Sapporo - Gig Day

Up at 4am again. Raining and foggy. Check email and read some more, snooze a little. Get invited to McDonald's (The American Embassy) for breakfast, but I pass. 9am lobby call for the gig. Get in vans for the 30min. drive to the gig (see a pattern here?). Gig is a baseball stadium, and HUGE. Production office, dressing rooms, are at one end (home plate side) and stage at the other (outfield), takes at least 5min. to walk from one to the other. Great. At least the catering is pretty good. Inquire with the hotel about my bag around 11am, still not there. Set-up gear and do my gig-thing. Band is supposed to come in at 3pm for soundcheck, doors are at 4:30pm, show at 6pm. Early shows are cool, but why am I so tired? Oh yeah, the 4am thing. Band ops to rehearse in the tuning room not the stage, much running back and forth.

Ask Yoko to check with United on my bag. She finds out it was supposed to be on a 6am flight, but it was cancelled due to fog over Sapporo. They will try to get it on a 7pm flight so it will make it to Sapporo by Sunday morning, just as we are leaving to fly to Osaka. She tells me they are sorry and want to show me "respect" by paying me $$.

Borrow a black shirt for the gig (Thanks Travis!) Gig goes smooth, at least from my end. Band plays 2hrs, since there is no opening act. We finish around 8:30pm. Load out and back to the hotel by 9:30pm. Feels like 2am though. Fall into bed and pray my bag arrives tomorrow.


Sun rises at 4am and so do I. This is not good, but after all the sleep on the plane what do I expect. Try to read, fall back asleep and wake up around 9am. Go out around 11am with other backline crew who have also been awake for hours. Where we are staying in Sapporo is pretty suburban, we walk around for an hour before heading back to the train station we passed in the first 5min. We find a noodle shop with some nice ladies working, who speak no English. Cool, an adventure! We order Ramen and Soba, but they don't have Gyozas, bummer. It's tasty and we pay our 480yen and go to the 100yen shop next door.

The 100yen ($1 store) has some cool stuff and I buy a phone cord for my powerbook, since I left one of the 500 I have at home. Head back to the room and snooze a little, since it's raining again. United calls, my bag will be in Tokyo today, and should arrive at the hotel in Sapporo by Noon Saturday. End up sleeping into the evening and wrecking my sleep pattern some more, oh well, I'll be up at 4am anyway.

Tokyo/Sapporo, Japan

We arrive in Tokyo, wait in 30-45min. line at Immigration, after 25min. Little Japanese guy comes by calling our names, takes us to the front of the line so we can make our connection. Get through Immigration to baggage claim, I don't see my bag anywhere, not good. Little guy tells me to go to United baggage claim counter, as I watch my fellow crew members claim their bags and walk through Customs. Fill out paperwork at United counter, I'm promised my bag will arrive tomorrow. Another little guy runs me over to Customs officer. They whisk me through and luckily I see my comrades on other side (they lost someone else's bag too, so I don't feel so bad. We board a bus for the 1hr. drive to Tokyo-Haneda Airport for our flight to Sapporo. And I thought Chicago was bad.

Arrive at Haneda and Yoko from Mr. Udo's crew checks us in with Japan Airlines. Mr. Udo is a famous Japanese promoter. Everyone is very nice and they even give us 1000yen ($10) for being inconvenienced. Wow. We board our flight for Sapporo, it's very empty and the flight is uneventful.

Arrive in Sapporo, it's raining of course, get on a bus for the 45min. ride to the hotel. Isn't anything near by in this country? Get to hotel, it is now almost 11pm. We all spot a 7-11 and after dropping our bags, we head there for a Cup of Noodle and Japanese snacks (gotta spend that 1000yen). Noodles are good. I will now try to read and then sleep.

Raleigh, NC

Leave RDU for Sapporo, Japan via Chicago and Tokyo. Plane delayed 45min. leaving RDU, partly because Dubya was flying in for a $25K a plate luncheon, hope they all got food poisoning...

Arrive in Chicago with 40min. to connection, take "secret" bus to separate terminal for connection. I say "secret", because I've never seen this bus before, and there was only 3 of us on there. Think everybody else must have walked. Sorry, back to the point, get to the gate for Tokyo flight, plane is out of service, they must get one from Denver. GREAT!! Run into fellow Aero crew members, we're told by United that take off will be delayed at least 3hrs. Our connection in Tokyo is about 3hrs. Looks like a long day just got longer.

Finally we depart Chicago 3.5hrs. late. I get lucky on flight and sit next to an American couple on their way to Singapore. They serve food on the flight every 30min. of the 12hr. flight, or at least it seems that way. I sleep most of the flight, did awake as we were crossing Alaska and was treated to a spectacular view of the snow covered mountains (now I know why I asked for a window seat).

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