|the doors to the hall (stadium) entrance|
|man with falcon outside Osaka-Jo Hall|
|first Santa spotting|
|a stop at Mister Donut in a shopping center which was having a Peanuts special|
|a dog cafe|
(two people sitting with dogs and a small pile of sleeping dogs in the mid-upper right)
|worker in the dog cafe displaying the tempting ball of fuzz to us|
We then changed trajectory and headed into the beautiful Osaka park on this perfect weather day. And there, a Santa race.
|running Japanese Santas|
|Christy getting ready.....|
|and there were wooden flute and ocarina players playing Moon of the Ruined Castle and songs from Japanese anime|
|more running Santas|
|a Santa family|
|man with a Santa dog|
|Santas waiting to get their pictures at Osaka Castle|
|Osaka Castle in the fall|
|Santas with Osaka Castle in the fall|
|Lots of Santas!!!|
|Some with high heel boots, cat ears, and tails|
And then we played a concert where thousands of Santas were replaced by thousands of singers. Nakama Yukie, an (apparently) incredibly famous singer and actress in Japan glowed gracefully in a white dress and single spotlight and read something before we played the symphony. The lights came up and we began.
We played Auld Lang Syne for the encore while they showed pictures of the choirs' rehearsal process on the jumbotron. Every singer had a glow stick, which they ebbed back and forth in the dark. The lights came up and I got to see 10,000 pairs of hands clapping, a wave of sound. I just stared at the audience, the choir, everyone applauding for each other, we for them and them for us. I wondered when the novelty would wear off.
Sado-san and lots of other people involved in the production came onstage multiple times for a bow. At one point the heel of Sado-san's shoe came off and I picked it up as I exited the stage. Finally, I'd found him, my Cinderella! (Actually I just returned it to the security outside his dressing room.)
And then there was a party!
|Ani starting off the line|
|Christy got three of the bassoonists (top three), a bass player (bottom left),|
one of the office staff, Yamauchi-san (bottom middle),
and our stage manager, Frank (bottom right) to make a pyramid