JAKARTA AND JAPAN TOUR, WINTER 2006 (Nov 19-Dec 14) -- Part 1
3/25/2017 11:33:20 PM - This was one amazing tour! Because it was so long, I think it's best this time to give an overall blog, rather than the day to day as I've done in the past.

Nikita and I flew separately from Sasha as we were going to remain in Jakarta a few days after the JakJazz Festival then fly onto Japan, whereas Sasha had to fly back to New York and rehearse with my mother's band for the Suntory Hall concert on Dec 4, then fly to Japan. We flew JAL and stayed overnight in Narita. Because Nikita was going to be away for so long from school, his teacher had given him an assignment by bringing along a laminated character called "Flat Stanley." Apparently the story goes that Flat Stanley was a normal boy, but accidentally got flattened one day, and rather than to get bummed out about his precarious shape, he decided to use his flatness as an advantage and gets mailed and otherwise travel the world over. So to us to Jakarta and Japan he came.

But alas! Within the first leg of our trip and I left him on the plane!!! Fortunately I was able to find him online (of course, where else but www.flatstanley.com), downloaded him and had my Indonesian promotion team print him out and later laminate the figure. Nikita colored one with purple hair, and when I asked why his hair was purple, he answered, "Because he's Rock 'n' Roll Stanley." Of course. Stupid mom. But I wasn't sure how his teacher would take to a purple haired Stanley ("That rogue Sipiaguine boy! He's got musician parents you know!") and drew a normal one, called -- what else? -- Normal Stanley. All kidding aside, Nikita's teacher is really great and very sympathetic to our situation, and it was fun to have the two Stanleys along to keep Nikita involved.

I had no idea what to expect of Jakarta and what kind of audience and reaction I was going to get. I'd been to Bali about four times, 1998 being my last time, but had always avoided Jakarta simply because I preferred going somewhere low-key on my vacations rather than to metropolitan areas. I had been e-mailing back and forth with the Demajors team, headed by David Karto, since a couple years back when Okino-san (Shuya) had introduced me to them. What had begun as potentially bringing over the band for performance opportunities eventually led to the distribution licensing of my "Routes" album, and as luck would have it, I was contacted by the JakJazz Festival committee about performing there. Indonesia is not a rich country and I suspect the many times talks had fallen through in the past was mostly financially related, and until the last moment it was a bit dubious if even this trip was actually going through or not, but there we were!

The Demajors team ended up being such sweet, sweet people! From the moment we arrived to the second we left, they took care of every aspect of our stay and hospitality. Nikita especially loved Candra. Aside from their generous nature, I also believe it was for our safety. We were always accompanied from one place to the next, and while we all were surprised at how gentle and generally progressive most of the people were, there was still the element of risk and "what ifs." The day before Nikita and I arrived, U.S. President Bush was in Jakarta and Sasha was freaking out as we were traveling separately as CNN had shown the many arrests of suspect hardcore Islamic militant members in Jakarta and demonstrations all over the city. But by the time we arrived, there wasn't any trace of anti-American aggression -- Bush cut out of there as fast as he couldn, it appeared.

(cont'd in Part 2)
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