Day 1 -
Had a good flight over. i got ill a few days before we were due to set out. got very nervous so before the flight i necked lots of lemsip and throat lozenges. got a bad case of the lemsip burps on the plane. watched 'man on wire' - scary, 'tropic thunder' - meh, 'pineapple express' - hmm and 'wall-E' - wow on the virgin flight entertainment service.. also beat andy at battleships... my tip.. is to cram all the ships in the same corner.. works a treat. food was disgusting. didn't get any sleep.... still had fun though.
arrived at narito airport. definitely felt iller.. mak was there to greet us.. had been about 8 months since we last played with mak so it was good to see him. got driven to our hotel in shibuya. we couldn't check in till later... I WAS DAMN TIRED I TELL YOU. so we all went out to explore a little. this was the first photo i took..
we were all pretty weirded out with the jetlag and being in tokyo so some of the more sensible members of the group went for a pint. i felt much better.
we checked in, had a little micronap and then head out for some food. found the first place that looked nice and got some more beer in. i ate this
it was actually. aslong as i closed my eyes and held my nose and pretended it was angel delight.
looks like rach and andy enjoyed it
i got back to the hotel looking a bit fragile
Day 2 -
Got up at 8 for breakfast. was relieved they had toast and jam. i certainly wasn't into the idea of shredded cabbage with soy sauce and a complete hard boiled egg first thing in the morning.. the diva in me wanted coco pops.
we got the metro to our rehearsal studio and set up. geek note: there are only 300 of these marshall amplifiers in the world.. rachael's a lucky girl
and look at her lucky little lucky face when she found out what her spare guitar was
eurgh. it's actually furry.
rehearsal was looonnnggg and tiring but worth it.
everyone came out for dinner at a fish restaurant called 'by the sea'. was a pretty damn fine restaurant if it weren't for all the fish that people were cooking and eating. i am very understanding towards people who eat fish.. i'm sure it tastes good and stuff.. but dont fucking eat it's head.. not infront of of the lanky fish phobia boy.. maybe if those little fish hadn't swum up my boxers as a child on a family holiday in mexico.. i'd be tucking into a good hearty bit of fish.. but i'd never eat it's head... that's exactly what colin "Tour manager 4 lyfe" walker did...
look at his guilty little fish head eating face.
i couldn't handle it.
the mushrooms and rice and beer were nice though. we went back to the hotel and i got into my pyjamas and crashed for the night.
Day 3 (show day) -
After breakfast I went out for a morning stroll to get some tea. It's very strange that in Shibuya even though it's busy and there's cars everywhere and huge amounts of people passing by it's still very quiet and relaxing.. it's not like london where everyone's got the hump and a cork up their arse. it was really nice. Even my hyperactive band seemed pretty chilled
The guy looking after us (Koya) took us down to Club Quattro where were were going to play later in the evening. It was a super nice venue.. pretty big.. all our gear was setup and ready for us the Japanese way. There were lots of lights
The gig was fantastic. The crowd were very warm and friendly and made us feel pretty good. 75 minutes is certainly the longest set we've done as a band and I definitely felt it on the last song. I could've passed out. I need to get into shoegazing. In the middle of the set I did a small solo set on a second makeshift stage at the side of the venue. Apologies for the people who couldn't see. I think it worked really nicely in the set. We got the chance to play lots of Moon Rock and April & I songs that we don't usually play in a standard 30-40minute set.
A few people at the show requested the set list... I'm pretty sure it was this
Oh No! Oh Yeah!
Hole In Your Heart
Rust & Dust
The Way You Are
Do You Ever Wonder?
In A Coma
I Gave Her My Number
I will Make You Disappear
Caught By The Fuzz (Supergrass cover)
There were many candidates for the 'Colin Walker Man of the Match' trophy. Andy had to play 75 minutes of intense drummage (Caught by the fuzz particularly fast and mental), Mak hadn't played with us for 8 months yet still did a stellar job on the bass, I fought through the gig with quite a fierce cold but we all agreed that Rachael Wood of Derbyshire was winner.. For this very disturbing reason (kids look away!)
the week before we went out to Japan, Rachael sliced her finger whilst washing up a wineglass wot broke. She had to go to A&E and everything. We were all quite worried about this but Rachael Wood being the pro she is learnt the entire 75 minute set with just 3 fingers... just to put it into context.. she cut her index finger... probably the most important fretting finger... some rock and metal bands ONLY use this finger.. but woody nailed it with the other 3 and we applaud her!
mak still can't get over it
after the show we did quite a long signing session and got to meet some lovely people.
my myspace friend miyuki made me these April & I dolls which i was pretty delighted with... as you can see with my heroin-addict-like grin
Andy got a nice gift from a superfan
these ladies look like they had a nice time..
