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The Sign / Blog

Japan Music Week Day 8 (Nov.13, 2010)

It’s another pleasant day in Takadanobaba. I remember waking to some chanting at some ungodly hour in the morning I think and going back to sleep. President Obama is in Tokyo this week so there are police everywhere. All the chanting and public speaking across the street at the train station must be about the summit. I imagine there will be a lot of security across the prefects. Anyhoo…. Had a great breakfast at the stand up sushi bar this afternoon. We could have stayed there for hours eating the freshest and best tasting sushi ever! Nothing to do now but get ready for the gig at BierVana (we play at 1900) and the all night gig at Missions (we play at 2200). These rice crackers are so addictive!!! So are the peanut/cracker thingys!!! Stupid Japanese snacks……..mmmm Nothing to do with Japan Music Week but I just deleted a heap of “friends” on facebook. These are people I don’t even know. I now have only people I know and like aside from my family which is why I joined in the first place. Getting ready to do BierVana and Missions….. Woooo hooooo!! Have us a good time tonight….. BierVana was a very nice restaurant/bar. We played acoustic with Masa playing the beat box. We hung around to see Sorcha and a bit of Aaron’s set and left to go to Missions. Jumped on the train going the wrong way, that local Japanese beer one glass, I may add sure has a kick. Well back up the stairs, down the elevator get the next train going the right way amidst much merriment seven stops away is Koenjii where Missions is located. By this time its 2140 and we are still at least five minute walking distance to Missions(quickstepping) I tried going a little faster and got my backpack caught in the fancy railings separating the sidewalk from the road. Dangerous move could have been really nasty, just a scare but it did drop me to my knees rather quickly. Not doing my straps up on my pack. Get to Missions lots of smiling faces nice to be back and the lovely Scottish band Gorman were there. What nice fellows and talented, good songs, great presence and of course the sound in Missions is always wonderful. You don’t need a sound check, yeah well Murphy’s law applies, it’s the Sign. Lucky for us we were booked to play at 2220 so time for a Moscow Mule. Go on stage with all our stuff, plug in yep everything is fine whoops can’t hear the backing oh no. You know that sound check that always happened at Missions? Masa has set his beat box up and is going to play with us and the backing, so we stop, apologise and play with Masa no backing. It was great as he had managed a couple of rehearsals at Diglight the night before. Biervana earlier and now the big stage with all the trimmings. It was really good and we had a great reaction from a really appreciative crowd. Mission’s is a cool venue. We stayed to hear Gorman play then had to go eat as we had not eaten since 1.00pm and it was now 11.30pm. Found this little Chinese place with the best prices and the food was great. I had egg soup with fried rice; Midori ordered a chicken and beansprout side dish, some baby soya beans and these long dumplings that were great. Paulie had a hot and spicy miso soup, Life is just fine. Midori paid for us. We headed back to Missions, Nikki brought the car round so we could get our gear and he and Midori took us back to our hotel. Bands were playing at Missions till 0300 and I met this drummer from the Philippines who were just about to play. She was really good but we just were too tired to hang about. One more event tonight, Monday is a catch up day with friends coffees etc , relaxing I hope.

Japan Music Week Day 7 (Nov.12, 2010)

Relaxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx go do it when you want to get to it. We got up after 1100 today. Got some emails done as well as other computer related things. The maid came to our room about 1230 or 1300 and wanted to clean our room. She wouldn’t leave! We tried to tell her another 5 minutes but she didn’t get it. It was a different one from the usual lady who spoke a little English. So we got dressed and went to Ringer Hut for breakfast then had a look around Big Box (a multi story department store across from our hotel), got some snacks and back home to clean room. Nap time for the geriatrics…….. I imagine a big night at Diglight!! Lets make that two big nights in a row, so we need all the sleep we can get. No rest for the wicked. Rehearsal/sound check with the very talented Masahito at 1800. He just got back from a big rock Jazz festival in Thailand and will play with us tonight at Diglight and tomorrow night at the Melbourne night happening at Biervana a spanky new bar in Akasaka. Well, a great night was had by all at our favourite neighbourhood haunt Diglight. Great young band played before us who were fabulous, lovely voices, melodic harmonies good songs, I could not have been any more impressed. Love to take them into Australia and prove music crosses the language barrier. Wonderful set with Masa our friend who is a fine drummer we played really well as you do when the audience loves you and you love them. Our limited Japanese is getting better and we could even joke on stage. Our encore was Whole Lotta Love with great gusto. Much fun with Nikki and his friend who were there to see us play and then Kozo and Ben arrived after the gig. Takadanobaba is a pretty cool place lots of people and lots of eating places etc. Kozo tells me he is very impressed with Erase & Rewind in Japanese and as he is a translator by profession. “I feel good” in the words of the immortal James Brown. All good nights have to come to an end and after experimenting with different types of mesu plum wine mixed with vegetable juice and grapefruit juice. Then I had Tea liquor from France with Japanese tea over ice rather nice actually. Lovely night and we strolled back to our hotel by 2.00am just in time for me to add to the blog bedtime two gigs on the agenda. So we better sleep now..

Japan Music Week Day 6 (Nov.11, 2010)

Woke up with no hangover about 1000. Found the local Laundromat and did some clothes. A bit difficult to choose the soap as it was all in Japanese. There was a woman who was washing her cloths and helped us with a bit of sign language between us. All good…… we got some sushi and crispy chicken at the supermarket while our clothes were washing and had some breakfast. On the way back to the hotel we noticed a truck full of bikes and scooters with red tags. They must take them off to the bike jail if they are parked illegally on the sidewalk! Off to LaMama for sound check at 1600. Hoping for a big night we have told those we know and with luck our musician friends won’t be playing at the same time. So much music happening everywhere, everyone has places to be and people to see. Sound checked at the usual time and hung around till starting time of 1830. The schedule was like this: 6.30 - 6.50: Gretel and the Teramachi (acoustic solo artist) 7.00 - 7.20: The Sign (with full on backing tracks) 7.30 - 7.50: David Mashiko (acoustic solo artist) 8.00 - 8.20: Kevin Windross (kick ass rock band) 8.30 - 8.50: Simon Kelly (solo acoustic artist) 9.00 - 9.20: Sorcha (three piece band – organiser) 9.30 - 9.50: Loustar AKA (live looper/vocalist) 10.00 - 10.20: Lucinda Peters (acoustic soloist) 10.30 - 10.50: Direct Influence (full on reggae band)

Poorly put together schedule we thought. Should have been:

6.30 - 6.50: Gretel and the Teramachi (acoustic solo artist) 7.00 - 7.20: David Mashiko (acoustic solo artist) 7.30 - 7.50: Lucinda Peters (acoustic soloist) 8.00 - 8.20: Simon Kelly (solo acoustic artist) 8.30 - 8.50: The Sign (with full on backing tracks) 9.00 - 9.20: Kevin Windross (kick ass rock band) 9.30 - 9.50: Sorcha (three piece band – organiser) 10.00 - 10.20: Loustar AKA (live looper/vocalist) 10.30 - 10.50: Direct Influence (full on reggae band)

That’s the way I would have done it. Get the acoustic solo artists to start off the night then add then us and then the bands after. Makes more scenes no? It made the night very strange with the selection of music the way it was. Anyway it was a good night of music (the standard was really good) and so far the best attended night. La Mamma was a great venue and we had a DVD of our show recorded for us. Lights and sound was also very good. A lot of the players went to the Pink Cow after the show to carry on, but we could have only gone for a half an hour because the last train to Takadanobaba was at 1250 and it was already 2315 and it was a fifteen minute walk there. Perhaps another time. Emails, bath time and to bed to get ready for our favourite haunt, Diglight.

