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Jan 31, 2006

Kaoru Watanabe Jan 31 2006

Have you heard of the great artist Fred Wilson?

"His sculptures and site-specific installations investigate how meaning is contingent on context by creating new displays for art and artifacts in museums and cultural institutions"

Well, I couldn't have said it better. That quote is from the back of the program for a lecture of his at the Museum of Modern Art here in New York. My friend, the pianist Jason Moran told me I should come and I'm grateful to him for the tip. Mr. Wilson was very open in discussing the creative process behind his work and what went into bringing the concept in his head to life in a museum.

I was able to meet Mr. Wilson after the lecture during the reception and spoke briefly about how the past nine years of living in Japan has dramatically altered the relationship between myself and my culture (Japan? America? ) and my art (Japanese traditional? Jazz? Classical?)

It was not surprising to hear how someone whose work speaks so directly and powerfully to the viewer was able to so eloquently and completely discuss the meaning and significance of the art.

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見留知弘 2006年1月31日



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Jan 29, 2006

Kaoru Watanabe Jan 29 2006

Went to visit some friends in Jersey City last night. Dinner at a neighborhood French bistro and drinks at their home afterwards. We played with their dogs, two rambunctious beasts, enthusiastic and joyful - one of them, a fat bulldog with no neck, was so ugly in the most unselfconsciously glorious way. At a relatively decent hour, we said our goodnights and took the PATH train back home to Manhattan.

We got off at the World Trade Center station after passing among the silent towering foundation walls of the fallen buildings, everything- those walls, the earth movers, the piles of construction materials, was austerely lit with dry white floodlights. We hailed a taxi and directed the driver to take us to the upper east side via the FDR Drive. Soon we passed under the Brooklyn Bridge, and looked up at the massive underbelly as it stretched impossibly up and over the East River. Next came the Manhattan Bridge as well as the red neon Pepsi sign on the far Brooklyn side of the river, reflected hazily in the dark waters. Clusters of buildings of various shapes and sizes, stood near and far off in the distance, with random blocks of light scattered among the dark windows of their gridded faces.

We passed under the UN in midtown and then the Queensboro that connects Manhattan to Roosevelt Island. Eventually we got off the FDR and headed up second avenue. We passed plenty of local restaurants and neighborhood laundromats still holding the Gaps and MacDonald's at bay. People walked languidly on the sidewalks in the unseasonably warm winter night. A left turn here and a right turn there and the next thing you know we were home.

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Jan 27, 2006

松浦充長 2006年1月27日



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世間のヒロイモノ 【88】







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Jan 26, 2006

KERS148.1 鼓童実験放送局 第59回

1月26日 第59回 (21'14" 9.7MB)

  • パーソナリティー:山口幹文
  • 実験対談 山口幹文×大井良明
    • 1971年に佐渡にやってきた、鼓童の最古参メンバー
    • 大学紛争が激しかった時代
    • 釣りをしに来たのに…
    • “夏の学校”という勉強会
    • 太鼓、三味線、箏が少しずつ
    • 出来ることは「腕立て伏せ」
    • ボストンマラソンデビュー秘話
    • お酒・タバコ・テレビ・ラジオ・新聞
    • (次回に続きます…)


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Jan 25, 2006

藤本吉利 2006年1月25日






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見留知弘 2006年1月25日






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世間のヒロイモノ 【87】




芝生に囲まれた白い家の中にはふかふかの絨毯。キッチンから漂うバターの香り。生意気そうな小型犬(これは天敵)。そしてその時に配っていたのが「星条旗(Stars & Stripes)」という名の新聞でした。後年その新聞の取材に及び、昔話で盛り上がったことは言うまでもありません。

©2006 Motofumi Yamaguchi

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Jan 24, 2006

世間のヒロイモノ 【86】





©2006 Motofumi Yamaguchi

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Jan 23, 2006

Kaoru Watanabe Jan 23 2006

2 and 1/2 hour ferry ride from Sado to Niigata, a two hour train ride from Niigata to Tokyo, an hour train ride from Tokyo to Narita, then a 12 hour flight from Narita to NYC, then arriving in NY on the 18th. Two days later on the 20th, two and a half hour train ride up to Albany to see Urban Tap, drive up two and a half hours to Boston to see my brother and his family, then drive three and a half hours back down to NYC on the 21st, take a subway and cab for over an hour to get to JFK airport on the 22nd to take a 7 hour plane ride to Madrid, stop over a few hours than another 2 and a half hours to Brussels. (arrive on the 23rd) See the little boy pissing statue and take pictures.


