Sarina Suno Quartet @ Thailand Cafe


Another great show today. People were clapping after every solo, and we, performers, felt so good as well. I felt too good and forgot to take some photos of us playing. The only one I took was the Thai tofu green curry which I'm so addicted to lately.


The flower in front of my house


The pink flowers are in bloom in front of my place after the cherry blossom had come out last week. I don't know the name but they sure are pretty.


Sarina Suno Quartet showcase @ Hudson Hotel

It's been a long time since we had this much rain in New York. Today's gig was a showcase of Sarina and Hara's quartet. "Showcase" is like musician's trade fair; several bands play for a short period of time and whoever interested in comes to the band and talk about some business. I think it was a joint showcase of seven booking agents and it was held at the penthouse on the top of Hudson Hotel. The hotel is located only a block away from the South-west corner of the Central Park.

(Lobby --- It's on the 2nd floor of the 24-story building. Of course it is indoor but it was like I was standing right in front of a church in a forest.)

In the penthouse on the top floor, the sound engineers were already there and all the gears were beautifully set up. Always good to work with professional agents. Only thing I had to do was taking my bass out from the soaking wet bass case and plug in to the bass amp.

 ほどなくしてお客さんもチラホラと現れ、本番を始めたのですが、その直後に今日お世話になるELAN ARTISTSのエージェントがなだれ込んできました。音が大きすぎるから静かにしろと言うのです。こういうショーケースでは我々の100%の本領を見せなくてはいけないのですが、ボリュームは極限まで押さえられました。我々は15分のショーケースが2本と聞いていたのですが、1時間のBGMを2セットやりました。果たしてこれでショーケースとしての役目は果たせたのか、心配でなりません。
The guests arrived bit by bit and we started playing funk tunes as we were asked to play. A moment later, the agent rushed in to the room and told us to put the volume down. Way down. Huh? We were here to do the showcase, that means we have to put our 100% on our music and have to make the guests interested in hiring us. Oh well, so we had to change the direction. We were going to play two short sets of 15-minute showcase, instead, we played two long sets of an-hour background music. I don't know if we could showcase anything.
The view from the penthouse. It was raining whole day and New York was cover with a fog.


The Song of a Sugar Cane Field (Japanese drama 2003)


I just watched a great Japanese TV drama called The Song of a Sugar Cane Field (Sato-kibi Batake no Uta). That was very well made drama and one of the saddest movie I've ever watched. The story is about a simple happy family who had to go through the battle of Okinawa in World War II. Japanese army recruited civilians and was getting ready for Americans to come. All boys who were older than 14 got drafted and girls were for logistical support (mainly nursing). Some historians say the civilians "volunteered" to go to the frontline but we cannot forget whole citizen in Japan were brainwashed in those days especially kids. This part is also portrayed in this drama.

The main actor is actually a famous comedian in Japan and his humor and cheerfulness is counter-acting to deepen the sadness. It is like Guido in Life is Beautiful.

I really wish this drama is translated in English but it has not been translated since 2003, so I don't think it ever will be. What a waste.

Sarina's birthday concert on YouTube


Somebody at Sarina's birthday gig kindly put the video on the YouTube. I'm so delighted. I knew that the bass was really soft but I'm shocked to know that it was almost inaudible. Oh well, I'll bring my amp next time.

I want to thank yoichinyc08 for putting this video clip on YouTube. THANK YOU!!

Mecha-ike, the funniest Japanese TV show


Japanese TV shows are awesome. I don't think the TV producers in Japan are not as restricted as in America. This is sort of re-done of an old game show. Whoever wants to announce or notify anything on a national TV comes to the show and put him/herself in the extremely hot bath tab and they can announce for the same length of time as they can bear the hot water. Almost everybody gives up in 10 seconds. I know this is brutal and just wrong but I used to love that show. This re-done version was even better (meaning more brutal). In this show, a comedian is dumped or fall into a pitfall of hot bath tab without notice. Oh god, I was dying laughing. This is the photo when he was dumped into the hot water from the back of a bus.


