Still no joy on the job front. I'm going to keep looking; maybe I'll try a few more shuttle places.
I used to spend a lot of time, in the Eirakuso era, in a little restaurant on Kitaoji-dori called Chaku Chaku. It was a great place, just a basic diner-style joint run by a married couple. He had been some sort of up-and-coming musical star, back in the 1970s. She was his childhood sweetheart.
He cut a couple of singles and his career was just on the verge of taking off when she had some sort of stroke or brain infarction or something, I don't know what. I never got the full story. My Japanese wasn't really up to it, they spoke virtually no English, and they weren't exactly forthcoming with the details of their story at any rate.
They cashed in whatever money they had, came back to Kyoto, which I think was her hometown, and opened up the little restaurant. She was only partially paralyzed, so she had no trouble running the cash register and taking orders and doing little bits of cleanup and so forth. He ran the kitchen, and did a pretty good job of it. The food was pretty basic stuff of the sort you get at regular Japanese restaurants, a mix of Japanese, Chinese, and some Western dishes.
Since there was just the two of them, they were generally open from about 10 AM to six PM. But one night every couple of weeks, though, the owner would keep the place open late for Open Mic night. He would play the guitar and sing. Beni and Toru and I would go over there and sing. The whole thing was run by a loud and kind of obnoxious Australian guy, who acted like he owned the joint. He was a reasonably talented quitarist and singer, and a pretty good showman, but there was something about his attitude that just drove everyone nuts. He was always trying to get everyone to join his business, he wouldn't leave the girls alone, and he tried to jolly people along. He was a bully, to be honest, and an example of one sort of expatriate that I generally tried to avoid.
After a while, it was pretty easy to avoid him, as he got kicked out of just about every bar in Kyoto. My friend Tadg McLaughlin opened a new place downtown, and he informed me that Our Pal was, in fact, PRE-banned from his new restaurant.
But we all had fun at Chaku Chaku, singing and playing and drinking beer and smoking cigarettes all night. Eventually I stopped going there, because I got too busy with regular gigs, plus I was just avoiding the Australian guy, I guess.
When I went back to visit in 2010, Chaku Chaku had closed. Nobody knew why.