A Local Perspective on Life in Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.

Seshami Street at Matsuri Tsukuba 2007

Seshami Street (セ三味ストリート) is a fantastic team of two guys (Ryo Hagiwara and Pierre Ono) who play shamisen. They are former Tsukuba University students so they are regulars at Matsuri Tsukuba. They played at the Ninomiya House summer festival last night and I think that everyone who saw them would agree that they are really fun to watch.

Seshami Street

They first explain to the crowd when you are supposed to applaud:

1. When you think they are playing very well.
2. When you are not sure how well they are playing, but they certainly seem to be making an effort.
3. When you are not sure whether they are playing well or making an effort, but Pierre (the guy in red above) seems to be smiling.

They combine excellent shamisen playing with a street performance that is quite funny. For example, they tell a story of how the pick that is used to play the shamisen is quite expensive (80,000 yen!) so when they were university students they had to come up with ways to play their instrument using less expensive things as picks. You will be surprised at what they come up with as alternatives.

Seshami Street will be playing at Matsuri Tsukuba at the following times.

Saturday, August 25, 2007
2:30pm at (A) Entrance
4:30pm at (B) Ars Hall
7pm at (C) Bronze Place

Sunday, August 26, 2007
1pm at (A) Entrance
3pm at (B) Ars Hall
5:30pm at (C) Bronze Place

The street performance part of Matsuri Tsukuba is called “Art Town Tsukuba“. It is organized by the Tsukuba Chamber of Commerce and the Tsukuba Cultural Foundation. Art Town Tsukuba takes place in the north part of the festival area — around the rocket and the public library. When you go to the festival, go up to that area and look for an Art Town Tsukuba program. The program will include a map of the performance spots (A, B, C, D, E, and Animation).

A = Entrance
B = In front of Ars Hall (the building that the public library and art gallery are in)
C = Bronze Place
D = Waterfront
E = Stage on the Water

I think “Animation” refers to characters who will be wandering around the performance area freely. (Look for “Medaman” — two guys who wander around with eyeballs on their heads — freaky!!)

I’m not sure where the A to E spots are exactly, so please look at the map on the program and match the letters.

Full schedule for the Art Town Tsukuba street performances
(The schedule may change if the weather is bad.)

Seshami Street is one performance you won’t want to miss!