we went out for a meal with the label. i have no idea what the hell I was eating but it was delicious. my chopstick skills by this point were sky high. I could've eaten noodles and knitted a jumper simultaneously.. went out to see Shibuya at night.. i feel sorry for the little hamsters on a wheel keeping all the lights on in this city. stressful if anything
found this shop which sells little dogs.. it's as easy as buying a goldfish
we went for a drink with mak's family who had come down to the show. the grown-ups had cocktails that made them feel a bit unwell so we went home and slept. good day
Day 4 -
Andy left for England in the morning. Colin and Rach took a day to do some sightseeing (which actually turned out to be sleeping.. lazy shitmunchers!). Mak and I had a day of promo. The first thing we did was an interview and performance for InterFM with the very lovely Yuriko Okamura (I'm told she is a very popular DJ in Tokyo). Me and Mak played acoustic versions of 'Your Loss' and 'I will make you disapper'. It was fun and chilled. I met with some fans afterwards who gave me lots of peculiar sweeties. It was very kind of them although I did have to turn down the offer of a 'Cheese flavoured worm'.
The rest of the day I spent doing interviews for various publications. The rest of the day was a bit of a blur. I was still pretty jetlagged and exhausted from the gig and press day.
Got taken out for another meal! This was the best so far.. again. i have no idea what I was eating but it was incredible.. see through potataoes?! wriggling lettuce... tempura pumpkin... allsorts of amazing stuff. The night concluded with a pint of Guiness at a British style pub in Akasaka where we were staying for the rest of the week. Got back to hotel and Liverpool v Sunderland was on.... i went to bed a happy human.
Day 5 -
I had my first co-writing session with a guy named Shusui. He spoke great English so we hit it off pretty quickly and wrote 2 songs in a very short amount of time. He even had a Paul McCartney style Hofner violin bass which I had a lot of fun with. We finished quite early so I took the rest of the day off to do some sightseeing.
I walked to roppongi and went up to the 52nd floor of this monsterous tower. The view was really quite intense. So many tall buildings and signs everywhere. Apparantly I was higher than the highest part of the Tokyo tower.. prettttty high
just incase you dont believe i was there
I then decided to walk to Shibuya and do some record shopping and meet up with Colin and Rach. bad idea. i didn't realise how far it was.. by the time i got to shibuya it was raining.. i forgot that i'd run out of money and my phone's battery was dying. bad times! not only that, but i eventually got so lost that what was supposed to be a 10 minute stroll to meet the guys for dinner ended up taking an hour... i kept taking left turns and eventually found my way back... follow the lights!
I met them in that fish restaurant from Day 2. This time I had tempura vegetables and flowers.. they were incredible... so good they took my mind off of all the fish knocking about.
Later we met 2 very drunk Japanese business men in a smart bar called BYG. We randomly got talking. I introduced Rachael to them..."and this is Rachael who plays guitar in the band"... one of them looked completely confused.. maybe they didn't understand what I said... after a laggy drunken pause one of them raises his finger and said "But... but.. SHE IS A GIRL" and then mimed playing a guitar badly right infront of Rachael. It's taken about 3 years for it to happen but finally I've been able to witness the sexist interaction of my dreams. He'll be so embarassed when he finds out she played a 75 minute set full of inversions and solos with 3 fingers. It was nice to hang out with them anyway. here we are
Day 6 -
This was my last day in Tokyo. Colin and Rach left in the morning.
I did a cowrite with 2 Japanese songwriters called Junkoo and Harada. Again, it was a new experience and very enjoyable. This time there was a definite language barrier but the international language of music helped us squeeze out 2 pop songs. the height difference wasnt a problem either
Later I went back to the hotel to get a bit of rest. Watched CNN which quite frankly made me feel pretty terrible after hearing about the school shootings in Germany and several other horrific things happening around the world. Ignorance is definitely bliss.
I then made my way to The Hub which is a British Music bar in shibuya and met up with The Xcerts who had just flown in for their British Invasion shows. We did a DJ set together.. weirdly about 3 or 4 Elvis Costello songs ended up being played and I accidently pressed the play button on 'Magoo Opening' by Cornelius which turned out to be really loud and freaked everyone out. nelly didn't seem to mind
xcerts take to the decks (/press play on their ipods)
dude with Stars and Sons vinyl! how did he get hold of that?! (didnt have the heart to tell him i didnt play on 'in the ocean' but i signed it anyway)
time to say bye bye to mak and co.
me with LA buddy andrew.. i look like an XL him.
So there it is. I had a killer time in Tokyo. a truly unforgettable trip. very big thankyou to my band, management, EMI, and nichion for looking after me... and a special big thankyou to all the fans that came to the show and the DJ set. It was a pleasure meeting you and hopefully we can come back soon (fingers crossed for Fuji rock). In the meantime I shall write you guys some more music.