I've had a busy week.
Wednesday I went to see The Pillows, a Japanese rock band best known internationally for their music in a 1999 anime FLCL. The concert took place in basically a SODO warehouse undergoing remodel to become a club. A lot of Sakura-con staff and attendees were there. They were led by The Noodles and a local band, Radio Future.
Thursday was "Japan Night" (formally "Japan Girls Night") which I first attended back in Boston when I was living there with Hitomi. Mostly there were hard rock or punk bands. There were about 4-5 bands playing that night (about 1 hour each set) and we got a little tired and left early. It's hard to listen to that many bands for that long. The opening band consisted of Japanese high school girls (17 years old) singing your basic idol songs. They'll be attending Sakura-con next week and Hitomi will probably be chaperoning them.
Saturday I went out on a group ride from Bremerton with Gary Strauss. About 80 miles and 5,000 feet of climbing. Ride pictures. Afterwards, I took a shower and Hitomi and I went to a traditional Japanese music concert at Town Hall Seattle. Actually, I wouldn't necessarily say it was traditional; though they used traditional instruments a lot of the music seemed contemporary. They had a Tsugaru Shamisen master from Aomori, Hitomi's home prefecture. Tsugaru Shamisen music is more about the texture and shape of the notes than creating melody, so it's a little hard on Western ears I think. Nevertheless, the audience was obviously excited by it all.
A couple side notes from the week: I saw Barack Obama (on Youtube, natch) give a speech on race and race relations in the U.S. I was impressed. I'm not sure he'd make an effective president but he'd be one of our most intelligent sounding.