11 Feb 2004 - Nicko - Japan

On board Virgin flight from London to Miami.
Time: 12:45pm.

Well, well, well,
How the blazes are you all?
I’m doing pretty well today thank you!
I have had a case of severe jet lag over the last couple of days I can tell you.

As you lot will probably know, we have just completed our Dance of Death tour. The last show was in Tokyo on Sunday evening. I can tell you that the last three gigs were awesome.

We all departed L.A on different flights bound for Tokyo. I had made arrangements to fly around the world with Virgin Airlines, my favourite choice. While the rest of the guys flew on a Star Alliance ticket.
I had a flight out on the Monday morning, 2nd of February. The flight was with All Nippon Airways. It was a great flight. I arrived into Narita airport Tokyo at 4pm on the 3rd. The flight took 12 hours.
I was a wee bit fried I can tell you.
After clearing immigration I met with Davey. He had arrived around the same time but on a different flight. We hooked up and rode into the city together. The rest of the guys had already arrived and were back at the hotel.
Our promoter’s rep Julia was at the airport to greet us, she was to be with us for the duration of our stay in Japan.

We arrived at the hotel and were checked in by 7pm. Ian and Gaddzy met us in the lobby and told us that we were invited to a welcome dinner with our record company EMI Toshiba at 7:30 that evening. I told the guys that I would have to take a rain check. I went up to my room, had a shower and some room service and then hit the hay.

I woke up at six o-clock in the ‘Kin morning wide-awake. I pottered around in me room and watched a movie then went and had breakfast.
In the afternoon I went to watch a tennis match with H. There was a ladies tournament in the city. One of the games was with Martina Navratilova and Lisa Raymond in a doubles match, it was great to watch these fine players go at it. We stayed for about 4 hours and then split back to the hotel. Our lovely rep Julia had sorted the tickets for us. Thank you Julia!!!!

Later that evening H and I had dinner together at the Teppan-yaki restaurant on the top floor of the hotel. It was great food and we had a really nice evening eating and drinking lots of Sake together.

After dinner we headed back to our rooms. I watched a couple of movies and then hit the sack.
The next morning, we were due to leave for Sapporo.
We had our first show there on Thursday evening.
We checked out of the hotel and made our way to the airport. We had a 1 o'clock flight. It was only an hour and a half in the air.
We arrived safely and made our way into town. It was a little over an hour away from the airport. They had had some severe snow there and it looked really cool. Loads of snow on the roadside.
We checked into the hotel and I went and had a spot of late lunch. Davey and Gaddzy came down and they joined me at my table.
After lunch I had a wee rest and then it was time to leave for the venue. It was only 5 minutes from the hotel.
We were on stage at 6:15pm.
We had a great show. Bruce did really well as he was still feeling sore from the fall that he took in L.A. [see previous diary]. He sang very well that night. The crowd were well into it and we played really well.
After the show we headed back to the hotel.
I went straight to bed and had a really nice sleep.

The next day we had a flight to Osaka. We left the hotel at midday and made our way back to the airport. The flight took a little over 2 hours.
We had arranged to have a band dinner that evening and Ian had booked a Teppan-yaki table for ten at the restaurant in the hotel. We met for 7:30pm and everyone was there except Harry.
Doug Hall joined us and we had a great evening. By the end of the night we had drank the restaurant dry of hot Sake.

After dinner Davey, H, Bruce and meself met in the bar. We had decided that it was time to play some cards. Davey went and got them from his room. Our game of choice was Brag.
After we taught Dave and Bruce the rules and order of hands, we were off and running. I won a couple of pots but it was our Davey that took the big one - beginner’s luck I guess. We had such a great evening. It was decided that the next evening after the show we would play the same game on our way back to Tokyo from Osaka.
It was around 1 o’clock when we knocked it on the head. I think Davey went out to celebrate his big win. I went to me room, watched a movie and then went to sleep.

The next day I went for a walk and ended up at Osaka Castle. It is a magnificent building dating back to the 14th century. It has been rebuilt a couple of times over the years but it is spectacular I can tell you. I wandered around the grounds and went into the castle and met Jan on the top floor. He was filming the vistas and I took film of him filming, it was funny bumping into him there. I also ran into Bruce when I first arrived at the main gate, he was just leaving. I think we all had visited the castle at some time or another through the course of the day.

