March/April 2008 Japan Tour Blogs (Part 4)
5/27/2017 2:16:59 AM - (cont'd)

April 6 & 7

My last day and in Kyoto! I was really excited to go to Kyoto as I hadn't been there in several years, and especially Metro Club, where I have many memories from the earliest part of my singing career and hadn't performed for probably about 8 years. I hadn't gotten a lot of sleep the night before, like 4 hours or so, and couldn't really sleep on the shinkansen, but at this point, I knew I'd be suffering jetlag all over again once home so it didn't really seem to matter. I was going on fumes and with the knowledge that as long as I don't faint or something, I'm cool. Before going on the shinkansen, I made a quick trip to the Uniqlo shop in Shibuya to pick up Sasha some T-shirts and couldn't resist getting myself some as well when I saw that they had a NY 80s pop artist series which included Jean Michel Basquiat who I love, as well as a series on Astro Boy which I grew up with and loved. There were huge posters of Shin who was modeling for the brand, as well as his model girlfriend along the wall (a stunning beauty -- she was actually one of the models at the Swarovski party), and actress Narumi Yasuda who I'd acted with in a couple movies practically two decades ago was modeling as well -- she still looks fantastic.

Performance on the 6th was early, at 8pm, so we went straight from checking into the hotel to sound check to dinner, back to the hotel to change and put on makeup, and then perform. This night it was just Suzuki-san and myself, and being that it was a Sunday night, the audience was a bit sparse and definitely quiet, to the point that I started getting a little insecure during the performance that they just weren't digging what we were doing, but later many came to me and said how they really enjoyed the night. The sound was the polar opposite of the nightmare we suffered from the night before -- SO great! If my memory serves me right, the sound at Metro wasn't great before, but it appeared they'd changed their system and it sounded really fantastic this time. The sound guy was so great too, a real sweetheart.

I was surprised and so pleased to see Guro, the guitarist who was one of the original band members of Mondo Grosso and who had come with me to the UK on tour and recorded on my "Delicious Poison" album. Yves (B Bandj) was also there, and later he proudly showed me pictures of his 11 year old son -- unbelievable. He had come with his engineer who turned out to have been the assistant engineer for when I recorded "Higher" at Hal Studio in Tokyo -- they call him Chacha. Yves said that Chacha had told him that I was super mean to him. What he'd failed to tell Yves was that I got mean towards him because of some big mistakes he'd made during recording. While I have a pretty poor memory, I specifically remembered him because it was the first time Hal Studio owner Miyoshi-san had taken on an assistant and I was surprised to see this, as well as annoyed by how he couldn't catch the pace and rhythm with which I was working. I have to insert that in Japan the assistants are usually top grade and are responsible for recording all the parts, very different from how they do it in the U.S. Back in those days, and especially at Hal Studio, I worked only with two 24 track analogue 2 inch tape recorders, so if you punched in too early, late, or God forgive over a take, you lose things, not like now where you just hit "edit -- undo" on your computer and nothing really gets lost. Chacha had poor sense of musicality, I felt, and couldn't catch things, and on a couple tracks actually lost my vocals, which totally pissed me off. I was a strong enough vocalist that I could redo things without too much of a problem, but it was the matter of such mistakes which could have led to something worse and irreversible that I couldn't forgive, and I'm sure I laid into him pretty heavily as I've been known to do. I also remember that he came off a little cocky in the beginning and I wanted to plant him on the ground where he belonged with the rest of us -- nothing worse than arrogance from an assistant who makes mistakes. Chacha was sweet though this time, much more humble and friendly, and I could see that the years have filled his character.

We really wanted to go somewhere after we left the club, but somehow it didn't pan out -- nothing was open and somehow a franchise izakaya just didn't sound like the right way to end the tour, so we all called it a night. Later I snuck over to the nearby convenience shop to get a little something as I was hungry, passing Suzuki-san who was on his way back to the hotel after the same quest, and got myself a cream filled puff pastry (shu cream) which I had been craving the whole trip.

The following day we got up early to head to Tetsugaku no Michi (Philosophy Road) to catch the cherry blossoms which were in full bloom. Even though the clouds were threatening rain, it was UNBELIEVABLY beautiful!! Yves met with us there to take us to a special garden that once used to be the home of painter Sanketsu Hashimoto. As we flagged down a taxi to take us to the train station back for Tokyo, it started raining -- talk about good timing!

Overall it was a really satisfying trip! I was able to sell many of my "Alternate Routes" and "Naked Breath" CDs, the money which will help with my recording budget for "Nexus." A million thanks to the promoters, clubs, and audience who came and were involved, and of course to Suzuki-san, Higuchi-san, and Masa, without whom I could not perform as I did. To Sasha for helping to watch Nikita while I took off my mom cap to become a singer. And the biggest thanks goes to Nyoro who put it all together without a hitch and offers me always such support, friendship and gutfuls of laughter!
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