HOLY SHIT! JAPAN TOUR DIARY – Day 4
The morning came too quickly as we all rose at 7 AM to get started on our day. Our luggage was sorted and only the most important things were kept with us for the road trip. Everyone was subdued but talkative; there was a layer of excitement lying underneath. We all packed into a couple cars and a van. The van housed The Crump and Shyboy and was honestly pretty pimped out with two levels where not only the equipment was stored, but where they could lie down and rest for the long drives. Our posse hit up a “7 and I Holdings”(7-11) on the way to pick up the rental van that Holy Shit! and Your Pest Band would use for tour. 7 and I Holdings is a weird name for a 7-11, but the dirt on that is that there was a Japanese company called Ito-Yokado that became the parent company for the 7-11’s and so renamed it…oddly. I guess they just bought out America’s 7-11’s too, so maybe there could be some awesome Japanese snacks headed our way. Cross those fingers. Eric picked up a porno mag that came with a free DVD while he was there. I was interested because so far I have not “‘crybed’ed” at all, and the Japanese girl on the cover looked smoking hott.
After 20 minutes more on the road, we pulled into the gravel lot of what appeared to be a Honda affiliated all-in-one auto shop. The van was white with two bench seats and a back area where we put guitars, an amp, a couple of personal percussion pieces that both Maru and Eric shared, and all of Yoichi’s, YPB’s, and HS!’s personal backpacks, blankets and such. It would become the home of purchases on the road and for the most part, yours truly. Yoichi climbed behind the wheel and the 9 of us took the lead on our way North to Sendai (SEN-DIE die die my darling), a six hour drive ending with a distillery tour! My first order of business with that much time was to scope out that porno rag. Of course I wasn’t planning on banging one out back there, even obscured by a pile of stuff, but I needed to see some T and A badly. I paged through and disappointingly found that showing penetration is strictly forbidden. They work around it by pixelating the offending image, or my favorite–blacking the penis shape out so a black blob would often cover where I should be seeing her full flower. I liked how they would always include pictures of them in real life instead of making them look like fucking and sucking slutty pieces of trash. Stay classy, Japan. Also found in the middle of such publications are multiple sexually graphic comics. I like comics as much as the next guy, but for me over sized dripping titties and triple penetration is only a turn on when it’s real. Plus it was in Japanese, so fuck it. Tabman kept looking back and offering me scotch that he mistakenly bought. I fucking hate scotch and he knows it. I call it “cigarette-butt whiskey” for a reason: it tastes like someone poured 29 filthy overflowing ashtrays into a perfectly good whiskey cask and then filtered it back so it retained its golden visual clarity. TA-DA! Worst tasting shit. He laughed again as I gave him the puking motion and uttered “gero hichair” (GEY-ROW HI-CHAIR), which means “I am about to throw up.” I stayed awake for the whole drive taking in the beautiful scenery and the many little towns and businesses.
I have failed to mention so far that this tour is perfectly synced up with “Golden Week,” a country-wide celebration where many people take off of work. It spans many individual reasons for partying: Apr. 29, ‘Showa Day,’ encourages people to reflect on some emperor and past turbulent times…with a double shot of whiskey; May 3 (‘Memorial Constitution Day’) lifts the spirits of the masses by observing Japan’s very own Constitution…while shotgunning a 24 ounce Asahi “Extra Dry”; May 4 (‘Greenery Day’) is the day that you should spend some time with nature and appreciate the plants and foliage…while snorting some killer blow off of that tree trunk right over there; and lastly, May 5 (‘Children’s Day’), where demons rip open the earth and come out to grope and sexually ravage single men only. This week is a big deal here. Some companies actually shut down for it. For us, this means many things, the most prominent being better attended shows and having to travel at night to avoid traffic.
After a couple stops along the way, we arrived at the Nikka whiskey distillery and dodged people until we got to the main building, which housed a restaurant and organized the tours. Down the hill we had spotted a playground area with a giant teddy bear shaped bounceatorium and a children’s mascot with a massive unibrow walking around amusing the many children. Andy and Tabman darted off to get a photo opportunity with him as Tboy told Eric and me that his name was the Riceball Samurai. Fuck yeah, rice balls be empowering! By the way, I did just mention the words children and playground. At a whiskey distillery. MmmHmm. Things are indeed different here with the perception of alcohol and the youth. Of course the children weren’t drinking, but Nikka somehow found a way to make going to the distillery tour a family event, and I think that’s both messed up and genius. Andy and Teebs (Pet name I have for Tabman. Also: “Teeb-nutz”) raced back as our tour group lurched forward led by a small, cute Japanese lady in an all red outfit complete with megaphone and red bowler hat. We toured three different buildings while she blabbed and blabbed a blab that we could not blabblab. Building number 4 had what we were all here for – Free whiskey! I had five shots, notables being a tasty 7 year blend and the taste bud searing 65% blend I had at the end. We walked into the gift shop side of the building and found out there were free samples! We were going nuts tasting liquor chocolates, crackers, snacks, and weird candies like the fragile and tiny candy coated liqueur bursts. A real treat. While taking advantage of the situation who decided to make an appearance to boost sales at least 152%?! That’s right, the mighty Riceball Samurai! There was NO WAY I was letting this motherfucker leave without a picture with him, so Eric, Tabman and I cornered him. His reaction to us was comically surprised and very unsamurai-like. Unriceball-like too, now that I think of it. Both Andy and Eric bought some shit and we assembled to leave. It started to rain and the wind gusted furiously on the walk back to the original building, the poor bounceatorium bear almost taking flight. I grabbed an energy drink from a vending machine (vender) before the van circled round and picked us up for the ride to Bar Take (TAH-KAY).
