January 21st, 2007

Japan #2

I wandered around for a while in Fukuoka weaving in and out of shops and promenades where boutique stores and small shops displayed their impressive goods. volker mentioned a vinyl record store nearby, so I went with him to look at 60’s and 70’s Japanese bands. We listened to The Blue Comets live ’66 and the Tigers which was a kind of Magical Mystery Tour gate fold with color photo book. All very impressive. Just across the way from the hotel was the Chicago Thrift Store and inside there were tons of old clothes from the States mostly, I found an identical copy of Paul Niehaus’ turquoise western shirt and loads of Pendleton wool shirts.

After lunch John and I went with Kentaro and the local promoter to do a live radio interview at Love FM (www.lovefm.co.jp/stylishlife) for their program called the Stylish Life. We spoke with Ana who asked us about the kind of clothes we were wearing and what we knew of Fukuoka. John was wearing a Pendleton plaid vintage shirt and myself a wasabi green western snap shirt from a Tucson thrift store called Blast. A listener named Pumpkin Princess wrote an email asking if we tried the town’s famous ramen noodles yet. John replied that he “lived off of it for years living in Los Angeles.” We also spoke about Japanese bands we’ve played with in the past and named a few like Double Famous, Ego Wrappin’ and Quruli. Earlier that day I visited the Tower Records store, I guess they haven’t gone out of business here, and there was a whole floor of Japanese music. I wish we had some time to see some traditional Japanese music played or some of the free jazz and experimental groups like Satoko Fujii, who my brother John told me about.

We finish up the interview and head over to the club to meet the others setting up the gear at the club, Soul Bird which is downstairs in a very modern designed lounge with tables and a fancy tucked white leather interior. The backstage is tiny but well stocked with drinks and snacks and instead of going back to hotel after soundcheck I hang out at the club playing the piano and talking with the locals.

The first show is a good one. There is a nice mix of people, some Americans like Ryan from Illinois and Ashley from Alabama who flew over from Korea to see the show. I meet the Pumpkin Princess and ask which kind of ramen she could recommend but she replies that she doesn’t eat the stuff. go figure. Unfortunately Sam and Sarah Beam arrive after we play, their flights were delayed because of all the weather in the States. So we all go get some food close by the hotel. On the menu tonight the house specialty, Horse sashimi.

-Joey Burns