Monday, February 27, 2006

Rock on Hokkaido!

Saturday night I went to a concert here in town. Now, concerts don't come around very often in this town, and I knew at least one person in all of the bands that were performing so I went. Ostensibly a charity concert, for me it was an excuse to hang out with the people from ロマンス and see some live music. I was told that last year, it was an all heavy metal extravaganza. I was looking forward to seeing the Japanese take on 80s metal "hair" bands .

It was an interesting crowd. I sat with the mama-san from romansu, another patron and his family and their two pre-schoolers. He kept mama-san and I supplied with beer and "steak" snacks (like dog treats, only more.... no, just like dog treats). Also in attendance were a couple fo high school students trying really hard to look cool, a bunch of elementary school kids, and lots and lots of little old ladies. I wonder if they were all hoping for a metal extravaganza too?

There was only one metal band though, and they were the last of the local bands that performed. The others were J-pop cover groups, one surf instrumental group, and a jazzy jam-band. I never knew how many people I work with had hidden talents!

The last act of the evening was very lame by comparison. Sure, it was the woman who was actually putting together the concert and getting the money raised to Africa to sponsor a well and a new school somewhere, but she was terrible. Bad karaoke and lounge lizarding (no, really -- she sang Billy Joel's "New York State of Mind") do not make for a good finale. Feeling a little let down, I seized the opportunity to sneak out early with mama-san and open the bar. I probably would have had more fun hanging out with the bands after the show, but she was *that* bad.

The rest of the evening was plenty of fun -- I haven't been to romansu in ages, and it was really nice to see everybody. My friend "boss" hadn't heard I was staying another year, and he actually cried when I told him. I think it's really because he want me to be in his band (that's cool -- his was one of the best)...

All in all a good night.*

Bright an early Sunday morning I got a phone call from my friend Watanabe-san. He's the same gentleman who invites me to Rotary club meetings. Sunday's invite was to go cross-country skiing. I ignored the previous night's induced headache -- cross-country skiing it was! It was a beautiful day. Nice and warm, and it felt good to get some winter sporting in. Apparently I have a set of gear there I can use at my leisure. Hopefully I'll get another chance to use it before spring comes around!

With the weather being so warm, there was a lot of melt yesterday and it was even raining in Asahikawa. It made for a really crappy drive to and from the video store. Road conditions this morning were craptastic after the melt and rain had all frozen over again. 100% skating rink! Every road in town is a 1 inch sheet of ice. I nearly killed myself on my way downstairs this morning. The NHK weather lady says the weird weather is a sure sign that spring is on it's way. She had better not be toying with me...

*Although not as good as my friend's.... she went to the Yubari film festival where she ended up mistaking Amanda Plummer for a private ALT she didn't know, while standing in front of a giant poster/mural for "The Sound of Music". How's that for surreal?

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