the present, and it informs us as we try to describe our visions of the future and move forward together. “Visions of Kyoto” is our way to express what Kyoto represents to us in photographs. However, our aim is to not only show the traditional face of Kyoto, but also the city as it exists today, new and modern and vibrant. We would be delighted if our photos help people better understand and feel more connected to Kyoto. Kyoto is, after all, not a city stuck in the past, but a city of innovation, technology and scholarship. With “Visions of Kyoto” we take pride in the city and its people, forging a link with future generations, and spreading appreciation for Kyoto beyond Japan to the world. Visions of Kyoto

Arabesk ~ Gypsy, Soul, Jazz Music @ Blue Note Kyoto; May 7th 2015

Put some Gypsy in your Soul with Arabesk in Blue Note Kyoto!

Arabesk play a brand of music that is often described as Gypsy Soul. For those looking to embark on a journey of authentic m
usical exploration, not contained by any cultural boundary, they are a band guaranteed to put some real “gypsy” in your “soul”.


Many thanks to George Bourdaniotis for sending in the following information on Arabesk’s upcoming show at Blue Note Kyoto.

Date: 7th May
Open: 19:00
Start: 20:00 & 21:30
Charge: ¥1,500
Location: Blue Note, Kyoto is located on the south side of a little street between Kawaramachi and Kiyamachi three streets south of Sanjo. Here is a MAP.
Address: 〒604-8021 京都府 京都市中京区 北車屋町北車屋町264,

Originally formed in 2003 Arabesk are a Sydney based quartet who have adopted many of the disparate international rhythms and melodies of Australia’s multicultural society and molded them into their own unique style. Theirs is a journey of constant discovery that has taken them from the tradition-steeped back streets of Eastern Europe, to the bustling bazaars of Turkey. Added to this potent worldly brew are a list of influences that include luminaries such as guitarist Django Reinhardt, jazz drummer Elvin Jones, tango master Astor Piazzola, and bassist Stanley Clarke.

Here’s a clip of the band in action at the Takatsuki Jazz Festival in 2011.

Find out more about Arabesk’s music on their website here:
Follow their 2015 Tour of Japan on Facebook here:

Established in 1953, Blue Note Kyoto is an intimate venue with a rich history of hosting big names over the years.

Read my previous article on Blue Note here:
Visit Blue Note’s website here:

Ludovic B.A. Lyra & Yoko Takeda Live @ Zac Baran & Philippe’s Bar

Ludovic B.A Lyra et Yoko Takeda: Image courtesy of Yoko Takeda

Ludovic B.A Lyra et Yoko Takeda: Image courtesy of Yoko Takeda

I had a listen to these two musicians yesterday and was quietly impressed. Check them out here:

Good, eh? Ludovic B.A. Lyra & Yoko Takeda have two live shows in Kyoto, coming up very shortly. Here are the details:

This Thursday, April 23rd, they will play at legendary jazz izakaya ZAC BARAN.

Doors open: 18:00
Show starts: 19:30
Charge:¥1800 (+drink/food order)
For reservations: 075-751-9748

This Friday, April 24th, from around 21:00 they will play a cozy set at Philippe’s bar. Entry is free, but please buy a drink (or two) and tips would be appreciated (by which I mean money in the hat – not musical advice).