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Soft Machine Across the World. Part 2

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Life in Tokyo. 29 July 2018


Friday was pretty chilled. When arriving in Japan one expects the crazy night is day and day is night topsy turvy world of jet lag, as so beautifully portrayed in the Bill Murray film 'Lost in Translation' and this is exactly what happened. We stayed up late on Thursday but then I could not sleep. When I did, however, I woke up at 6am. Which is UK 10pm the night before. Eh?! I got up at about 7.30am and ventured to take a shower. I have observed that however many hotels you stay in when on tour in however many countries, you never see the same shower system twice. They are always different. In this hotel there was a shower in a wet room with a glass door. and also windows into the bedroom and facing the high rise blocks opposite. I knew this would mean that water would get everywhere (with additional opportunity for maximum public humiliation) so entered with trepidation. There was a nozzle just above the floor and two hand held shower hoses neither pointing anywhere near the bath tub. With three temperature and pressure knobs, I was keen to control this beast and turned the knobs slowly to make sure I knew what controlled what, and where the water was going to come from. What I did not see was the massive rain shower head in the ceiling that sprayed freezing water all over me. It was a shock, and not a pleasant one. Argh!

Breakfast was fab', if a little curious. Usual eggs, sausage, croissant, juice, fruit and coffee. Yes, but also Japanese cuisine including Miso soup, Chinese porridge, green beans in peanut and sesame sauce, and various fried, pickled and boiled dishes, not to mention the matcha green tea cake, amazing vegetable smoothie...and err...conger eel.. I played it safe and did not try the less familiar dishes, so it was really good. On a previous Japan trip I remember seeing whale meat offered in a breakfast buffet but thankfully not here.

I took it easy during the day going for a short walk in a beautiful local park in Tokyo midtown, reading and meeting up with the others for coffee. We actually all went back to walk round the same park with it's lake, it's rest house and sculpted gardens. There was a deafening roar of insects and one particular large cicada (I think) which sounded like a cross between a chainsaw played through a wah wah pedal and the screeching alien that burst out of John Hurt's stomach in the first 'Alien' film by Ridley Scott. It was an unbelievable sound.

Unfortunately John Marshall's suitcase had still not arrived and later in the day we were informed that the airline 'had lost track of it - they had no idea where it was at all...'. Hats off to John, he took it well and just got on with it, working out where to get new drum sticks from and replacement clothes etc. Later, dinner was in a recommended Japanese restaurant and about ten of us went. We were later to be joined by the New York jazz guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg who was in town playing with organist Lonnie Smith. Cool guy and interesting stories were told about various jazz players on the scene and shared experiences in the music world. We later went to a small bar where there were instruments set up and Gary Husband and John Etheridge had a free form improv' session which I joined in with on the Fender Rhodes piano there. Some fast and furious playing ensued which sounded great to me but the bar owner said 'play something nice, more smooth please....,' so obligingly Gary got on the piano and duetted on the song 'Lover Man' with John on guitar which was beautiful.



Soft Machine Across the World. Part 3
Soft Machine Across the World. Part 1
 

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Tuesday, 11 December 2018

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