||Fear, Loathing and big smiles in Japan, promoting Unia (20.5.-27.5.)
Contrary to the usual routine, I'm writing this a couple of weeks after the actual fact so I'm bound to rely on my somewhat scattered memories. Be that as it may, and let's get on with the story:
Somewhat jetlagged we arrive in Tokyo on Sunday morning. After a quick meeting about the schedule, it's up to Tony & me to stay awake and make our best to adjust ourselves to Tokyo time asap. Our efforts fall a bit short and with an afternoon nap we secure the fact that there'll be little or no sleep during our first night in Japan.
Which is of course what happened. Come Monday morning and work as usual. The day pretty much passes by in the same vein as on the previous promo-trips. Interviews follow one another, with short breaks every now and then. A dinner with our label people and some beers later we head back to the hotel, having completed some 6+ hours of interviews. I watch some movies and pass out.
Tuesday starts pretty much as the day before, after noon we head out to Asakusa for some photosession. Basically we're walking around all day, shopping etc. and the photographer whirls around us with his camera. Later it's time for our first in-store appearance. We get picked up and head towards HMV-Shibuya. A couple of hours are spent, first doing somekinda interview on stage and then signing stuff with fans. It's really nice to hang out and talk to people even though these kind of situations don't really leave time for anything but a quick hello.
Hotel and sleep is up next which suits us more than well, however yours truly heads out to the nightlife ending up having a blast and almost ruining the next day.
View from the Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyo - window
One hour of sleep is not really enough when your about to do a full day of interviews mainly for radio & tv. Maybe there is some lesson to be learned here (once again). Wednesday starts out with an interview with Captain Wada and continues with us driving around to different radiostations etc. Luckily there's a short 20 min here and there and I get through the day by doing short "power-naps" in between interviews. By the time we move over to the in-store event at Tower Records in Shinjuku at 7:30 in the evening I'm almost awake. Some hours later we're back at the hotel and I am done.
No news here, it's get up and get out and around noon we're at the Marquee (our label) offices doing interviews. One of the more interesting things happens around 3 o'clock when we move over to Keyboard magazines offices. A photo-session and interview after which I'm requested to play some solo licks. Of course it would have been nice to know this in advance, but whattahell - after all this is my job. I finish off the whisky-bottle I've been sipping on and play some of the licks I've used in solos. Anyways, next we drop by the Finnish Fest 2007, which is basically a midem-type exhibition in a smaller scale, showing all kinds of Finnish music. A quick bite and it's time for the highlight of the night: Watching Stratovarius perform at Ebisu Liquid Room. The show is naturally really cool and afterwards we have some drinks, later it's bar hopping time....well you know the rest.
Our friends at Marquee know what kinds of actions will happen when Finnish guys meet their peers so Friday's first scheduled event is a signing session, "Disk Union" at 5:30 late afternoon. I pretty much spend the day sleeping, while Tony walks around Shibuya, shopping or something. We hook up for dinner before work and then jump in the van for a drive of an hour or so (yeah, I have now idea where this store actually was). The session runs pretty smoothly and soon we're back in the car driving towards the Liquid Room once again. Tonight we get to see Apocalyptica as well but the bar-scene is something I decide to pass on as well.
Yoshi & Mariko were taking care of us the whole time
Fan meeting in Osaka
Our last working day in Japan starts off with a train-ride to Osaka where we have a special fan-event. Yoshi from our label and Captain Wada start the event and as we join them on stage we do a lenghty interview. Later there's somekinda lottery thing etc. before we start the signing session. After a couple of hours we're done and sit down in the bullet train. As we head back to Tokyo we open some celebration beers to mark the end of this promotion-trip.
Leaving Japan, somewhat "tired"
For me the celebration continues and ends when I realize I'm about to miss the shuttle to the airport (this happens around 0700 on Sunday morning), I make it just in time (however considerably later than agreed) before the ride leaves. The flight home is spent sleeping and by the time I arrive in Kokkola I'm pretty sober.
This was the last of the three promo-trips Tony & I made to promote our new album Unia. All in all it went pretty smoothly and we met A LOT of people and talked more than enough (even for me). There's still some phoners to be done every now and then but now it's finally time to tour which is fucking great !
Mount Fuji on our way to Osaka