TFK gets snuffed by the Yakuza!

Category : Hasse's Blog
I've been to Japan once and o'boy what a trip. The adventure started at Arlanda airport, at 05.45 in the morning. We were supposed to take the first Air France flight in the morning to Paris and then change flight and go from Paris to Tokyo. To check in was nothing out of the ordinary, in fact the (Air France) lady behind the desk looked like she was up for the task, to count all the devices, divide it into two pieces/head and then see the weight of it all. After some counting, the lady turned her face against us and said with no expression in her face at all: "You have some overweight, to be precise you have overweight for 6 000 euro (maybe 8 800 dollars)". Then she continued, still with a blank face: "Do you wanna pay cash or by card!" just like we were buying some coffe or icecream! In a way we had ourselves to blame. Across the Atlantic, either to USA or South America, back then you could have 2 pieces with 30 kg:s each, so we took for granted it was the same when you flew in the other direction as well. We were wrong, we were very wrong! We were allowed to have 20 kg:s/person and Air France had a "drive" at the moment, to try to reduce overweight. However, after a WILD discussion at 06.00 in the morning, we decided to regroup at "The Cosmic Lodge" (Roines studio) and catch a later flight, even though we would miss a day in Tokyo. Back at the lodge, we scaled down the equipment BIG TIME! As I remember it, Tomas "rack" and cables alone (without the modules, effects, etc) were if you change the weight into money, approximately 1 200 euro (maybe 1 800 dollars). After the second trip by cab to Arlanda and back at the check in, we got a positive answer. After all the work we laid down to minimalize our musical equipment, we now had overweight for "only" 300 euro (maybe 440 dollars). Off we went, with a promise from Atsushi Sofuni, George Takahashi and the rest of the great crew in Japan, that everything would be solved. After all this mess, we arrived at Narita airport safe and sound but delayed 10-12 hours.

I have to confess, it's been a while and it was so much impressions to take in, so my memory from this escapade might not be 100%. Of all the countries I've visit, Japan is by far the most different. The people, the food, the technology, the toilets, the karaoke bars, the hotelrooms, whatever you fancy to talk about, is different and I don't mean that in a negative way, quite the contrary actually but still different. The only thing I remember as being not so good, has nothing to do with Japan. On top of this "overweight mess", Roine was ill with fever and a bad throat, which ended up, that we were'nt as well prepared as we should have been. With the flight and the jetlag, Roines cold got even worse, but hey! If you fly half around the globe, to cancel a show is not even an option, we did our 3 shows. I'm sad to say, in my opinion they were definitely not among the top ones. I felt we were a little bit "lame", but in the end I think we did alright.

I guess the thing that surprised me the most, was that hardly anyone could speak english, so we had an interpretator with us all the time. I remember one time though, I went out on my own, to buy a cup of coffe just around the corner from the hotel (I think it was Starbucks actually). After 5 minutes I gave up, I tried to explain with my mouth, my fingers and in the end my whole body, what kind of coffe I wanted but she just looked at me and laughed in a shy way and said "no english"? I left empty handed. Anyway, the interpretator stayed with us 24/7. When we had dinners, dinners with the record label, sightseeings, karaokebar visits, Japanese garden visits, autograph signing sessions, let me tell you, that lady did'nt have one minute to spare during our stay in Japan. Even though the impressions was overwhwelming, I remember some stuff from our stay there. First of all, the karaoke bars have small cabins where you can sit 4-6 persons. One night we went to one of those and I was convinced (almost forced) to sing. In the booth's around us, you could hear Japaneese voices singing Japaneese songs at a modest volume. Tomas chose "Black Dog" (Led Zep.) and off I went. After a short while, the people from the other cabins, started to look into our booth with a curious face. I guess they were thinking, what the hell was that? I'm gonna leave The Flower Kings adventures in Japan with Jaimes (former TFK drummer) "classic" phrase, from our flight home from Osaka. After almost 1 week of Sushi he stated: "Sushi must be something Robinson Crusoe invented in pure desperation!?"







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