Anthony Schwader

HOLY SHIT! JAPAN TOUR DIARY – Day 5

By - Jun 2nd, 2010 11:53 pm
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Drunk and surrounded! – Photo by Tabman

Moving. Nodding. Jolting. Bumping. Sleeping. Wait…Sleeping?! Huh-uh. Sleep on the road contains about a fucking half percent of the proverbial marrow – REM. Over and over I would wake up from the oddly bumpy road mixed with the zero shock buffering that came with sitting on the floor of the van. Every stop we made I would go to the bathroom or get something to eat or drink, increasing the time I spent not getting even shitty sleep. I finally gave up at around 8 a.m., not too far from our destination, Kyoto. We stopped at a 7 and I Holdings to wait for the other van to catch up and meet us, so I got some awesome egg salad sandwiches (No crust! Booyah!) and bottles of Nikka Black and Coke to suck on. Snus? No, son. There was talk of a ‘sento’ (public bath house. The natural springs baths Andy went to and talked about are called ‘onsen’) being nearby to the club and my heart soared. I was a smelly, stinky, fat rock and roll clown. One that was about to get wasted. I told Holy Shit! that I was done riding in the back part for a while, and I was relieved to hear Andy say he would take my spot. The other van arrived and after a small chat we were back on the road. I started in pretty hard on the whiskey, wanting to clear the tired haze that I had developed. Conversation went back and forth and I picked up on an important nugget I was unaware of: We were en route and less than an hour away from another alcoholic tour – Suntory Distillery! How lucky are we to know Yoichi, a man that knows how to cater to our drunk hearts? Tabman had an idea to document all of the different ice cream treats he tried while reminiscing about them, so I threw him my digital recorder and he started the first of three “Tabman’s Daily Ice Cream Report”‘s.

Only $25.00 the day of! Cheap! – Photo by Tabman

We arrived and I stumbled out of the van with a mixer of Nikka and Coke in the bottle. Yeah, I was taking a mixed whiskey drink into a competitors whiskey tour, so?! (Also, not the last time one of us would pull that same stunt.) The Suntory distillery, like Nikka, was located in an earthy wooded area, with beautiful foliage and even a couple of small creeks babbling here and there. We walked to the admissions pavilion and caught the rock, paper, scissors type game that determined the selection of the drivers. Yesterday when the eligible people from our van played (Yoichi [elder and organizer] and HS! [Guests] always excluded), Maru lost the game and had to be the responsible driver. Today we got to witness members of both vehicles in two different circles trying not to be the last one standing. Both happened at the same time. The premise is simple: With more than two people, the objective is to be in the group with the smaller number of same symbols chosen. So, if four rocks and three scissors are present, the ones reppin’ the scissors are dismissed. The game continues to shave down until it’s one on one. Then it’s the same ol’ classic game. Seeing this happen was a blast just for their expressions alone. The Shyboy van quickly decided their fate with the amazingly named Fucken (It’s pronounced [FOO-KEN], you crazy freaks) donning the “I can’t drink, I am the safe driver” badge of failure. The Your Pest Band boys were having a stalemate time of it but finally waned down to Maru and Fumito as Satoru let loose a cry of elation from picking the right symbol. Everyone gathered around with sounds of excitement and laughter as they stalemated one more time before Fumito struck the final blow. Maru gasped and screamed while throwing his arms up and falling to the ground in absolute shame. Satoru quickly kicked him while reminding him that he lost two in a row. The other boys pointed and laughed as he rolled on the ground, fake crying through his exclamations. We all laughed about it as we headed inside the distillery. I rubbed Maru on the shoulder and told him I felt bad.

