Down And Out In Kyoto & Osaka

Kyoto is described in the lonely planet guide as “invariably disappointing at first”. how ominous! i set my expectations to “low” and still managed to be anything but whelmed, at least at initially. The venue was pretty easy to find – get off train, go upstairs. Yes, team-amc rocked in a train station. Sort of.

The venue was one of the oddest i`ve ever been in, the layout inside was crazy (i know crazy when i see it). However K & M the archi-nerds were happy, and if it`s good enough for them, it`s alright by me. Keith needed rock supplies so we set off to find a rock-supply emporium with the help of two Miaous. In the rock supply emporium there was a poster for the gig! And the rock-supply staff wished team amc a happy gig. This was pleasing! Also pleasing was the guitar pedal called “Ego Booster”. jonny wanted one but it was 200 snoops in real money.) I was still pretty underwhelmed by most everything as i`d had a banana and lettuce sandwich for dinner (and lunch and breakfast).

The crowd looked a little sparse before tracer went on (doors were 5.30, the gig was at 7pm!) but just before they played the place really filled out. The audiences have all been pretty amazing so far – getting called back out for an encore on the first two nights was incredible, and while there was no encore in Kyoto, i think it was the best show yet.. possibly i just enjoyed it more as i just stood at the front having a nice time instead of helping the soundman (tokyo) or sitting down with mike`s dad (nagoya – really!).

Afterwards Annette & I got the Shinkansen (bullet train - wow) out to osaka to try and find the hotel, and to try to get a room in it. Our first goal was achieved relatively painlessly but the second was impossible so we just got drunk instead. I thought I`d found an irish bar (there was a shamrock in the logo. i think) on the top floor of some sort of entertainment complex, but WHEN we got inside it turned out to be a tiny, tiny room with just four seats at the bar and a sofa in the corner, and one customer, a creepy old man with a quiff. My first instinct was to run away, but it was raining outside and we feared death and Annette`s first instinct was to drink whiskey. With some dificulty we got two Santorys and coke from the terrifying barmaid. When she plonked a bowl of really foul savory snacks in front of us, i realised we were going to get presented with a silly bill at the end. Our bequiffed friend got up and started singing some japanese song on the karaoke machine we`d failed to notice. Oh dear. Before we knew it there was a massive karaoke directory in front of it (as well as some particularly revolting microwaved crap) and we were being urged (in body language) to pick a song.

“But we don`t speak japanese!”, we protested. The book was duly opened at the back, at the english section. Drat. By the way, there was a belle & sebastian song in there! And loads of other indie nonsense. Anyway, as you know we sang “heart of glass” by blondie, and we were fantastic. I hope to reprise this event for the delight of tracer amc and miaou in tokyo.

With *incredible* difficulty we met up with everyone at the hotel crest. It seems there are two hotel crests, one either side of the train station in ibaraki*. Cue loads of “i`m at the hotel crest!”      “no you`re not, i am!” style mayhem. Anyway, AGAIN as you know, there was no room and we slept in a van etc etc.


*ibaraki thinks it`s a city. every collection of highrise buildings here thinks it`s a city. so technically we were in FOUR cities yesterday. nice. they are all ridiculously big and make belfast look like a campsite. i`m really scared of osaka. it`s pretty disorientating.

i`ve forgotten loads of stuff because of stupid tiredness but as ever, i hope the blog entry finds you in good health. i shall blog later about whether Rain Dogs (tonight`s venue) gets its ass rocked off, and about how and whether annette and i manage to find tokushima (population 277,000) on trains. and about cultural differences, do not let me forget that one.


i`m sorry this is so rubbish. if my blogs continue to be so poor i`ll probably come home. it`s my only useful function.


love &c


PS word of advice: if you really like a band you should probably rave about them on the internet and book public transport to follow them around on tour. it seems they will then sleep in beds with you, make sure you don`t die, get drunk with you, and let you post on their website.

PPS i have also raved about tracer amc in print! specifically, in friday`s belfast telegraph. did anyone get a copy? i said that `a satellite wish` changed my life (!) and i think there was a wee picture of me, and something to the effect of “niall harden is an idiot and has spent roughly GBP1000 following them about on tour”

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