SAFARI DIARY - JAPAN
BOSKO 2008-05-17 05:30:50
B&H fly out
BOSKO 2008-03-28 06:18:35
well, we're off to NYC in a few hours, and still haven't updated you on everything that's been happening in Japan...
when we hit the Big Apple, we'll make sure to catch up before the NY UKEFEST starts...
so in the next few days we'll fill you in on some exciting news about KIWAYA amongst other things...
speak to you next time from the USA...
Ukulele Afternoon in Yoyogi...
BOSKO 2008-03-27 22:07:29
last Sunday b&h went to Yoyogi park to join UKULELE AFTERNOON for their monthly meeting, rehearsal and performance combined
it was a beautiful spring day, and the park - famous for mass-gatherings every Sunday of sub-cultures, outdoor jamming and bizarre fashion pursuits - was cranking... from the ubiquitous Djembe en masse to the sweetest drunken Rockers you're ever likely to meet...
anyway, we joined in the rehearsal, almost breaking our brains on reading TAB in a session led by Mr. ODAJIMA, until things got a lot more fun with group renditions of "Tequila" and "Twist & Shout" with Ukulele Afternoon's special and hilarious arrangements... great contagious fun!
afterwards we interviewed Mr. Odajima for the SAFARI before heading out with GEORGE, of the Windy City Islanders for a squiz around town, and a drink and snack or two at BAR HIKOROKU
Rolling Coconuts PARTY
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BOSKO 2008-03-24 23:28:05
on the 17th of this month b&h were lucky enough to attend a very late "end of year" party for ROLLING COCONUTS associates and friends...
it was organized by Mr. TSUWANO of ROLLING COCONUTS and Mr. HASABE of GHIBLI studios...
there were impromptu performances by AO AQUA, TAMANIX, B&H and the incredible BAN BAN BAZAR...
...as well as plenty of eating and drinking!
- by the way, we'll be interviewing Ban Ban Bazar upon our return to Japan in September!
it was great fun, and b&h are very grateful to everyone who was there, and especially to Mr. HASABE and Mr. TSUWANO, for his continued support... we really appreciate it!
see more 2 posts
BOSKO 2008-03-18 16:16:00
on Sunday the 16th. b&h visited this month's General Meeting of the Nihon Ukulele Association (NUA)
we were there upon introduction by SHU-SAN to Mr. MATT KOBAYASHI
Mr. Matt Kobayashi is a legend in the ukulele world, having worked tirelessly for many years to promote the ukulele and educate people in its use...
he is well-known and influential both in Japan and internationally as a musician, educator and ambassador for Hawaiian music
after a morning workshop there was an open mic session, and the performers were fantastic, sometimes accompanied by Mr. Kobayashi on electric bass and Hawaiian slide guitar...
we were asked to play 4 songs, and felt nervous to be playing to what could be considered the establishment of the Japanese ukulele scene...
however, everyone was very warm and friendly, and we are extremely grateful for the encouragement and interest we received!
b&h hope to return to the NUA in September to interview Mr. Kobayashi and document the meet for the Ukulele Safari...
HONEY 2008-03-14 01:52:44
last Sunday b&h went to see HAPPY HOPPY play a "mini-live" at KIWAYA
we missed their workshop, but caught the show...
Happy Hoppy are Rika-san - vocals and ukulele, and Akihisa-san on percussion, predominantly congas, but also washboard and melodica
we were really impressed by the space their sound retained, by their fantastic arrangements and their ability to make such a difficult sound to balance and work so well...
they're both lovely people and we're looking forward to doing a shared song with them in September!
see more 2 posts
HONEY 2008-03-13 02:39:10
also in Kamakura...
b&h met up with GENSBLUE, who we first heard of as a contestant at the KIWAYA ukulele contest last year... Mr Yasuda showed us a DVD of the competition
in it, GENSBLUE plays a medley of christmas tunes in the jazz style, entitled "all that ukulele christmas"... and it blew us away!
