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We’re sitting in the reception of the Brisbane hotel, which I guess must mean that we finished our days in Tokyo. I have to say, I was utterly delighted last night when the immigration fella greeted me with a cheery “G’Day”. That’s not in any way to say that I’m glad to have left Tokyo you understand, more that it’s actually a joy to remember that people really do say that here.
Japan passed in the predictable blur of jet lag and disorientation. There was a great deal of promo involved, I seem to remember. First up, a small gig in a TV studio - of which I remember only the fact that a maximum of five people at a time were allowed on the wi-fi network. As I’m sure you can imagine, amongst a party of about thirty folks far from home, this required some careful choreography...
This was followed by an entire day of interviews, some of which I sat in on. I watched as Guy was asked if he enjoyed Karaoke. I was a little confused when he replied enthusiastically in the affirmative.
“Funny” I thought, “He’s the one that’s never there when it’s a karaoke night”. My suspicions of deception were confirmed when he was asked if he did karaoke at home in London. “Almost every night” came the dubious reply. Finally, he was asked what kind of songs he likes to sing. “Oh, just our stuff” - the band duly collapse into giggles and the game is up.
There’s some photos to do for a paper back home, so the fellas troop outside the hotel for a street scene. There’s a small crowd of fans who’ve assembled, having learned that the band are here. As the band all cram onto the tiny back seat of a Tokyo cab, they excitedly jump into the cab behind, presumably issuing the “follow that car” equivalent in Japanese, only to find that “that car” is going absolutely nowhere. After the requisite few frames, the band pile out and wander off, leaving their would-be tail somewhat confused.
The next day brought Fuji Rock festival. A quick nip up on the bullet train saw us arriving just as it began to get dark. It’s a bit of a shame really, to travel all this way to a show that has an astounding view of such a natural spectacle - only to arrive when it’s too dark to see it. It’s definitely a show where those bands on earlier in the day get a better deal…
The show finishes and it’s time to leg it to waiting vans for a police escort off site and a long drive home. I look confusedly around as I get to the bottom of the offstage steps and I see no cars. Once the punters are in it seems, no vehicles can come as far as the stage. The nearest point of access is a car park across a bridge behind the stage, prompting me to remark to Co-producer Rik Simpson halfway over “this is the first runner that’s ever involved a river crossing”.
As we slowly wind our way through the hills, I text home. The cat has been missing since I arrived. Curiously, he’s only ever gone AWOL on two occasions in his life - both of which have been times when I’ve been to Japan. Whether he’s looking for me, or keen to remind me to get some Hello Kitty merchandise, I’m not sure.
Either way, it comes as a relief when the phone vibrates and lights up with the words “He’s just walked in the back door”. Only then does it strike me how amazing the technology is. I’m deep in the mountains on a small island the other side of the planet and I’m getting updates in real time on the whereabouts of the cat. Touring when I started didn’t even involve mobile phones, let alone all the stuff we have now. Going away meant being completely and utterly absent for huge chunks of time. All of this stuff makes it so much more bearable.
That’s not to say I’m not dreading the phone bill when I get back, mind you…