Thursday, August 14, 2008
August 7th - 7:52PM. NWA Flight #69, Detroit to Osaka
I didn't plan on drinking today. But, here I am, how many thousands of feet in the air, starting my 3rd mini-bottle of white wine, washing down a "Norco" (some kind of pain killer) that James, the window to my aisle, gave me. There aren't personal TVs in the back of the seats on this flight, what else is there to do? I finished reading John McCain's book "Faith Of My Fathers" and surrendered to a drink. I read Obama's book first, "The Audacity Of Hope." It's interesting to read the book of someone whom you've heard talk so much on television. Your internal reading voice is replaced by theirs. Obama and McCain read their books to me, I just turned the pages.
August 9th - 9:58AM. Osaka, Japan. Rihga Royal Hotel, Room 1160
I didn't stay out late last night, choosing instead to come back to the hotel after dinner and go to sleep. Hiromi, our translator and guide while we're in Japan, took us out to eat. The restaurant, about a 10 minute walk from the hotel, was tucked down an alley and on the 2nd floor of a non-descript building. There was no signage and we never would have found the place on our own. I'm guessing maximum capacity of the one room establishment was probably 30 people tops. The food was excellent.
We're leaving for the festival at noon, our set time is 3:25. We then have an 8:20 flight to catch heading for Tokyo, so we won't be able to stick around and watch any of the bands. We'll have more time to hang out in Tokyo.
August 11th - 9:46AM. Tokyo, Japan. Grand Prince Hotel, Akasaka. Room 2148
Coldplay were incredible last night. I'm a big fan of their new album. It was my first time seeing them play. They are talented musicians individually, and together they form an exceptionally tight band. The drummer doesn't drop sticks, he hits hard. The bass player is locked into the rhythm, he's not too flash. The guitarist didn't miss a note. Chris Martin exudes personality and energy. Ever since last night I've been trying to fight off a defeated feeling of jealousy. I've been at war with the voice inside my head that keeps saying "You'll never make it. You'll never know what it feels like to command a stadium full of people in Tokyo. Your band just isn't good enough." I want to believe. I want to believe that with hard work and determination I can go anywhere, do anything. Sometimes it's hard. Say what you will about Coldplay, I don't aspire to emulate their band. I aspire to reach as many people as they do, that has nothing to with money or fame, it has to do with art. That's my dream.
Tokyo was much better for us than Osaka. We played better as we were less jet lagged, and the crowd was more receptive. I got to see MGMT and Crystal Castles play again, for the second day in a row. MGMT are still horrible live, which is disappointing cause I love their album. Crystal Castles were once again incendiary, another highlight of the festival for me. Coming over here to play the Summer Sonic Festival has been a great experience. It is by far the most well organized festival we have ever played, as well as the most artist friendly. There was no hierarchy among the bands, ever one had the same quality catering, our wrist bands got us access to any stage (not just our own), and our hotel accommodations were more than adequate. I really hope to come back to Japan some day soon on our own tour. This is an amazing country.
August 11th - 10:58AM. Berkeley, California. Double Tree Hotel, Room 3137
I had my alarm set for 9AM but woke up around 8 this morning. I didn't leave my hotel room until our noon lobby call, spending my last hours in Tokyo organizing my luggage, checking emails, and writing.
I slept the good majority of the 10 1/2 hour flight from Narita to SFO. Our plane left half an hour early due to volcanic eruptions in the Allution Islands. I felt rushed once through security and instead of casually looking through the duty free shops and then eating some breakfast, I wolfed down a bowl of rice, a bottle of sake, and two bottles of white wine before boarding. James was once again the window to my aisle and after take off we started ordering more wine. X amount of bottles and 1 1/2 "Norcos" later I was fucked up. I passed out while attempting to watch the new Disney remake of the Hunchback Of Notre Dame. In my lucid pill and alcohol induced state I remember being furious over the liberties Disney took with changing the Hugo's classic novel to cater to their bottom line. It should be illegal to change to content of a classic story and sell it under the same name to people. Victor is dead, his book is not.
When I finally woke up the flight crew was starting the breakfast service, which meant we had about an hour before landing. I felt nauseous. James commiserated the feeling with me. I was worried I wasn't going to make it through the immigration process. I was worried that the customs officer would start asking questions and I would just vomit all over him. Thankfully I made it through without incident. Heather made it to Berkeley a couple hours before me and had already check in and settled into our room. By the time I got to the hotel I felt like the whole world was rocking back and forth like a ship at sea. I felt like my legs might collapse beneath me at any moment. I kept having to brace myself against the walls as I paced around the room telling Heather about my trip. We ordered room service and then promptly fell asleep. We napped until around 7PM. Our hotel is right on the bay. After waking up, Heather and I took a walk around the marina, along the shore line. Walking down the pier it was hard to imagine that somewhere out there, across the bay, past San Francisco, across the seemingly endless Pacific Ocean, life in Japan carried on.