June 02, 2004


Yesterday, amidst the jet lag stupor, I started to post, I was trying to come with some real, to maintain, as SFJ calls it my "web presence". It was a bad idea. I may have actually fell asleep while doing so. About halfway through an unfunny anecdote about our dear substitute unicorn-bloggist, the newly shorn Miles Raymer, who's postings while I was away, I truly enjoyed.
Decent anecdote re: Miles: For the first year I knew him I thought his name was Miles Standish, but alas Miles Standish was 'the hero of New England', not this lanky dude in a DIO shirt with Rob Tyner hair that is the Miles we know and love here in Chi-town.

What I can tell you about touring Japan with Challenger is this:

Being in Japan was like being a baby. Base needs are met, sure - but you cannot communicate -- I know only thank you, hello, cat and girl in Japanese. You get fed, but you never get told where you are going until you are there. There is no room for discernment or choice. You just toddle around and wait for someone to pass you the pocky or some squid pancake or take you to your soundcheck.
We would spend hours a day in the van, browsing the country-side, having awkward interactions and base conversations -- it was Jarmuschian. I felt like an asshole for not enjoying it all like I should, until we got to Kyoto. Once we got to Kyoto and went to the major temples, and I wandered off, looking at the baby Buddhas planted in the hillside, bibbed with these little aprons with addresses, wishes, prayers on them -- and got lost amongst the heavy tides of field tripping Japanese fifthgraders, uniformed and tightly mannered. Then I liked Japan. Then I felt the gravitas and value of cultural experience.
Tokyo was like LA x NYC x the air of Mexico City, with a comic book metropolis and epic grey sprawl, smoggy horizons the color of cement. I could only deal with it when I was on stage, or in the sea of tanned and blonded teenage girls sweeping through the mall, sales girls chirping "MOSHI MOOOSH!" in unison at shoppers.

I bought Pumpkin Pudding flavored toothpaste. All of Japan is a snack wonderland, especially at the convience stores. Dried french fries made from peas? Yes. Aloe and grape custard? yes. Mango soda? -- I loved them all. ( Candy with best name, but least true promise: CRUNKY!)

All of our shows, we had female soundpersons, or engineers, except in Nagoya. Only on our final night in Tokyo, did we play with a band with women in it. "Nisennonmondai" -- they do not have an english name. They may have been the best band I have seen in 4 years. They played for 15 minutes and those 15 minutes were biblical. I turned around to my band mate Al, who was making a windtunnel face and replied to my "whoa!" with "what the fuck?!". Thusly, I think we are doing 6 dates with this band in August here in the states. Three women, and it's a revolution in music, in perhaps the same way that This Heat or DNA were. You may mock me now for what you think is gushy overstatement or some feminist-support imparitive, but I saw the best band ever, and you should get jealous now. I'm not fucking around.

I got "recognized" by more kids, at shows, than at home -- this seems to be due entirely to the popularity of the Michigan Fest DVD. This geniunely freaked me out.

I saw Mt. Fuji. It looked like a Hostess Cupcake in the sky.

Maybe more on all of this soon. We leave for the West Coast tour in a tiny handful of days.

Posted by Jessica at June 2, 2004 10:03 PM | TrackBack