Kamakura to Yokosuka on a Brompton – ブロンプトン(折りたたみ自転車)で鎌倉から横須賀へ

I had a free day yesterday. As I pondered how to spend it, several ideas came to mind. Lounging around home with a book? Photography walks in the city? Then it came to mind that I haven’t ridden around the Miura Penninsula (south of Yokohama) and decided to do so on my Brompton folding bike. The route was approximately 90 km, and the train ride to the start point was two hours, so I needed to get an early start. Which means “rise and shine” at 3:30 am, breakfast, and a 4:30 departure from home. I took the first train of the day – as you can see, there wasn’t a lot of competition for seats.
2014-10-29 Miura hanto ride (3 of 124)

My route plan:

2014-10-29 Miura hanto ride (1 of 1)

My first stop was the island of Enoshima, a popular tourist destination.  To be honest, the cars on the coast road made for less than pleasant cycling, but the island was quiet at 7:30 am, and views of Mt Fuji were fine.  Before departing, I communed with the local beauties.

2014-10-29 Miura hanto ride (10 of 124)

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From Enoshima, I followed the coast road to the Miura Penninsula.  Traffic gradually thinned, and by the time I reached Hayama, it was quite rural.  There, I had an interesting conversation with an older gentleman:

Man: “are you foreign?”

Me: “basically, yes.”

Man: “where are you from?”

Me: “Seattle.”

Man: “What’s the name of the restaurant by a waterfall where the waitresses pour coffee from above your head?”

Me: “you mean the Snoqualmie Falls Lodge?”

Man: “yes, that’s the place – I had forgotten what it was called.”

How was this conversation even possible?  I lived not too far from the place he was asking about as a child, and here we were in rural Japan.  Small world?

Some views of Hayama:

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A bit further down the coast I stopped to look at the scenery and met another gregarious gentleman, also wanting to know where I was going on my little bike.  The view from here:

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Continuing along the coast road, I was lucky to find a HEALTHY SPOT.  This was fortunate, as I was getting a bit tired.

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From the HEALTHY SPOT the road climbs quite a bit on the way to a large bridge leading to Jogashima Island.  This island is the southernmost point on the penninsula, and has a beautiful park well worth a visit.  The view from the bridge:

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“Welcome to Jogashima and Misaki”

I scrambled down to the rugged coast and enjoyed Lunch No 1 (one is allowed 2 lunches when cycling) on the rocks while gazing out at the sea.

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The rest of the island wasn’t much – a bit of industry, and a forlorn tourist zone.  Either it was their day off, or most of the shops have gone out of business:

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The rest of the day involved a lot of ascents and descents, as well as more pleasant coastal scenery.  One historical spot I visited was the park commemorating the arrival of Commodore Perry and his American warships in the 19th century.  He was responsible for forcing the shogunate to end its policy of isolation.  Though the English on the memorial was quite positive concerning the “visit,” I have heard Japanese friends describe his mission in less friendly terms.

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Around 2:00 I began to feel the need for Lunch No. 2, so stopped into Kalika, an Indian restaurant with an outside deck overlooking the ocean.  Just the place for a pit stop.  As the menu states, it is a Dog In Cafe.  Interpret that as you wish.

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I arrived at Yokosuka at 5 pm, after riding 90 km.  The Brompton is nowhere as fast as my road bikes, and its heavy gearing can make hill climbs a challenge.  But it was comfortable and fun for the entire route.  And folding up as small as it does, the ride home on the somewhat crowded train was a piece of cake.  Me and Brommie at the harbor:

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One last look at the sea (and the docked warships) before boarding the train for another 2 hour ride to home.  This was one of those days that forces you to repeat (whether you want to or not) the phrase “ain’t life good?”

2014-10-29 Miura hanto ride (119 of 124)

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Requiem Concert report – レクイエム奉唱の報告

(日本語は間もなく。。。)2014-10-25 Hoshokai (5 of 10)

(all photos courtesy of Sho Martin Tamura – thanks Sho!)

The 2014 Requiem Hoshokai concert is successfully concluded.  Last Saturday we had a packed chapel for this annual event.  I directed 70 members of the student choir in the first half, while Steven Morgan took the podium for the second half (Mozart’s Requiem as completed by Duncan Druce).  The above photo of the mixed choir singing the spiritual “Steal Away,” with Minori Okumura singing the solo part.  It was moving!  Though we sang music from Purcell and Weelkes right up to modern English works, most of the audience reaction came from the final three works, which were all from the Afro-American church: two spirituals and gospel piece.

2014-10-25 Hoshokai (2 of 10)

Here is the Treble Choir.  Their performance of Hess’ “Benedictus,” with its rolicking piano part and dissonant harmonies was another high spot of the concert.

2014-10-25 Hoshokai (6 of 10)Another student solo, this time Junya Hirayama in an unforgettable rendition of “Ain’t got time to die.”  This young man really gets into his singing (and the choir responded in kind).

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In this photo both choirs are onstage – all 70 members – in preparation for Robert Ray’s classic-style gospel tune “He never failed me yet.”

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Student accompanist Kohei Mori played the choir out in a brilliant continuation of Ray’s “He never failed me yet” (to thunderous applause)

2014-10-25 Hoshokai (9 of 10)Here we have the senior members of the student choir combined with choir graduates and a professional orchestra performing Mozart’s “Requiem” under the baton of Steven Morgan.  For the first time ever, I had the pleasure of sitting in the balcony and listening to the performance, rather than conducting it.  Many thanks to Steve for his hard work with the choir and orchestra.  It was a moving occasion.