Periwinkle? Cornflower? Whiskey guide! – Photo by Tabman

The tour didn’t start for a while so we walked around the awe-inspiring first floor that held on display literally hundreds and hundreds of archived liquor samples from different distilleries worldwide. I kept a good bead on my own archived stash, trying to finish it before the tour started. When we reached the second floor Yoichi brought us all headphones with a small control box that went around the neck so we could enjoy the tour in English by pressing the appropriate program number. Now that’s American hospitality. We started the tour and I couldn’t get my controller to work as the others listened to theirs. I let someone know and they took it away quickly. The tour guide this time was dressed much more like a human, but one that likes drabby cornflower blue. I don’t know what I prefer. After stop number two, a cute girl runs up to me with my replacement headphones and they worked fine. The tour was actually interesting now that I could understand what was going on. Before the final (and best!) room we gave up our headsets and soon we were all enjoying more free whiskey! This time snacks were on the table, a welcome sight for all of us. We all grabbed as many samples as we could, but soon the allotted time was up, and everyone milled back to the main liquor display room to exit. Eric and I were the last people there and he was waiting for Tabman to finish in the bathroom. I too waited for a moment and then started on my way if Eric was going to wait. I walked back outside feeling great. Walking back to the pavilion I noticed no one I knew was around. Huh, must have gone straight to the vans. I continued walking, but no one was to be found there, either. Fuck. Now this traps me within eyesight of the admissions office here, they could have gone anywhere. I thought the tour was over? I waited for Eric and Teeb-nutz by parking myself in front of a tree right on the main path. After 10 minutes a couple of dudes actually asked me if I was in Holy Shit! I laughed and acknowledged them. They excitedly told me that they would be at the show in a few days and left. Wow. After ten more minutes, the group popped out of the distillery where I had a hunch they were. I asked them what was up for the past half hour and Andy informed me they were in some sort of bar. ‘Well, that sucks!’, I exclaimed and Andy retorted sharp and smartly, turning my mood a bit sour. No need for that. I kept quiet as I was too drunk and let Andy’s comment get to me. We all walked back to the vehicles and boarded. Eric asked me what happened in an annoyed tone and I let him know I was outside waiting and clueless. He then came at me with teeth saying that he found the group just fine and asking me what my problem was. I was incredibly irritated by this point and screamed back at him that there was NO FUCKING PROBLEM, and with that Andy mocked me: ‘Good, so there’s no problem then’. Why were they being so salty to me?! Now I was drunk and pissed off over something so stupid as a misdirection. I sulked in the back.

Look at all that whiskey – Photo by Tabmanof the van while everyone else talked. I thankfully passed out.

When I awoke in Kyoto the drunk state had mostly left me, and I felt a level better about what happened, but I still felt the need to reserve myself. Kyoto is old and traditional, beautiful buildings with very small streets and businesses everywhere. We arrived at ‘Nano Live’ for the show an hour early. I headed down the street by myself to wait until 3 p.m. for the sento to open. I just wanted to bathe. Instead I got called back by Tboy saying we were all going to eat. Sounded great. That would kill the time before bathing and loading. We walked for a few blocks until we got to a normal sized busy street. After deciding what everyone wanted, groups split up and went separate ways. We were headed to a shop specializing in udon noodles. They are fat, round wheat noodles normally served hot in a soy sauce based broth or soup. I asked for a medium bowl of the spicy and grabbed a couple a la cart items that looked good. I spiced the shit out of my noodles and found out that what Satoru told me was chicken, was actually an egg. No matter, in the words of Kyouhei, ‘I eat everything’.

Walking back I felt fatigue cross me. When we got there, I announced I was going to the sento. Walking in I took my shoes off and stored them. I almost entered the ladies half and chuckled, then walking through the correct side and approaching the old woman at the counter. We did the language barrier dance and it totaled 500 Yen for admission, liquid soap and a towel. Yespleasenow.  I found myself a locker and got buck naked. I walked into the main room, grabbed a yellow pail, and sat down in front of a mirrored wash station for the first part – complete cleansing. I filled that fucking bucket at least fifty times as I soaped, scrubbed, and washed all the shit away. It felt good to fill it with all hot water and pour it over my head letting it gently scald my skin as it ran down to the drains. Soon all of HS! filtered in along with members of both Shyboy and YPB. I rose from my station and headed for the first pool I saw, the one man pool. I lowered myself into it and I froze. Uh…E-Electricity? I took a step lower and I flipped out as my muscles contracted from the  shock current. WHAT THE FUCK?! I yelled and looked around asking if this was an electric current passing through the fucking water right here, you know, what they teach you in first grade as a no-no? They laughed and nodded, reassuring me that it was safe. Culture shock. I let that sink in and slowly lowered myself down now welcoming the feeling and slightly enjoying it. After that I made the rounds to every tub but the ice cold one. Maybe next time. Tabman was the only other to take the full dip in the electric pool. He quipped that it makes your fingers and arms ‘do the T-rex’. Ha. As I reentered the locker area, the door lady attended to her work right among us naked dudes as if it were nothing. Culture shock. Eh, she’s seen ten thousand dongs. When I dressed and eventually left, I felt like a very tired brand new man. It really helped my mood and I felt cleaner than I have in recent memory. If they had these in the States I would go to them monthly.