Well, after a wonderful afternoon I slipped back to the hotel and had a wee lie down. We left for the show, which happened to be right over the road from the hotel at around 5:15. We were due on stage at 6:15 again.
The show was fantastic. We played a blinder of a gig. There was however a problem for me, yet again I split me bass drum head. Right in the middle of the ‘Kin trooper, just before the solo. I could not believe it.
That’s two heads split in the last month.
‘Kin great. So Bruce and I did the comedy routine and he did his William Tell overture bit with his mouth while I held the mic for him. Pete and Robbie did a great job of changing the head for me. They had it done in about 5 minutes. Well, practice makes perfect AAAHHHEE!!!!!!
After the head was changed we got on with the rest of the show.
It went great. The only thing that was a bit off-putting was that in between the songs there was almost silence from the audience. It’s the way it is in Japan, but it can still make you feel bit like your going down like a fart in a two-man submarine, but boy, they sure let you know how they appreciate you after you finish a tune. Loud and intense. Lovely jubbly.

After the show we all got changed and ready to head out to the station to catch the 9:20pm bullet train back to Tokyo. We settled in for the trip, which would take a little over two hours and got the cards out. There was Bruce, H, Davey, Gaddzy, Ian and meself playing. We played Brag.
Ian took the first pot and one other but it was Davey that took the big one, yet again. Definitely beginners luck. We played for most of the journey. I ended up shutting me eyes and having a snooze for a while and then we arrived into Tokyo.
We went straight to the hotel. We checked into the same rooms as before and I ordered some room service again and then went to bed.

In the morning I called my best friend Jeffrey’s son Aric. He is in Japan serving with the Marine Corps out of Hiroshima. He had got married to wonderful Japanese lass named Iko six months ago. They had arrived into Tokyo the night before and were staying at a hotel just up the way from me.
We had arranged to meet in the lobby around 2 o'clock in the afternoon.
In the morning I had planned to go shopping at a place called the Oriental Bizarre. Jan had said that he would come with me. We met in the lobby at 11 and headed out to the shops. It was only a 15-minute taxi ride and we were shopping by 11-30. I bought some gifts for the family and then we headed back to the hotel.
I met with Aric and Iko and we then went and had a coffee in the coffee shop at the hotel. We had a lovely afternoon catching up on family and stuff.
I was due to leave the hotel for the venue with H, Aric and Iko at 4:45. We made the journey to the gig in 45 minutes. We were due on stage at 7 o-clock, a late one, AAAHHHEEE!

We had a great night.
Just at the top of the show, Bruce had a problem occur with his back. He could hardly walk at one point. I was very worried about him. He did a great job of getting through the show, what with him being in such obvious pain.
We had a great last gig. The band played so very well that evening and it was a good feeling to know that we played so well.

Bruce wound the evening up by thanking all of our wonderful crew that have made this tour so easy and successful for us. He also thanked everyone that had been involved from the record company right through to the promoter.
But the greatest praise and thanks went to all our fans out there in Japan.
They all made us feel so welcome.
I love to tour Japan. It is a most invigorating place. The people and our fans are very cool. Well mannered and gracious. The rest of the world could be such a happier place if it took to heart some of the more gentle ways and customs of these wonderful people.
Thank you to everyone that I met in Japan, and to all of our fans from around the world, a great big heart felt thank you to you all as well.
This tour has been one of the best if not THE best ever!
My love to you all.

Well, as you can imagine it was quite an emotional end to a tour. All of us said our farewells to the crew and our techs and we then made our way back to the hotel. We were all invited out for dinner with our promoter but when I arrived with Aric and Iko there wasn’t enough room for us at the table. I made my apologies and left to go back to the hotel. Aric, Iko and meself went and had something to eat at the coffee shop. It was a very pleasant way to end the evening. After dinner I said goodbye and went to me bed.

The next day I had a 12 o'clock flight back to London. Peter and I travelled together to the airport together as he had a 12:30 flight to Stockholm. He helped me check in, we said our farewells and he left to check in at a different terminal. The rest of the guys were flying out on a different airline and so left earlier than me.
I got into London at 3 in the afternoon. I was at me drum by 5 o'clock. I popped around to me mate Lee’ house and met with his lovely wife Karen. I picked up me house keys and was settled in and tried to stay awake but I didn’t make it. I lasted until 8 in the evening. I hit the hay and awoke at 1 in the ‘Kin morning wide-awake.
‘Kin marvellous.
I stayed up all day until around 4 in the afternoon. I had to get a wee bit of sleep so I hit the hay for three hours. I had set the clock to wake me at 8. I got up had a shower watched a bit of telly and then hit the hay at a little after midnight.
I did get a good nights sleep and was awake at 7:15 this morning [Tueaday].
I had a car pick me up, courtesy of Virgin Airlines [they rule] and was at the airport for 10 o'clock.

Well, I’m going to go now as I feel that I need to shut me peepers for a while.
Take care of yourselves.
Stay safe and well
God bless you all.
Until the whole world hears.

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