The Japan Tour for Lucky 13 has started. We had a couple of days in the Shinjuku area of Tokyo then we picked up our backline from a Marshall Representative then we were on our way. The cool thing when we went to get the backline was that the street we were on had a direct view of the Tokyo Sky Tree Tower. It’s the 2nd tallest structure in the world and it is massively tall. You can see it anywhere you are in Tokyo if on an elevated plane or hill say for instance while on the highway system. When you’re far away from the Tower is appears as though it’s some vague vision you’re having, like it’s not real. The sun reflects off it and you see this metallic sheen and that confirms in your mind it’s real but the structure is just so huge! I hear there is also restaurants and shopping places up there and an observation deck as well all accessible when a bit of a pricey fee is ponied up to ascend this majestic monolith so as to touch the hand of God. OK that’s a bit dramatic but superlatives can’t be used enough to describe the Tower.
So Sendai is a couple hundred miles north of the Tokyo metro area and we get up there with relative ease. The highway system here in Japan is good but expensive. Most of the main arteries that crisscross this island nation are toll roads. To get from Tokyo to Sendai costs us around $80. I’ve seen up pass through those booths, everyone has an ETC card and the electronic accouterments that goes inside your car where you put the card in a slot which activates your car to be read by the sensors, I once saw us pay up to $300 for toll charges from Sendai to Osaka. Yeah that’s pricey. Another thing I like on the highways are the truck stops and each one has its own specialty food item. Sometimes it’s the baked goods, or a certain vegetable or how they cook ramen or soba or udon. Never a dull moment on the roads of Japan.
Sendai is still a bit warm for this time of year and so I’m still running around in a T-shirt. Most people have started wearing their full complement of winter clothing and I can’t blame them. When you want to feel comfortable out in the elements there’s nothing wrong with that. My hotel room is of a spacious proportions unlike our economic conditions of our rooms in Tokyo. My room was so small and narrow in its hallway that my luggage took up almost 25% of the available space. Too funny. I made due though cuz’ I’m use to this here. It’s a different country and you can always get a big American size room, you just have to pay for it. I was good. So I go out and explore as usual but I already know Sendai pretty good. I’ve been coming to this town for almost 10 years now and it never gets old to me. They have these walkways/mall areas that can stretch for blocks and blocks in the middle of the city and shops line the sides in a varied array of spatial assignments. The mall near our hotel has already got the Christmas stuff adorning the walls and inside this huge wreath is the name – Clis Road.
I look up on the wall near the wreath and I see in Katakana – kurisu ro-do, or translated to – Chris Road. That’s me! Aww thanx Sendai! So there’s a Duarte city in California, a Duarte Avenue in Arcadia, California and now a Chris Road in Sendai. My plan for world domination is actually coming into focus, albeit on the periphery but one step at a time.
The club is a great performance venue with a really good PA and staff. Everybody is so helpful and earnest in their efforts that I feel bad that I’ve forgotten some of their names. I ask in my bad Japanese if we’ve met before and they reply ‘yes’ and I shake my head and apologize. We set up and do our sound check and do just a touch of rehearsal. We’ve still got a two days till our gig and tomorrow the club is busy so it’s a day-off for us. Gig day arriving we rehearse for a couple of hours. This is also a chance for me to try and loosen up my fingers cuz’ originally we were going to rehearse in Tokyo but since the Hawaii tour came together we just took that as ‘real-time’ rehearsal for us but being off for 4 days before the start of the Japan Tour, my hands and live performance faculties can quickly atrophy.
Plus we were making arrangements to video tape our performance so to make a DVD to sell for next year. Live House Enn2 is having an anniversary next year and we wanted to have this DVD to commemorate the first DVD we made with Bluestone Co. back in 2008. This time we had a multi-camera shoot and we were getting some shots to make it as a ‘rockumentary’ cuz’ in addition to this we had a director conducting the shots. Pretty cool. The gig went good, as good as first gigs can go, and the only bump on the road was that Yoshi had a bit of equipment trouble and I was left to entertain the crowd with my campy Japanese. I regaled the people with terribly worded stories, then started to play ‘Rocky Racoon’, in which the audience joined in with clapping in time, Beatle songs never fail to disappoint, and after 10 minutes or so we were back in our rocket ship. The director has his hands full with editing now.
All in all it was a good time and I look forward to the rest of this tour. We also have some new cities that I’m never been to before, Yamagata and Fukushima. I can’t wait.