Stupid black heart, stupid small club, stupid lack of sleep

The Miscasts, one of the bands I missed – Photo by Andy Junk

Inspecting the inside of Nano Live proved the name is spot on, this place is tiny! I quickly went upstairs to the third floor because I was told the green room was up there. It was a small room with a long table filled with many people already chatting and laughing. Tabman and I entered and found seats and talked. We were kindly offered some snacks and a little wine, and we enjoyed some chat of our own. I kept fighting sleep sitting up there until I heard the show starting. We went downstairs and I entered Nano finding the tiny room packed tight with people. I turned around and went to the back of the van and cleared a spot for me to rest. I am simply not doing this today. I drifted to sleep as the show went on, being woken up finally by the boys gathering back by me to write a set list. Starting out, Tabman and I were drawing selections from the 64-song list. When I offered it to Andy to look at, he stubbornly renounced it with Eric also thumbing his nose at it. This is how things tend to work within Holy Shit!. Sides are taken, alliances made over stupid viewpoints or things. Most times it’s fun to play these games. This time around there was confusion with two unnamed songs of Andy’s that had ghost titles for practice purposes. These placeholder titles suddenly flipped around and I was trying to clarify which song was which so I didn’t play the wrong one. Andy then sternly took control by renaming the already ghost named song something completely different and went as far as spelling it out for me. I had had enough. I was too sensitive and tired and just so fucking irritated that I just gave up caring. I didn’t want to argue.

If these guys ever come to the U.S.A. I want you to suck their dicks!

Your Pest Band! SO GOOD! – Photo by Andy Junk

I awoke to see the first two songs of YPB. In the front of the stage I felt I was blocking the view for people I am four times the size of, so by song three I went back out to the van to be away from everyone and simmer down a bit. I half listened and rose as I heard their last song. I took my shirt off and looked down. FUCK. NO CHICKEN. I really fucked up. ‘Let’s just get this over with’, I thought as I prepped onstage. Some people in the crowd were comparing me to Pig Champion and Andy agreed with them and they both laughed. If I wasn’t in such a mood, this would be nothing but lighthearted talk, but that REALLY, REALLY got to me. Yeah, I’m fucking fat, I FUCKING GET IT, NOW JUST LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE EVERYONE! EVERYONE! EVERYONE!!! All of my normally well contained rage was exploding inside. I was in no mental shape to play a show, and I don’t really remember it either. Afterwords I walked back to the van and slept some more.

I got up sometime after the show. Walking inside, Yoichi told me we had two hours to drink on the second floor Euro themed sports bar named Rakobouz (Translation: Easygoing Skinhead) and then we leave for another all night drive. I hovered by Andy and Eric, and met who they were taking to: two girls from Racine and a guy from Riverwest. Crazy. We all talked about topical Wisconsin shit to bond and laugh. I made my way upstairs and sat alone, briefly talking to a gorgeous girl I had given a TD CD-R to. Everyone started to filter in after getting kicked out of Nano Live and a guy by the name of Yuki sat down next to me and started talking. He had a good understanding of English and before I knew it he had bought me a beer and us three (three!) dishes of food to try. The first was cold unprepared tofu with a veggie sprig. I had to literally choke that down as I can’t stand tofu like that. Keeping my smile I tried the fish rice soup he ordered next. Now this wasn’t so bad! Rice, veggies and it was even spiced with two extremely sour floating cherries. The last thing he bought was the best. Potato cakes with ketchup! Yeah, yeah, they were called something else, but it is what it is. I said goodbye to Yuki as we finally left Kyoto to the next city south. I didn’t even care where, I just wanted to sleep. I just wanted six good hours of fucking sleep with my CPAP.  I was in store for the worst night on tour. And yes, you can count on me being a baby for a while longer in my next update.

TOUR STATS:

Hours on The Fucking Plane: 15

Approximate Hours of Sleep: 30

Shows Played: 3

Total # Of Different Bands: 17

Number of Crybed Sessions: 0

Number of Shits Taken: 2

Robo-Toilets Used: 0

Alcoholic Tours: 2

Chewing Tobacco Chewed: 0

Angry and Pissed-Off Count: 3

Pieces of Chicken Displayed: STILL 3 🙁

Number of Times Bathed: 1

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