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Toshio Hirano 

When: Second Monday of every month, 9 p.m.
Price: free
www.toshiohirano.com

The Tokyo Yodeler

Toshio Hirano is a time- and continent-jumping troubadour. He grew up in Tokyo, coming of age when the American folk revival was also hitting Japan, but a chance listen to a Sunday afternoon radio program introduced him to the sound of southern Appalachia. Fast-forward through moves to Nashville and Austin, to marrying an American woman and starting a family, and Hirano is now a popular proselytizer of country legends at Amnesia and the Rite Spot. Close your eyes and the man who spends his days as a teaching assistant for a San Mateo ESL program disappears, replaced by a cowboy who may as well be crooning the blues down in Nashville.



— Jennifer Maerz

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