Monday, January 19, 2009

Thank You Card

Thank You!


Hi everyone,

Thank you very, very much for joining us at our Winter Concert Series despite the brutally cold weather- we had great turnouts and had so much fun on both concerts, and the compliments we received were overwhelming!!

Here's the set list for both gigs for those of you who couldn't get the program (our apologies - we'll make sure to have enough of them next time).

Blessed by the Sun
Wa no Canon
Crying Sumo-Man
Sunny Side Up

Encore: Spring Thunder

I believe Ippei took some pictures and he'll post them when he's got a chance.

We certainly hope to see you again at the upcoming events!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Holy Child Church in Staten Island, NY

Yuuki Koike (Flute, Alto Sax, Melodica)
Takeshi Asai (Keyboard)
Kazuo Nakamura (Acoustic & Electric Basses)
Yutaka Uchida (Drums)
Ippei Ichimaru (Shamisen, Sanshin, Cello, Percussion)

After the last mass of the day, we immediately started setting up again. The church was packed because the most of the people from the mass kindly stayed there for our concert. I think we had the most number of audiences for our concerts so far. We had to start the show only after 30 minutes. Our small regret was that we could not do the through sound check but we are pros. We dealt with it by adjusting the volume and tone while we are playing.



Although we had new tunes and were worried about the lack of rehearsals, the audience enjoyed the concert and bought many CDs. The concert was success. I was so relieved when I saw the audience smiling because I had those worries before the show. The music director of church told us to come again. We promise we will came back, and when we come back, we will be seriously souped up.

People who came to the concert, thank you very very much.

Ippei's equipments of today's concert. From the top, a shamisen, a silent cello and lots of small percussions. Come to think of it, my equipments really reduced to minimum. I was using three times more space before.

Little Rest


We finished setting up and checking the equipments. Till the concert, we came to a Korean/Japanese restaurant nearby to finally have a rest. This little rest was golden for me because I had been working for literary two days straight, and Kazuo must have been tired too because he brought in the band's equipments by himself and did another gig with Yuuki in the morning before he came to the church.

The Bi Bim Bop I ordered was unexpectedly huge! I was so happy.


Yutaka ordered Oyakodon (Chicken Rice Bowl) but they brought Chicken Katsudon (Chicken-cutlet Rice Bowl). Well, maybe chicken-cutlet rice bowl is called Oyakodon in Korea.


Kazuo ordered a plate of sushi and we didn't know why but they put shrimp on wasabi! It would have been so funny if Kazuo ate it without known.

Setting Up for the Concert


Snowing...... Not again..... Freezing too...


This big church is Holy Child Church on Staten Island where we play for the first time. They held four masses already before we played and the church was packed each time. I have hardly ever seen the church with this many people. Not to forget that was only Saturday. I have heard that the church is holding the total of six masses on Sunday. That is something I have never heard in my life.


So, it was a super busy church. We were given so limited time to set up. On the time between 2nd and 3rd mass, we set everything up as quickly as possible, made sure everything works, then put everything aside not to disturb the mass. We could not really do the sound check, and while we were stashing away the equipments, the 3rd mass had already started.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Toshi's moving


Three of us in WaFoo (Kazuo, Yuuki and I, Ippei) are also the members of Richmond County Orchestra, and we helped the moving of the principal cellist of the orchestra, Toshi. Well, I have been making trouble to him by my novice cello playing, so that was my pleasure to help the big man. He was moving to the top floor of the same building. I was so ready to bring some heavy stuff up and down but actually almost all the moving part was done --- Toshi said that the clarinet player of the orchestra moved everything including all the heavy stuff by himself on the day before. Only thing left to do was to clean up the old apartment. I did my best cleaning job and wish Toshi had called me a few days before to help moving, then I could help the tougher part.



Toshi invited us to a nice dinner and offered us great sushi. We talked about deep topics about Japanese people and the lives of musicians at the dinner. He said that he had never played music for money. That is completely opposite from me and that is something I decided to change this year. I am trying to get more musical gigs but not money gigs. The person in that age with the experience in life and music said that. Of course he is right. Money gigs are the things we should not do, and also, the things we do not need to do. Toshi had lived happily in the middle of Manhattan, had a family and raised two daughters without those gigs. I have to think about that.

