In case you’ve lost track, the weekend has an impressive lineup of events including:
- The first of three live music Saturday beergardens tomorrow evening at the Sakazuki Art Museum in Ichinokura
- A “machikon” beergarden atop a two-storey public parking lot in Tajimi to view the fireworks there on Sunday
- A similar konkatsu (mixer) type affair at Secret Time Cafe on Saturday, where if you bring a date, there’ll be a special chance to enjoy Toki’s fireworks festival (not sure if it’s in their parking lot, but that would definitely be a nice spot); by reservation only. They’re still looking for takers last I heard
- Something called Kokeizan Dining on Sunday, which sounds like a beergarden from one of Tajimi’s most scenic spots (advance purchase tickets required)
- Neu Cafe, while itself closed after lunch Sunday, will be offering outside the shop draft beer, Okinawan food, curry, tandoori chicken sandwiches and more in the buildup to the fireworks
- And of course Toki’s (Saturday) and Tajimi’s (Sunday) fireworks festivals with stalls set up all along the river (and Chuo Dori in Toki; Nagase Dori in Tajimi) all afternoon and evening; Tajimi’s festival is part of its Gozasse Natsu Matsuri
These are just goings on I happen to be aware of. I’m sure there are plenty of others as well.
A scene from the live jazz beer garden this year at the Sakazuki Art Museum in Ichinokura, framed by umbrellas hanging on tent poles. From left to right in the distance, that’s a sax, stand-up bass, keyboards and guitar. Clear enough to me, but then again I was there. Never forget the end user, yeah?
Intermittent rain couldn’t dampen spirits, as cups of beer and sake were raised and good cheer grew by candlelight in this annual garden of rhythm and cool, just minutes south of daily care and strife, right off route routine.
I had a real nice time last week at Moon wood-fired pizza (formerly Coupe de Cinnamon) off route 248 in Ichinokura.
Before sitting down to eat, we had a chance to walk around the courtyard of the neighboring Sakazuki Art Museum, and peruse the store where a wide variety of ceramic works are available at reasonable prices. The cherry blossom petals were falling all around as we pined about accidental tree deaths and I tried to avoid too many bad puns. The atmosphere was great. I’d never realized there was an outdoor deck looking out on what honestly looks like a drained pond with shidarezakura weeping cherry trees, but is just a recessed area you can use your imagination to fill. I thought maybe a Kyoto Ryoanji-like pebble sea treatment might work.
We had two pizzas: ikasumi (squid’s ink), with black olive slices placed on spherical squid bits to look (I can’t imagine intentionally) like nothing if not, well, eyes. The ink was somehow poured on the crust before baking, so didn’t stain the lips. And a Japanese style burdock root pizza that’s just been on the menu since April 16th. It was definitely a Japanese taste.
Afterward we went to check out Shiomi no Mori Park, though ran into rain. The park is easy to reach from the restaurant.
Tonight I went with some friends to the live summer jazz series at the Sakazuki Art Museum at Ichinokura. This was the third or fourth year I’ve gone.
It was a spur of the moment thing, but it turned out to be fun. Several jazz standards were played, including two or three Herbie Hancock tunes. Between sets, a street performer entertained with stunts and fire-breathing. Food stalls featuring grillings from local restaurants, pizza from Coupe de Cinamon wood-fired pizza restaurant on the premises, and a free drink included in the cover charge, tickled our taste buds and tummies.
Somehow I thought last night or tonight was one of the annual meteor showers, so was occasionally looking up at the sky. Then some people started oohing and ahhing while pointing straight up at a light moving through the sky.
It turns out it was the International Space Station. That’s the first time I’ve seen it. Neato. Seen here near the center of the photo. The other light was an airplane.
Then just after the music ended at 8:30, Kasahara’s (or Kasawara’s, as some older locals call it, I just learned) fireworks festival began to appear in the eastern sky beside the fullish moon. Quite a night for jazz in the air and lights in the sky. Add to that a surprise visit from a friend who’s leaving the country tomorrow for a long time on one of those big metal birds, and you’ve got a candlelit night made in heaven. It doesn’t really get any better than this.
Here’s a quick look at some details of the Ichinokura Beer Garden at the Sakuzuki Art Museum.
Apologies for the photo. The blue spot in the center is a “known issue” artifact resulting from a combination of fluourescent lighting and certain iPhone iOS versions, including mine.