LZ and I had an anniversary, last week she had planned for us to go out next week. She likes to find deals of Luxury hotels and do an over nighter. However my taste are more simple. I had wanted to return to Snakfin Cafe to check out their jam night. The Cafe is so close to us.
I told her we were going to go together and check out this cafe. We can have drinks, and a modest dinner there. Her friend, the wife of Aoki Yachts owner had said she want to attend as well. I said cool. The husband who is also a Zen Master had a class that night, therefore he could not attend. I would have went to the Zen sitting at the temple that night as well also, if not for coming to Snafkin.
Ok, so I invited my Sempais from Kyudo, they had told me about the place and took me there first. I also invited the my Band leader, Matsuo-san and his girlfriend. Along with my Shakuhachi sensei and the drummer from our band. Neither of those two could make it, still that gave us a group of 6. Matsuo-san’s girl friend was bringing a friend, now we are up to 7. Nice size group for our unknown anniversary party. Kind of cool to have folks from the different aspects of my new Japan life to join us.
I had LZ call the owner to confirm the time and that there was something I could eat there. The owner’s wife was pleased to hear we were coming. I could order something with no meat. No problem. She had remembered me and was happy I was returning, this time with friends. The owners are a very nice couple. The wife had told LZ she had told some people about me. ehhhh? said I.
LZ and I were the last to arrived at the Cafe on Sat. We were not real sure how to get there. We made it, but needed to get directions from the local police box. Funny, the policeman totally ignored me whilst we were asking directions, talking only to the ladies. I do not think he was used to a foreigner speaking Japanese, so threw his mind off. 🙂 The others in our group were there already at the club when we arrived, except the one friend traveling with us. I had LZ do the introductions, even though she only knew one of the others, her Japanese was more suited for the complexities.
We got our seats, chatted and looked at the menu, along with ordering one of our planned two drinks for the night. We wanted, needed to keep our cost low. Turns out the cost of everything was a lot less than we planned. Yatta! I ordered Hot Sake as it was a chilly night. It tasted and felt good going down! The ladies with me figured out what to order, I was going to get pasta with veggies.
The waiter came to me and said “something special has already been prepared for you”. Everyone at the table was shocked, especially LZ. Sugoi special treatment she says! I said, ehhhhh!?
The co-owner had prepared some Japanese dish with potatoes, onions, something else. Some traditional dish, kind of sweet, kind of miso taste, some kind of noodles I think. It was good good good!
While I was eating, some of the local talent starting performing. I heard my name said several times, ehhhh!? I said. The owner, the husband was saying I was there and still eating so, such n such, is going to do, blah, blah. I was not expecting any kind of build up. Just come in quietly do a few songs with Matsuo-san, maybe Jam a bit with the owner(s), then out. Did not turn out like that, for some reason I was the main event. No doubt a shortage of foreigners.
The owner did a song on the guitar. Then later he, the Shacho and his wife playing the piano and another person singing, did a song together. Both nicely done.
I wanted the owners wife to play blues with us, that did not happen. I did not want to push it as she was busy working. My Kyudo Sempai, the Shakuhachi player was invited up. He did a couple of songs. They were good. I was impressed as where LZ and her friend. He had good tone and smoothness. I tried to record his playing, but could not figure out how to start my Smart phone recording App. Part way into the second song I figured it out.
After all this, I am finished eating. A local guy sits down with his guitar. he says he is going to do some blues, Japanese blues he says and starts. I listen a bit then pull out my harmonicas at my table. He is in front singing, I started playing with him as support from the other side of the room. I could see people turning to figure out where the other music was coming from. We did two songs. He was quite pleased afterward, came over thanked me and shook my hand. He was quite tickled about the whole thing.
Side note: After being here in Japan, I find it strange to shake hands with people. First thing I think, oh this weird, second thing, wonder if his hands are clean, darn. People can be nasty. I have seen, heard too many people leave restrooms without washing, here and the states.
Ok, I digress…
Matsuo-san prepares to do a song, I follow. We go up and find a spot in the performing area. We start, I am surprised at the song he does, because I usually sing it. Ok, I roll with it. He does another song, then I sing one. We follow with an instrumental. It is requested by Matsuo-san’s girl friend that I sing some of my songs. Large breath, and I say ok. I do a couple of songs.
The owners joins us on guitar for another song. I am ready ready to stop now and start to pack up. Another guitar player comes up and wants to play with us or Matsuo-san. I am not sure of all that was said, I decided to join anyway. I put my Bass down and join them with just harmonica. We do a nice low key 12 bar blues everyone was pleased.
About this time it is now getting somewhat late. Not a lot but somewhat. We arrived about 7:15, it was about 10:00 pm. My group for the most part needs to leave, before that happened I asked for a group picture. The owner quickly organized a group shot of the whole cafe. I was just thinking my friends, but this was nicer. The picture is not that great, but still nice to have.
Afterward, LZ tells me that Yoh Sensei is coming by after his ZaZen session to join us and pick-up his wife. Cool I think, this completes the evening package. Too bad he could not have made it earlier, but it was still nice to have him join us for a short while. I had my closing drink after finishing my music time. A glass of the homemade Sangria. Lots o fruit, not too sweet, It was quite good.
I figured on getting a ride to the train station from Yoh Sensei afterward, however, he drove us all the way home. That was nice and we were grateful to return home easy after a pleasant evening. The next day was to start early for me. I was scheduled to attend the planned yacht race at Aoki Yacht school. There was even suppose to be wind that day for a change. Everyone at the Cafe was nice and asked us to please return. It was a nice anniversary party, that no one knew about.