I have just returned from a faraway magical land with enchanted noodles, an exotic language, and a favorable height differential. Japan is somehow one of the most futuristic and most ancient places I have had the pleasure to explore. Walking through downtown Tokyo feels like you’re living inside of a video game from 2030. Take the bullet train to Kyoto, all of a sudden you’re in the land of geishas and samurai. And after having lived in NYC for a few years, the difference in cleanliness, order, and overall demeanor is astounding. Needless to say, as a group of debaucherous Americans, we stood out. We started off in Tokyo, where we caught up with some old friends who showed us around the urban sprawl, and immediately checked off some touristy musts: Ramen noodles, the Monster Cafe, Owl Petting Zoo, Bengal Cat Petting Zoo, more Ramen noodles, and of course: taking way too many pictures and videos of ourselves doing karate (pronounced ka-ra-TAY).
While we were there for two full weeks, we actually only performed one show, at the US Marine base in Okinawa, an island south of the mainland. It was quite an experience meeting some of the men and women in our armed services. If we have a bad day at work, maybe we pop a string or an amplifier shorts out or a flight is delayed. If they have a bad day, they catch a bullet. After an afternoon of enjoying the gorgeous beaches, we took some snake venom saké shots with some new Marine friends, which turned into more drinks at a dive bar called Cheers, which turned into dancing and bottle service at a trendy night club; all the while we are still in salt water drenched shorts and sleeveless shirts, mind you. I like to think we showed the troops a good time. My grandfather actually fought in World War II in Japan. I told some of the generals that we met at the show this little tidbit; they could have cared less, but I know the old man would have gotten a kick out of it. We flew to Kyoto next, where our banjo player James and I met up over the 2010 New Year holiday to hang out with my Japanese college roommates Kris and Seiya. While Tokyo feels like a giant version of NYC, Kyoto feels much more quaint and exotic, much more like authentic Japan. Lo and behold, I uncovered some old Flip cam footage from that very trip. Man, what a walk down memory lane. Who could have guessed we would return as musical comrades so many years later.
Check out the new American Authors tour diary here.
And check out the Flip cam throwback video here: