Tag Archives: Toki

Points of Light

Toki has Bon dancing on Chuo Dori before and during its fireworks. Many people watching the dancing tonight seemed hardly interested in the skypoppers in the background. Among the various colorful yukata of both dancers and watchers were these robes I though depicted the swoopdown swallows I recently wrote about, until I realized they were great blue herons flying upward. Kind of Escherian, especially considering they both frequent the Toki River.

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Music for the dancing was performed by shamisen, shakuhachi bamboo flute and taiko players on a stage in the middle of the street, and emceed by a professional announcer.

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Rounded domes of fireworks patterns, lanterns, ceramic fuurin wind chimes, and, here, even a passing older gentleman’s white hair populated the evening’s floating world.

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On the subject of flashing points of light, I was hoping to show you photos of fireflies this summer, but they are even more elusive than I thought. Maybe next year.

And this is probably as appropriate a place as there’ll ever be for this indispensible nugget: After years of fruitless furtive roadbound glancing to see if anyone’s blinkers were in sync with mine (which futility led me to wonder if car manufacturers deliberately set every single car’s blinker timing differently so as to ensure each one stood out; two in synch and stacked in parallax could look like one, for instance), like a slap-happy syncopated lightning bug, I recently finally found visual harmony: a Suzuki Cervo ahead of me was flashing in unqualified perfect unison with my turn signal. Not some alternating in-phase, out-of-phase approximation. A lockstepped, serendipitous synchronicity, an amber alignment perchance mined from the same hunk of quartz somewhere in Brazil or backwoods Arkansas. It was sublime.

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And then, as the traffic light changed, like a fleeting fireworks trail or a fuurin bell’s fading ring, or summer itself, our do-si-do dance of light was gone.

Lots to Do

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

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These are just goings on I happen to be aware of. I’m sure there are plenty of others as well.

Now Museum, Now You Don’t

Magritte, Chagall, et al.

Eyes for art whetted by the French masterpiece exhibition in May and June? You can get more of your fill of European paintings this month at the Menard Art Museum in Komaki.

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Among artists whose works you can experience will be Picasso, Matisse, Klee, Van Gogh, Monet, Kandinsky, Magritte, and (from my experience) Japanese female favorites Miro and Chagall.

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Regret, Chagrin, All In

In addition, just a regret to post – I was looking forward to this photo show at the Tajimi Culture Center, but confused the dates with those above. Guess the tiring toll of a busy week caught up with me.

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Hope I have another chance to check out this local nature photographer sometime. He looks interesting.

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Never Had a Chance

Update: On the subject of gone before you know it, I just learned of a cafe in Toki I must have gone by dozens of times without even knowing it was there, and now it’s gone, and been so nearly a year. From what I’ve heard, it would’ve been right at home in the blog, so I’ll cut it some belated bandwidth here, with my regrets and hopes for happier stories in the future. It went by the name of Iroha Shokudo, and was situated right beside Sun Mart supermarket between the Toki River and Route 421. They served curry and coffee, daring to bring a tad more cool to Toki. Business was too tepid to keep it going, unfortunately. Maybe someone else reading this can be inspired to carry on the gentrification journey, if you will.

If They Build It…

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I put a nice bright spot in a soggy afternoon with a visit to a hot new place in Toki (yes, Nothing-To-Do Toki) today.

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Since opening just this month, Secret Time Cafe has quickly become quite the in spot, having been supported by lots of folks along the way to realization. Many who had a hand, including a couple of acquaintances of my own, are recognized with their names painted on the floor. Apparently the opening was rather a smash, word of mouth rendering Secret Time no secret at all.

The cafe feels like a bit of Nagoya or other city right in downtown Toki. Near the intersection of route 421 and local (not regional) route 19, it shares an ample parking lot with the second hand shop with the big Santa sign.

The menu has a pretty wide selection to choose from (more galettes, for one thing), everything sounding tasty, eye-pleasing and healthy. I had the taco rice lunch for ¥980 including what you see here and a drink.