Mr. GENSBLUE uses a "walking bass" style of playing that has to be seen and heard to be believed... and his technique and expression are beautiful
anyway, we bumped into him at Mr Kobayashi (Kiyoshi)'s open mic jam at Bistro BLUE DRAG Tokyo the other week, and again at HAPPY HOPPY's mini-live at KIWAYA... so we organized to meet for a drink to get to know each other...
we met in Kamakura, and he took us to a restaurant/bar at the back of antique shop... this place apparently has a 100 year history, and has been frequented by many artists/writers/musicians over the year
we drank local black beer and had a great old chat
Gensblue is a gentle and fascinating man who is a leather-worker, making bags using techniques derived from Native American leatherwork
he was originally a classical guitarist who became interested in bossa-nova, and even traveled to Brazil to explore the genre...
this led him to the ukulele as a more portable instrument for travel, and he eventually started a ukulele-circle for beginners
seeing the joy that the ukulele brought to people (especially those who had never experienced playing music before) gave Gensblue the motivation to get deeper into it
he also works with children, teaching them ukulele, and his dream is to replace the recorder in Japanese schools with the ukulele
we're gonna put him in contact with NIPPER, who has been quite successful doing this very thing in the UK
we'll be interviewing GENSBLUE for the Safari upon our return to Japan in SEPTEMBER...
KAMAKURA FM interview
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BOSKO 2008-03-12 21:44:49
b&h were invited to be interviewed on KAMAKURA FM radio station on their weekly ukulele show, hosted by Mr. NAKAMARU who is also the Vice-Director of the station
he is a real gentleman... and is very well traveled, having been a professional photographer for many years, and is also a Hawaiian-style ukulele teacher at KIWAYA
the interview will air next Monday...
see more 5 posts
BOSKO 2008-03-12 21:30:04
b&h were introduced to SHU-SAN by Mr. Yasuda from KIWAYA and UKULELE CALLS...
SHU-SAN began playing the ukulele at 15 years old, but gave it up when his working life in the business world began at age 22...
when SHU-SAN retired about 7 years ago he was 55
he began playing ukulele again, this time in earnest, and now performs as the only ukulele player in Tokyo with a "heaven's licence"... the very difficult to obtain buskers' license needed for legal street performance here
SHU-SAN is also a trustee of NUA, the Nippon Ukulele Association - the oldest ukulele organisation in Japan
we went to visit SHU-SAN at one of his regular public performances at the Tokyo Council Tower obsevation floor on Monday, and watched him perform...
SHU-SAN is a wonderful, fluid and entertaining player who's aim is to please... he was successful with us!
he's also a very friendly and colourful character, and we went for a drink together with IISAN, TAKA & NYAMI (all of whom you'll hear more of soon!)
b&h have secured an interview with SHU-SAN upon our return to Japan in September, and also an invitation to visit the NUA at their general meeting this Sunday...
see more 2 posts
BOSKO 2008-02-28 20:08:22
yesterday B&H took the train to GUNMA, 2 provinces away from TOKYO, to visit and record a video with a fellow YouTuber: MAX THE UKULELE PUNK ROCKER!!!
well, let me tell you, it was a fun day!
we're sure you'll be entertained by the results of our efforts, once the video is edited and posted!
see more 2 posts
BOSKO 2008-02-28 19:44:21
we've had some wonderful opportunities this week, and B&H were particularly honoured to have been able to spend 2 hours with Mr. MORI TAKUJI on Monday at KIWAYA
Mr. Mori is Japan's maestro of solo ukulele playing in the almost extinct old Hawaiian style who's roots lie in the 1920's
Mr. Mori is the teacher of both SHIGETO-san and AYA-san
Mori-Sensei's own teacher was Haida Haruhiko (1909-1986), who is THE man who brought ukulele and Hawaiian music to Japan, and is remembered as the father of the Japanese ukulele tradition
Mori-Sensei is a complete gentleman, kind enough to demonstrate some of his techniques, and even to give Bosko a lesson!
Honey conducted the interview in Japanese, so we'll be subtitling it in the coming weeks... this is really worth looking forward to
see more 2 posts
BOSKO 2008-02-28 06:57:23
B&H's UKULELE SAFARI 2008 will be officially launched this Sunday, the 2nd of March at Mr. Odajima's BAR HIKOROKU
it kicks off at 1pm Tokyo-time, and is an open mic afternoon
some of the performers so far include SHIGETO-San, AYA-San and YOSHIMURA-san
it's free... you just gotta buy a drink!
all are welcome to attend and/or perform!
Mr. Odajima at BAR HIKOROKU:
Sunday, 24th of February
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BOSKO 2008-02-24 23:59:29
the WIND in Tokyo was so strong (and COLD) that trains stopped running for a couple of hours...
