Friday night I got invited to an ocarina concert at a friend’s home. I rode with the Good Doctor, his wife, and Tezuka-sensei into the foothills. The home is three buildings loosely spaced on a large lot, and built in a sort of log cabin style. We listened to the concert outside in the cool Autumn air. Unfortunately Tezuka-sensei’s wife had to work in Osaka and couldn’t come to the concert. The artist was Micaco Honya (本谷美香子).
Standard romanization of her name is Mikako, but Japanese people think the hard c is very cool so, naturally an artist might choose Micaco. (This is also the reason for many car names like: Camry, Corolla, Corona.) Her last name has the same sound as book store. I was explaining to some kids about the concert and everytime I said “Honya-san”, they giggled hysterically because it sounds the same as “Bookseller”.
Saturday I headed to Shuji class and, just by chance, I met Tezuka-sensei’s wife on the train. She was headed to Suzuka or Yokkaichi for Honya-san’s public concert. It was almost the same performance that she missed on Friday. She asked me if I was interested in another concert in the evening and gave me some tickets. The concert was at Tsu Region Plaza at 6:30pm, which put it within walking distance of my Shuji class and just late enough for me to clean my brushes.
This concert was performed by some Buddhist clerics. The main instrument was a one-stringed koto. This was very amusing and I ran into a few people I know there. Before the show started the cameraman focussed on me for a long time. I wonder if I will appear on the TV yet again.
During calligraphy class I was asking Rino-san, one of the more advanced students, about her taiko (Japanese drum) group. She let me know that she would perform Sunday at Nobeno Jinja (野邊野神社), a Shinto shrine in Hisai about 10 to 15 minutes by bike from my place. Most festivals in Japan take place at shrines or temples, partly because most festivals have religious connections, and partly because those places have open areas for performances (open space being a commodity here).
I think I got a little sunburned, but otherwise the festival experience was good. The drum groups were all good. Rino-san’s group was very interesting. All the members are junior high or high school students, but they were very powerful. The main drummer was a cute little thing (she reminded me of a kitten) but projected tremendous energy into the drum head.