My birthday came an went like passing clouds. It was an eventful day, complete with travels to a new city, new accommodations, and the feeling of independence associated with cutting out on one’s own.
After I did some sightseeing, I checked out Kyoto Station for some meal options. I found a place which allowed me to feed money into a slot and choose my meal by pushing a button. Then, a hostess came and seated me, and I looked around as I waited for my food. Most of the patrons were locals, but there a couple of foreigners inside. I watched carefully how the natives handled their chopsticks with their right hands and their spoons with their left as they deftly attacked the bowls of soup. When my food arrived, I managed to mimic them effectively, down to making the slurphing sounds characteristic of the eating style. However, I cant figure out how to do it without splashing my clothes with soup.
After I ate, I met Meri (a Japanese native, who is an acquaintance through my musician friend Jan Sebon), and we took the bus to the Kyoto Art Institute Student Festival, which was quite the event. There were beautiful student art works, cool bands playing, and great food. I had a blast. At 7 pm, I went to see Meri perform in an African dance performance, performed entirely by Japanese women. OK. I have seen, heard, and performed African dance and music. This was something else. I was blown away. From the first few beats of the dun-dun drums, I knew I was in for a good show. Imagine a group of attractive, young Japanese women playing African drums, while others danced skillfully to the music. Wow. There was one djembe player who could have given some of the drummer I know a run for their money, and she’s only been playing for two years! I told Meri they should seriously consider touring.