Rain Above, Music All Around

At a seaside cafe in Shima, a live music event fostered a sense of community

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By Dan Traylor
Published Monday, September 5th, 2011 (8:15am)

All afternoon we wondered: would the event be canceled? Heavy rain was on the way, and it began to fall with great force just as we approached the winding, mountainous Ise Road.

But no kind of rain could stop the music. Instead, “Last Summer Live,” went off as scheduled at Ama Dining Azuri, a seaside cafe in deep Shima with a monthly music event and (usually) beautiful views of the sea. (Originally planned for an outdoor stage, the event was moved inside).

We arrived as the second act was setting up. Beer was flowing, rain was falling, and stools were re-purposed as water-movers, hoisted toward the tarp-enforced roof to push pools of accumulated rain back out to the beech.

But those efforts proved ineffective at times, with water falling from above into the makeshift indoor stage area.

The rain, though, wasn’t enough to affect the musicians, whose performances ranged from loud rock to mellow Bob Marley covers. Some in the audience, prompted by the staff, joined in on floating drums, sang along or swayed to the beat.

The mood, aided by beer or the rain or just a love for music, kept up even beyond the scheduled performances. Jam sessions broke out in two spots around the cafe simultaneously, separated, peacefully, by sliding doors.

As the music rolled on, we joined a table made up of people many years our senior with lives and interesting experiences to prove it. There was the cafe’s owner, a musician who had performed earlier in the night; a couple who have sailed around the world in their yacht; and a man whose company spreads ashes in the sea at the request of those who have passed. Someone pointed out: All of them were somehow connected by the sea.

By the time we were ready to head home, we had talked with so many new people that it felt like we were leaving our own party early. Maybe it was the beer or maybe it was because I was the only foreign guest -- but my departure was announced to the whole cafe, prompting the drunkest of the bunch to rise for a group hug at the front door near the pile of shoes.

Our sandals safely underfoot, we headed for the car and pushed through the ongoing rainstorm. In the passenger seat, music continued to play in my head as I made a mental note to come back again soon.

It only took one trip to make a regular.

Ama dining Azuri features fresh seafood and cakes, along with live music events more than once a month. Visit Azuri Dining for more information.

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