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So I’ve been in Tokyo just a little over 2 days and these are some of my experiences.

Apple Pie

Apple Pie in Roppongi

On the night of my arrival, after my first, delicious meal in Tokyo with Kevin James at a small Korean restaurant, a complimentary dessert was offered.  This tasted EXACTLY like apple pie.  How did they manage to get the exact taste of apple pie into the texture of jello?

I woke up the next morning to have a wonderful breakfast at the beautiful International House.  This was my view while sipping tea.

The I House Tea Lounge

The International House, Tea Lounge view: The Garden

After a reflective, quiet breakfast, the rest of my first day was filled with business activities, and thankfully, Christopher Blasdel accompanied me to the Ward Office where I applied for a residency card, and then opened my bank account.  I then met the landlord and her daughter and moved into my new apartment.  It’s small and simple…perfect actually.  But the best part about it is the location:  Right next to the lovely Shin-Edogawa Park.

Shin-Edogawa Park 2

Shin-Edogawa

Shin-Edogawa

Shin-Edogawa

Shin-Edogawa

Shin-Edogawa

So, in this post, besides my fascination with nature, music, colors and textures, is my life-long love of animals.  I will try to refrain posting too many pictures of animals, but yesterday, as I was walking I thought I saw a man walking his robot.  There in front of me was a strange looking, robotic-like, close-to-the-ground, slow moving object walking next to a man.  It had both an ancient look as well as a new, modern one…but from a distance I couldn’t figure out what it was. Turns out it was this large, friendly fellow:

Turtle1

Are you for real?

Turtle 3

I hope to see you again soon...next time I'll ask your name...

So, yes, it’s a real, live turtle…ok Tortoise! Apparently, he’s only 15 years old. The owner got him when he was only a little guy no bigger than his hand.  Christopher saw him the day before as he was returning from dropping me off.  He chatted with the owner and asked him about his pet.  Turns out, in all of Christopher’s years living here in Japan (over 20 years), he’s never seen a pet turtle going for a walk!

In the evening, I joined Christopher for a fascinating concert where modern and ancient world met, along with a crossing of European and Japanese instruments. The Hichiriki player Hitomi Nakamura (who I’d seen in NYC) put together a concert in which the first half was a spectacle of many kinds of wind and reed instruments.  We saw French and German ancient bagpipes, a hurdy-gurdy, crumhorns, melodicas and many other instruments, many of which I hadn’t actually seen played before.  The newly composed music was a challenge even for my open mind and ears:  the unusual tunings, beatings and crazy tonal clusters generated some laughter and surprise… but I seemed to be the only one laughing (I suspect everyone else is better at hiding their feelings here than I am!).  There were some awkward moments within the phrases that I loved, like somehow the music was trying to find itself.  But again, it could have been me, trying to find the music, or something to grasp on to.

I was told that most people in Japan might not understand my music.  But after hearing that 1st half last night, I get the feeling they would at least respectfully listen and try…

The 2nd half was music that elegantly united the ancient Gagaku tradition with the insights and visions of new composers.  I was delighted to see Ko Ishikawa playing the Sho as well as a wonderful Ryuteki and Biwa player join Hitomi-san, each one wearing the multi-layered beautifully colored, textured traditional clothing of the Gagaku court.

Although I have the program in my hands, I cannot translate who the composers were (at this time).  But this dreamy, luscious music sent me into a state of bliss I still hold this morning.

Here is more information about Hitomi Nakamura:

http://www.gagaku.jp/hitomi-hichiriki/

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2 Comments

  1. Looks *beautiful* there! What’s on the turtle’s feet? Little turtle shoes? I hope your time there continues to be as wonderful as it started out!


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