100-word story: The Surprise Visitor

Last weekend I went to one of my friend’s gigs at a British live house in Ebisu called “What the Dickens.” The band is a massive 7-piece ensemble that only barely fits on the pub’s narrow stage. It’s kind of like a folksy ska band — the 7 pieces include: an electric guitar, an acoustic guitar, drums, a saxophone, a trumpet (though the sax and trumpeter switch off between those instruments and perfectly-coordinated shakers), a bass, and finally a banjo/mandolin player who always takes the stage barefoot, earning him the nickname “Johnny Barefoot” which is literally what everyone calls him. The band kind of dissolved last year when the electric guitar player — the band’s co-founder — left Japan. And even months later when they recruited a new guitarist it was tough for the other co-founder to carry on with the band without his best friend. Last weekend was their first return to “What the Dickens,” the same venue they had played their farewell show the year before. The pub staff, knowing how much the other co-founder would be missing his best friend at this gig, surprised him (and the rest of the gig attendees) with a life-size cut-out of the former bandmate, who had come to enjoy the show:

PC: Kyoko Obayashi

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