2014-10-25 Hoshokai (10 of 10)(Almost) Finally – a couple of bonus photos of the student choir:

2014-10-25 Hoshokai (1 of 10) 2014-10-25 Hoshokai (3 of 10)

And finally, finally – to answer the question in everyone’s mind – what did the choirmaster do for relaxation the day after the concert?  Regular readers probably already guessed – he (naturally) went for a 100km bike ride.  This time to Kawagoe via the river cycling paths.  Coffee and cake at this nice coffee shop near the city history museum:

2014-10-26 ride (14 of 38)Sunday = 1,000,000 other cyclists on the river path, all in lycra spandex and riding expensive carbon fiber road bikes.  Here goes No. 956, speeding through now-fallow rice paddies.

2014-10-26 ride (28 of 38)I take a more leisurely pace, stopping for breaks every hour or so.  Last break was at Akigase Park near this water gate – one of my favorite spots for reading, napping, and generally enjoying the great outdoors.

2014-10-26 ride (33 of 38)

Posted in Church music ~ 教会音楽, Cycling, Music - general ~ 音楽:一般, Photography ~写真, Rikkyo ~ 立教, Tokyo ~ 東京 | Leave a comment

Requiem Concert this Saturday@Rikkyo – 10月25日:レクイエム奉唱会(コンサート)@立教大学

This Saturday, October 25, the 64th annual Requiem Hoshokai Concert will be held at the Rikkyo University Ikebukuro campus chapel.  This year’s requiem will be Mozart’s, as completed by Duncan Druce.  If you haven’t heard this version, you really should give it a listen.  It is miles above the pallid effort made by Sussmayer that is normally used in concerts.

This fall semester I am officially on sabbatical.  One wouldn’t know it, though, as I am working with the chapel choir through the Christmas services.  I am not, however, conducting the Mozart Requiem – Dr. Steven Morgan will be taking my place on the podium for that.  I had the pleasure of hearing the dress rehearsal last Saturday night.  The performance is going to be excellent.  The chapel only seats 250, so I suggest anyone wanting a seat arrive early.

I will be conducting the first half of the concert, which is a performance by the student choirs in music ranging from the English Baroque (Purcell) to Afro-American spirituals.



Here are some photos from the recent Mozart Requiem dress rehearsal.

Steven Morgan working with the requiem orchestra

Steven Morgan working with the requiem orchestra

University organist Yuko Sakiyama at the organ

University organist Yuko Sakiyama at the organ

Steve Morgan directing the chorus and orchestra

Steve Morgan directing the chorus and orchestra

Baritone soloist Philip Haltman sings "Tuba mirum"

Baritone soloist Philip Haltman sings “Tuba mirum”

plenty of variety in the chorus

plenty of variety in the chorus

Posted in Choral ~ 聖歌隊関係, Church music ~ 教会音楽, Rikkyo ~ 立教 | Leave a comment

Typhoon time cycling – 台風の時期サイクリング

Yesterday typhoon No. 19 passed through Tokyo. It was the second one in a week, and was called a “super typhoon” while still down south in the Okinawa area. Fortunately, there was little damage in the Tokyo area, but severe flooding, some wind damage, and several deaths did occur in other parts of the country.

Today, the morning after the typhoon, dawned bright and hot in Tokyo, so naturally I went out to have a look on my bike. The wind was tremendous on the cycling path. Riding down the Arakawa River was a breeze. My 30 km ride to Kasai Rinkai Park usually takes 90 minutes, but today I did it in 75. Without really trying I found myself buzzing along at 40 kph. This was pretty entertaining, of course, but the thought that I’d be fighting those same winds on the way back up the river helped keep a lid on the hilarity. Surely enough, upon reaching the Edogawa cycling path I ran directly into the fury of the wind. It was loud! It was violent! I pumped as hard as I could for an hour, yet rode so slowly that I was passed by a jogger at one point. My speed fell as low as 9 kph for one stretch. Fortunately, the always-beautiful Mizumoto Park and its trees provided shelter from the wind and a bit of photo time. The wind downed a layer of cedar (or cypress?) needles onto a part of the park walkway, and the scent was intoxicating! Payback for the hell of the cycle path, I thought. This and other photos of the park:




After an hour ride back to the Arakawa cycle path I returned to the battle of the winds, and faced another two hours of hard pumping to get back to the day’s start point. Post-typhoon skies did compensate for the struggle, though. Here are a few photos of the latter part of the ride:
Bonus view 1: the view from my home’s rooftop after last week’s typhoon. Mt. Fuji was beautiful at sunset time. ボーナス写真、その1:先週の台風の後、家の屋上からの風景。

Bonus view 2: a lunchtime walk took me to Mejiro’s Japanese Garden, where, among other things, this little flower caught my eye. ボーナス写真、その2:目白日本庭園で見た小さな花。


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Festival time in Kobe – 祭り

IMG_5967.JPGMy “the wife” and I came across the Kobe Alive 2014 festival while enjoying an after-dinner stroll. Dance teams from all over Japan were gathered here to give performances in town. It was loud, hot, and a lot of fun. Here are some photos of the dancers.
夕食後、”ザ・ワイフ”と一緒に散歩して来ました。偶然に “Kobe Alive 2014 新舞”と言う祭りの会場を見つけました。日本中から若いダンスチームが元町アーケードの中でパーフォーマンスを見せてくれました。熱くて、うるさくて、楽しかったです。
1. This group was overflowing with energy このクループはエネルギーに溢れていましたIMG_5976.JPG


2. Waiting to perform スタンバイ

3. Post-performance blues? 演奏後、落ち込んだ?

4. Kobe’s Chinatown was even more colorful than usual tonight 中華街は


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