My Japan tour (2)

Still being amazed. We woke up in Osaka and I headed down to Starbuck’s to get Jo her morning coffee and scone but here the shop opens at 8 and not 7 like Tokyo. So I headed back to the hotel and decided to have the buffet breakfast and then get the Starbucks. We are staying in a hotel basically for Japanese. It is not a tourist fancy five star hotel. But rather a very efficient and clean home away from home for travelling folk. The breakfast room was filled with slim Japanese men, women and children. You certainly don’t see too many fat people here. In fact I can’t think of seeing any yet on this trip. Plus bald men seem very rare!!

So I get my various muffins, eggs, tea, toast etc and see that these skinny Japanese are filling up their plates three times higher than mine. They combine Miso soup, rices of various kinds, noodles, radish, nato, broiled fish with scrambled eggs, bacon, french fries, muffins with bitter chocolate pieces and croissants. I’m pretty amazed if not jealous. And then I see a 10 year old girl with her chopsticks eating a croissant. The method is to stick both chopsticks in to the croissant and eat it like a corndog! Elegant indeed.

Then after stuffing myself I head to Starbucks. I’m still 12 minutes early for the 8 o’clock opening. A skinny – yes, yet another skinny ballet looking waitress with a mask over her face- runs out to me and apologizes that I am waiting and offers me free coffee while I wait. I say thanks but tell her I don’t drink coffee and am only on a mission of mercy to make sure Jo begins her day with a grande cup of cappuccino. She runs back in to the store and they open up early for me. How polite is that.

Amazingly smoking is prohibited on the sidewalks. No one jay-walks. No one litters even though you can’t find a garbage can anywhere. People are extremely polite to each other. Even close friends at the concerts bow to each other repeatedly.

Last night’s gig was sold out. No white faces except Jo and mine. Great audience but the sound folk here in Japan seem to believe in lots of reverb on my guitar and voice. We keep asking them to reduce this but in the end I always sound like I’m playing in the Grand Canyon. But the audience seems to like this sound. After playing over two hours Tokio and I end with Freight Train which is always the biggest hit!!! The start clapping in time at the first note. Then several encores and after this the hardest part of the evening when I sign autographs – meaning on CDs, on books, on the T-shirts made for the tour and even on expensive Martin guitars! Nothing like hand to hand contact and bowing continually – which I guess helps the old back.

We have a few more hours here then back to the bullet train and off to Hiroshima. Just spoke to Sarah on Skype and she reminded me not to make any verbal gaffes!

More fun and adventures ahead,
Stefan

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