We had a day off after Uwajima and our itinerary had us staying in Hiroshima for the night. Yoshi has decided that instead of taking the express toll highways he’s chosen a nautical route; a ferry. Our ferry left out of Matsuyama port and we were to travel thru the Aki-nada Sea. Departure was right around sundown so it made for spectacular viewing of the islands that are dotted in the sea channel.
Quickly as the sun sets the islands in the foreground start to be silhouetted and the top of the cloudless sky takes on the dark blue hue with the remaining true blue hugging the horizon. I retreat into the boat and sit down to gently sway to the rhythms of the waves and water surface that we’re floating through. A fairly brisk gust of wind is going on outside making the flag on the bow appears as if it’s the same flag unfurled on the moon. Straight with an almost plastic-like rigidity. I’m doing a walk around on this ferry and it’s not a very big one at all. Years ago when I was touring Europe with Jeff Healy, we took a ferry from outside Oslo down to Hamburg. This was an overnight trip and on this ferry there were many options for entertainment besides your ‘Econo-sized’ birth you sleep in. (I remember the shower in our birth was this solitary stream of water coming out at a micro-pace faster than a drip), But today’s ship there’s only a woman to attend to the duties in the seating areas. She’s doing it all; cleaning up after people when they disembark, cleaning the restrooms, announcement duties and selling snacks if the snack counter opens. There’s plenty of vending machines on board that are selling basically the same assortment they have at the counter so it stays closed. I’m also walking around trying to read the signs. For the most part I get the gist of the message but what I’m getting better at is family names. First names can still be tricky but family names aren’t so liberal as to their interpretations and use of the kanji. There’s one plaque that has the name of the entire crew listed on it and my eyes go down it getting some names and others I don’t get. It’s dark outside now and we’re getting close to Hiroshima. The ferry was a roughly 3 hour trip. Nice change from the droning sounds of asphalt beneath us.
Our hotel is right on Peace Avenue and they’ve got a Christmas light display going on. I’ve seen grander displays of Xmas lights in other cities but this one is fun cuz’ it’s right outside our hotel. Couples young and old are walking hand in hand gazing at the lights and snapping photos and selfies. They have smiles on their faces with dreamy looks at one another especially amongst the younger couples.
Up the next day and this time it’s into unchartered territory for CDG. We’re heading northwards towards Izumo. Izumo sits on the same side as Kanazawa or the west side of Honshu Island, the main land mass most of us know as Japan. Part of our drive parallels the coast and since it’s winter here the waves from the Sea of Japan, (or the China Sea depending on your allegiance, I think we all know mine here), the waves are big and we stop at a picturesque turnoff to gaze at the beach below us. Gorgeous.
Arriving at the club we load in. A common name in Japan for venues and or clubs that feature live entertainment is ‘Livehouse.’ This venue doubles as a recording studio and a livehouse. It’s pretty much a box configuration for the livehouse side but with a good system in it and another pro staff on hand. The walls are painted black and the floor is smooth concrete, it’s a common motif among livehouses here I’ve noticed, and the stage is permanent and about 3 feet high. There’s one opening band on the bill tonight. Yoshi informed us that for an ‘outside’ person to have a gig here is pretty rare and that we’d be getting our share of stares from the locals if we go to walking around here. The staff is used to us but not the rest. I think I surprise them the most when I open my mouth and I’m speaking Japanese and using proper decorum and customs along with formal and informal discretions. I love it here.
The opening band is on and I’m checking them out. They’ve got this fun vibe going with their disco type apparel on and some are sporting wigs too. There’s one with long curly tussles, an afro and a more form fitting wig with a short but stylish look to it. Two sax players, guitar, bass, Keys, and two drummers. They’re playing retro type rhythms with a nod to ‘house funk’ and slight ‘go-go’ beats. I can’t help but smile at their hammy-ness on stage and the cool grooves going on with it.
Not a big crowd tonight but it’s not too bad. Turns out I actually have fans in the area here that know who I am and my music too. With the Internet now firmly intertwined in the social fabric of the world, it still never ceases to amaze me with exactly how far my music can reach and where it can go to touch somebody no matter how isolated they might be… and the past was called the Golden Years?
We play our gig and the 25 or so people that came are moved and excited to have seen us. We do the merchandise thing and pose for pics and sign autographs for those still hanging in the club after our gig. It’s a subdued vibe tonight so we opt out and just go back to hotel instead of an after party get together. The owner said he wants us back next tour and I assure him we’ll be in contact.
Another CDG flag planted.