Road to new album recording, Japan. 2020, Day 2

Day 2

I arose early and after a swift shower, I headed to Ueno station, pausing at a Starbucks for some coffee along the way. The walk from Asakusa to Ueno station wasn’t far, taking me approximately 20 minutes to reach my destination.
When I plan these trips, I always take a look at the surroundings on Google Street View beforehand. This helps me to familiarize myself with the area and prepare for my travels in Japan without having to rely on my phone for directions. Additionally, I also watch YouTube videos of channels that feature Japan and discuss things to do in Tokyo. One of these channels mentioned the Amayoko market, which became my first destination for the day. Before heading to the market, I took some time to explore the surrounding area of Asakusa, including a large temple that is a key attraction in the area.
The Ameyoko shopping street is a unique outdoor market with a split personality. During the day, it is a bustling street market, filled with food and fashion vendors. However, as the sun sets, it transforms into a hub for nightlife, with the majority of its shops being small Izakaya bars serving drinks and food. My objective during my visit to this market was to sample the famous Kaisendon, a bowl of rice topped with fresh fish. It wasn’t difficult to locate this dish, but I had my sights set on a specific place and after a little wandering, I finally found it. The experience was fantastic and the price was unbeatable – only 550 yen. After my meal, my next goal was to find a saxophone shop where I could buy some quality reeds for my alto saxophone. I received a tip from a Japanese friend to visit Okubo, a neighborhood in Tokyo’s Shinjuku ward. It is centered around the Shin-Okubo station and is easily accessible via the Yamanote line.
Traveling around Tokyo is made easy by the Yamanote line as all the key wards are located along this route. After reaching Shin-Okubo station, I was pleasantly surprised to find several music stores specializing in wind instruments. After browsing through the stores, I was able to buy my reeds and make my way back to the station. My next destination was to visit Jumpei Atsumi, my sax repair man and close friend, whom I had met through Yuichiro a few years back. Jumpei is highly skilled in his craft and I was eager to see him again. You can connect with him on Twitter. He was taken aback when I reached out to him, but after some texting on Messenger, we agreed to meet at Ikebukuro Station at 3 pm.
It was fantastic to see Jumpei again, and we decided to grab some drinks at Kirin City where the famous Kirin Beer is served. After enjoying our drinks and snacks, we decided to move to a new spot, an izakaya named Koike, which offered great food and beer.  Feel free to connect with Jumpei on twitter. 
During my meeting with Atsumi, I received some upsetting news from Satoshi through a messenger message. He informed me about the Corona virus situation at Nagoya University, where we had previously booked a studio for recording. Unfortunately, the campus was on lockdown, making the studio unavailable. However, Satoshi had already spent a whole day finding a new studio in Nagoya so we could still proceed with the recording as planned. Despite this, I was still quite rattled by the situation and my jetlag was not making it any easier.
Despite all of this, Atsumi and I had a great night together and althoughthere is a language barrier, we were able to communicate effectively and talk about saxophone music, life, and everything in between.
After our enjoyable evening, we said our goodbyes and I took the train back to Ueno station. When I arrived, I found that all public transport had stopped for the night, so I had to walk back to my hotel in Asakusa. The next day was my final free day for some time, so I went straight to bed after reaching my hotel.