So are you scratching your head over the title of my post? I assure you; it isn’t some weird word association test. Taiko, anime, timpani, and aloha summarizes my last few days in San Francisco.
I will explain. Yosemite National Park (YNP) was “wonder-full”. NYP; the sites, the sounds, the quite, the smell of the place was a 4G, High Def., IMAX kind of experience. After the tour, I was anticipating a little post YNP depression. To minimize that affliction, and knowing the day after the trip was Palm Sunday, I thought to spend Sunday at Glide Memorial Methodist Church. Giving praise gets me happy. Unfortunately, the spirit was willing but the body was weak; I slept until after 11:00 am and missed the celebration. What can I say; I was a little tired from the YNP adventure. I liked being the nature girl but, I’m really a middle-aged, overweight urban dweller.
With half the day gone I just decided to explore the area close to my hotel. Everyone knows San Francisco’s Chinatown but, there is also a Japantown. The timing was perfect because I had enjoyed the Cherry Blossom Festival in DC and now I’d stumbled upon a Cherry Blossom Festival clear across the country in San Francisco, CA. I arrived just in time for the start of a colorful parade; complete with floats (wait for it, wait for it…) taiko drummers and Anime characters.
After the parade, I continued to walk and ended up near City Hall and the theaters for the San Francisco Ballet and the San Francisco Symphony. Again, the timing was perfect. It was 5 minutes before the 2:00 pm performances; on a whim I decide to see if there were any inexpensive rush tickets available for the symphony. As I approached the box office a man approached me with a FREE ticket! I joined him and his family in their box; not more than 150 feet from the orchestra. (I am still giggling at my good fortune). I’ve included a few quickly and surreptitiously taken pictures.
Two musical works were performed. Tout un Monde Lointain and La Symphonie Fantastique. Sadly, the very cute, Michael Tilsen Thomas, from the PBS Concerto and Keeping Score series, was not conducting at this performance. Happily, the guest conductor was Henri Dutilleux (distinguished looking); the composer of Tout Un Monde Lointain. The work featured Gautier Capucon (a cutie) on Cello. La Symphonie Fantastique was composed by Hector Berlioz (I don’t know anything about Berlioz’ appearance).
I know a little about classical music because I listen to the radio stations WQXR and WNYC. Also, I’m a big fan of Great Performances on PBS. I did not know the Dutilleux music but, La Symphonie Fanastique is a piece I know very well and love so much that I have it on my mp3 play list.
Tout…Lointain is crisp, angular and sparse; not my favorite style but, I could admire the musicianship required of the soloist and the orchestra. La Symphonie…is dramatic and overwrought; the equivalent of a gothic novel. The (wait for it, wait for it…) timpani drum and beating of violin bows are used to surprising affect in the piece.
I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to be in the hall to hear this music performed live.
I spent Monday, my last full day before departing for home, visiting some of the main tourist attractions. I stopped at Fisherman’s Wharf in the morning and then took a street car to the Embarcadero; a wide curvy thoroughfare along the waterfront. It started to rain so I took shelter in the Ferry Building located there. The building houses a variety of shops including, independent booksellers, a gourmet food market, cafes, wine bars and upscale housewares/lifestyle stores. Unlike the DC market, the vendors were not giving away free samples of anything. I searched for some tasty cheap eats.L
Whenever possible eat where the natives eat. I found myself in the business district surrounded by office workers heading for lunch. I followed them. I noticed a constant stream of men going in and out of this little hole in the wall eatery. I checked it out and I’m glad I did. I ended up in this Hawaiian plate lunch joint. They greeted each and every customer with a boisterous (wait for it, wait for it ….) Aloha!
I didn’t know what to order so I let the attendant order for me. For $7 I had bbq steak, teriyaki chicken and broiled pork chops over brown rice and macaroni salad and sautéed cabbage. I had enough for lunch and for diner in my room that evening.
So I eluded the post YNP depression and the last days of this journey proved as fresh and engaging as the first days.