Yuichi's first hair cut


My roommate's baby boy, Yu-ichi, had his first hair-cut today. He now looks like a man!


Sarina's birthday concert @ Thailand Cafe

Happy Birthday Sarina!!



Sarina's birthday today and that was a special concert for her. We started playing at 11pm which is much later than the usual starting time. We played groovy funk tunes with full throttle for one whole hour. Oh shoot, I should have brought my amp with me! I thought my fingers were going to fall off.

Sarina Suno Quartet in Washington Square

Hara called me and asked if I wanted to go to Washington Square and play for a couple of hours just for a heck of it. Well, why not. That was really beautiful Friday afternoon. I was in high spirit. I told hara "I'm down."

I was the first one who arrived in there. The first thing I saw was the big construction yard. There was some renovation going on and half of the park was closed. Wow, I didn't know about this. I played right at the place on the photo below last year to cerebrate Garibaldi's 200th birthday with Richmond County Orchestra. Oh well. (By the way, here is the article of this performance on an Italian magazine, Oggi 7. I hope you can read Italian.)

There were lots of people out there and also there were many busking musicians as well. As I wrote, half of the park was closed so there were limited spaces in the park and all the good spots were taken by other buskers. Luckily we could find a decent spot and played good music for a couple of hours.

All kinds of flowers were blooming; cherry blossom, tulip, etc. We were surrounded by full of nature under warm Spring sun. Good season, good day and good music. Oh, life is good.

Sarina Suno
Hara Garacci
Ippei Ichimaru
Nick Falk

If you want to see more photos, please click on the link below.
Busking in Washington Square Park


My LP bongo with new bison skin head

I've been using LP generation ll bongos which came with synthetic heads. I knew that the synthetic head is no match with the real animal skin heads, but since I'm not a real bongocero (meaning "bongo player") and have been using bongos just as an extension of congas, I was refusing to spend extra 70 bucks to replace the heads. Now I use bongos much more than before and it takes prominent part on some tunes, so I finally decided to put bison skin heads.

What a difference. My bongos now sounds like the ones played on authentic Latin music DVDs. I should have replaced them long time ago.


Avant-garde session in Bronx

Enrique Haneine
Lex Samu


Another great session with Enrique and Lexy at the graffiti artists' atelier in Bronx. We improvised not only on melody but rhythm, harmony, time signature, tonality and what not. That was fun and highly artistic session.

Yoshinoya in Times Sq.


"It's been a long time. Where have you been."
I gently asked the beef bowl. I went to Yoshinoya on 42nd St. and had a beef bowl which is very popular food in Japan, which I LOVED when I was a teenager. It's a lot less expensive than Sushi or Tempura or Sukiyaki or any of those famous Japanese food. I know this is not in American culture but we eat it with raw egg and it is delicious! You guys should try it.

253 West 42nd St. (between 7th & 8th Ave), Times Square


WaFoo outside of WaFoo: Richmond County Orchestra concert


For the band like WaFoo, which involves lots of different styles of music, it is imperative to keep playing and learning diverse genre of music. Each member of WaFoo is participating in different projects outside of WaFoo and I believe that this discipline is going to make WaFoo's music deeper and more original.

 スタッテン島を拠点にするクラシック音楽のリッチモンド・カウンティー・オーケストラ(RCO)はそのプロジェクトの一つで、一雄さん(コントラバス)とゆうきちゃん(フルートとピッコロ)と私、一平(チェロとコントラバス)の3人が参加させていただいてます。今日はそのRCOのコンサートがセント・ジョン大学でありました。今回は残念ながら一雄さんはスケジュールの都合で参加できなかったのですが、ゆーきちゃんと私が参加させて頂き、モーツァルトとワーグナーとチャイコフスキーを演奏しました。私も長い間参加できなかったのですが、今日は半年ぶりの出演となりました。今回のコンサートは高校生バンドのAFTER EFFECTとの共演でした。

Staten-Island-based classical orchestra, Richmond County Orchestra, is the project which three of WaFoo members are participating in: Kazuo (Contrabass), Yuuki (Flute & Piccolo), and me Ippei (Cello & Contrabass). Today, the concert of RCO was held at St. John's University. Although Kazuo could not participate this time because of his tight schedule, Yuuki and I performed some Mozart, Wagner and Tchaikovsky with RCO. I myself had not been able to perform with RCO for six months. This concert was a joint concert with the high school jazz band After Effect.


