Sunday, April 24, 2011

Jazz Concert Next Saturday, April 30th!

I've often said one of the great things about living in Japan is all of the interesting people I've been able to meet. One of those people is professional jazz drummer Tommy Campbell. He has played with such jazz giants as Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, & The Manhattan Transfer, just to name a few.

The great news is that he'll be having a concert at
Mr. Kelly's Jazz Bar in Umeda this coming Saturday, April 30th. Tommy will be performing with 2 vocalists, a pianist, and a bass player. If you're into jazz or you want to hear world-class jazz for the first time, this is a show you definitely do not want to miss. There will be two performances, one starting at 7:30 pm, the other starting at 9:15 pm. Tickets cost ¥ 4,000 each. Click on the following links to learn more...
Tommy's Gig Info in Japanese

Tommy's Gig Info in English

Mr. Kelly's Jazz Bar in Umeda

Map to Mr. Kelly's Jazz Bar in Umeda

I first met Tommy many, many years ago when he married one of my students. Not only is he a great drummer, but he's also great guy...and very, very tall! He came to our wedding party way back when I (kind of!) had hair...

Tommy & friends (his & ours) at our wedding party. Tommy's in the back of that photo and he's still towering over everyone!

You can check out some of Tommy's magic in this video...

Tommy's playing solo in this video. Don't forget that he'll be performing in a band at the concert on Saturday

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Friday, April 22, 2011


This Sunday, April 24th, is Easter – the most important Christian holiday.

Easter is closely linked to the Jewish holiday of Passover (people often forget that Jesus was Jewish). The date of Passover is based on a lunar calendar so it changes every year. This year, Passover falls on April 23rd – tomorrow! Christians believe that Jesus Christ was executed [killed by the government] on Good Friday, the day before Passover. Two days later, he came back to life, proving to everyone that he was the Son of God.

Traditionally, children celebrated Easter by decorating hard-boiled eggs and then giving them to friends & family. Recently, children are given gifts of decorated chocolate eggs, rabbits, and chicks. They are told that the chocolates were delivered to their homes by the Easter Bunny early in the morning while they were still sleeping. Some people hold picnics that feature Easter-egg hunts. The picnic organizers hide decorated eggs around the picnic site. Children search for the eggs, trying to find as many as they can. One of the most famous Easter-egg hunts in the world is held at the American White House each year.

The eggs, rabbits & chicks are all symbols of new life used in ancient European spring festivals celebrated thousands of years before the birth of Jesus Christ. Even the name “Easter” comes from these ancient festivals. Eastre was the ancient German goddess of spring. When the Christians came to power in Europe, they took over the old spring festival. They said that the traditional symbols of new life (eggs, rabbits & chicks) now represent Jesus coming back to life.

Even if you’re not Christian, you can still celebrate Easter. It’s easy – just eat some chocolate!

Monday, April 18, 2011


It’s no secret that I like comic-book heroes – especially Batman! (Actually, I AM Batman!) Recently, I was talking to a student about the Batman movies. (She watched 5 of them in 2 weeks, which I think deserves some kind of medal!) At the end of the lesson, I asked her to make up her own comic-book hero. She created… By the way, did you know most famous comic-book heroes have a girl version? There's...



Saturday, April 09, 2011

Japanese Earthquake Charity Concert - Tonight (April 9th)!

Tonight, our friend Simon Yates will be playing live acoustic music at Andy's Imagine (090-1133-1501), a cool little bar in Rokkomichi, near Kobe. It's a charity concert to help the victims of the recent earthquake. If you're down Kobe way (or you're looking for an excuse to be down Kobe way), you should definitely check it out. We hope to see you there!

Friday, April 08, 2011

Photos from the 2011 Be & Me Spring Picnic

Last Sunday, we held our annual Be & Me Spring Picnic in Tsurumi Ryokuchi Park, in Osaka. We had a great day – despite the cold! There were nearly as many cosplayers as picnickers!

Saturday, April 02, 2011

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