On the 24th play at an opening ceremony of a Research and Development Technical Center of Toyota Motors Europe (pass within a few feet of, among other dignitaries and CEOs, the Prime Minister of Belgium), then fly back to Madrid then on to New York, a what, 10 and a half hour flight in all plus about six or seven hours of waiting around in airports (thank God for the DaVinci Codes) and arrive back in New York at seven at night on the 25th. That's like, what, 50 hours of transit and five time zone changes in about a week.

20060123kaoru_bThey told me after the fact that I wasn't supposed to take pictures anywhere in the building at the Toyota Research and Development facilities... all sorts of experimental designs and gadgets everywhere... but I figured this picture of Yoshikazu going against his self-imposed ban on drinking and enjoying a glass of red in the dressing room after the performance.

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Jan 21, 2006

People, Places and Things No. 85

The End of Satiation
- Matsuyama


At this bakery I immediately went back to my childhood.

My regular orders were Koppepan rolls, steamed rolls, and Amashoku rolls. "Koppe" (shortened nick name), my favorite was only 10 yen. If I had one more 10 yen coin, I could add butter or strawberry jam to make it gorgeous! Glossy Koppe with sweet aroma and a fresh croquette out of the oven were the kings of kids' snacks. Even though I eat exactly the same thing today, they don't taste as great as they used to be... It must be my sins of satiation.

Motofumi Yamaguchi
transleted by Chie
January 21, 2006
©2006 Motofumi Yamaguchi

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世間のヒロイモノ 【85】






©2006 Motofumi Yamaguchi

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Jan 20, 2006

Kaoru Watanabe Jan 20 2006

I took a two and a half hour train ride from New York City to Albany to see a performance of the group Urban Tap at the Egg, a performing arts theater shaped like, well, an egg. Urban Tap is led by the great Tamango, a master tap dancer whose art has it's roots in his native French Guinea, in Paris where he grew up and in New York City where he has lived his adult life and where he continues to hone his art. Tamango has gathered around him a collective of top notch artists of disparate disciplines who share his love of tradition, spontaneity, improvisation and rhythm. Among these arts are traditional stilt dancing from the Ivory Coast, Capoeira from Brazil, tabla from India, Haitian percussion, and freestyle, break dancing and jazz from America.

Urban Tap is the group that, if all goes according to plan, will be coming over to Japan this summer to join Kodo at Earth Celebration.

How can I describe what I saw that evening? I had a small note pad out in order to jot down notes for any observations or ideas, but at the end of the show the page remained blank, my pen still capped. And it was not for lack of anything to write but because I was so mesmerized by what was happening onstage.

Tamango's dancing was confident, loose, and full of an endless variety of rhythmic and melodic variety. Bonga and his son Tiga provided the grooves and beats throughout the show with various percussion, singing and even didgeridoo. Belinda showed grace and power with her freestyle dance, mixing elements of Afro Cuban, Afro Brazilian, Afro Caribbean, and, as she put it during a Q&A session after the show, "some club moves". ANd when Vado, the stilt dancer from West Africa appeared, it was simply impossible to take your eyes off of him.

Stilt dancing in the Ivory Coast is a very sacred ritual and Vado comes from a long line of stilt dancers or a long line of "masks" as he put it. The one who wears the costume and has the stilts affixed to the bottom of his feet is no longer a man but a spirit who watches over the village from his great height and protects his people from evil. The dance however is playful and joyous. The movements at once awkward and full of startling grace and beauty.

My parents where in the Boston area visiting my brother and decided to drive down to Albany to join me. My mother laughed and applauded in delight throughout the entire show.

Afterwards, I invited Tamango for a drink at the hotel bar (we happened to be staying in the same hotel). We talked for a couple of hours about music, culture, art, dance, the world, life. At one point he went to use the restroom. While I waited, I sat there staring at a basketball game on the television. A few minutes later, coming up behind me was the sound of the most resonant and lyrical footsteps I've ever heard. I didn't have to turn to know who it was.

