Thursday, 30 December 2010

Hair cut (success) and the B-flat Jazz Club

Well - that was certainly an experience.  Whilst waiting at the hairdressers for my allotted time, I was handed a couple of magazines to look at - not of hair styles, but craft projects.

My turn came...... neither of us could speak a word of the others language, so the hairdresser very kindly got a piece of paper and pencil, and started to sketch (very basically) a proposed cut; and to be honest - who was I to argue - she's the professional stylist after all!!

Sat in the chair, out came the scissors and off came the hair.....

They are wonderfully meticulous at checking the length is equal all around even taking a razor (scary) to my neck (using a very nicely scented cream) then, once the cut was complete, it was shampoo time.  Leaned back into a sink, a flannel cover placed over my face to prevent any splashing, and a hot flannel placed under my neck to stop a chill from the basin - very nice too.  The drying experience was similar to an English one, except I couldn't help out with style advice ie where fringe parts, etc.

All in all - after the initial fear settled, a very calming and relaxing experience.

Hair cut and styled just in time to get back, change and off to the Jazz Club.

Hopped off the metro and wandered around until we found the club; not as easy as it may sound - the first place we thought was it turned out to be a seedly looking little basement eatery.

Found the right door, entered, and had one of the warmest welcomes experienced so far....  The manager greeted us with an "Aaahhh Colin Hall san" (obviously, being the only foreign guests on the reservation list we were quite easy to spot).  He explained to us we had a token for the bar to hand in for a drink, and that a buffet was laid and we just helped ourselves.

We were shown to our seats - a fantastic view straight over to the stage area.

Went to get some food, a wonderful array of meats, rice, potatoes, vegetables and pizzas... and collected our drinks.  Settled in and started to watch the room fill.  A really atmospheric basement club - the typical smoke filled, murmuring you would expect.

Time was getting close to the music starting - a "Battle of the Four Tenors" - a mix of four different well known Japanese tenor saxophone players.  Visited bar to get a second drink - also free - it's a drink and eat all you can all night ticket - didn't know that (explains why the tickets cost approx £80 each though)!!  Pity we can't take advantage - still a little raw after the night before.  Col was on the orange juice, and I was on the wine (but not to excess).  A particularly original touch which should be especially mentioned is the table set up in front of the bar next to the buffet area, with bottles of whisky, a jug of water and a container of ice - basically help yourself - the Japanese are really mad about their whisky!

The music starts up.... the elder of the four giving a commentary before each song in his gruff, low, husky drone... quite mesmerising.

What can I say - the music was absolutely fantastic - well on par with anything we have seen live to date, Ronnie Scotts would have been proud.  A really good mix of smoothe playing, a 'Phil Jupitus' look-alike drummer, a very talented pianist, and a base player with incredible talent.  Throughout the evening there were three very different syles of female vocalists also joined them.

As the music played, the free drinks flowed, and the food was eaten, the local visitors began to loosen up and we suddenly found ourselves to be a great attraction and curiosity.  One of the regular members introduced us to the musicians during the break, and brought one of the singers over to meet us.  We chatted with many of the guests (sort of), and found them to be a really fun group - like naughty children being caught doing something they shouldn't..  In fact at one point all those seated near us grouped up around and said we needed a photo as a reminder.... Don't think I'd forget them in a hurry!

Second half began... people sort of settled back down.... and still we we were approached for further chats... quite difficult to have a conversation over the music, but we did our best.  Conversations included subjects such as a trip to Wales where the lady had to share an open shower in a B&B - absolutely horrific to her, and another a visit to London where it was so cold they had to walk around wrapped in two blankets - we did try to explain that things have inproved since 1988!

It was a really enjoyable night - at the end as the applauds were enthusiastically made, we found ourselves being recipients of an applause also - not sure why? - a little embarrassing.

Gave our polite thanks to all our new friends on the way out, shkaing hands, bowing, and repeatedly saying thanks.  What a night - couldn't fault it - would highly recommend it.