Three of us went to the Cheesecake Factory in New Jersey. I had something other than cheese cake in there for the first time, but it was delicious.


WaFoo Concert @ St. Peter's Church


WaFoo had a concert at St. Peter's Church in Staten Island, NY. The shaku-hachi master Monsieur Marco Lienhard played with us and that was a blast. He totally stole the show.

Aftermath of the gig. Sorry I didn't have a time to take more photos.


Later that night, we all went to all-you-can-eat sushi in Brooklyn and stuffed ourselves. The eating champion of the night was Marco sensei.


Richmond County Orchestra's rehearsal @ St. Peter's Church (Day 2)

So I just came back from the last rehearsal for the concert on Sunday. I don't think the pieces we are doing are not the toughest pieces for classical players, but for me, they are. I'm crossing my fingers from now.


Richmond County Orchestra's rehearsal @ St. Peter's Church (Day 1)


This is the Richmond County Orchestra's rehearsal. I'll be participating in this orchestra on the next concert after half an year absence . Well, the charts are so hard to read as usual but all other members were reading the charts like nothing. I'm always amazed by the sight-reading skill of classical players. It's no secret that I am way behind anyone in the orchestra. I'll practice hard and try to be ready for the concert which is happening in three days.


Sarina Suno Quartet @ Thailand Cafe


The gig at Thailand Cafe this week was just awesome. We had almost full house and people enjoyed our music. I'll take a bit of a time off from this venue but when I come back, I'll be ready to rock 'n roll again.

Sarina Suno
Hara Garacci
Nick Falk
...and me (with Sarina)
Upright Bass


Kazuo's new gear

それでは、ギア・オタクのため上から紹介させていただくと、一番上の載ってるヘッドがSWR 350X君、その下の二つのヘッドは一雄さんが前から持っていたHartkeの350Wと250Wのやつで、ビンが15インチX1のSWR Son of Bertha君、そして一番下が10インチX2のSWR Goliath Junior (4 orm)君です。ピカピカですが中古らしいです。思い切った設備投資をしましたねぃ。まったく、うらやましい。私のギャリアン・クルーガー君の寿命も尽きようとしているので、早く次のアンプを探さないと。

WaFoo did a rehearsal tonight. Kazuo the bassist told us he got a shining SWR bass stack. It's 350W (4 orm) with 1x15 and 2x10. He said it's a second-hand but but it doesn't look like it at all. He is really ready for the next concert.

My Gallien-Krueger is about to expire his life so I have to find the next amp. A friend of mine recommended Genz Benz. Does anybody know anything about it?


Shinagawa & Osaki




Robby in camouflage


Robby is perfectly blending in to the furry cushion. He is adorable.


Sarina Suno Trio @ Buona Sera

サリナちゃんとハラと月に2、3回ぐらいBuona Seraというイタリア料理レストランでギグをやってるんですが、いつものように二人とも超テクニカルなプレイで客をわかせます。お客さんも楽しんでくれたみたいです。ただ今回は場所が狭くてちょっと辛いギグでした。

The gig with Sarina & Hara at Buona Sera the Italian restaurant in Greenwich Village. Both of them are super fast players and really entertaining to people.


Enrique Haneine Trio @ United States Equestrian Team Stables

Being a working professional musician, I have played in a lot of unusual places like warehouse, barn, wine cellar, cigar bar, zoo, automobile museum, on the top of a convertible Mercedes, on the edge of the 15-feet high temporary stage at a theatre, etc. Today I played at a stable.

This is the stable-tuned-into a function place, so there is no smell or any of the unpleasant stuff related to livestock. It was quite interesting facilities. The cubicles for horses are still there and one of them are used for a coffee station. Interestingly though the stable is obviously not originally made for partying but I didn’t feel that strange and I liked the unordinary composition of the stable.