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Jan 19, 2006

新井武志 2006年1月19日










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Jan 18, 2006

船橋裕一郎 2006年1月18日



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People, Places and Things no. 84

Under the sod (Kusaba no kage)
- Sado


In Japan we have serious illegal waste problems and of course Sado is not an exception. These cars must had gone through beautiful golden rice fields and stormy coastal roads and crossed many muddy ridges on this island. They must had been a great part of their family. Alas... their glitter has shaded and they are quietly waiting for the day to be a part of the earth now...


Motofumi Yamaguchi
translated by Chie
January 18, 2006
©2006 Motofumi Yamaguchi

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世間のヒロイモノ 【84】





©2006 Motofumi Yamaguchi

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Jan 16, 2006

渡辺薫 2006年1月16日


どんちゃん騒ぎの余興タイムですが、秋元さんと私はちょっと違う雰囲気でやってみることにしました。ギターとフルートで、静かなボサノヴァ風にアレンジしたスティービーワンダーの「Summer Soft」を演奏したのです。


こうなったら静かに演奏を締めくくっても意味がありません。秋元さんはガシャガシャにギターをかき鳴らし始めました。私も大好きなAlbert Aylerみたいに、狂ったように吹きまくりました。




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Kaoru Watanabe Jan 16 2006

Since everybody goes to their respective hometowns for the actual New Years, Kodo's New Year's party is always about a week or two after the actual date. This year's was a couple days ago and, as usual, those players, staff and apprentices so inspired, came up with little skits and dance routines for the amusement and embarrassment of everyone. This year's performances included a human marionette song and dance routine, the apprentices doing some sort of bizarre tumbling routine, and Chieko san leading the probationary members through a cheerleading number which had the guys dressed in drag and the girls wearing high school uniforms.

Among all the revelry, Akimoto and I decided to contribute a different mood to the evening and performed a flute and guitar rendition of Stevie Wonder's Summer Soft from the great Songs in the Key of Life album, done with an intimate Bossa Nova feel. It was very effective if I do say so myself, almost magical- The eighty or so people watching in various degrees of inebriation, listened attentively and with the utmost silence. Even the children stopped running around and hollering.

Akimoto was a little nervous beforehand due to the deceptively complex chord changes and modulations that he had to maneuver on guitar, but that night he played flawlessly. After the melody and a short flute improvisation, we were bringing the piece to a nice quiet close. In the tensioned filled pause we held right before going into the final chord however, Masaru's little three year old son, Shun, sitting in the front row, dropped a small drum he was carrying directly on the wooden platform on which Akimoto and I were playing.

The timing couldn't have been any better/worse. The banging and subsequent rolling followed by the harried attempts to stop and pick up the drum by Shun's mother managed to break the spell the piece seemed put over the room. Akimoto figured it would be pointless to end the piece quietly as we had planned and proceeded to rock out on his acoustic guitar. I followed suit and began to play my best Albert Ayler impersonation- frantic free jazz wailing on the flute. The crowd was laughing and applauding and among all the headbanging commotion, I managed to connect my forehead to Akimoto's guitar and began to bleed from the big knot that grew from the impact.

The crowd laughed and applauded even more. Among the ten or so people that rushed forward at the sight of blood, two or three brought tissues, ice and a band aid, but the other seven or eight people brought their cell phone cameras. Everybody was finding enormous amusement in my suffering. Ah, the life of an artist.

20060116kaoruAfterwards many people came up and complemented me on the performance- not with phrases like "The sound of your flute was so beautiful" but more like "You looked so cool when the blood was trickling down your forehead". Eichi was the worst however. He kept shouting for an encore performance.

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Jan 13, 2006

Kaoru Watanabe Jan 13 2006

For those of you who have not been following the posting here in the Kodo weblog, I have made a deal with a certain Marie, saying that I must write a Weblog entry at least once a week or I pay fifty dollars to the Miyake Fund while if I do write my entry, she will put some money into the fund. I am very into this deal- I went to Miyake as a probationary member of Kodo about six years ago, the year before the volcano erupted.

