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Osamu-san Visits Japan
by Sam Hayakawa
(with Caroline Wright)

Sam Hayakawa, one of the most active members of the Bluegrass Hawai`i community, had a wonderful trip to Japan earlier in the summer of 2007. He was able to meet and jam with Sab Watanabe and Samukawa (who visited Hawai`i a couple years ago) at Osaka.

Sam went to several well-known bluegrass venues in Tokyo and Osaka while on his trip. The Rocky Top in Ginza, Tokyo is a very famous place for bluegrass fans in Japan! "Japanese bluegrass bands perform daily there," says Sam.

In Japan, he actually saw a band called The Gentlemen (can you believe it? a Country Gentlemen cover band); the Isolated Bluegrass Band (Sab Watanabe’s band; his son plays mandolin) and New June Apple (Mr. Sasabe’s band). Another bluegrass venue in Tokyo is Back in Town, where Ken Shibaki’s band (GANSO!) performs regularly.

In Osaka, Sam visited Oppidom, a venue owned by the former lead vocalist of the Lost City Cats. At Oppidom, Sam jammed with Samukawa and Sab Watanabe (former member of Bluegrass 45, the legendary Japanese bluegrass band).

Here's a photo of Sam jamming with Usagi-san Team, our friend Samukawa’s band! On fiddle is Kaz Fujii; banjo: Hiro Ohashi; bass: Tak Ryogo; guitar: Samukawa; mandolin and big grin: Sam Hayakawa

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Sam Hayakawa is a good friend and a loyal supporter of Bluegrass Hawai`i, and he's a terrific mandolin player!

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