Sorry, no computer

Hello everyone,
I appologize but my computer is fried. (like deep-fried). I will get a replacement in a few days but I can not renew my blog for a bit. Oh well. Sorry guys.



Reunion of the band of brothers

My buddy Kenji said that he was going to play with our old buddies, Garrison and Erik, on that night. WHAAAAAT!? Four of us were in the same party band for years and literally did a few hundred gigs together. Oh, I must see them. I gate-crashed their party, without letting them know.


After we saw our faces, we were screaming each other's names and hugged so hard. We were just so happy to see each other. I had not seen them for a few years and I was really glad to see them alive. They said they were still very active in the Boston's music scene. I could only listen to the sound check but they played as great as before and they had a wonderful new band with them.

Hey, let's meet up again soon and let's play together next time.



The band of brothers
Garrison Bond (Vocal)
Kenji Kikuchi (Tenor Sax)
Erik Ringstad (Guitar)


International String Trio @ Seaport Hotel


The holiday party gig at the Seaport Hotel in Boston with International String Trio.

Ben Powell (Violin)
Slava Tolstoy (Guitar)
Ippei Ichimaru (Bass)


The Christmas Tree decorated with so many ornaments.


Wow, the ornament reflects the images like a mirror. Maybe I can do.....


I pulled M.C. Escher.
Well, it didn't work as good as I expected.
(The linked image is from M.C. Escher Official Site)

The dolls I liked a lot.

International String Trio @ Center for Life Science Boston (Day 2)


International String Trio came back to the same place we played two days ago and played nice quiet gig. We can do this kind of gig too. We can play in any kinds of event and weddings (a lot of different religious style and a lot of nationalities), because we are "international."

Ben Powell (Violin)
Slava Tolstoy (Guitar)
Ippei Ichimaru (Bass)


Heavy snow in Boston

It snowed hard in Boston. Oh boy...... After I saw the snow, it finally hit me that I am back in Boston.

"I like Winter." My friend's 4-year-old daughter said. Ah-huh, that's the sentence I don't hear too often in Boston.

"I like Winter but haven't seen it for a long time." I see. You just said something which a 10-years veteran of Boston has never heard.

Little girl, you will have a plenty of Winter as long as you are in Boston. Boston is a hell of a place and I stress on "hell." Hee-hee-hee. Boston's Winter is wicked long....








This is King Elvis and me at the guitar shop in front of my old school, Berklee College of Music. I played for Elvis' 70th birthday concert at Rock'n Roll Cafe a few years ago.

My buddy, Slava

International String Trio @ Center for Life Science Boston (Day 1)

The gig with International String Trio. We played some background music gently and quietly including some nice Holiday tunes.


Ben Powell (Violin)
Slava Tolstoy (Guitar)
Ippei Ichimaru (Bass)

Boston South Station Bus Terminal


Lou's gig on the night before ended around 9pm. Enrique kindly gave me a ride to the Bronx and I could reach home before midnight. Without a rest, I got on to the subway around 1am and headed to Port Authority Bus Terminal. Took the coach bound for Boston leaving at 3:30, got caught by the morning rush in Boston, and almost 6 hours later on 9:30am, I finally arrived at Boston South Station. Oh God, my schedule around this time of the year is hectic as hell.


Contrary to the New York Penn Station on the day before, Boston South Station was so peaceful as a China shop. the G-scale trains were displayed for kids in there. Wow, the small flyer said that there were the cartoon characters hidden in there, such as Shrek, Yoda, Buzz Lightyear, Bat Man, Spider Man, Sponge Bob and Bakugan (who is he?). Shoot, I had so little time and could only find Sponge Bob and Shrek. I'll find 'em all when I come back here to go back to New York.


Lou Petto Trio @ Hamilton Park Golf Club

It was the party gig with my old buddies, Lou and Enrique. The thing was the venue was in Gladston, New Jersey. That is quite deep in New Jersey and took me three hours to get to the nearest station. Unlike New York City, the place is made with lands. I walked 20 minutes to the gate of the club and another 20 minutes from the gate to the club house. That was insane!


That was an usual Holiday party gig so we started playing the song called "The Christmas Song" (the one goes "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire..."). Well, almost all Christmas carols have nice and easy simple melodies on simple chords including this very tune. Enrique, however, played this super simple tune so beatifully with his virtuosity. Wow, I was blown away. Once a topflight player blows the life into a tune, even the simplest tune will reincarnate as the wonderful interesting symphony with full of stories. I learnt a lesson today.


