Road to new album recording, Japan. 2020, Day 1
On 24 February 2020 my journey to record a new album with my Japanese band had started. After the drop off at Schiphol airport by my management (my dad) I checked in all my stuff at customs. The trip was going to take 10 hours and 15 minutes so my plan as always, watch 5 movies to pass this time fast.
Arriving at Narita airport is always a joy, it’s nice and calm and after my passport control my friend and sax player Yuichiro Tokuda was already waiting for me at arrival hall 1. We were going to have some sushi to celebrate my safe arrival in Japan. A surprise was to see a fan of mine, and I got an invitation to go to a hot spring (Onsen) just outside from Narita airport. I agreed to meet later so I could have my first sushi together with Yuichiro. Along the way I picked up a pocket Wi-Fi, an easy way to stay connected. After some great sushi and talk with Yuichiro I took a mini bus to the Onsen, it took about 15 minutes. I would see Yuichiro on the first recording day in Nagoya.
It was very nice to wash and relax at the hot spring, together with some other Japanese men I tried to follow their lead on how to do it the correct way. Although I have been in these kind of places before it still somewhat strange to me. After this refreshing time at the Onsen I said my goodby to the lovely lady that had arranged this Onsen visit and I took the Sky liner train to Ueno station in Tokyo. My hotel was in Asakusa not far from Ueno and took me just 1 metro to get there.
Before I would go to my hotel I had an appointment to meet up with a Jazz singer from Holland, Sophie de Hart.
She contacted me some time ago and had some questions about Japan and its jazz culture. It was nice to see her in real life and we went to a small bar close to Ueno station for some drinks and food. She already took up on my advice to check out the jam sessions at Intro, a small club close to Takadanobaba. This place is a hotspot for young jazz players to work on their skills and the club is in an area Tokyo where many young people live and study. After some drinks and talking about Japan I went to the metro station to travel to the hotel in Asakusa. It was only 4 stops with the metro line to the Hotel. The hotel was nice, clean and close to some hotspots including a big temple and the Tokyo Sky tree.
After checking in the hotel Hokke Club Asakusa I went outside and did some late night shopping at a nearby convenient store, always an adventure by itself. The level of quality is so high and the prices are very reasonable. After this late night snack I went off to bed.