14 Mar 2011 - Todd's Diary - Japan

Where to begin...It's now 4:00 AM and I'm finally in my hotel, sad and exhausted. We landed in Hawaii around 2 AM after a five hour flight straight from Japan. On a side note it does feel nice to be here since my family is all over this island and I'll probably get to see some of them before we take off to Mexico. A bit of home is always good. Lets work back a little to when we were leaving Korea as since then a  lot has happened. First off I was really looking forward to finally going to Tokyo. Being a VERY Americanized Japanese American, I was looking excited to finally see Japan and connecting with my roots. I had never been before and was excited to finally get there. I even have family who I have never met before and was to look up. Sadly, this was not to be. We left for the airport in Korea on the morning of March 11 a little early because I had Nippon Tv coming aboard to fly with us on EF1 to Tokyo and interview Bruce and Adrian on the way. I rode up with Bruce arriving at the airport around 10:30 am. We knocked out the interviews and off we were to Tokyo. We had a television crew of 5 plus Chieko, our wonderful EMI rep from Japan. After a short 2 hour flight, I would be in Tokyo for the first time. So I thought.  As we made our descent into airport, we experienced a little turbulence then veered upward and started circling. Bruce immediately got on the intercom to inform us that Tokyo just experienced an earthquake and the airport was shut down and we were to now land in Nagoya.

After we landed we started to get drivels of info, realizing the severity of the situation . Our thoughts immediately went to our Japanese guests as they frantically started calling their loved ones who were thankfully all ok. We also found out that we had just missed landing in Tokyo by only about 8 minutes which would have put us on the ground around the time the earthquake hit off the eastern shores of Northern Japan. Someone was looking out for us this night as we were just late enough to miss it completely. After a few hours stuck on the tarmac, Nippon TV and Chieko worked with Patrick and Zeb all night, helping us communicate and secure hotel rooms for over 60 of us overnight. Remember, there were also over two and a half thousand people re-routed to this airport (all wide bodied planes were re-routed to Nagoya), all now trying to find hotels. Needless to say, with the help of the Nippon interpreter Hiromi Iida and Chieko, and of course our amazing production team (Patrick and Zeb) and tour managers (Ian and Gaddsy), we now had a place to sleep.

It was probably around 10 pm by the time we got to the hotel. We were all a little in shock as the news slowly unfolded so Nicko treated us to food and drinks across the street at a local saki bar, although the mood was very dark with everyone's concerns for all those poor people caught up in this tragedy.

The restaurant was a traditional saki place. Dave Murray, Doug, both Jeffs, John M, Charlie and of course our host Nicko all made our way over. Everything happening was so heavy that we really just wanted to all get together, share thoughts on what was happening and send good thoughts to our friends, family and fans. We toasted to our safety and health and the safety of the people in Japan. Remember, at this time we still hadn't heard the full extent of the damage but figured the next morning we would know more. Shortly after we started Bruce, Adrian and Rise To Remain came by and after few hours we started to tally up the bill and it turns out the owner is a huge fan and wouldn't take our money no matter how much we insisted.  

A toast to Japan.

At around 4am and I began feeling a little queasy and had to sleep. We also had a 8AM lobby call to get advice on the current situation and whether or not it was safe to leave and where we would be safe to go to, considering that the effect of the Tsunami in the Pacific was not fully known by us then. The first show had been cancelled almost immediately due to concerns over the safety of the venue and public transport. The second was cancelled this morning so a few hours later we boarded Ed Force One and off we went to Hawaii. Overall it was a very somber flight out. You could see the concern for the people written on the faces reflecting on the past 24 hours or so.  We have many friends, family and fans over there and our thoughts were with them.  No doubt we will all be keeping an eye on the news for further development and our prayers go out to Japan and all the victims of this catastrophe.

- Todd

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