We’ve got today off so it’s just a leisurely drive to Hamamatsu today. Occasionally we go by regular roads for a while to save money on the toll roads. A bit slow but we’ve got nowhere to get to in a hurry so I don’t mind. That gives me time to do this blog work while I sit in the back of the van. Touring here is liberating for me because when I tour in the US or sometimes Europe, I’m the one wearing all the logistics hats. I’m tour manager, driver, leader and temporary counselor all at the same time. Here, even though it’s the CDG, I let Yoshi do his job. He tells us when we check-out, where we’re going, what’s going on. I lead only on the stage and that’s fine by me.
We get to Hamamatsu and we really didn’t stop to eat anywhere so I was hungry and I was hankerin’ for Ten-ichi ramen. I got on Google maps and found a shop about 2 miles away.
Planned my course and I was off. I see a few ‘outside’ people on my walk. Hamamatsu has a sort of large Brazilian population and Portuguese here being in a worker capacity. Japan has a long history of recruiting foreign workers from South America for some of their factory jobs. Toyota has a big plant here and they employ a number of them. I notice some churches on my walk and no doubt these service their religious needs. Although there is a booming business in the wedding trade and some brides insist on a Western style wedding, with a little chapel a priest, the clothes and the vows and ‘I do’ etc. They’re not always married the traditional Japanese way, but you can tell the chapels from a real operating church. I make it to the ramen shop and the staff gives a slight raised eyebrows from my appearance but I know I’m not the only one who looks like me that comes here. I grab the menu and I find what I want and tell him. Just like my Spanish, my restaurant Japanese is OK. Finishing, I pay and start the walk back. Hamamatsu does not have a busy skyline. There’s really only one prominent building that reaches taller than the rest and it’s a glitzy high dollar hotel with a modern design and veneer to it. I then make the affirmation that I could never get lost walking around downtown and the surrounding areas cuz’ all I’d have to do is get a visual sight on that hotel and head towards it. I also notice some of the neighborhoods I walked through were pretty new and I wondered if these were areas devastated by the earthquake and they just built everthing anew on this spot. On my way back there was this modern looking shopping mall area with various shops; cleaners, a budget clothing store, restaurants with a supermarket being the anchor store. I needed some things like some fruit and nuts to tide me over for a few days. So I went in. It was right in the middle of this neighborhood and thought how convenient that was plus the supermarket was 24 hours. I finally made it back to the hotel and went to sleep. A pleasant ramen sleep.
The club is really close to the hotel, like 5 minute walk max. It’s in another one of those entertainment areas where there’s lots of bars and restaurants and ‘whatever’ clubs so all the girls are decked out and the guys are dressed nice too. The club is a really small room, maybe seating 30 people with three rows of tables length wise and set up perpendicular to the stage. The promoter is the guitar player with the opening band and Yoshi tells me he’s made a lot of phone calls cajoling and prodding people to come to the show tonight. Not an easy task cuz’ we command a $50 day-of-show ticket price. Daunting. We set up, sound check and retire to the green room downstairs but I choose to take the short walk back to the hotel and change strings there. Coming back everything looked a bit different because now it was night time and my memory was challenged. I took one wrong turn and I knew I was not in the right place so I started just walking down every street like I was in a grid pattern cuz’ I knew the club was close and it would be a matter of 5 or 10 minutes before I found it. It was not in Google maps by the way; tried that.
Club found I went up to check out the opening band. Good sounding rock trio and a moderate volume and I was enjoying them. The room was starting to fill up and I was pleased to see that the promoter’s dedicated work had paid off. We get up and start out and now all the seats are occupied and we’ve got a smattering of standing people against the sides and the walls. I’m having fun and we’re on the same page as a band and even though we play 90 minutes it seems to fly by. The after party isn’t as lively or as big as Tokyo’s was but amiable and the food was good. We went to an izakaya and shared stories and laughs. Great time as usual.
Now on to Toyama.