Sunday, October 18, 2009

Mom & Kid Pop Show At Mori No Terrace

I doubt many people will ever make it to the Mori no Terrace in western Tokyo, but I like its concept so I'll write about it anyway.

The 'Terrace in the Forest' is a two-story home in the city of Chofu, about a ten-minute walk from Sengawa station, and the ground floor living room with a grand piano is used for mini-concerts. It's in one of those neighborhoods in suburban Tokyo that amaze you with their quiet and peacefulness if all you've seen of the capital is its crowds and bustle. The Terrace is reached walking down stone steps amidst trees.

I was there to see Three Berry Icecream, the band of singer and accordionist Mayumi Ikemizu. Unfamiliar with the area, it looks me longer than I expected to get to Sengawa: from Shinjuku, I first got on the semi special express to Meidaimae, then took the express to Chitose-karasuyama, and finally boarded the local for a one stop ride to Sengawa. Wonder if there was an easier, faster way? The living room was already packed; but I could watch the show from above the room, through a window with wooden railings. Later on, I sat and listened to the other performers in a Japanese room, with tatami mats. The brown and dark orange wood, the trees outside, and the incent smell of a burning mosquito coil reminded me of when I was a kid.

The show's concept was to be a music concert a mom could bring her baby to, and there were lots of little kids running around and exploring the garden. Songs were punctuated by the screams and cries of the children. On the pamphlet for the event was a note saying that “there is a diaper-changing and breast-feeding corner in the Japanese room next to the entrance.”

This isn't where cutting-edge music is made; but I still like it. I like it that people have made their home into a little music hall, performing music locally. And it's good to see people continuing with music, and not dropping away after their twenties, like so many sadly do.


An after-show party was held in a funky old yakitori joint near the train station, and at the table next to ours I saw a guy meeting his fiancee's parents. He was doing all the right things, and the parents seemed to approve: he sat on his knees in a seiza style; he spoke formally and with respect; and he asked the dad for advice. But...this was happening in a yakitori joint? And all four were wearing casual clothes? There were some mysteries for me, but then again, I was only eavesdropping...

"Sorry for the inconvenience."

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