well, this will most likely be digested version, as Im typing this just before dinner and am hungry again...
MONDAY 25 May
Left in-laws place, bound for Koenji to join the rest of the band in the hotel. Checked in, had a welcoming drink of Nihon Shu, went downstairs to the coffee shop and waited for Cat, Karlos and Mal. When they arrived I took them for good old Freshness Burger. I had a fish one, plus beer. The one thing we will all do next few days is start drinking around lunch time. The weather was super nice and we just couldnt resist.
WE checked a couple of record shops and slowly got ready to go to first gig. Arrived at Em Seven in Koiwa in time for sound check. The amps we hired were waiting for us. WE did the check super fast and went for some okonomiyaki at the same place I went last year with other guys. Was pleasantly surprised to see both cool looking waitresses there. I oredered drinks and meals for us, it was absolutely awesome. All 3 of us got a bit tipsy and went back to the venue for more drinks.
First band Earthbound has Minoru from Tiala on drums, plus 2 other drummers, bassist and didgeridoo player. It was a mix of free jazz, noise and tribal music. Good stuff. Then there was a guy on some weird beat machine, he was hilarious in a good way. He managed to hold it even when the equipment failed.
Abe Sada was next, we set on the floor in 4 corners. It went pretty good, with people going around and checking what each member does. Some guys was sleeping next to my amp, the noise didnt bother him at all.
In the meantime some Iron Chef was preparing fresh sushi, so it was ready by the time we finished and it was superb. The last band was a guy and a girl on electronics and another girl on drums, which she couldnt play well, but when she started screaming...oh, boy! It pierced right through my earplugs.
After we got paid we left quickly and went back to the hotel, dropped our stuff and went out for midnight snack. I took the band to the small place where we ate jumbo gyoza and we had 6 serves for 4 of us! Thats the sipirt Abe Sada! After that we went to local venue Penguin HOuse where we all played before. The owner and staff recognized us, we had some very strong shochu, times 2 and left. Fell asleep as soon as I got to the hotel...
TUESDAY 26 May
Woke up, the band was asleep, I went to Shinjuku for record shopping. Found million things, but just didnt want to buy too much and take it all with me to Osaka and back later.
Had a nap in the arvo, met the band in the hotel and we took a cab to UFO Club, which is 20 minutes on foot from the hotel. Had a soundcheck and went to awesome local izakaya where I eat every time I go to UFO CLub, which is 4 times in last 2 years. Bumped into our friend Harada, then another friend Sawada came and the feast began.
Back in the venue, first band Homm3 were 3 chicks doing indie rock thing, but real cool. At moments it reminded me on Gang of 4/Joy Division. Fuck, I honestly cant remember if there was another band or if Abe Sada played next, but when we did it sounded superb - I love this venue and the soundguy never fails! The band after us was shocking RHCP clones. And then they had the last band playing. When I saw them at soundcheck it sounded pretty cool punkish stuff, just drums and guitar/vocal, who looked like Hawaiian rockabilly. WEll, when he took the stage he looked totally different - the guy was stark naked!
After we finished we said our goodbyes and went some manga shopping, then for midnight snack/more drinks. Then to bed to get ready for Osaka trip tomorrow.
WEDNESDAY 27 May
WE left Tokyo at 12noon on bullet train and fuck thats fast! Started drinking on the train, but moderately. Arrived 3 pm, Go-san, our promoter, was waiting. He took us to the venue, we bought some beers on the way. The club called Elevate is tiny, but so are pretty much all other venues in Japan, unless your name is U2 or Mr Children.
So, the usual, soundcheck, drink, eat food, drink, talk to people, drink, play, drink... Tonites gig was pretty cool, although I only like one band on the bill.
We left for Go-san house, and after we walked for what seems like 3 hours we finally found a place where we can eat some ramen, and we were all starving! So ramen and sake that was and it saved my life. I fell asleep as soon as we got to Gos place, the rest of the party joined later. It was 4 of us sleeping on futtons in tiny room and, call me a fucken conformist but I just couldnt relax in such situation.
