March/April 2008 Japan Tour Blogs
2/24/2017 5:51:24 AM - March 26-27

After 2 hours of sleep the night before, had a great plane ride; sat next to the nicest man and actually got 6 hours of wink eye. Landed 40 minutes earlier than scheduled and thought I could actually have a little rest at the hotel before the Swarovski event that night but ended up in line for an hour and half through immigration. All of China was there it seemed, and I was inches from a girl who kept hacking out her lungs and looked extremely ill -- great.

Got to the hotel at 6pm and had half an hour to get ready, ouch. Nyoro was there to greet me, and also had brought the Swarovski items they lent me for the event: a beautiful crystal clutch, crystal leaf necklace and matching earrings. Quick shower, had the hotel press out my dress which I barely squeezed into, slapped on the war paint and off I went. First stop: The Swarovski shop opening in Ginza. I met up with my friend Raymon who was responsible for my being invited, as well as actress Kaori Momoi who I'm a fan of -- she was so sweet and cool, a lot of fun. There were a lot of beautiful models and other celebrities. It was weird to stand in front of the press and get my picture taken, like am I really all that?

We went by car to the next stop in Gaienmae, Aoyama for the fashion show and party with Momoi-san and Raymon smoking like mad and talking up a storm -- Momoi-san has crazy energy and power! I remembered why I was so attracted to her, that strong sense of self but with humor and without too much pride or ego. It's rare to see a woman in Japan in the eye of the media who is truly talented and represents her age group (she shared with me that she's 57!), but I was saddened to hear that even she is not without criticism from people around her who remarks on her age -- calloused are those who fear their own mortality and feel that aging is a weakness rather than an asset. I was ushered again in front of the press for more photos and then into the V.I.P. area. I saw TV personality Kyoko Takami who I've been a fan of for a long time -- this girl never changes, always so natural and beautiful, usually wears nano make-up, very perky and sweet. When I introduced myself to her, she surprised me by telling me that she has every one of my CDs! Of course I invited her to my performances, along with her friend, designer Cece.

As I was leaving, I checked to see who was spinning, and lo and behold! It was Shin! I had a feeling. Did a quick wave -- it was good to see him.

March 28 & 29

The usual jetlag song -- up at 5 and got no sleep, woah, woah.

As much as I miss Nikita and Sasha, I've got to selfishly admit that it's so much easier traveling and touring without them so that I can actually focus on myself and what I'm supposed to do, as well as grab a nap here and there at my own will and when time allows. We went to Nagoya on the 28th -- the taxi driver to the shinkansen station talked up a storm and for some reason gave us an energy drink, Lipovitan D which I decided to save to take before the performance that night. That night we were to perform at the Vio Lounge in Mago Club -- Vio had just opened a month back and was a beautiful space: modern, clean, a proper stage, macrobiotic menu, great ambience, and a sweet owner to boot, May-san. We did our rehearsal for the event; both Masa and Suzuki-san sound great. I am so excited to see as well as play together with them. They're such great musicians, are sympathetic and genuinely like my songs, and on top of that, they're great guys and are a fun hang. After the rehearsal/sound check, May had prepared a tasteful and tasty dinner of seasonal greens in classic macrobiotic style, brown rice and all. Wow! What a treat! Illustrator Katsura Moshino came to hang during our dinner and later for the gig, great to see him. He's one of my favorite people and artists. After dinner I got to go back to the hotel and grab about an hour and half of sleep, then got ready for the performance. As usual I'm always afraid of how my voice is going to hold out with so little sleep, but I was okay. A good start to the tour.

The next morning we headed back to Tokyo to perform at a festival event at a fairly new place in Shibuya called Tokyo Dining. It used to be a Marui interior shop which had one of my favorite tea shops, Mariage Frere and now was what appeared to be an event space with karaoke bars on the upper floors. The sound check was weird -- before us was a dance act of two girls, then a funk band doing Sly Stone and other 70s funk covers that sounded so loud and, I hate to say, so bad, namely the front singers. I had to leave so my ears wouldn't bleed. For our performance, a bassist from the funk band, Yamada-san, was scheduled to sit in with us for 2 tunes, which we went through during sound check. He was good! Suzuki-san said he had played with him once and assured me that he could cut it, and boy did he ever! After the sound check I then rehearsed with a young female sax player Yano Saori whose group was also performing for the event -- they had asked us to do a standard, so we chose Chaka Khan's version of "Night In Tunisia." It had been a long time since I did this version, and I had forgotten a lot! Saori-san is an up and coming player, still 21 but can actually blow. She played with drums and an organist. By this point, I was starting to wonder what kind of "festival" this was -- it was so weird in terms of the line-up. None of the bands really seemed to connect with each other.

After the sound check, I checked into my hotel and tried to get about an hour of sleep, but I was really too hyped up. We got to the venue where I sat in for my one song with Saori-san. There was hardly anyone in the audience which worried both Nyoro and I greatly. Saori-san was dressed in a very strange, almost sexy burlesque style, with a black mini skirt, white shirt, tight black patent corset around her middle, black thigh high socks and black pumps, and what appeared to be like a '40s hat. She also did something I'd never seen before -- while playing a ballad, her right hand went up in a fist, like an enka singer stressing a "kobushi" phrase. It was a little embarrassing to see. But if I closed my eyes, she sounded pretty good. I, on the other hand, totally flunked out of the song -- lost my key in the middle section -- egads! How embarrassing! Afterwards, we had almost two hours to kill, so Nyoro took us out to dinner at a nearby izakaya where I had a little sake and a seasonal mountain greens (sansai) tempura. YUM!

(cont'd)
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