You know the trouble with having 16 bowls of food in front of you is knowing
where to start so many different bowls of mochi much is a rice that's been
pounded and beaten down into a kind of sticky rice cake form and these bowls
have been topped in a variety of flavors from sesame to shrimp,
red bean paste and this which is fermented soy beans which are absolutely awful
Don't call it fermented it's matured.
Well whatever it is I'm not going near it and
neither should you if you come to Japan.
So anyway today guys we're going to one of Japan's most
famous jazz bars which is here in Ichinoseki about an hour north of Sendai.
Today we're off to meet a man the New York Times once called Japan's most
tireless jazz advocate, Shoji Sugawara, a man who puts even Natsuki to shame on the
cool scale. He runs one of the best-known jazz clubs in Japan called The Basie
And we're gonna go in and find out what makes it so popular while we're in the
neighborhood we're also going to be dropping into a theater performance, I've
never seen theater in Japan in any form until now so I'm looking forward to
seeing how it differs from the West. "There was one guy with the most angriest,
scariest looking eyes I've ever seen in my life I thought he was gonna come off
stage and punch me in the face at one point"
but our day starts by sampling
Ichinoseki's chewy local delicacy
He can't speak as his mouth is full.
Once you take a mouthful of this you can't speak for the next 20 seconds.
So we have to kind of synchronize a time of who's eating and are
Yes now I can speak, so stuff yourself.
Tell us something of value.
While I eat the sesame mochi
Let me just explain what it is.
We've got loads of flavours such as Soy bean paste, ginger and he
just he just ate it but a sesame and pumpkins and various 16 flavors.
And I've got only 9 and I feel very inferior how comes that?
Well you are (inferior).
I'm still like half way through it.
I think this must be the most difficult to eat in the world.
What I will say it's a good way to explore lots of different flavors as a base.
It's a good way to explore lots of different flavours if you can chew it all.
I have no idea how I can finish all this.
We met Shoji in the late afternoon amidst the dimly lit surroundings of the Basie jazz club.
He was in a reflective mood as he examined his nostalgic collection of lighters
As you look around the club the same name and the same face keeps appearing.
American jazz legend Count Basie
One of the most influential figures in twentieth-century jazz.
At the age of 19 Shoji was battling through Tuberculosis.
and claims that repeatedly listening to a
performance of "Basie in London" helped him to get through the illness.
In the 1970s
Shoji met the man himself when he came to perform in Tokyo and struck up a
friendship with Basie visiting the club that adorned his name several times in
In his later years when Basie was battling through cancer Shoji tried to repay
his debt to the legend by sending him Chinese herbal medicines and in many
ways the Basie isn't just a jazz club is a shrine to the man that inspired Shoji
Still with the collection of 10,000 records he feels like the living
breathing epitome of jazz
There's something quite powerfully nostalgic about it as if Shoji is trying
to capture and hold on to the past it felt like being in a giant time capsule
or something there was a piano absolutely covered in cameras and camera
lenses, a bar counter packed full of bottles of books of photos, there was a
seating area on the other side the room full of customers
and they were all sat there drinking but sitting in silence there was this kind
of peaceful meditative quality to it all they were really there you could tell
they were there to sit relax but above all to appreciate an to listen to the music.
We're at a public "Taishu Engeki". It's the first time I've been to a
theatre in Japan actually and it's about to kick off so I don't know what to expect
Ryotaro is here in his nighting gown.
Normally the public theatre is like
combined with like onsen and because I'm staying here like you
actually you should actually get changed into this but Chris hasn't because
it's a real shame. He's not following Japanese culture at all. Not respecting culture.
Not respecting Japanese culture?
I've just eaten a whole plate of Edamame
And I've gotten an Asahi Beer; that is Japanese culture right there.
No you're just consuming it that's all. That's not respecting.
I'm consuming culture but I'm not respecting it.
Taishu Engenki literally means light theater and unlike a lot of
traditional entertainment in Japan such as kabuki or geisha, Taishu Engeki is
entertainment that doesn't break the bank it's entertainment for the masses
that doesn't take itself too seriously or have a philosophical component its
aim is to simply make the audience laugh.
Yeah I liked it was kind of like a cabaret performance the facial
expressions were impressive and the hand gestures; there was one guy with the most
angriest scariest looking eyes I've ever seen in my life I thought he was gonna
come off stage and punch me in the face at one point and there was a nice
variety of performances there with a couple who were arguing over a baby and
whose baby it was turns out wasn't the guy's baby, there was a man dressed as a
woman who came out with a cigarette and stubbed out on someone's face which I quite
enjoyed and then there was a rather chubby character who bursts out of a
bamboo tree that was that was pretty random and in the audience the fans
themselves were they were loving it there was a woman at the front just
giving them gifts I thought the performance bags of things so clearly
it's a pretty popular thing here.
Ichinoseki is about two and a half hours north of
Tokyo by bullet train and if you're interested in checking out any of the
places we visited on our trip you can find the details in the description box below.
Wait stop everything I just realized Ryotaro is dressed like Link out of
The Legend of Zelda or some sort of shitty pirate. I can't really work out which one.
So that's it for you guys and I will see you in next video thanks for watching.