Ichigo Cream


This is Ichigo (strawberry) Cream, very new line-up from my favorite Japanese bakery in Boston, Japonaise. I was a bit afraid of that the custard looked a little too rich but it was just right sweetness. My favorites are Azuki (red bean) Cream and Strawberry Short Cakes but this Ichigo Cream is right up there!

Japonaise Bakery & Cafe
1020 Beacon St.
Brookline, MA 02446


International String Trio @ The Charles Hotel

International String TrioBen Powell (Violin)
Slava Tolstoy (Guitar)
Ippei Ichimaru (Bass)
International String Trio had an outside concert at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge, Massachusetts. There is the Regatta Bar, the most famous jazz club in Boston, in this hotel so I come here from time to time, but I did not know that they are holding a live concert in this open space. I think I was not the only one who did not know about this and there was almost nobody in there before we started the concert. Once we started playing, many people came in out of nowhere. The tables and benches were all taken in a short moment and the rest was sitting on the flower beds.

That was one fun concert under the sun and surrounded with a lot of people listening our music.


International String Trio @ Atlantic Beach Club


A wedding gig in Newport, Rhode Island with International String Trio. It was extremely foggy. The venue was located right by the beach and the thick fog coming from the ocean covered the whole town. The pic on the top was taken in the daytime by the way.

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

Fenway Station



I was at a train station on the way to a gig. This is Fenway station, which is the closest station to the Redsox's Fenway park, so on the game days, this station becomes deadly. People, including roaring drunks, are in everywhere especially when they won some important games. When I was young, I happened to be at this station on that kind of day. I had to go to my band leader's place and go to a tour to the Southern States. The whole station were packed in like sardines with the people who were dancing and yelling and singing. To my eyes, it was an apocalypse. Young Ippei was not really the Bruce-Willis-type of guy who could rush into danger. I had a big bass and a traveling bag too. I was pushed to every which way and some people were yelling at me like "hey Yo-Yo-Ma! Play something!!" Young (and flat- broke) Ippei finally had to give up taking a train and had to cough up a big money to take a cab.

..... Oh, I always remember this traumatic experience when I come to this station......


Woody's with Kenji



My buddy Kenji kindly put me up again in Boston. We came to the great pizza place called "Woody's," which is near our old college, Berklee College of Music.

One word, Deelish!! The pizzas here are just too good. I was so thankful to this restaurant for keeping the same quality as when I was a college student. To tell the truth, I came here only a few times when I was in the college --- I was flat-broke. The one on the pic was so good. I wonder what the name of this pizza was..... Greek something. Well, I'll come back again soon and find out.

Woody's Grill & Tap
58 Hemenway St.
Boston, MA 02115


Duo with Masa Sasaki in Boston

Masa Sasaki (Guitar)
Ippei Ichimaru (Bass)

A function gig in Charlestown, Boston. It was a jazz duo with my old buddy Masa Sasaki. We had not played for a year or so and both of our hair had grown so long since the last time we played. We both burst into laughing when we saw each other.


I got my hearing back!



This is the day whole Japanese people were observing a total eclipse of the sun and having the time of their lives. On the same day, one musician across the ocean was also having the time of his life. Well, more than that. He went into ruptures and was dancing and singing madly. Yes, I got my hearing back on my left ear on this day. The doctor said that I was not going to get the hearing back bit by bit but it would come back all in once someday. He was right. That was exactly how it happened. Nineteen days to heal. I was not expecting to get it back for another couple of weeks or so but that was it for the long scary days.

My friends, please be careful on any kind of disease on your ears. Because your evil friends, especially musicians, will make fun of you and make a toy of you and and.......

Illustration: イラそよ


WaFoo @ Greenbelt Nature Center

Yuuki Koike (Flute, Alto Sax)
Takeshi Asai (Keyboard)
Kazuo Nakamura (Bass)
Yutaka Uchida (Drums)
Ippei Ichimaru (Shamisen, Sanshin, Cello, Percussion)

WaFoo had a concert at the Greenbelt Nature Center in Staten Island, New York. The Greenbelt is one of the largest all-urban parks in America and it is three and a half times bigger than the Central Park in Manhattan. Right on the center of the park, there is a small museum which introduces the rich nature of the Greenbelt and we played at the yard of that.

This poem is written by one of the most famous poet in Japan, Matsuo Basho. Well, maybe because this place is surrounded with nature, this poem and the frog statue fits really well with the woods.

WaFoo Chamber Unit +1 @ Tuttoriso in Staten Island, NY

Yuuki Koike (Flute, Alto Sax)
Takeshi Asai (Keyboard)
Kazuo Nakamura (Bass)
Ippei Ichimaru (Percussion)

The usual gig at Tuttoriso with WaFoo. I have been participated in this chamber unit recently.

Statue of Liberty


I took a photo of the Statue of Liberty on the way to a gig from the Staten Island Ferry. I have seen the Statue of Liberty whole bunch of times from the ferry but I have never actually been there.


