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Another Dream Missed in Osaka: Two Minutes Too Late for Bluegrass Night

October 10, 2013

bluegrass in japan

bluegrass in japan

OSAKA, Japan – And so my second night in Osaka ended up being a near repeat of the freaky first night that I documented below. I worked in my hotel room all night and having not found any threads for open mics I decided early on that I’d just take my guitar out and scour the streets around the hotel, since I had seen live music advertised in one bar or venue after another. It turned out that my best opportunity was right beneath my feet….

I walked out of the hotel and took the back stairs since the escalator to my hotel – Hotel Floral Inn Namba – was moving in the wrong direction. Walking through the hall to the street exit I saw a door open to a cellar room called, “Another Dream,” which is one of the many “Live Houses” offering live music, that are all over Japan. The concept is similar to an open mic in that a Live House is open to pros and amateurs, anyone who wants to play. The difference is that you rent the room and try to fill it up with spectators to pay the rent….

Well, it turns out that on the second Wednesday of every month – ie, yesterday – at “Another Dream,” the room is rented out by a Japanese bluegrass band, and it’s a full-on, live bluegrass night. I discovered this was right under my feet all along, and I didn’t know about it. I walked into the large venue room to find a fabulously decorated Live House looking like a New York jazz bar, and getting off the stage just as I arrived, were a bunch of Japanese musicians dressed in distinctly hill billy clothes, and with mandolins, double bass, guitars, banjoes, etc., in hand.

I had just missed by two minutes the once-per-month bluegrass night – which goes from 7:30 to 10:00, every second Wednesday of the month. I rarely put up anyone else’s videos on this blog, but since I was not able to make a video of the music myself, and I have found someone else’s video of the sam musicians and same venue, I have decided to put it up. I spoke to the hayseed mandolin player on the left of the video last night.

I left this failed dream and did a long, long walk all around the area and failed once again to find the open mic venue that I had found adveertised on the Internet, just as I had failed the night before…. this was a different venue, however. But despite seeing a few other live houses, I found nowhere to play myself. It is a massively vibrant city musically, however, and I hope to have more luck when I pass through again next monday.

Lost in the Streets of Osaka, Found a Busker

I DID manage to hear a little live music in the end, though, in the form of this wonderful busker on the street, who passed out a flyer advertising another live house, called JT Volcano. She was a volcano herself, as you can see in my short video of her:

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