Lou Petto TrioEnrique Haneine (Piano)
Ippei Ichimaru (Bass)
Lou Petto (Drums)

The security at Penn Station


I went through the New York Penn Station and was really surprised that the security at the station was insanely tight. Did something happen again lately? The soldiers in armor vests and camouflaged suits for desert were wondering around. These camo-suits were not camouflaging from anything but rather standing out at the station, but in this situation, I guess they wear it purposefully to make everybody know “hey, scary soldiers are here.” Bunch of police officers were grouped in two and patrolling everywhere and some were with K-9 to find bombs. The one which really scared me was the SWAT guy who was carrying a M4. About 15 years ago, I saw the soldiers with UZIs in Bangkok Airport yelling at us passengers and I guess they were trying to be sheepdogs. They scared us sheep alright. Is New York City in present time needed this much tight security measure? Well, I am sure they are trying to scare the terrorists away but before that, they are scaring us civilians!

Illustration: Fish Print


Miyarabi @ Otto's Shrunken Head

 こっさん率いる沖縄バンド、美童(みやらび)のラスト・ライブを観に行ってきました。最初から最後まで、こっさんらしいパワフルで楽しいライブでございました。メンバーも素晴らしかったですよ。Samurai Sword Soulでの素晴らしい演奏を聴いた時からずっと話しかけたかった太鼓のカエさん、先日TONTON-BYOSHIという3人組のユニットでド派手なダンスで会場を沸かせていたのに、今日はうって変わってエイサーのようなゆったりとした踊りとしかも歌まで披露してくれたレナさん、そしてコブシのきいた突き抜けるような歌声で美童(みやらび)のメインの歌姫を務めるだけでなく、もはや私の憧れのバンドと化したHappyFunSmileでもボーカルをとっているというカオリさん。メンバーも全体のステージングも選曲も本当に良かったです。

I went to see the last live of one and only Okinawan band in New York, Miyarabi, lead by Kossan. From the downbeat to the last note, it was one heck of a fun live and was energetic which is one of the characteristics of Kossan. The members were great too. Kae was playing the taiko drums and actually I always wanted to talk to her ever since I saw her wonderful playing at the show of "Samurai Sword Soul." Although Rena was dancing flamboyantly and passionately with a 3-piece dance unit, Tonton-Byoshi, on the other day, she was dancing slowly in Eisa-style (Okinawan festival dance) and was also singing. Kaori who possesses beautiful Japanese folkish voice was not only taking the lead female vocal with Miyarabi but also singing with HappyFunSmile, the band I am a groupie of. The members, whole staging, choice of tunes, they were all exceptionally good.


Oh well, because Kossan is going back to Japan, that was the last show of Miyarabi and they are disbanding such a great band. OH NO! DON'T STOP NOW! As a fun, I stand firmly against the discontinuation of the band.


After Party of "Idols: Demons and Saints"


Right before I was going to check out the performance of Kaoru Watanabe, my taiko drum instructor, I got a mail from my friend George-san. On the other day, I went to see the art/music exhibition of John Wellington and wrote how wonderful it was on WaFoo's blog on November 14th. George-san kindly let John and the performers know about the blog and John kindly invited me to the after-party of the show. I was so honored. Thanks to George-san and John-san. I went to the party right after Kaoru's show.


Some of the art works at the exhibition were hanged on the wall of John's apartment, and this time, John himself gave me a little tour on his works. You can check out his works at his web site and he is incorporating lots of characters from Japanese pop culture into his works, such as Hello Kitty, Pika-chu, Astro Boy etc.. Each of those characters and each of those colors has much deeper meaning than it appears. I am not going to write down what John explained to me in here just because I am afraid to pass the message which John might not intend to. His works are really interesting and captivating. You guys should check them out.


I got to know lots of good people at this party. Lale and Kazumi, the prominent belly dancers who opened the exhibition at that night, Wynn and Akiko from HappyFunSmile, which was the band I instantly became a groupie of, and Reni the cosplayer who is like embodying the core of Japanese pop culture. Traci, Mark, Sato-san, it was so nice to meet you all. There are many more great artists in New York than I know. My dear new friends, if you and WaFoo can collaborate on some acts in the near future, we would be honored and would really appreciate it.

WaFoo Chamber Unit @ Tuttoriso in Staten Island, NY

Yuuki Koike (Flute, Alto Sax)
Eiji Obata (Guitar)
Kazuo Nakamura (Bass)
Ippei Ichimaru (Percussion)

Another fun gig at Tuttoriso. The weather was not too good today and was raining from the morning. It was really chilly as well. A little after we started playing, the rain turned to snow. Wow, that explains. New York City just had the first snow. It will only get colder. Everyone, please get warm and be well.


After the gig, I got on to Staten Island Ferry getting snow flakes everywhere and headed to not home but to Manhattan. Today, I am going to see a couple of shows; one is Kaoru Watanabe, my taiko instructor, playing in Alicia Hall Moran's Motown Project and the other is Nobuko Miyazaki the flautist playing with a world music band.

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