March 29 2008 (Satuarday) Japan Kumamoto Django

Damo Suzuki with Ishiatama-Zizo: Katsunori Akutagawa (Guitar), Tetsuya Akune (Guitar), Yuji Takagi (Bass) and Toshiro Usui (Drum)

Soundcheck is at 12:00 midnight….Humm so, late? Show time is around 2AM…oh, what kind of place is Kumamoto? So, I had enough time.

Kawamura wanted to me to stay in Oita and enjoy myself and take good vibe from this city. he is a great host, we drove to soccer stadium which is just made for 2004 World championship which is too expensive for this part of Japan and after they don’t use it. Many places in Japan you can find such project like theater any kind of cultural buildings which looks so luxury but not really used. Wasting of money he said to this soccer stadium with all possible luxury, remove able roof and so on. We took breakfast near by at shopping mall which is looks like standard US shopping mall with all these ugly fast foods. but, in Japan you can find still something interesting things to eat. …after we drove to Usuki-city (which is impossible to read in Japanese Kanji letter : Chinese letter equally) famous for Old Buddha figures from ancient Japan. from  6 century, very first time Buddhism enter to Japan. I’m not Buddhist, but I’m very interesting in history. Also I wanted to go out of the city to nature. He seems to like drive, such old Buddha figures smells of 1,500 years. This time in Japan I found many things. So, I decided to travel top to bottom of Japan one day……I will make it in year 2010. I discovered Japan. This is the land where I was born and glow up…..I should have known better. Can remember, One foreigner artist said Japan is so small country, but in this tiny space you can find many interesting thing, culture, foods, local to local so different, every inches you can find something curious….I totally agree. Italy is also similar.

Travel to Kumamoto is better with bus than take train. So, beautiful landscapes through Aso national park. Aso is very famous for it’s volcano tourism . I was there once when I was a school boy. Bus reached Kumamoto a bit late. At bus terminal, three members of Ishiatama-Zizo (Ishiatama means stone head, Jizo is kind of Buddha figure which is not that huge, standing quiet on path, you can find it in China and Japan but not in India.). Akutagawa is contact person, who organize alternative music performances in this local city Kumamoto, normally run his record shop. Kumamoto has one of three most beautiful castle in Japan beside Sendai and Himeji called Kumamoto-Jo also there is Aso national park, Amakusa, a bunch of Islands as touristy attraction. Historically very heavy weight in Japanese history and supporter of new Japan system at end of Syogun period. Foods here are famous “Basashi” horse meat Sashimi. We had much time to sound check, so I wanted to go to eat and taste this Basashi…Sure I can eat it in Tokyo as well. But, look when I saw dish friendly old woman brought. No compare to Tokyo’s tinny slice here they serve much wide slice and taste better. Yummy. And this could be local horse meat. Mainly Japanese import horse meat come from Australia..Basashi, you can get in Tokyo must be imported goods…anyway I have to research. It’s fits really good with Uronhai(Uron tea, Rice snaps mix which is my favorite drink in Japan)…Good food and good drink ..What I need more?…Just good performance will be done!!!

Stacia, once was dancer of Hawkwind in 70’s, now she is visual artist staying in Kyoto for a while visited me this performance from such a distance by train she said she took something like 5 hours or so. So, this is first time I saw her since early 70’s. She contacted me as she was flying from Dublin to Berlin, seat beside her was one of my Irish sound carrier friend….I guess Robin, so anything on conversation Damo and his Network story was fall down from his mouth, he gave her my mail address. again such a small world we are living in!!!!…isn’t it nice?

Kumamoto is local city far south from Tokyo, still here I found foreigners in audience and next day in the city. After the performance is ” Uchiage” Members of Ishiatama Zizo wanted to go home as they don’t drink and they cannot drink if you drive. But, anyhow I let them come also Stacia did. The Izakaya was newly opened. three days old…very noisy place. Everybody is shouting…much energy. We were after concert and maybe quietest group of that pub. Fortunately I had one day break. Maybe Akutagawa wanted to show me a bit of Kumamoto. Unfortunately weather wasn’t good ..Constant rain..

Breakfast we took at noodle restaurant. Kumamoto has famous ramen (ramen is Chinese noodle soup in Japanese flavoured style and this is one of most popular food beside curry rise on kind of fast food field,) This was yummy and so deeply cooked pork bone souse. Actually Akutagawa wanted to drive me to Amakusa and Aso National Park area. but, weather wasn’t good . If we’re there we couldn’t see nice view anyway and also we slept to early afternoon. so, Day is shorter also it’s in March. Went to Kumamoto-jo. This castle is really amazing and huge than I thought. It’s strong looking. There was not that much was tool late and we couldn’t get enter “Tensyukaku” (Main building of castle) We walk through park, you can feel silence of souls who lived here and fight against enemies . Some small foreigner tourists group were there surp rising and enjoying at same time. After we went to Chinese tea house which Akutagawa’s friend own. This kind of place you never come alone if you’re a stranger. It’s at side street 5th floor or something in building. But, this might be good for owner, then comes only special people this way to drink very special Chinese tea served in tiny teapot put this into cup upside-down and take bit of Chinese warm snacks…

Next day Akutagawa brought me to Kumamoto airport. we ate there traditional Japanese breakfast. Then back to Tokyo, Haneda airport. This was my last performance trip this time in Japan. I went to “Syojin-Ryori” restaurant, retrospective my travel. This time I found many good things in Japan and I’m happy that I was born here in such an amazing country. It’s so strange, I was in Japan so often, but this time I had good vibes through. Also I saw (thought with “Gaijin’s” (Foreigners) perspective too as most of the time Elke attended. If you go to eat together with friends, we felt Japan is “Luxury for everybody” you can enjoy and tasty quality food for that cheap and we share. Love-san asked me to go to “Izakaya” he found. It’s tiny space bottom of dead end street. 1st floor for 8 people and it’s very tight and 2nd floor for 8 people, but this place was something special.

That day late in the night owner was working alone cooking, serving in one person. We’re some sound carriers and wives. Love-san drove me to airport like last time. We had enough time at Narita airport…buy souvenirs and off course eat!!!

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