Wednesday, April 30, 2014

"Exceeded expectations"

A weekend jaunt up North by Northeast found us with another couple on the flat flats of UCD, the University of California, Davis. We were there to attend the late afternoon presentation of "KOKORO" the 3rd annual showcase of Bakuhatsu Taiko Dan, the UCDavis Taiko club. I confess that I wasn't expecting too much.

Freeborn Hall is sort of in the center of the campus. It's a unimposing steel-frame multi-purpose space with a flat floor and a stage. Seating was deployed over about half the floor. At 4:00 pm the Mistress of Ceremonies entered stage right and announced that the performers were not ready quite yet and that lines still existed outside in front of the ticket counter. 50% of the audience had their smartphones out, playing games or something. I was getting less excited.

I should not have worried.
From the moment the lights dimmed and the curtains swung open, the space was completely filled with exuberation, youth, noise, energy, noise, drumming, noise, dancing and more noise. There was also a koto (or zither) and a flute.

The performers were all races and both sexes. They truly worked together as teams Some even sang.

But mostly there was drumming, and it was excellent. Professionally done. I was totally blown away. There are plenty more pix on the web, and I urge you to see them.

For dinner, we had heard that there was a Japanese restaurant in town. I remember my Mother telling me not to try seafood when more than 30 miles from the ocean, but I have learned that times have changed, so we went to try Mikuni. I confess I wasn't expecting too much.

Seating inside and outside (this is Davis after all.) We had a 15 minute wait and then were offered a high table which we eagerly accepted. The menu was Japanese food all right, but with a humorous California twist to most of the items (and college humor on the tee shirts: "I'm majoring in Sushiology.") We ordered a whole bunch of dishes and they arrived nicely spaced in time and all nicely presented. This was turning into a good meal.

Not inexpensive, but impressive. This was Japanese food with a California twist (notice the Jalapeno peppers.) The potstickers were deep fried and delicious. The fish was fresh and delicious. I will return some day.

All in all, a great afternoon and evening in Davis, California. My expectations were definitely exceeded. Thanks to all who made it happen.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

2014 Oakland A's

This year is evidencing an encouraging start for the Athletics.
And the team seems to be having fun!