Nikolai took in a brief visit of the Imperial Palace parks before visiting the temple in Asakusa, the oldest temple in Tokyo. He bathed in the smoke of incense for the good fortune and washed in the fountain so he was pure before entering. Sadly, not pure enough, his 100 Yen fortune wasn't very promising. We left it behind in the temple tied to a piece of wire ribboned with unwanted fortunes.
Several hundred pigeons waited outside the 5 storey pagoda next to the temple. They settled ominously on the ornate roof and stone floors. It was unnerving. Pigeons don't blink when children run through them. They stare. The children were unaware of the potential danger, or simply fearless. Maybe they'd got good fortunes and felt protected from any avian malevolence? Either way, we couldn't watch the pigeons anymore.
Later, Julian and Danny (Strokes security) met us in the hotel bar and we went with our generous host and good friend from BMG, Hayato Kasuga, to a Korean Barbeque restaurant for our final meal together. The food was so good everyone was destined to bore all their friends with stories of tender beef sizzling on a table-top BBQ for many months to come. One can't help but like a restaurant with Godzilla posters on the walls.
Ryan joined us later, he'd spent the afternoon shopping for tee-shirts and gifts from Harajuku. Ryan missed the especially tender beef - the teryaki was marinated to perfection and worked especially well if dipped in the tangy Ume Plum sauce.
After applauding the chef through the kitchen window we drove our extended and expanded entourage to a bar where we played darts and listened to old old records on the jukebox.
In darts, the object of the game is to score backwards to zero from a starting count of 301. You must finish on a double number to win the game.
Only Danny scored any doubles. As for the rest of us, our dars fell short of their marks like crap salmon giving up on a big waterfall.
Nikolai entered into a bet with Hayato, Toshi the engineer on the new Strokes record and Yoshi from BMG. Each wagered a bass guitar on who would win a game. From the start Nikolai lagged behind, all but beat, trailing by over 90 points. On his last throw he came up with the combination of a 3, a triple 20 and a spectacular double 19 to take the game.
Nikolai now has 3 new bass guitars. Yoshi from BMG agreed to part with his Hofner Semi-Automatic Bass but said there was a problem as it was in London. No problem Yoshi! Danny lives nearby and can call into the office to collect it at any time. How does the end of the week sound?
The next bar we visited was in the basement of someone's house. The owner played a muted video of John Lennon's Imagine movie and blasted the Sex Pistols. It was a very unusual bar, not just because of the toys on the shelves and 60's decor but also because of the lack of clientele other than The Strokes.
08/06/03: Day 11 in Tokyo, Japan
Had to break into Julian's room when he couldn't be raised for our departure to the airport. When he wasn't there I was about to call the airline to reschedule his ticket when he appeared in the lobby. He'd been shopping for gifts in Harajuku. Of course, we laugh about it now...
We said goodbye to our hosts and friends at the hotel.
Hayato kindly translated a Japanese expression for us (Julisn sang this at the shows in Osaka and Tokyo to the tune of My Way...).
Ima funadega chikazuko kono toki ni.
"Now the big ship sets sail, and the lovers have to part..."
We're about 40,000 ft above the Aleutian Islands about now. The flight is okay but the food really doesn't compare to the BBQ we had in Shibuya...glad to be going home but sad to be saying goodbye to our friends in Japan.
Thank you everyone at Creative Man for arranging the shows and for looking after us so well. Thanks Naoki, Tomoko, Ao, Julie and Ru. Thank you Rikki from BMG for translating and for helping us as much as you did. And a massive big shout-out to Mr. Hayato Kasuga from BMG. Thanks for taking such good care of us Hayato and for all that you did that was above and beyond the call of duty. Truly, a geezer. We wish you could come back with u.
And so, until the fall...