Japan Tour Diary, Part 8

Sunday 15th of February Tokyo.


We say goodbye to Marvin’s dudes. Hopefully they’ll be over to Dublin soon to play. They’re more or less off straight to the airport to go home. We crawl into the van and Kazuto drives us back to his house. En route I keep falling asleep and waking up as I drop my phone on the floor in a loop. I also fall asleep alternately on Brian’s and Donnchadh’s shoulders. Thankfully I don’t drool on either occasion. We stumble to bed and I sleep solidly until 2pm.

I get up bleary eyed and have a Japanese style bath – a hot shower to clean oneself with soap followed by a soak in a hot bath, completed by a cold shower. This is very relaxing! Kazuto’s Mum and Dad lay out an amazing lunch and after we give them a present of a Cactus plant which the lads bought the previous day when I was in a jocker. Soon after we say our thank yous and goodbyes. Kazuto drives us back to the same hotel in Kashiwa City, where we will spend our last night. We cannot get over how generous Kazuto and his folks have been throughout the tour.

Its around 6pm by the time we’re checked in. We say goodbye and thank you to Kazuto. Hopefully we’ll see him in Dublin soon.

We wander off round the edge of Chiba and Kashiwa city for a stroll. All we see is gambling places and dodgy brothels with “Information charges” listed outside. Ultimately we buy a load of take out food and beer from the 7-11 near the hotel and crash out. “Bringing out the Dead” is on TV in English. It’s a great movie and I have a new appreciation for Nicholas Cage’s insomniac ambulance driver character. Soon after I crash out and sleep solidly for 9 hours.

Monday 16th of February.

Keita arrives at the hotel door around 10am. We’re already packed and ready to go. He’s planned a day of site seeing and shopping round Tokyo. After parking in Shinjuku we head to a few electronics stores. We get a call from Nez, who is now back home in Sapporo. He congratulates us on going the distance and reckons its been a job well done. Again, we’re too tired to get any real perspective on how it all went.

We head to AIRS, a legendary Tokyo store in Shinjuku where bootleg DVDs and videos have been sold to generations of Tokyo music fans. The AIRS guys find out we’re in a touring band and get our picture and autographs and give me a copy of a DVD from Italian prog rockers Area. Maybe our picture will wind up on the wall with Metallica? Either that or it will wind up covering the catflap! 


Later we wander round some cool guitar shops and head to the legendary Disc Union, a massive collection of independent records shops, where I buy the mother-load of 70’s Japanese experimental music -  Flowers Travellin’ BandTaj Mahal Travellers and Les Rallizes Denudes to name a few. I also buy records from the Pogues, Dinosaur Jr and A Place to Bury Strangers. We could spend a few days here!


Finally we head to a beautiful Buddhist temple in the centre of Tokyo. It is surrounded by a forested park and is somehow secluded and quiet despite being bang in the middle of Tokyo. I buy a few beautiful good luck charms as presents for the folks back home and we offer a prayer by writing it on a small wooden plaque to be hung with thousands of others in the temple. 

Tired and all shopped out, it’s time for us to go to the Airport. Keita drops us off at departure and helps us with the baggage to the plane. What a legend! We joke that we have become totally dependent on him as tour manager and may not survive on our own! We say our goodbyes and head through the security gates. Keita will be back in Dublin a few days after us so we’ll catch up then. Keita has been an invaluable help, saving so much time and effort for us, always ready to do whatever needs to be done to get us onto the next gig. I reckon another week of this tour and we would have been entirely dependent on him in “Spinal Tap”-esque fashion!

Our flight leaves around 9.40 at night. We hit Brian’s herbal sleeping pills and they work a charm. 14 hours later we arrive in Charles De Gaul airport at 4am. Nothing is open and we wind up stuck for an hour waiting for a bus to another terminal.

Tuesday 17th of February

Soon we are on a relatively short flight back to Dublin. Deliriously tired, we are looking forward to crashing out at home. There is a panic when we land around 8am where a passenger gets an awful altitude headache upon landing in Dublin. He passes out and the crew call the emergency services to meet us upon landing. Five minutes later and he seems to be coming round and we all leave the plane. Upon reclaiming our baggage we find that my guitar has gone AWOL. I’m too tired to panic or get upset. It arrives in Dublin later that day and is delivered out to my house, fair dues!

We clamber into my car out in the long term parking and after a ropey drive home I drop each of the lads off one by one until finally I stumble in the door of own house. Its 11am. Finally I fall into a deep, deep sleep.