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      Tokyo Sessions...
  With all the free time I've had lately, I've been trying to get more serious about my fiddling. Tokyo has about 7 different Irish sessions that I know about, and I've been to all of them except one.
So far the most enjoyable one was the session in Ueno, at the Warrior Celt pub. The pub may be small, noisy and crowded, but session members get half price drinks and the other members were very friendly and welcoming. During this particular session, there was a family of four watching us play. I found it a bit strange to see kids younger than 10 inside a pub, but they were very enthusiastic about the music, asking me many questions about violins. The girl, about 6 years old, and her mother even asked me if they could hold my violin for a minute. Before they left, the father came up and thanked me profusely, bowing several times. I almost felt like I was famous or something!
  Ueno Session

Chris Returns to Japan!

Drinking in front of the Conbini  

Chris and I go way back, we met in University where we did all kinds of crazy stuff like study Linguistics, take Japanese classes, and go tree planting in Northern Canada. That's where we met actually. The two of us would practice our Japanese while sticking tree saplings in the ground, to the entertainment and consternation of the beavers, blackflies and our fellow tree planters.
Anyway Chris used to live in Japan years ago and finally came back for a visit in March. I didn't see him much as he was also here on business, and had a lot of people to see, but we did hang out a few times. Here we are in Shibuya in front of a Lawson convenience store following the grand tradition of drinking beer and chu-hi's on the street.
It was a busy month in terms of friends visiting. Alex, another good friend who also lived in Japan previously, came to stay for about a month as well.

      Hanami 2007!

Hanami season is here again! After a late start due to strangely cold weather, the cherry blossoms finally came out. Kumi and I went to look at the trees twice, once in the day and once at night. Despite what you may think, night time hanami viewing is very popular, with people heading to parks in the evening then drinking till late at night under the cherry trees. In the dark, and with the park lights on, the hanami trees take on a ghostly, mysterious look.
To check out the trees in the daytime, we headed to Shinjuku Gyoen, a famous park that makes you pay to get inside. It was worth it though as the park is huge, beautiful and not too crowded even on a Saturday. Till next year cherry blossoms!

  Hanami 2007
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