Arrived in Kyoto by Shinkansen. It’s the best way to travel. I could go on and on about train travel versus planes but that’s for another time.

Walked around and found a little shop that served udon in dashi broth. I noticed another customer at the bar drinking Sapporo and ordered a bottle for myself. Maybe I was thirsty but my immediate impression was that Sapporo beer brewed in Japan is so much better than what Sapporo makes in North America.

I love taking photos at night with the iPhone and these small Kyoto streets have lots of great vistas. Posted tick tock (blush) to Backstage. It’s the first track on the album Rain Poems and a good entrance into the record. Medium tempo, interlocking rhythm guitars, albeit no strumming—there is no strumming on the entire album, Jon’s upright bass, and water drops that sound like a clock in the chorus. This morning I made coffee using the Blue Bottle instant espresso which I added to a cup of water with milk that I heated up in a microwave. Improvisation! Not a bad cup of coffee at all!

Monday Morning

After driving to Santa Fe from Denver on Saturday I stayed in a Ramada on Yale close to the airport in Albuquerque. When I made arrangements for this trip all hotels for this weekend were surprisingly expensive, especially in Santa Fe. Later, Jon figured out that this was due to the Balloon Festival, which happens on the first weekend in October. I had picked one of the cheaper hotels by the airport and planned on driving back to Santa Fe on Sunday for some business I had to attend to. Monday I would fly home from Albuquerque.

On Monday morning I woke up around 0515 and read People of the Book until a few minutes past 0600. Then I walked 0.9 miles to the Starbucks on Gibson. It was still dark, about 45′ before sunrise. Encountered three people, one of whom was talking to themselves. Arrived at Starbucks only to discover that the doors were all locked. There was a sign on the door saying that for security reasons the cafe was closed until sunrise. The Starbucks app, however, claimed that the place would open at 0500. I stood by the front entrance observing dozens of cars order coffee in the drive-through. Considered walking through the drive-through lane and ordering coffee. Then one of the five or six employees opened the door and asked whether I was there to pick up a mobile order. I said no, I wasn’t, but I could make a mobile order, if that’s what it took. I told him I had walked for twenty minutes to get there. He seemed incredulous (((what? people walk? in the dark??))) but let me into the store and locked the door behind me. Perhaps really not the safest neighborhood?!

I ordered a large coffee and a pair of kale egg bites. After I received the food I walked back to the hotel. The person talking to themselves had turned to arguing, but not quite screaming, with a post, as I hurried by. I gave another person coming towards me a wide berth by walking through a parking lot. I was relieved when I reached my hotel.

Reading on my laptop and sipping the coffee – the egg bites had already been consumed – I noticed this object on the wall, near the ceiling. It looks like a smoke detector that was wrapped in cling wrap to prevent smoke from getting into it? Room #345 of the Ramada hotel. If you worry about smoke inhalation you best avoid that room.
Smoke Detector
I think it is good to stay in questionable hotels from time to time, if only to properly appreciate the nice ones… :-)

PS: the books is really good! It describes the journey of a rare illuminated manuscript through centuries of exile and war.

Less flash and more substance than The Da Vinci Code . . . The stories of the Sarajevo Haggadah, both factual and fictional, are stirring testaments to the people of many faiths who risked all to save this priceless work.

– USA Today

Sunday Night in Shibuya

Shibuya at night. Very Blade Runner. Click on he full-screen symbol, and also check out the sounds:

Christmas is serious business in Tokyo. Two cherry-pickers and 6 or 7 men per tree, carefully and precisely added Christmas lights to every branch. Two crews worked, one on each side of the street. At the rate they were going, it would be December before they would be done with all of the lighting, but it will look perfect, of course! I took the photo from a restaurant where we had dinner. Worst food of the trip, but the great noddle-shops around the corner were jam-packed and had throngs of people waiting in line. At least we had a great vantage point for observing the lighting crew from the second floor!

Tuesday Moon

The Big Bowl:

I want to make new recordings that will only be released to the subscribers. For example, I would like to record the Villa-Lobos piece from “Leaning into the Night” for Ottmar-Friends – with video. I have been playing that piece for many years and feel that I am getting somewhere with it. Jon Gagan has been encouraging me to perform it during my solo-shows and I think I will.

I see Ottmar-Friends as my overall publisher, and I like the image of a big bowl into which I can place all of my content, which will also include longer writings, which I would probably publish in the shape of downloadable PDFs.

Full Moon:

In the evening I got ready to climb a ladder to the roof to take photos for a time-lapse video of the stars and the moon. It looked nice, but was much too brief because of the cold weather. Will try again during the April full moon.

Could not get enough shots because it was so cold that the batteries could not keep a charge. The top vid is from last night and the moving white specks are stars. Soon the full moon would have crossed the view… The bottom vid is from this morning. The moon is setting and the sun is about to rise and it was looking really nice until the battery died again. Click on the full-screen icon to see anything at all.