The festival gig at Shimokitazawa Sound Cruising left us filled with confidence for the rest of the tour. Our next stop was at the venue Marz in Shinjuku, Tokyo where New Action had set up shop for the evening. We shared the stage with two awesome local bands, New House and Phono Tones, and good DJs and a VJ. In between sets, a group of friends served cheap japanese curry. The atmosphere was great! In addition, the sound crew was probably the most helpful we have ever had anywhere. With conditions like that, it was no wonder that we performed our best gig yet. The drummer of our new favourite band, Sawagi turned up with their manager. Great guys!
Three gigs down, four to go. Having done the Marz show, it was time to leave Tokyo for a road trip to Nagoya and Osaka, two of the largest cities in Japan. We left on Tuesday morning, driven by our label boss Fuji, a great host and a very funny guy. Arriving in Nagoya, we saw Japanese rain for the first time, and with the slight hangover from yesterday our mood started to sink a little. Thanks to Fujis awesome personality, however, the dip was very brief, and we were soon happy and ready to go on stage. The venue of the day, Partyz had a western comic book/hamburger theme, and was really cozy. Following advice from an american wine salesman we found our way to a macrobiotic restaurant for our first meal designed to be vegetarian. It was very unusual but also tasty! Again, we headlined the evening, following two local bands, Two Four and buburams. The show was record long by our standards, closing in on 60 minutes and it went surprisingly well. We ended the night with a great udon dinner (a thick, japanese noodle) with the other bands before heading to bed.
Leaving Nagoya in the morning, we were all feeling the effects of travelling and playing almost non-stop. Most of us were sleeping in the car and I had a very nice chat with Fuji in japanese. While I studied japanese for about a year, I have forgotten much of it due to lack of practice, so it was nice to be able to brush up my skills.
We arrived in Osaka on wednesday afternoon for a quick sound check at Club Vijon before heading out on the town. We had a very nice guide who showed us around the city, telling us about life in Osaka. At the end of the brief tour, we went to Tower Records, a large record shop to look at… ourselves. As soon as we entered the pop section, the sound system started playing our record. We were shown to a stand were our album was advertised and we signed some posters. A great ego-kick and a strange feeling at the same time. Preparing for the gig at Club Vijon was a hectic experience, with one of the lamps requiring repairing (read gaffer tape) while we were plugging in our instruments to get started. Further, the projector didn’t work until a minute before the start of the show. Hearts pounding faster than our songs, we pulled ourselves together and performed a great set! In Osaka, the atmosphere was a bit more relaxed than in Tokyo and we had a great party after the show, celebrating the birthday of a staff member and dancing to swedish 90s pop, like Wannadies, Cardigans and Popsicle, who are still surprisingly popular in Japan. At 2 am, we left for Tokyo again, driving through the night.