Tuesday, 7 August 2007


We didn't get any sleep before the flight to Tokyo, so the whole endeavour was pretty tiring and stressful. Dan managed to forget to collect his luggage from the baggage collection at the airport.

I was reading about an American economist - Demming - who visited Japan shortly after the Second World War to give a series of consultations and lectures on production. He advised that goods manufacturing should be concerned with quality and perfection regardless of cost. This seems to be absolutely true for Japan, extending as far as the sound team at O-Nest, and the work that went into preparations and organization for the show. I heard, before we played, that foreign bands in Japan are often blown off stage by local opening bands, and so we were encouraged to play the best we possibly could, and to ignore our tiredness.

I also read an article about Japan's feral ravens, and how they attack grown men in Shibuya's streets. As soon as we stepped out of the van, two of them cawed aggressively from lampposts above us.

I enjoyed the show a huge amount. The opening bands were as good as we expected, and because of the lengthy and expertly-handled soundcheck, we managed to last the whole set without any major problems. I thought we played the new song especially well that day.

After we finished playing, the crowd refused to leave the venue, even after the house lights had been bought up and the sound team had started playing CD's, so we decided to do our first ever encore. My fingers and my guitar were a bloody mess, but the encore was something I'm very proud of, even though I took some convincing to actually go back onstage.

We had the day off in Tokyo on the Wednesday, which was incredible. The city is beyond words - so much happening and so much information. In some respects, it's quite comfortable not being able to read Japanese, otherwise the huge volume of words would probably be quite overwhelming. Our good friend Joe showed us some great places, and we found some really cool little bars and the Japanese equivalent of a Pound Saver in the increasingly light early hours of the morning. The Japanese kids know how to drink.

Duomo arigato: Ken, Jason, Graham, everyone else involved with the show, Joe, Shoto and Euphoria, Ovum, Eugene and Eksperimentoj, Teru and Masami and Thomason Sounds, Warsarwa Records, XTAL Records, Mark.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Taiwan II

Taiwan is one of the most amazing places I've ever been to. It seems like every single person is the most friendly and warm and welcoming I've ever come across. We are looking forward to coming back.

We played at the Formoz Festival in Taipei on Sunday evening, probably to the biggest crowd we've ever played to (Loou at the label guessed 2,000 people!), and the queue for our autgographs at the signing tent stretched as far as we could see down the hill. There are lots of photos and videos online, hopefully they'll make it into our archive soon.

We accidentally gave the festival an out-of-date setlist, which included A Song For Starlit Beaches, which we don't really play live any more. Unfortunately, the organizers had arranged a grand piano for us to play this song, and a team of about 40 Formoz staff had to lift the piano off the stage. We were embarrassed.

We did, however, get to see Yo La Tengo play at the Formoz - they were amazing.

During the day on Monday I did a special acoustic show at a coffee shop in Taipei, which I enjoyed very much. We got a chance to meet some fans and to spend some time with them. There is a band in Taipei who has a cover of Dash and Blast.

Monday's show at the Wall was amazing, everyone we spoke to about it was so enthusiastic, and the Wall staff were incredibly professional and helpful.

Thank you: everyone at the Formoz and at The Wall. Joey Su, Miyuki, Luxia, Andy, Edward, Tony and Phil Cheng, Jackie, Ira, James and Georgia.