We were on our way to Shinjuku to meet up with Mr. SHIGETO TAKAHASHI, so when the system started rolling again (the freezing wind didn't stop!) we were happy indeed
the last time we saw Mr. SHIGETO was in NYC last year, and remember him as an incredible player and gentleman who graced the festival with his presence, personality and performance during the NY UkeFest 07
So it was great to see Shigeto-san again, and before long we were like old friends
he showed us photos from his recent trip to CALIFORNIA to visit MIKE DaSILVA and receive a custom Martin Style 3 replica Mike made for him...
Mike actually finished it while Shigeto-san was there, and they collaborated on a new improved neck design for enhanced playability
Shigeto swears he likes it better than a real Martin!
B&H were pleased and honoured that Shigeto-san liked the philosophy of the UKULELE SAFARI, and happily agreed to be interviewed...
we shared a beautiful meal at LIFE, a slow-food restaurant which he teaches ukulele from, and conducted the interview there...
Shigeto-san proved to be an excellent interviewee, and we ended up doing the interview almost entirely in english, as he used it so well...
we got some great footage, and Shigeto-san had some great stories to tell...
when a new student turned up for his 1st lesson, B&H roped him in to be camera operator for a group shot... it was a really great day, and Shigeto-san's warmth and philosophy on life was wonderful...
you can expect the video soon!
Busy in Tokyo...
see more 2 posts
BOSKO 2008-02-23 02:25:08
... and who in Tokyo isn't??
To anyone waiting for some SAFARI VIDEOS, we promise you won't have to wait long!
We've been busy recording and editing interviews with the lovely and talented AYA-San, YOSHIMURA-San of the amazing LIGHTING UKULELE and TSUWANO-San - editor, writer and publisher of the fabulous ROLLING COCONUTS MAGAZINE
B&H were also privileged enough to attend a monthly event organized by the legendary KIYOSHI KOBAYASHI-San...
He, his son Nao (a hot jazz guitarist in his own right), his students of guitar and ukulele, and others - both professional and amateur - get together for a night of GYPSY JAZZ, OPEN MIC, Performance and jamming.... all in a venue of intimacy and warmth: the TOKYO BLUE DRAG BAR
B&H were blown away by the warmth and friendliness of KOBAYASHI-Sensei and everyone else...
We played a couple of songs and were humbled and encouraged by the invitation and reception...
What a fantastic scene it is!
MUCH more on this soon...
BOSKO 2008-02-14 20:13:43
B&H are in Japan now... official base camp for the UKULELE SAFARI 2008
it's cold cold cold, but if you've ever experienced a Japanese "kotatsu" (a low table with a thick blanket fringe to the floor and a heater inside) you'll know that even winter has it's pleasures!
Bosko is busy finalizing the safari schedule for the U.S.
we're also preparing to OFFICIALLY LAUNCH the SAFARI here in Japan soon, so you can expect to be able to watch it here before too long...
Honey's also organized a pretty full diary, and we'll be meeting with Mr. Yasuda from KIWAYA, Mr. Tsuwano from ROLLING COCONUTS, Mr. Odajima of BAR HIKOROKU and UKULELE AFTERNOON, Mr. Yoshimura of AUDREY MUSIC and the amazing LIGHTING UKULELE and MAX the ukulele PUNK ROCKER over the coming week...
we'll also play a gig in a church and attend a wedding on the same day!
Bosko is editing footage of the MUK (Melbourne Ukulele Kollective) monthly meet at BAR 303... so there's some new video coming your way soon!
it's actually fun to be busy when it's cold... already we can no longer imagine the heat and humidity of good old KURANDA!
here's a pic of B&H at the beach on a crisp day in Kamogawa
ROLLING COCONUTS NEWS
BOSKO 2007-11-24 10:28:25
B&H are pleased to announce they will be writing for the quarterly japanese ukulele magazine ROLLING COCONUTS from MAY 2008
we will be providing articles on the uke players and makers we meet, and the festivals we attend as part of BOSKO & HONEY'S UKULELE SAFARI...
we will also be making accompanying videos for ROLLING COCONUTS TV
ROLLING COCONUTS is the only free ukulele magazine in japan, and has huge distribution and readership... we're very excited about it!