Music, Hotel, and a Castle

Jamming in Kobe
 
A long ago FaceBook acquaintance from Kobe told me about an open music Jam at a friend of his studio. He told me how to contact this person since he could not make it himself this past Sunday. I did so via Facebook and was given directions to come join the event. It was to be quite a distance to travel. LZ said almost 1.5 to 2 hours, by train. I was close to not going. However I needed to step outside of my comfort zone to meet people and see things, and get involved in the local music scene. I got a travel route from LZ and off I went. The trip involved a couple of train changes and some walking to a different station. Having traveled from Osaka to Tokyo alone, I fairly confident I could do it, it is a matter of keeping one’s eye open, many signs are in Romangi and Katakana. Also i can speak enough Japanese to ask basic directions and read hand signs 🙂
 
The actual trip was not bad, I kept an eye out for stations and paid close attention and only asked for directions once at the large station change from one train line to another. That required going outside to change not only platforms, but as said to another station and line. Over all it went well.
 
I made all the connections on time and arrived pretty much at the planned time. Everyone was nice at the studio. The studio itself was nice. seemed like a small bar. converted for personal use. When I arrived there was only a couple of guys there, one from the Bay area another from Canada. We chatted about this n that. That did not last long as people kept rolling in. I guess there was about 20 or more people there. Several Bass players, of course a lot of guitarist, three drummers, a trumpet player, a woman sax player, another who played Bass and keyboards, a couple of singers and a harmonica player. Not only foreigners but Japanese as well. The studio was pretty amazing. There were a lot of instruments everywhere. Only one bass, so we took turns. Those who did not have their own axe with them, played about three tunes then switched. It went smooth. I played Bass a few times, then bongos, then congas, then back to Bass. I had my flute with me but did not bring it out. I was not feeling it really fit in with blues jams they were doing. I have ordered a new set of harmonicas, but they will be a while coming from the States. Toward the end a younger group of Japanese showed up. I was told they were good players, but needed a bass player since I was already playing and by that time the others had left as it was getting late. The drummer said he, they the new kids were more rock types, but we still did a few blues songs. Near the end before I needed to take off, I recalled Jumping Jack Flash by the Stones and went into that. Everyone fell into it and we had a good session with that. It was fun remembering my rock n roll days.
 

 

 
Business Hotel
 
As it was close to midnight I needed to go to the hotel LZ had reserved for me. It was not worth it to come to Kobe and only get to play for 1 hour. The trains stopped running back to Osaka around 10:30. So it was better to stay the night at a nearby cheap Hotel. Business Hotels in Japan are different from in the States. In Japan they are very clean and comfortable. Unlike the seedy dumps in the States. As it was a holiday the next day in Japan the closest one to the studio was full, there was one not too far that had one room left for me. 
 
I got rough directions from the Jam host, but I was not clear on what, where to go. The guy, the host went back to the groups and was involved with them and beer. I asked the last drummer I played with, if he knew, he was also unsure, but had a general idea. He also spoke no English, that was a bit of a challenge to communicate. I figured out listening to him where my confusion was. Anyway he walked with me to the nearby train station and got me on the right train.
 

 

 
Now I went to the next stop and got off The train and made my way down to the street. Following LZ’s directions and brief map with a little guess work, I was able to find the hotel. Now there was a new problem. LZ had made the reservation for the wrong day!! Oh snap!
 

 

 
The manager was helpful, spoke some English and gave me another room. A nice room, for the same cheap price as planned. This I believe was a more expensive room, because to my great surprise was a high-grade massage chair in there. I found out later looking at the charge bill I was charge half price of what I was expecting, which was cheap.
 

 

 
 
I made full use of it. For the next hour or so, plus in the morning. This chair not only did my back, but shoulders and legs. I never sat in a chair like that before! OMG wonderful! I had a good sleep there in the room, breakfast and a shower in the morning, before another massage session and before checking out…ahhhh
 

 

 
 
Rain in Castle Park.
 

 

 
It came a bit to fast, as I was back in the chair, but, it was time to check out and move on at 10:00 am. I stepped outside, and was surprised to find to raining. Not an unpleasant down pour but still rain. I started my trip to the train station. 
 
 
 
Once in the block to the station, I was distracted by a scene in the park that would make a good photo shot. With a brief moment of reflection I changed my plans to make a side trip into the park, since I did not have a time table to be home. While walking it dawned on me the hotel name was Akashi castle park. There is a castle here…! well sort of. Well not really but there is a wall. 
 
 
None of which I knew before hand. 
 

 

 
 
I took a stroll through the park exploring and taking pictures. Reflecting, ah yes I am in Japan. Around some turns were some pleasant visual surprises, even in the rain. Perhaps that made it even more special. 
 
 

 

 

 

 
Surprise rainy day treasures unfold
Pleasing to the eye, mind and spirit
The camera does no justice .
 

 

 
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