Japan Music Week Day 5 (Nov.10, 2010)

Woke up to the sound of music, Takadanobaba brings to me…………….. working on the laptop let it be…. I think Jo was tapping on the keyboard before I got up. Packed in the train like a full pack of unopened cigarettes and off to Shibuya for a meeting with Jon Lynch, the organizer of Japan Music Week for some last minute bookings. Okay found the place after a couple of wrong turns thank goodness for Don Quihote a recognized place in Japanese. Had our meeting met Trezurewho is an American alternative soul artist and headed back to Takadanobaba. A stand up sushi Bar OMG, so yummy and so healthy. Green tea, miso and a number of pieces of Maguro(tuna) Samon (salmon), Ebi(prawn) and sweet egg. MMMM……… Back to the hotel to let everyone know changed playing time tonight at Tokyo Tower and Jo is talking about the Aussie Music Industry from a self managed artists perspective and sharing some ideas before the gig tonight. Emails yadda yadda, wristbands to sell,gigs to promote. Now it’s a train or two to catch to get to Tokyo Tower. We have decided to take the Oedo line and see if it makes a difference in the walk from the train station.

What a difference. NOT! Up hill and over dale a mammoth walk, yes we should have gone to Yoyogi wisdom in hindsight. The dogleg wind in the road by Tokyo Tower took us two blocks up a hill man it is like running the marathon. A summit it is, all the hip hop/club stars were out and Direct influence from Melbourne, well The Sign made an appearance ourselves in flying form and Direct Influence are great. Loustar from the Gold Coast is a treat, Emjay is a happening fellow, Cavalier is the man and Raye 6 amazing. Trezure has a soul full voice alternative soul is her thing. Tomorrow night La Mamas in Shibuya oh yeah one of the most famous live houses in Tokyo. Need to go feed the starving tigers so we are on the hunt for more great food.. Then we are putting our feet up. NOT….. We went to Diglight. Called while at the hotel to make sure they were still open and Ginny said Chatta was cooking some kind of Japanese fish dish. So down the stairs and up the road to Diglight. We were greeted like family and everyone was happy to see us as we were them. Our well respected musician friends with whom we played with there last year showed up and our drummer friend Massa just flew in from Thailand after playing a huge festival with a Japanese band. He will be playing with us at a couple of shows here. We are happy to know such an excellent drummer with mutual respect. We had a great time chatting and trying to talk Japanese to our friends and Chatta fed us the fishy thing that was really good. We had a few Vodka Cruisers and then Chatta gave us a glass of Sochu. Feeling very fine at about 0300 we made our way back to the hotel and passed out. If we lived in Tokyo Diglight would be the place we would definitely call home.

Japan Music Week Day 4 (Nov.9, 2010)

Another beautiful day in Tokyo. Weather was very pleasant and we walked to our favourite Ringer Hut for breakky. Had a relatively easy day and went to sound check at Live Freak at 1500. It’s only two stops from where we are staying and a bit of a walk from Shinjuku station east exit. Ran into Uchida san again and had a bit of a chat. He was saying that on Saturday there will be fifteen international acts including us that will play at Missions on Saturday. Can’t wait for that. Came back to Takadanobaba after sound check and went to Burger King for a fish burger. Yummmm. Not to had in Australia anymore. Too bad. We went back to our hotel and are resting and waiting to go to play at 2130. We are the last of four bands to play. Another train trip and walk……….. Got to the gig at about 2045. There was a band just finishing and another one to follow. We played at 2130 and there were quite a few people still there. Played with the backing tracks and everyone was very attentive. It was great to see the audience tapping, smiling, watching and getting into the music. That’s what we really like about Japan. Everyone comes to hear the bands! After the gig we went to our hotel to get ready to do it all again! Nice hot shower and bath………………………zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Japan Music Week Day 3 (Nov.8, 2010)

