Craigums' Assorted thoughts from Japan, 2000

Beer selling machines on the street - no ID required. Where was this when I was 14?!
(The soiled-panty vending machine could not be reached for comment.)

I think this tour is gonna be unlike any tour I’ve ever been on. Our last two records were considered ‘sold out’ before they were even released, with the majority of overseas records ending up in Japan. I can’t speak for Max but I know Robert, Devon and I have never had to pre-ship our own pallet’s worth of tour merchandise before. When something catches on in Japan the whole sensation really seems to go overboard. The beauty of this fanaticism is that it is short-lived so we're just waiting to show up and be yesterday's news. Even shirt fashions change with the wind. Last month the shirt color de jour was yellow so at least we knew not to make yellow shirts because surely they'd be out of fashion by the time we got there, and who - besides Charlie Brown - wants to go home with boxes of yellow shirts?
One All You Can Eat tour had us in and out of seven countries and three continents. Our break-even point was under $12,000 between seven people in two months. WHN? has a break-even point of $15,000 for six people in only 10 days.

Bonded by blonde.

Looking more ridiculous by the minute.

Before I go any farther, I have to give huge thanks to Dawn for tirelessly translating for Max so they could book this whole tour show by show, fax after fax, email after email, instead of having to enlist a promoter. Without her we would be stuck with the often lame political mess of working with promoters while having to not work with other promoters and so on, and then having to deal with the repercussions of inevitably offending somebody. Thank you, Dawn - BIG TIME. And of course, Thanks to Karoline for helping us out yet again even though she knows she'll have to endure Devon's feet and my never-ending requests for neck massages. THANKS, LADIES!!!

Karoline and someone who bares no resemblance to Dawn.

Five days before we left I was skating a half pipe and my trucks locked on the coping. I was sent hurdling towards the flat-bottom hands-first. My wrists hurt so bad that the next day I could not turn a doorknob and therefore could not leave my house until my roomates came home. I tried calling in sick to work but my phone requires a heavy hand to engage the buttons and I couldn’t even do that. I panicked because bands do not cancel Japanese tours. Typically it costs a promoter $2000 just to book a venue, nevermind promoting it. With 10 shows in the works that’s a lot of people who’ve already put up a lot of money for us to play, plus we already bought our tickets. Not playing was not an option. We cancelled our last practices and I boarded the plane hoping for a miracle. It came by way of adrenaline but that wasn't until soundcheck the night of our first show.

I made good on a personal promise that if I was ever on a Jumbotron I would not be wearing pants.

It's too bad we decided to stop using images of us for records and such because Karoline took some really good pics on this trip. Oh - that's worth mentioning - she took all but 3 or 4 of these pics.

On the plane I saw a water-spicket with some dixie cups next to it. I took a couple drinks until the flight attendant panicked and demanded I stop drinking the dishwater.

I’ve been here a couple times before but I am still mesmerized by Japan.
They have a Gameboy channel. They have parking lots that are large carousels (car-ousels?) – where your valet can retrieve your car like it’s dry cleaning.

The clubs we've played in the past are usually the size of a 2-car garage but the sound system is always more than that of Gilman, Burnt Ramen, Mission Rex and Joe’s backyard PAs combined.
In a grocery store we saw some sort of melon that cost $140. They were the exact size/shape/weight/color/smell of a honeydew melon. They come presentable in a gift box where they sit gingerly atop jewelry-box padding. On the stem was tied a little bow. There was a whole section of them in the store so I have to imagine they sell frequently because you can’t let fruit just sit until someone buys it, and it would be a waste of money to have so many on display and not sell them.
Then, a couple days later, we saw a wristwatch that was also a radio, a remote control CD transmitter, a cell phone, an email system, and a digital camera with a display screen. It was only about 300 bucks – or the price of two melons.
This place is as amazing and it is inexplicable.
Listen to some other observations, including some good Janglish.

We’ve been fitting in quite nicely in the two days we’ve been here. All we've been doing is Buying Buying Buying,just as modern Japanese culture dictates. We consume clothes with grammatically impossible English (or ‘Engrish") on it. We consume food with little bows tied on it. We consume train tickets. We consume (lots of) toys. We consume records. Consume consume consume…

Devon nursing his newly purchased Ultraman.


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