THURSDAY 28 May
I woke up at 6am (not that Ive been sleeping a lot when we stayed in the hotel), couldnt go back to sleep, was dying of thirst (and didnt feel like tap water)... so I decided to pack my bags and find a hotel.
I took the train to Shin-Osaka station, which is where I had to catch the shinkansen back to my in-laws, so I thought it would be good idea to find a place there. It was pouring with rain, I was tired, starving and upset at myself that I left a secure place, roaming around for a hotel without being familiar with the place at all. But, he who dares, Rodney, he who dares... I found a convenient store, bought an umbrella, crossed the road and BANG there was a hotel. WEnt in, the price was right and I booked myself for 2 nights. Couldnt check in for a couple of hours, but I left my stuff in there and went exploring Osaka.
After check in I had a cat nap and went to the venue. It was in "American Village", which is an area full of cool shops and people trying to look cool. The venue was small, 2nd floor underground, pretty claustrophobic, so I had to get some courage from alcohol. And again it failed to dissapoint!
Bands were cool, Go-sans Psychedelic Desert were different than Ive seen them in Perth, but second band Sari, consisting on woman on vocals and man on bass and zillion pedals blew me away. Unreal! I nearly cried, it was deeply touching stuff.
Then I bought myself a potent cocktail consisting of vodka, gin, rum, tequila, contreau and coke, and I asked the barman to make it double. It was a fuel for Abe Sada engine and we took off! Around 10 minutes before we were due to finsih I was dying to go to the toilet, so I spotted Go-san in the audience, gave him my bass to play and left to pee. When I got back I realised Cat gave her bass to Gos friend Cuckoo, it was so funny.
Anyway, another two cocktails later I was fucked and it was time to go back to the Hotel by myself. How did I find the tran station? How did I know which train to catcth and which stop to get off? How did I find a way to the hotel? My friends, I dont know... But when I got there I managed to ask receptionist where to get ramen near by, I talked to Mrs on the phone, I went for ramen, I could order it in Japanese, as well as side dishes and drinks, I ate it and it was superb!
FRIDAY 29 May
I woke up at 6am, not hungover, but so thirsty. I went to the vending machine on my floor and bought 3 POcari Sweat drinks, drank it and fell asleep.
Todays gig was in Kyoto, I left there around 1pm, roamed the streets, had lunch, found venue. I even had a nap in the venue before the rest of the band came. NOw, this venue was tiny. But I loved it. To cut the usual crap short, yes we had a soundcheck, yes we had drinks, yes we ate, we even went to Imperial Palace.
Back at the venue we drank more, met cool people, the barmaid was running some chicken bbq, which was delicious. MY internet friend Hitomi Shimuz came. You may know her as one half of Syzygys - seminal Japanese quirky pop band that has 2 albums out on Tzadik. She also does music for PS2 games and has written soundtrack for Waterboys. I was so happy to finally meet her after being in touch with her for 3 years and she is the nicest person in the world!
The other people at the gig were great too, the bands were OK. WE played second last. I should tell this would be a different gig when after 5 minutes people started cheering and screaming. As the gig progressed so didi the positive tension and last 10 minutes it was bass swap time. I gave it to this stoned tiny little woman standing next to me, Karlos gave his to a guy who was following around at last 3 gigs, Cat gave it to Cuckoo and Mal gave it to the woman who played in one of the bands on the night. One guys got up on stage and started dancing manically and the venue manager started lighting up firecrackers, so it was a huge fuckin party and a great way to wrap up the tour.
Sadly, we had to leavy, went for another bowl of ramen near hotel, checked out the next day, went back to my in-laws, slept for long time, went to Yokohama city and bought heaps of jazz records, packed my bags and ready to go back to Perth...