Saturday, September 13, 2008

Never had one lesson!

So, this was an experience. Because of work, I ended up a little late to the bar, by the time I arrived everything was almost set up and ready to go. Our show started at 8:30, and there was a private party from 6:30 - 8:00, the rest of the band got to the bar a little early and took care of business.The amp off to the right is the I was to use. During the private party, we took off for a bite to eat. Right around 8:00 we returned to tune the instruments and get settled in. It did not take long for the bar to fill up.I was kind of not paying attention, plugging in my bass and making sure it would make noise, turned around and saw this. Then the person trying to level out speakers asked me to play the bass, I was not to excited about this, so many people. "When I push on this string, they can hear me, that is not cool."During sound check, I was trying to avoid everyone. In fact when we started to play, I stood facing James the drummer, with my back to everyone for the first few minutes. But the bar was enjoying the show, and after a few minutes I was facing forward and making a good effort to be a rock star.So, I can not play bass, but that's okay. The basic idea was to put me up here, try to follow the beat and the other three would simply play louder then me. This actually worked out, we played 10 or 12 songs, half of them I was able to learn a couple of key notes to hit. The other songs, I was able to watch where Noe, on guitar was playing and just kind of followed along. I had two bass' to work with, one was tuned a little different from the other and used for different songs. But it was really cool to put one down and pick up the other. I had no idea the amount of work it is to play a bass. To stand there and pluck strings for two hours really takes a toll. I had to use a pick, I tried to use my fingers during day 2 partice to strum, but then I got a blister on my index finger. Which put the kabosh on that idea, you can strum faster not using a pick.Everyone really enjoyed the concert, it's a really good that the rest of the band are really good musicians.There is one song that I think I played really well, Alice in Chains song Would.Towards the end of the night, I was walking around and dancing a little bit. This was a lot of fun, unlike Rock Band, no one boo'ed me off stage or even gave me a hard time. I actually got a lot of positive feedback, but I think no one really realized they could not hear the bass. Now I want to take a few lessons sometime in the future. I think next week, i will be getting some more photos, I will put those up too.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Band Practice Day 2

This was our second practice and everything went well.My bass sounds good, our show is tomorrow and as it sounds it will be a packed house (small house, maybe the bar can hold less then 45 people).So, this will be crazy, if anyone yells at me "you suck!" I'm going to stop the show and invite them on stage to show me how they would handle the same situation.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

School of Rock

This is kind of difficult to explain, yesterday I was asked if I could play bass for this band made up of three co-workers who need a bass player. Naturally, I answered "no."They were not convinced, so after some discussion in the office, I found myself making noise on a bass in a small studio north of Nagoya station called Liverpool. And the noise I was able to produce was good enough to play live in a bar this Friday, at 8:30pm, at 10 Dollar Rock'A Beat Cafe near Fushimi Station.Between right now and Friday at 8:30pm, there is one more practice, where I will have an amp and three hours to figure this thing out. We are going to play some covers from Weezer, Green day, Nirvana... so on. I have a strap for the bass now too, so it is a little more easy to manage. The show will be about an hour and a half and should be crazy. They picked a bunch of songs where the bass is easy to play over, but I can hold the beat. No problem, I should also get points for stage presence. I'm kind of big in Japan! But if I enjoy this, I think I might take some classes. I think prior to this week, I have played Rock Star twice, let's see if I get booed off stage in real life.

The name of the band is Jyuko, which is short form of the Japanese word Jūkōgyō, which means 'heavy industry.'

Sunday, September 7, 2008

New Bike

I stumbled upon a good deal this past week and picked up a second new used bike. When an expat has a going away sale or a 'Sayonara Sale' they usually have to get rid of a bunch of things quick. This bike was listed for Y2000, just under $20 by someone leaving for China I think.Y2000 is a good deal for this bike, full suspension, folding, lock and mug guards. It's normal that people have a bikes parked at train stations they use often. I got this bike to keep down in Handa, at Kamezaki station, which is about 2Km from where I work. The walk is about 20 minutes, the bike ride is less then 10.Above is the bike parked a Okkawa station, I had to leave it here for a couple of days, but this is only one station south from Kamezaki. It you look close, you can see the bike is simply locked to itself.People do not really lock their bikes to poles or something fixed, typically you are good to just lock the rear weheel from spinning and 99% of the time, this is enough to keep someone from walking off with your bike. The other 1% of people taking your bike, is usually when they walk out of a bar and need to get home, quick.My original plan was a to get a folding bike to keep down south at work, and when you came to visit, I would have the option to fold up the bike and bring it back to Nagoya for you to use. But this past Saturday, I took it to work for the first time on the train, and this bike must weight 45 lbs. It is kind of a burden to carry around. My other bike is right around 19 lbs... no problem.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Dancing in the Street

Occasionally, festivals and events just happen and I have no idea. This past Sunday, city blocks were shutdown in three or four spots around Nagoya and broke out into dance competitions.It's the kind of thing, where you hear all this noise coming from around the side of a building and people migrating all in the same direction. Only to walk over and find a massive party.And this party was really cool, there had to over 1500 people dancing in front of Nagoya station.But simply watching the parade of people does not necessarily mean you understand what's going on, but it's cool to ask around a little bit. And from what I could gather, I guess dance troupes from cities around Nagoya practice year around, make all these cool outfits and prepare for this dance festival.Somewhere, there are judges watching and voting. Then who ever wins becomes a very famous dance troupe from some city in Japan, and everyone else can't wait for next year when they can see them dance again.The dance team above kept dropping those wooden paddles, when they walked away there was eight or nine scattered on the ground.... Crazy Labor Day Weekend!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Neighborhood Progress

Kind of an indication of how long I have been in Nagoya, but when I moved here back in March, that corer to the right was showing sings that they were about to build something new... kind of summarized with that crane and white wooden wall.
Yesterday, I noticed that crane is now sitting on the 15th floor. They even have half the windows installed..That's over 2 floors a month, not bad!