The view from the old apartment was not bad at all, but now he lives on the top floor and we could see much further. All the noises from the New York City down there did not even reach to the new apartment and it was perfectly quiet. That was a weird feeling in the middle of Manhattan.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Richmondtown Library in Staten Island


The concert at the Richmond Town Library in Staten Island. Unfortunately the heavy snow storm was forecast later on that day and the storm had begun already in the morning. Our guess was that there would be so few people at the library. We talked about whether to go for it or to cancel it, then we decided that we were going to play the concert as planed even if there would be nobody. That was the right decision. Even though we had never held a concert at the library and it was under the bad weather, so many people showed up for our concert. I'd like to say thank you to everyone who came to our concert despite of such a bad weather.

I don't mean to blow my own trumpet but this band has got musically and artistically advanced a lot since we formed the band. The band's virtuosity from then and now is like day and night.
Yuuki Koike (Flute, Alto Sax, Melodica)
Takeshi Asai (Keyboard)
Kazuo Nakamura (Acoustic & Electric Basses)
Yutaka Uchida (Drums)
Ippei Ichimaru (Shamisen, Cello, Percussion)

Friday, January 9, 2009

My Winter Outfit





All band members burst out laughing at my outlook. Yo, yo, yo, what's so funny about it. It's the world of 20F (-10C) out there. That's a little Alaska! Haven't you ever seen Northern Exposure?

"You look like a perv if you hide your face like that."
"Where is your neck?"
"Before you freeze to death, somebody else will laugh to death."

I don't remember everything they stated about my outfit but they said things along that line. Oh shut it. You guys dress "stylishly" and get the bug, while I will be warmly attired and survive the New York Winter.

Thursday, January 8, 2009



This is the very last rehearsal before the concerts. We put our 100% and crammed like high school kids before exams. Well, we had not gone onto the stage for quite sometime as a full-band so it took us time to reignite the engine. Nonetheless, I also know that we all are pros, so, once we are on the stage, our bodies will automatically move as they should play themselves.


Yuuki is into baking home-made bread nowadays. I do not think I have ever had a bread freshly out of oven. She made a Banana Walnut bread for the whole band and it was so delicious! I should make it by myself too. Well, it is a bit troublesome to make it so I will come here again and enjoy Yuuki's bread. Ha-ha.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Year Party @ Charles & Miki's



We had to pull some acrobat today. Right after the gig at Tuttoriso, we immediately had to jump to WaFoo's rehearsal with full band. Then we all went to our old friends, Charles & Miki's new year party in the middle of the rehearsal. After one hour or so, we had to go back to the rehearsal.

Charles and Miki, thank you! We apologize that we had to retire without socializing much. We were desperately had to continue the rehearsal. So sorry! If you are kind enough as to invite us again in the next occasion despite of what we did, we would really appreciate it. Thanks again, Charles and Miki. You guys are great.

Tuttoriso in Staten Island, NY

 WaFooから岳史さん、一雄さん、ゆうきちゃんの3人がWaFoo Chamber Groupと称してスタッテン島にあるTuttorisoというオーガニック・フードのレストランで毎週土曜にギグをしています。この日はこの後にWaFooでリハーサルがあったので、私もついでに参加させてもらう事になりました。だいたいはWaFooの曲を演奏したのですが、ジャズ・スタンダードもやりました。いつものメンバーで、いつもと違う曲を演奏できたのは楽しかったです。

Kazuo, Takeshi and Yuuki formed a spin-off band from WaFoo, which is named WaFoo Chamber Group. WaFoo was going to have a rehearsal afterwards and I had nothing to do, so I participated in the gig just for the heck of it. We played not only WaFoo's original tunes but also some jazz standards. That was fun to play, with the usual members, not so usual tunes we always play.

I used the ferry to go to the Staten Island and it was blood-freezing cold. Plus the hyper strong wind. If a British kid opened up an umbrella, he could become Merry Poppins and float back to London. If he is lucky, he will make it by the next Olympic.

The first look of the Statue of Liberty in 2009. I took this photo on the deck of the Staten Island Ferry. The wind was even stronger because the ship was moving against the wind and temperature was lower because we were on the bloody water. Basically it was like a bad day in Alaska. The faces of all the tourist taking photo of the Statue of Liberty were frozen. Almost a scene in some zombie movies.

36 Richmond Terrace
Staten Island, New York 10301

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year Party 2009


WaFoo put together the new year party and we invited a lot of our dear friends.

WaFoo members made a killing Osechi. All the members had been preparing Osechi since the night before which was the new year's eve. I, the proud member of WaFoo, also played a very important role in the process of making Osechi which my professional skill was needed. Oh, washing dishes was so hard.



That was one fun party. We partied till well after midnight. (If you want to check out more pics, click here)

A happy new year to everyone. Wishing all of you a good health and a good fortune.

Illustrations: Little House