Cody Geil Quartet @ Tea Lounge

Cody Gail (Vocal, Violin)
Luca Hara Garacci (Guitar)
Ippei Ichimaru (Bass)
Julien Augier (Drums)

Cody's gig at the Tea Lounge in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Well, my left ear was not working, so I stood the left edge of the stage to hear everybody with my right ear. After the gig, the bandmates were faking talking to me with just open and close the mouth and were enjoying watching me saying "What? What did you say?" Yo! I said one ear was still working!!


At the hospital



It was the first time in very long time to go to a hospital. There were a doctor and also an intern young girl. The doc let the girl do the routine check-up on me before he actually did the full-on medical examination and the doc looked like giving her a short lecture. The hospital was for low-income people and it was really cheep like the hospitals in Australia. Being the part of these lectures is one of the reasons it is so cheap. Well, whatever the reason, I am always cooperative to any kinds of teachers teaching their students. A little after, the intern girl said when she was examining my right nostril.

"Wow, it's completely closed!"


That's right. When I was young, I was spending most of my time training for Jiu-jitsu, Judo and Wrestling and was neglecting music for years. I got some kind of injuries literally everyday and I broke my nose a few times. As a result, the inner part of my right nostril is completely closed. I guess it is not so unusual for not only matial artists but all sportsmen and women, but......



"OH MY GOD!! Can I see it again? Please! Please!"

This young girl was so eager to open wide the 35-year-old guy's nostril. Well, I was embarrassed but that was for the future of a young doctor and for the development of medicine in America. I provided my nostril. Ippei Ichimaru, Sweet 35. Young girl gazed inside of my nostril, brushed me right up.

Is it really that interesting? Gee, I want to see it too.

Illustration: もずねこ


My Ear Drum



(Sorry, this is a long entry)
I had had this annoying flu for a long time. I could not stop coughing and the worst thing was that I had lost hearing on my left ear since July 3. Although I really hate hospitals, I had no choice but to run to an ER. I looked up on the internet to find out what I have on my left ear. According to the symptoms I had, that was Sensorineural hearing loss, that is a perfectly healthy person loses hearing all of a sudden and there is no known cause for that. There is a way to cure it but you have to start the process in two weeks. Ayumi Hamasaki, the most popular singer in Japan for the last decade and Janet-Jackson kind of figure, got this disease but she could not go to hospital in two weeks because she was in the middle of the tour.To end up with, she completely lost her hearing on her left ear.



I went to Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan, waited for three hours, did the audio test, then finally saw the doctor. After an intern examined my ear and nose and everywhere, the doctor picked up some kind of instrument to look inside of my left ear, then said,

"I see, your eardrum has ruptured"


What? My eardrum popped? I had a doubt on other diseases like Ménière's disease, but just my eardrum was busted? Well, I would not be surprised on his answer if I did not have this detestable flu-like symptoms. So why does a busted eardrum make me coughing and sneezing and what not.


The doctor said it was not the popped eardrum which made me sick but, by sneezing and blowing my nose caused by flu, my eardrum had got weakened and finally popped. I see. It is logical.


I remember the exact moment which I lost hearing, that is when I was on the subway on the way back from a gig, the tunnel got deeper when the train went under the East River between Queens and Manhattan, then it happened. The characteristics of Sensorineural hearing loss, which I wrote above, is "starting with flu-like symptoms, and the person can tell the exact moment when he lost the hearing." That's it. I really thought I got this disease.


A month to heal. No drugs or anything. The doc said I could continue gigging and do everything what I usually do. Only thing I had to do is to put in a cotton wad with vaseline when I take a shower, and if the wound does not get infected, I will get my hearing back. I was so really relieved. Oh, you can not imagine.

Illustration: もずねこ


International String Trio @ Hammond Castle



I had a wedding gig at the Hammond Castle in Gloucester with International String Trio. The castle is located right by the Atlantic Ocean and it is solemn, majestic and just beautiful. Well, the first question popped up in my mind was why this very European, very Medieval castle exists in the United States of America. The answer is that there was the inventor called John Hays Hammond Jr. who had patented over 800 inventions and made quite a bit of wealth. He was some kind of a castle freak, and after he got rich, he built one for himself. The guy was actually living in here and using the castle as his laboratory as well. This castle is not as old as it looks; it was built in 1929 so it is only 80 years old. The castle is now a museum and Medieval armor etc. of his collections are displayed in here.


Jeez, it's too beautiful!! I was so really glad to come to such a great place on such a great day! This view is the most wonderful gift for my 14th anniversary of being in America. Ha-ha.

International String TrioBen Powell (Violin)
Slava Tolstoy (Guitar)
Ippei Ichimaru (Bass)

Independence Day


It was the Independence Day, of course. That day was also my 14th anniversary of coming to America. Next year is the 15th anniversary so I have to throw some party. Well, only if I won’t be working though.

Illustration: イラそよ

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