November 30, 2005 at 11:26 AMAfter filling to the gills with over forty excellent varieties of sushi and sashimi at Todai's all-you-can-eat sushi bar, my friends and I strolled on the downtown streets to boost our digestion. We were also curious about the types of people that would be performing on the streets that night.
I hope it was a slow evening. The amount of talent I saw was pretty low: a few portrait painters, several frozen mimes, an unsightly bikini-clad palm reader, some break dancers with great spins and no rhythm... The act I got the most kicks from was a mismatched duo consisting of a man playing soprano sax and a silver painted drummer, complete with duct tape pants. They made several attempts at A-Train, never once making it past the first eight bars. I wish I could have heard what the sax player was saying between efforts. All I could hear was the count to four with the drumsticks, followed by a wide variety of tempos and rhythms, none of which remotely resembled A-Train. The dozen or so variations that I witnessed had me clutching my gut with glee. I wondered if this was their actual ploy that they used to get tips just because people would feel sorry for them. I almost gave them a buck.
Down a ways further, we found what we were looking for: a large toothless Samoan and his equally large buddy, both wearing Santa hats and sarongs, singing traditional Hawaiian folk tunes and strumming on the guitar and ukulele. They sang in casual bellows, using mostly vowels and trailing the phrases into the dirt. The guitars had a seasoned, fixed, easy groove that conveyed a feeling that they had always been there, singing their songs, and didn't mind at all if they stayed until dawn. I watched them for quite a while in admiration. How do you sing with no teeth, anyway?
Were the two last doing it for a living? You know, if you're after music you'll have to seek out the night life. But you really want the Caribbean islands.
Did I mention this is a ridiculously glorious vacation? It's ridiculous.
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