Tsumura san is the leading practitioner of Miyake Kamitsuki Kiyari Daiko were we have gone to study for the last twenty some years. Tsumura is a very powerful drummer who takes deep pride in the culture and traditions of his island. This is how training with him went: the five of us would play Miyake for about fifteen or twenty minutes. For those of you who haven't seen Miyake, it is a very physically demanding piece, requiring great flexibility and strength. Tsumura san would eventually stop us, give us a few pointers about form or hitting technique, then remark about how amazing our strength and stamina was- how only Kodo members could keep up this level of concentration and intensity. Then without missing a beat he would say "okay let's give it another round." then we would play for another fifteen or twenty minutes. This cycle continued for about four days straight, morning, noon and night. Every night, we would all go back to his Ryokan, take a hot bath and collapse into our futons to rest up for the next day.

Tsumura san has been living in Tokyo for the past five years or so, still teaching the Miyake style of drumming and waiting anxiously for the day when he can return to his beloved Miyake Island. One of his sons, also a talented drummer, has recently just finished his two years as a Kodo apprentice. He decided, unfortunately for us, that instead of joining Kodo, he wanted to go back to drumming with his family (his two brothers are also drummers).

Long story short, I would love to support the Miyake fund- especially if it is not out of my own pocket!! Haha. So here's my first entry. I leave for New York soon so I will definitely have something to write about...

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Jan 11, 2006

齊藤栄一 2006年1月11日その2


皆様 あけまして おめでとう ございました。


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People, Places and Things No.83

Getting What I Pay For
(Essa sea route)


There is a car ferry that we always rely upon to transport us back and forth between Niigata and Sado. A standard one way ticket costs two thousand and sixty yen. I'm not sure if this is expensive or cheap but I would think that the usage of life jackets and lifeboats are included in the price of a ticket. It would be a glorious day if even for just once, I don a life jacket and take one of those lifeboats out to sea.

A friend once commented "It would be so much more interesting if the mannequin wore on it's head an Okesa kasa (a straw hat worn in a traditional Sado dance) and the emergency life boats replaced by the tarai bune (traditional Sado tub boats)."

That such a comment was made by a person who cried while watching "Titanic" is simply beyond me.

Motofumi Yamaguchi
translated by Kaoru Watanabe
January 11th 2006
©2006 Motofumi Yamaguchi

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世間のヒロイモノ 【83】





©2006 Motofumi Yamaguchi

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齊藤栄一 2006年1月11日






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Jan 10, 2006

KERS148.1 鼓童実験放送局 第58回

1月10日 第58回 (10'08" 4.8MB)

  • パーソナリティー:山口幹文
  • 齊藤栄一+斎藤菜月


  • Sysopさん、おめでとうございます。
  • Cristine san eh,
    Congratulations! You have been selected by lottery to receive a hand drawn sign taken straight from one of our dressing room doors. Please send your mailing address to us at kodoblog@kodo.or.jp so we can ship off your present right away.
    Good luck with your Japanese studies!


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Jan 09, 2006

洲崎拓郎 2006年1月9日




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Jan 01, 2006

Happy New Year to all!

Happy New Year to all!
This is Takuro, Kodo Weblog Manager.

It has been almost a year since we started this blog on January 27, 2005. With your generous support, we could have a successful starting year in 2005. We posted 500 journals and had over 180,000 accesses to our blog! Thank you very much.

  • Now we would like to celebrate a new year with a little lottery.
    • Please click "comments" and let us know your feedback and ideas about Kodo Weblog.
    • Among those who send us such comments, we will choose two winners by lot. The winner will receive a hand-drawn sign from Kodo's dressing room. The signs were drawn by either Mitsuru Ishizuka or Tsubasa Hori. We will also decide which sign goes to which winner by lot. Well... it is just a piece of paper, but I hope you will be interested in...
    • The draw will be made on January 9, 2006. We will announce the winner on this weblog. If you are the winner, please e-mail us your mailing address.
    • Oversea residents are also welcome to join this lottery!

Here is the signs!

We are looking forward to your comments. Thank you very much for your continuous support to Kodo Weblog in 2006!

Takuro Susaki
Kodo Weblog Manager

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鼓童ウェブログ管理人 洲崎拓郎

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