Friday, May 13, 2005

GW3: Kyoto

Wednesday and Thursday saw kobudo events at Shimogamo Jinja and Shiramine Jinja respectively. A few familiar faces were in attendance, including Ron Beaubien down from Tokyo, Serge Mol in from Europe, and Conrad Buscis demo'ing Tendo ryu. Many of the koryu groups were at both events and it was a nice way to spend a couple sunny spring afternoons.

My friend Neil was exhibiting some photos from his Cuba trip. I especially liked his use of colors. I tried to tell him what draws me most to a picture is a photographer's use of lines. Midway through, we both started to crack up.

From there we set off to Tadg's for open mic night. Eric and Harry showed up late, guitars in hand. Earlier, I had bought a new drum at my favorite drum shop in town, down Teramachi way, and offered to play with them. We did an original rendition of a Tom Waits classic, then I backed up Harry on a blues solo/medley/jammy kind of thing. About four pints later, and after some coercion, I got up to read some completely average garbage from my journal (having a massive choice of three whole pages) and a few old haiku I fished from my grey matter. The night was fantastic. I met quite a few other writers and musicians, plus the Tagd's staff. I was impressed how Eric, Neil, and Anna, knew a lot of the folks there. Besides the obvious gaijin studying traditional arts, Kyoto also seems to have a flourishing artistic community of a more Western bent. In contrast, Yonago is so bland, with months between events, then three things happening on the same night, all coordinated by friends who never bothered to communicate with one another. I love living up here, fully immersed in the J-side, but I miss having an artistic community around. Let's repeat the decade old mantra: I wanna move to Kyoto.

May 5th is Children's Day in Japan, but we decided instead to celebrate Cinco de Mayo at a good cheap Mexican place, El Latino. Last year I'd seen a live band there, but on this holiday, nada. The food was great as usual, the owner somewhat loco, and I was able to choke down a Bohemia, despite my hangover. That night we weren't the only one's celebrating. At the river, we passed a wedding party being serenaded by a line of jazz horns while the drumer banged away alone across the room. Bicycle and foot traffic had stopped on the bridge, looking in thru the ballroom's tall arched windows. Many reasons to party tonight.

On the turntable: Tears for Fears, "The Hurting"
On the nighttable: Best American Short Stories, 1991


Anonymous said...


I was searching for a mexican restaurant in Kyoto and found your blog site.
Could you tell me where I can find "El Latino" in Kyoto?
This would be great.

Thanks :-)


ted said...

El Latino's near the SW corner of Higashioji and Marutamachi, down some steps and in the back. The owner and staff are fun and genki, plus occasional live music. Amazing chorizo, best in Japan, I think...