May 25 – 10:20 AM
Finally got some sleep. Woke up at 9:30 AM but stayed in bed until John brought some vitamin C. Things a little looser this morning.
Eleanor called and I was a little startled. I expected the call resulted from some trouble at home. To the contrary, she has the lawn tractor together, is expecting Ed and his friend back from Algonquin Park and, best of all, Bryce has been accepted at Fanshawe College. It was so good to hear her voice. It is time to go home.
I bought two skirts for her in the hotel boutique. Checked out cameras and calculators with Russ and Dave and we had lunch at Parco – seventh floor. No bargains in cameras these days. The Nikon F3 is well over $1000 Canadian. Calculators are good bargains. Went to a building called Wave, owned by Seibu, and containing the theater in which we play, is convenient. I am continually amazed by things and the way the Japanese do them. Eight floors of records, scores, books, tapes – and display of bird calls – very expensive – and sound effects. I could easily spend a small fortune there. The stairwells are lined with photos of Toru and original fragments of his scores – friends, photos, and memorabilia.. The concert is in Cine Vivant, a small, 185 seat movie theater in the basement. A beautiful theater. Concert is sold out and wonderful warm responsive audience with a sense of humor.
Our dressing room has cable TV and we watch a funny installment of the Muppets on English language TV. Just before we go on – first-half Rags, second half “Teddy” – just one hour. The audience, after one encore won’t stop applauding so after our last encore, Bill does his shtick of holding up his hands for silence and when the audience responses, he walks off stage. Always gets a laugh.
Asaka and Maki are at the concert. Toru asks what my plans are for the weekend and says he is coming to our hotel for two days. Maki says. “Ohhhh” and tells me to give her father my key. I tell her that she has an American mind and what she says is jive. She blushes, Toru laughs.
Louis Hamel, Canadian Cultural Attache is at the concert and presents us with bouquets of flowers and then takes them back. Big laugh. I tell Toru I’m getting all the flowers from the people going to Kyoto and will arrange them around me in bed and spend the whole weekend watching them die. Toru loves stories like that. We will get together. It could be a very fun weekend.
Louis Hamel comes back to the hotel with us and we go to a sushi bar just behind Tobu. I can’t possibly describe the meal. A small place and there are only three men – buddies at the bar. They are all classmates of the owner and play baseball on weekends. After quite a few beers, much conversation, and compliments on our chopstick technique, we get into questions about the odd shellfish in his refrigerator. One is called Oh Gai. The owner, Yanagi, from very old family from Edo period, hits the protuberance with his finger and the thing retracts partially. It looks so much like an old shriveled penis, it’s hilarious. He brings some smaller shellfish out that are partially opened – reddish orange in color and look like vaginas. He puts a chopstick in one and it clamps on the stick. Then he lays the “penis” on the “vagina” and presents them to Joanne. He asks her to hit the penis and for once Joanne is nonplussed.
He opens a huge shell and inside is a very large scallop but with an incredible digestive tract and a reddish spleen or liver. He takes a piece of sashimi, palms it and slams his palm on the glass counter. When he removes his hand, the sashimi curls up. They are all still “alive”.
Jean asked the men to guess the oldest member of our group and they guess me. This startles everyone and John says they are the first to ever guess correctly. They explain that I am the most civilized in my eating and drinking and therefore am more experienced and older. I bow and “Domo Arigato”. We toast and applaud each other. John presents the owner and his son with marimba pins and a photo of the group which will be go on his wall. A very funny, warm, beer boozy evening. Hope I get a lot of sleep tonight.
Had coffee and morning paper with Russ. See ad for Iannis Xenakis concerts. Wonder if he is in town. Russ looks up and Iannis is sitting at a table behind us. We join him and talk of Chinese and Korean music. Will probably go to his concert tomorrow. Sylvio Gualdo is playing percussion amplifier with amplified harpsichord.
Went shopping with Russ. Just about finished except for Dorothy and I know what I want. Dinner with John, Jean, Russ at Seibu, seventh floor. Drinks later with Toru who is now with Iannis interviewing for magazine.
Miniskirts are in. Many Japanese women are knock-kneed and, from the knees down, bowlegged. Most of the baseball games I’ve seen are played on grassless infields. The Mitsubishi Gallant golf tournament was played on what appears to be a rather uninteresting course. Most of the male Japanese golfers do not seem to generate the fluid powerful body motion and hence, a seemingly slower clubhead speed and awkward appearance.
Just saw a Christine McVey rock video – nice vibe.
May 27th – 9 AM
Here in the center of Tokyo – cement – cars – people, lives a solitary raven. Each morning he walks the brick wall outside the coffee shop and his caw can be heard inside the hotel. Sunday morning early, and less traffic, my window open to the sixth floor, his caw echoes as against hills across water. He is a foot-long and he seems to be the only significant, omnipotent resident of Shibuyu. This one bird – circling the hotel makes Shibuyu small. In the paddling silence of an Algonquin river, a blue heron pounds the air and reeds in a startled take-off, and remains, still, only a fragment of the whole.
May 28 – 12:30 PM
Lunch and dinner with Toru – lunch of barbecued eel in Akasaka – dessert in Shibuyu ice cream parlor. I ask if Toru would write a piece for John and me. He is delighted, accepts and immediately suggests the title “We” (Wyre and Engelman). Toru wants John and me to give him a list of instruments for which he can write “WE”. We both promise to practice.
December 15, 2015 at 3:39 pm
Dear Robin – did Takemitsu ever write you guys the piece? Best, Bill
December 17, 2015 at 10:20 am
Sadly, no. However the next step was up to John and me; ask him how much money he wanted for writing the piece and then finding the money.We did’nt.