We thought we were going to sleep a bit later but we were woken to sound of Skype. It was our friend Kenny calling to tell us about his new film production and wanted some info about a Govt.grant. 0900!! I guess no sleeping in today….. It was 1000 Queensland time but still early for us! It’s always nice to hear from him though. One of our good mates we met in Tokyo the second time we came here. We got up and walked around Takadanobaba for about forty minutes having a squiz, trying to find some blank CD cases and then got some great noodle soup with a side of gyoza at Ringer Hut. Very cheap (moto yasui) and the food was good. We took the train to Shinjuku and found some CD cases at BIC Camera shop where I bought them the last time we needed them. It was back to the hotel and get ready to go to Tokyo Tower for the opening night. It took us about forty minutes to get there from our hotel. The walk from the subway station was through a really cool park that had lots of temples and beautiful buildings and statues. The front of the tower was all lit up with Christmas decorations, trees and a little village. Funny that; Shinto’s and Buddhists’ celebrating Christmas. Go figure. Inside we found our friends Uchida and Be-b. We also met a great group of musicians, singers and record and management people. We heard a couple of acts but couldn’t stay as we had to play at Ben’s Café at 2030 and things didn’t kick off at the tower till about 1900. Ben’s Café was full of people when we got there. It was great to see that people came out to see us. The night was quite hot and we were a bit tired but played hard as we usually do. Had a great gig and met some new friends. After the gig was over we had a short walk to our hotel thankfully. Feet killing me and totally fagged……. Off to never never land………………

Japan Music Week Day 2 (Nov.7, 2010)

Got up at 0350 and got ready to face the day. Dragged Thommo outta bed ten minutes later and he drove us to the airport. God bless his soul….. Testing the friendship! He did win two Arias so he was in a good mood… I should mention that when we were at Thommo’s place I did get his network and network printer sussed out…. All working as it should now. The flight to Cairns was uneventful. Good flight with a 100mph head wind. Arrived at the airport a bit dazed from little sleep (apparently I snored) and now we are waiting for the 7 hour flight to Tokyo. Got some really weird tasting Chai Latte and had to exchange it for some hot chocolate. Toasted sandwiches were good though. Beware where you buy Chai….

On the plane again….. just can’t wait to get on the plane again…… Finally leave Cairns and on our way to Tokyo. Had a bit of a kip before we got our movie viewers. There were a bunch of pretty good movies to view. Salt, Contingency, Despicable Me, Sorcerer’s Apprentice and a few more. The food was pretty decent. We had chicken curry with rice first up then a meat pie before arriving to Japan. Both with chocolaty deserts. Right before the end of Salt the stewardess came and took my viewer! Not happy……. It was time to land and I didn’t get to see how it ended! After another fine landing at 1900 we had a quick exit through customs with no questions. We normally take the train to Tokyo so we decided to take the JR line this time from the airport. Normally we take the Keisei line because we know the route. Next time the Keisei line from the airport. We took the JR line to Narita and changed over to the Keisei for fear of not knowing where we were going. We weren’t in the mood for an adventure after flying since 0600. Changed trains at Nippori and took the JR Yamanote line to Takadanobaba to find the hotel. I We are very familiar with the JR line in Tokyo. At the Takadanobaba station there were hundreds of Uni students hanging about as the Uni is near so we had to manoeuvre our way through the crowd to get to our hotel right across the street. So here we are sitting on the sixth floor with the window open and the sounds of hundreds of Uni students chanting and singing in the background. Looking forward to tomorrow.

Japan Music Week (Travel) Day 1 (Nov.6, 2010)

Thanks to Scotty for taking us to the Hobart airport to catch the flight to Melbourne. Thommo picked us up at the Melbourne airport and after we got home and settled took us out to dinner at The Pantry in Brighton for some great pizza, wine and nibbles. After some gabbing for awhile, took a shower and went to bed about 0100. Nice to have good friends…………….

Erase and Rewind Japanese

Well we've done it! With the help of Satomi Ozawa we recorded Erase and Rewind in Japanese. We hope to release it in Tokyo for Japan Music Week, November 8 - 14. Thanks to those who made the suggestions!

SONG TO SING IN JAPANESE

We are going to release a song in Japanese for Japan Music Week in November this year and would like your help!

We would like to know which song you think would be the best song to sing in Japanese.

Have a listen to the songs, reply to this blog and tell us what song you think is best. It can be the name of the song or the song number (for those who don't write English). Please tell all your friends. Those who help us will receive a FREE download of the song when it is finished and your name will be put on the CD sleeve as a BIG thank you. So make sure you give us your name!

Please email us at thesign@thesign.com. If you are a member of ReverbNation just hit reply. If you would like to join ReverbNation and be our fan please do!!