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They’ve devoted a lot of attention to the atmosphere here, and did a nice job, especially considering this space has been a revolving door for a number of cheap, seedy or somehow unappealing outfits in the past. That is, emphatically, history now. I didn’t have a chance to look completely around, but I’m sure I’ll be stopping by often enough. More photos and info (like what the “art” on their business card refers to) to come.

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Secret Time Cafe, bar and zakkaya (notions shop) has these very welcome broad business hours: Tuesday through Thursday, and Sunday, 11:30-3 and 5 PM to midnight; Friday and Saturday, 11:30-3 and 5 PM to 1 AM. Closed Monday and the third Tuesday. They have smoking and non-smoking sections.

Passed It By? Don’t Be Sorry, Try This Nepali

Hot (or mild) on the heels of Upahar, and just as an 81-year old Nepali is set to overtake an 80-year old Japanese climber’s week-old Everest ascent record, there’s another recent addition to the list of area Indian restaurants that deserves more attention than it’s getting, and that’s Makalu Indian/Nepali Restaurant in Toki.

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Starting its fourth month, Makalu is still looking for a little love from area eater-outers. On route 421 between Toki City Hall/Culture Plaza and Toki Ohhashi bridge, the location seems good enough, though actually getting in and out can be a bit puzzling depending on where you’re coming from and going to. The one sure entrance is from route 421. It’s quite visible as it sits in one corner of a relatively busy intersection (with small (not main) route 19) opposite a Circle K and a Shell station.

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The dining area is spacious and clean, with regular tables, tatami-style seating, and counter seats, and a quality flexible varied music stream. There are numerous menu plans, and the chicken curry I had was fine. According to the friendly owner, the customers who do come tend to be regulars, so it seems to be a case of lack of awareness, or maybe just timidity. He used to work at the Nepali restaurant on route 19 in Mizunami, which has long been very popular with foreigners.

If you like Indian, give this place a try. It sounded like the owner is in wait-and-see mode, and it’d be a shame to lose it so quickly. Lunch is from 11 to 3, dinner 5-10:30. Smoking allowed all hours. Takeout available, also. More info as well as coupons can be found in the June issues of both Raseru and Chat shopper’s guide magazines.

Mino Ware to Get: Now You’ll Know, Too

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I managed to get to the ceramic exhibition yesterday. People do come from all over (plates shown from Yamaguchi and Fukui), but it wasn’t terribly crowded.

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Below, the hallmark entrance studded with ceramics in the ceiling. Kids can’t resist testing out its echo effects. One thing I just don’t understand is how they can continue to use those tacky green plastic turf walking mats that make you feel like you’re about to enter a golf clubhouse. They’re difficult to walk on anyway, tending to twist you off course due to their grain.

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Below, some of the promenade area outside the cafe. It’s a wide open, accommodating space sometimes used for live events. There’s also a trail leading to an observation platform from which the sunsets are not to be missed.

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Photos weren’t allowed in the exhibition itself. There were quite a few works that appealed to me. All are for sale. Many were in the 5000 to 8000 yen range. I think they’re more worth having than what you typically find at festivals elsewhere. Speaking of which, I just realized Toki’s ceramics festival is going on this weekend at the Michi No Eki on route 21 north of the city. Shuttle busses are available from Toki station.

Festivals on Tap

The Tajimi Creators’ Market has events coming up the next two weekends.

This weekend, as part of the 61st annual Tajimi Touki Matsuri, ceramic and other artists will be showing and selling their wares in the Tajimi Ginza arcade. Stalls will be selling all kinds of festival food, and a variety of performers will entertain.

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Next Sunday, the same Creators’ Market artists will be on hand at the Tono Fes(tival) at Ceramics Park Mino. Popular recording artists Nobody Knows, and other performers, will play as well. Entry to both festivals is free.

Update: Toki’s Touki Matsuri’s dates this year: April 20th and 21st. At and around Ceratopia. Also an exhibition of modern teaware (I think), from April 13th to the 21st. And one more ongoing exhibition (couldn’t read the kanji) at Ceratopia until May 12th.