[Yes, I’m skipping ahead to today because otherwise, I’ll just always be behind and it will be one more thing to feel guilty about. Also, I’m pretty sure, gentle readers, that you don’t really care about reading this in the exact order in which it happened and you will be fine with this. Plus, today we had a really cool experience and I can’t wait to share it!)
Today was a pretty slow day – we were at home working for most of the day (although, I did go for a run in the “exercise park” this morning – a park consisting of a dirt track, tennis courts, and off to the side, some of that park exercise equipment like chin-up bars, etc. – only in this park, people actually seem to use the equipment. On my first lap around the track, I noticed a Buddhist monk seated on a bench facing the track. By my second lap, he was seated in lotus position, eyes closed and hands held in the proper zazen form I just learned last weekend when I attended a sitting meditation session at one of the local temples, and he appeared to be deep in meditation. Of course, he also appeared to have a can of coffee next to him, so who knows?!)
Anyway, after a day spent mostly in the apartment, we decided to take a break and go for a walk, check out the local library and run some other errands. In between finally getting 3G service for Don’s iPad (very difficult to do in Japan if you did not buy your iPad at SoftBank!) and going to the bank, we came across a band busking on a little plaza to the side of one of the shopping alleys.
The band was playing traditional Irish songs, but in “their own style,” and was composed of three Japanese players (guitarist, drummer, and fiddle player) and a Korean guest musician who was also playing the drums. They were amazing! I took some videos – although the videos do NOT do them justice.
By the end of their sets, they had the entire audience captivated. Little kids were running around dancing to it, otherwise stoic-looking men in suits were bopping their heads and tapping their feet, I was ready to bust out in an Irish jig….they were pretty phenomenal.
Here’s a video clip of the band, Modern Irish Project (remember, they are much better in real life! And, if you are reading this at work, turn the volume down first!):
The drummer was wearing what Don tells me is a traditional Korean hat, and he kept spinning the tail on the hat as he danced little Irish jigs on the stage. He looked like he was having so much fun the whole time, too. This clip focuses on him:
The fiddler/violinst was wonderful too, and here’s a close up of her:
(I ended up buying one of their CDs – it’s a perfect souvenir – and I believe I now officially have a collection of Irish “fusion” music – I’ve got Irish-Latin music, Irish-New Zealand & Australia music, and I think the addition of Japanese-Korean-Irish music makes it official….)