It was a small and long B1 (One floor down) bar with a Super Famicom (SFC) set up to play and a 500 Yen price tag for any drink you desired. I hooted at the sight of the Famicom, finding Super Mario Kart, Tetris 2 + Bombliss, and Puyo Puyo, a puzzle game. Tabman and I played a few games before deciding to go to Lawson (Yet another awesome convenience store) for some eats. As we were walking, a car passed by and we heard someone scream “Hey Tony! Tabman!”. Turns out it was Takashi and our friend that’s been living in Japan for the past few years, (Ex. Potential Jons, The Reds, Marked Men) Jeff Burke. We continued to Lawson where I found absolutely no snus again. Really? Everyone smokes, but no chew, eh? Hmph. I picked up 2 cold bottles of Coke, and upon discovering they provided steaming hot water for noodle bowls out of a nifty machine, I snatched up and prepared some spicy pork ramen. Tabman went the same route and we stepped outside right as Takashi and Jeff walked up. We said hello and talked about our first couple of days here and the last show of our tour as Jeff’s new band, The Jons, are playing with us.
We head back and I finish my ramen on the sidewalk in front of the facade while the first of 7 bands played–Come On Feel. I went downstairs to see the Jack Nicholsons, a punky melodic four piece with gang vocals. My mission continued like every night passing out Truthdealer CD-R’s to bands, and the Nicholsons returned the favor with one of their own for me. The Crump played next and during their set Tabman pointed at the poster on the wall next to me that said, “Ragga Reggae Sundays”. It actually was Sunday! Who would have thought there would be some tight deep reggae appreciation here? Nice DJ names, too: D-Failure, Jah Mon, and (I think this one might be taken) T-Pain. Outside, an especially nice fellow that I gave a TD disc to approached me while I was sitting outside drinking one of my Cokes and gave me some squid jerky (Yikes!) and an Asahi Clear. (One of Asahi’s many variants. This one *is* clear with 30% less calories or some bullshit) This was his thanks for me giving him that lousy CD-R?! That is an example of the great human qualities most of the people here possess. Thankful, kind, and generous. YPB was next and rocked the shit out of the people. They stepped it up a notch tonight, musically taunting us into besting last nights show. With that we not only reciprocated, we intensified the expectations. We blazed through the songs and played two encore songs to boot. It was a brutally tight set in my book.
The five membered Hildoid was some crazy awesome Melvins like prog featuring a mysterious masked vocalist that kept it on the whole hot and sweaty set. Much respect, bro. Shyboy finished the night with their perfectly played and tightly controlled sounds. We stuck around for a bit after the show taking turns competing on the SFC and chatting with Jeff. He generously bought all of HS! a drink and had to literally trick me into accepting a free beer as I didn’t plan on getting drunk. [Side note: I will refuse drinks if I do not plan on getting drunk because it’s all or nothing for me. Drunk or sober. What the fuck is one beer going to do to get me drunk?! I can drink like 20 of em…]
The time came to load the van and say goodbye as the drive to Kyoto was 10 fucking hours and it was already a bit past midnight. I climbed into the back of the van and tried to make myself comfortable. The floor sucked a real ass, as it was ridged and uncomfortable, and the air flow was terribly poor unless both side windows were open all the way and riding fast (and that rarely happened), but at least I had these backpacks for pillows and my DS to keep me from going crazy. As our Japanese friends took turns driving and getting us closer, I nodded in and out of sleep. I was going to need as much as I could get.
Hours on The Fucking Plane: 15
Approximate Hours of Sleep: 25
Shows Played: 2
Total # Of Different Bands: 13
Number of Crybed Sessions: 0
Number of Shits Taken: 1
Robo-Toilets Used: 0
Alcoholic Tours: 1
Chewing Tobacco Chewed: 0
Angry and Pissed-Off Count: 0
Pieces of Chicken Displayed: 3
Number of Times Bathed: 0