The web site of The United States Equestrian Team:


Rehearsal with Mr. Marco Lienhard

We are thrilled to perform with the great Shaku-hachi (Japanese bamboo flute) player, Mr. Marco Lienhard, on our concert on April 19th. Marco sensei has been leading the New-York based Japanese drum group, TAIKOZA , for years. While he was living in Japan for thirteen years, he studied and performed Japanese traditional folk music intensively and also has been all over the world countless times.

This is very first time to have a guest player on WaFoo, and for most of us, it is the first time in our musician lives to play with the Japanese traditional musician in his caliber. We just did a rehearsal with Marco sensei and played four of our tunes. Marco sensei blew entirely different life into our music. I don’t want to give away the surprise so I won’t go details but the tunes were so different with his virtuoso shaku-hachi playing. Well, I hope I’ll be brave enough to play shamisen, which is another Japanese traditional instrument, right next to him.

Please come and check out our Spring concert on April 19th at St. Peter’s Church in Staten Island. I assure you the concert will be a lot of fun and surprises.


Sarina Suno Quartet @ Thailand Cafe


The gig at the Thai restaurant. We did a run-thru rehearsal session before the gig and we all came to the restaurant together. Sarina and Hara started working on some business as soon as we sat down. They both truely are hard worker. I'm too lazy to do the same thing though.

Sarina and her new hat...and me with the usual Aloha


Tofu Curry


This is Tofu Curry I made with my special recipe. The main ingredients are silken tofu, Chinese cabbage and mushrooms. It is super healthy but since I made so much, it looks like I'm going to live on this tofu curry for next five days or so. Er, Friends, why don't you guys come to my place and have some dinner with me?


Avant-garde session in Bronx

Enrique gave me a buzz around 8pm.
"Hey we are gonna do a session in one hour. Would you like to come? You, me, Lexy and Jimbo."
Almost every musician has the strongest genre for him or her to play. We professionals play a lot of different styles of music; classical, jazz, Latin, rock, pop etc., but there is always one style which is natural to the musician. It's like multi-lingual people. No matter how fluent they can speak many languages, they always have a mother tongue. In my case, it's avant-garde jazz.
I'm ashamed of myself to say this but I had not even tried to play what I love the most. The last time I played avant-garde was the last session we had about a couple of months ago. I was picking up my acoustic bass even before I finished the conversation with Enrique on the phone.

45 minutes later, we all were in the room which I have never been. Enrique's friend owns a building in Bronx and he let Enrique use the empty room for him to practice or to have some jam sessions. The biggest room we normally use have a tenant now so we used the caretaker's room for the warehouse-section of the building.

"Guys, you should see the warehouse," Enrique said and we followed him to the inside of the warehouse. There were whole bunch of art works of graffiti. The owner of this building invite graffiti artists to the warehouse and let them work on their graffiti, not on the walls but on the canvas. They are quite interesting and fun to look at. "Art is not authority." Each one of this spray-painted art work is saying that. Maybe next Banksy or Basquiat will be born from here in Bronx.

(Sorry that I cannot show you any of the great and hip art works. I've never been to the atelier of graffiti artists but check out the mountain of spray cans!)

What a perfect place to play avant-garde jazz or the music called free jazz (Just the name is different. They are same things.) We played high energy improvisations from the very beginning. Free jazz is not a bunch of random notes. If we were playing whatever randomly, it's going to be unpleasant sequence of noise; it's like committing a crime of conscience. Free jazz is far from that. We are communicating by sounds, communicating with each other, with the atmosphere and making one big picture. The whole process has to be selfless and we have to surrender to the music. We become totally free and create our own style of music. I know it sounds insane. In my opinion, a musician who doesn't do or denies doing crazy stuff should quit music immediately. I don't know how many more years I can keep this fire and insanity. I cannot be an ordinary people and have a 9-to-5 job because of this insanity. At the same time, this insanity gives me a confidence that I can keep being an artist.

My dear fellow musicians

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