19 Oct 2000 - On The Bullet To Sendai
On Board the Sendai express from Tokyo.
Well, well, well,
How the blazes are you boys and girls?
I'm feeling like crap at the moment as I only arrived into Japan yesterday evening after a thirteen and a half hour flight from Houston Texas. I'm suffering badly with the old Nippon Jet Lag I can tell you!!!!!!!
We have our first show tonight at a place called 'Sendai Sun Palace'. Sendai is three hundred miles Northeast of Tokyo. The journey will take two hours on the Yamabiko#105 Bullet train.
On board today we have 'The Sake Gang' consisting of Hardcore drinker's [only in Japan boys and girls] Steve 'We're going to Disney tomorrow' Harris, Dave 'I had a fantastic Poker party' Murray, Bruce, 'I'm lost without the Goose' Dickinson, Adrian 'I played at a brilliant Charity Tennis bash the day before yesterday' Smith, Janick 'I still feel nackered' Gers, Wally 'I'll be having a word with the bugger that bit me' Grove, Steve 'What time is it in blighty' Cox, Aki 'we've got two vans' Ueda [he works for Mr Udo and looks after the boys while we're in Japan] and me good self.
Let me tell you about me journey to get here. It all started on the morning of the Seventeenth of October.
I set me alarm clock for four forty-five in the morning and was tucked up in bed by ten o clock the previous evening. It went off on time, teehee, and I got up and ready in the old fifteen minutes that I have got down to a fine art, you know the three S's, I had a car scheduled to pick me up at five fifteen. A guy called Richard met me; he's the owner of First Class Limousines in West Palm Beach. We got to Fort Lauderdale Airport at five-fifty and as I didn't have any bags to check in I was at the gate and ready to board the plane by six-fifteen. The flight was a US Air #912 leaving at six fifty-five going to Washington DC via Charlotte arriving at eleven am. I had a connection onto Air Nippon scheduled at twelve-thirty in the afternoon. So there I am sitting happily waiting for the time to board the aircraft when the geezer at the desk makes this announcement.
'We're sorry' he says 'but we have just this minute found out that there is a technical problem with the aircraft and we don't see it being fixed for quite a while, our estimated time of departure will now be nine-thirty'.
O 'Kin great I'm thinking. So I'm up out of me seat and heading to the special service counter like I've got a rocket up me butt.
The guy behind the desk is almost ready to receive all of the disgruntled passengers that are more than likely in a similar boat that I'm in. 'Good morning 'I say trying to make light of a very desperate situation. I'll be with you in a minute came his reply.
'Right what can I do for you' he says
'Well I'm snookered with this flight being delayed' I said, 'I have to connect with an Intercontinental flight to Japan it leaves at twelve-thirty, what can you do for me' I ask.
'Well you wont make it' came the reply. 'Kin Einstein I'm thinking.
'Well is there an option that you can offer me' I inquire.
'Oh yes' he replies 'there is a seven forty out of Miami non-stop to Dulles Washington, if you leave now you might just make it. I'll give you a voucher for the transportation' he says.
'OK, I'll try and make that'. I reply
So there I am legging it out the 'Kin airport. It was just coming up to half past six and I'm thinking I just might make it to Miami airport in time to catch the United flight that the geezer had booked me on.
WRONG. It took us one hour and five minutes to get there. I walked up to the United desk and they informed me that the flight was closed. 'Kin great I thought, Oh well I'd just have to go to the old US Air desk and hope that there was something that they could do for me.
On my turn at the counter I presented my dilemma to a most lovely lady named Ann. She was an absolute diamond I can tell you. She tried her very hardest from the get go to help me out, mores the credit to US Air Miami. So she looks at me ticket and says that it was going to be very hard to change to another carrier as it was a round the world ticket and had certain restrictions applied to it and that I was to bear with her while she re wrote the flippin thing.
'Well', I said, 'don't we need to find out the best way to get me out of the good ole USA first before we go messing with the rewrite.
'That would make sense', she replied 'let's see what we can come up with. She looked at everything LA, Honolulu, and Chicago, New York and there was nothing that would give me enough connection time to make it. So I'm thinking, oh poop I don't think I'm going to be able to get out of here today. This is a big problem. After a while I decided to give me old mate Jay Cohen a ring it was getting close to eight-fifteen, I was trying to hold off from calling him as I knew that he would be in his kip. So I get him up and he's like I'll get right on this myself and see what I can come up with. In the mean time I'll call Virgin Atlantic and let them know that you won't be making the Air Nippon flight. You see boys and girls with an around the world ticket if you miss one of the legs on your journey you could lose the rest of the ticket so we didn't want that to happen now did we???? That was not a problem as he informed me when he called me back, but Ann was still having difficulty finding a way to get me out.
'Well I've looked and can't seem to find a way for you to leave today' she said.
'Did you check Houston' I asked?
'I don't think you can fly to Japan from Houston' she says.
'Oh you can,' I replied. 'Continental fly there'.
'Lets take a look. Well yes they do,' she said. 'I'll go ahead and book you on their flight out of Houston at twelve o clock. There is a nine-thirty out of here that gets you into Houston at eleven o five'. Fantastic I thought.
'Now we have to figure out how to change the ticket,' she says. 'I'm going to have to call Air Nippon to see how to go about this.' Air Nippon inform her that the ticket is non-transferable and that I would have to leave on an Air Nippon flight the next day. Well that was not acceptable at all. So Ann then discovered that the flight out of Washington was a code share with United so she gets back on the dog and bone to a colleague at United and she says 'Hi Orlando, I have a customer with me that's holding a round the world business first ticket and we had a problem getting him to his connection in Washington for Japan. There's a twelve o clock out of Houston that we can get him on but we need an endorsement to Continental'. 'Ok,' he said, 'send him over.'
So I had to run over to United yet again and get the guy to stamp my ticket. I run back to US Air and Ann met me at the Continental desk. There was a guy called Michael that was very helpful and he issued both boarding passes to me. I was most relieved I could tell you. So I said my farewells to all and made me way via a telephone to the gate. I had to call London and let them know of the change. I made me flight ok and also the connection in Houston.
I literally got off of the first plane and walked from one terminal to the next and walked straight on the plane bound for Japan.
Having taken me seat I was asked if I would care for a drink. I had a glass of red wine. As I was getting settled I took me bum bag off and the buckle knocked the plastic glass and some wine flew out into the ladies champagne that she was drinking and also over her fawn coloured pants. Oh 'Kin what next I'm thinking. So she ends up in the loo putting bucket loads of club soda on them trying to remove the old stain. It did work praise the Lord and everything was great. As it happens her name was Mayumi and she was an airhostess for Continental on her way home to see her folks.
The flight arrived one hour late at five o clock in the afternoon and I was at the hotel at seven in the evening. I was 'Kin drained I can tell you.
So after a 'Kin terrible nights rest, or lack of, here I am sitting on the old bullet train going to a gig. I think that most of the rest of the guys are all in the same condition so it will make for a most interesting evening of music I'm sure.
Well I'm going know so I'll let you know how it all went!!!
Oh yes just as I thought it was a 'kin hoot. We had a great time. The Japanese audience were fantastic. We didn't have one of our best gigs but we were certainly willing I can tell you. Well what do you expect after three weeks off AAAHHHEEE!!!!!
So that's one under the belt and the next gig is Tokyo on Saturday, so until then my friends stay safe and well.
God Bless you all