Japan Trip 2014

Aloha and I hope your September was filled with warm memories that will last a lifetime. I just returned from my trip to Japan performing with the legendary Jazz clarinetist Yoshimas Kasai and an all-star band that included Hawaii’s very own John Kolivas on bass.  John and I performed two exciting concerts with Mr. Kasai and made a bunch of new friends! Many thanks to everyone in Japan who made us feel at home taking care of many details so we could concentrate on playing our best. Looking so forward to seeing you all again!

IMG_2876
On the plane to Japan. Just got over a cold so I didn’t want to catch something else on the way!
IMG_2877
One of my drum students at Berklee College of Music just hipped me to this album and I found it on my flight. Love Hiromi’s piano playing and arrangements.
IMG_2883
Some of my new best friends in Japan; Masa, Keisuke, Mie, Kumi and Tadashi! Thank you so much for taking good care of us!
IMG_2886
The visionary Yoshimasa Kasai. Not only an incredible Jazz musician but also a big heart and inspiring to be around. Domo arigato gozaimasu Kasai san and to his wife Toshiko san for all of your hard work to make this dream a reality!
IMG_2891
Night view from my hotel room in Shin-Yokohama (New Yokohama).
IMG_2890
Our hotel. Swanky ne?
IMG_2895
The best egg invention since…well…eggs! It’s called an egg turnover and it was oishi (delicious)!
IMG_2897
Another view of our hotel lobby.  That train looking thing in the bottom of the picture is the cab of a bullet train (Shinkansen). It was a simulator for the kiddies.
IMG_2899
Train layout in the hotel lobby! I grew up building several train layouts and this N-Gauge layout was spectacular!
IMG_2903
Future National Geographic photographer at Bic Camera.
IMG_2904
So many iPhone cases…so little time!
IMG_2905
Best massage chairs in the world!
IMG_2917
Liquid energy for the first concert at Minato Mirai Hall in Yokohama.
IMG_2920
Minato Mirai Hall – Yokohama
IMG_2926
Getting warmed up for the concert.
IMG_2936
Now that’s just plain silly!
IMG_2948
IMG_2939 John Kolivas and I with Jazz pianist Hajime Kobayashi. This guy is a wonderful pianist and oh boy did we have fun! Above I am with Hajime san and fantastic trumpeter Nobuaki Komori.
IMG_3055
The Yoshimas Kasai Quartet! Great music and an incredibly enthusiastic crowd made for one heartwarming and fulfilling evening.
IMG_2952
Flower arranging in Japan is truly and art form. This bouquet was so beautiful that I had to make sure it got a good home and gave it to Keisuke’s mom.
CIMG0688
And here is Keisuke’s Oka san (Mother). Lovely flowers for a lovely lady.
IMG_2953
View from breakfast looking down on Shin-Yokohama (New Yokohama).
IMG_2956
With our translators Naoki (left), Daisaku and Manami! They were so kind and wonderful to be around.
IMG_2960
Stop!…Shikansen time! MC Hammer ain’t got nothin’ on the bullet train.
IMG_2961
Daisaku and Minami on the Shinkansen.
IMG_2963
John, Naoki (eating one of my business cards) and…what Daisaku again!
IMG_3057
On the way to Tokyo TUC for our second concert!
IMG_2968
A quick look at Akihabara or “Electric Town.”  This is the comic book, video game, everything electric part of Tokyo.
IMG_2985
Photo of Hajime san warming up at Tokyo TUC.
IMG_2987
John warming up at Tokyo TUC.
IMG_3008
IMG_3066IMG_2994 Warming up at Tokyo TUC.
IMG_3032
I guess all air conditioning repairmen in Japan are skinny.
IMG_3037
John and I with the owner of Tokyo TUC. Such a kind man who books some of the best Jazz musicians from around the world nightly. What an honor to perform at his club!
IMG_3038
Trumpeter Kiyotaka Soga who performed with us at Tokyo TUC. Great player! He is showing me his suit bag that comes with every suit you purchase in Japan.
IMG_3040
Chinese food after the Tokyo TUC concert. On the TV in the background they are showing the volcanic eruption in Nagano that occurred that same day.
IMG_3045
On my last trip to Japan, bassist Mark Tanouye nicknamed me Gyozilla because I ate so much gyoza. I simply had to live up to my name!
IMG_3069
Saying goodbye at the train station after dinner. Hope to see them all again very soon!
IMG_3052
Tadashi san and his wife Kumi. He is Kasai san’s son and drummer too!
IMG_3060
Japanese TV is so entertaining and informative! This was a competition in using those arcade machines that pick up prizes. Never knew there were people out there refining their skills in such games. Watch out arcades everywhere!
IMG_3064
My hybrid Japanese/American breakfast. What wonderful food every morning. I miss that so much!
IMG_3065
Another view from breakfast.
IMG_3074
An artisan at work.
IMG_3075
Did someone say shopping?!!
IMG_3077
Waiting to hit the shops on the next floor.
IMG_3078
With Keisuke and Mie on our last day. Keisuke san also performed superbly with us on Cornet and Trumpet!
IMG_3081
Kawaii ne? So cute ya? Getting ready to drive the Shinkansen simulator.
IMG_3082
Here we go!
IMG_3087
With Kasai san on our last day.
IMG_3090
Now this hot food box takes delivery to another level!
IMG_3093
Picture perfect day in the Tokyo area.
IMG_3094
One thing I noticed throughout the Tokyo area were these yellow tiles on the sidewalks and walkways for blind residents to find their way through the city. Very nice 🙂
IMG_3100
Don’t know who he is but he looks like he’d crush any baseballs within a 5 mile radius!
IMG_3104
Okay we can’t be too serious now…
IMG_3106
Great name! Japan takes things we know and love and makes them better!
IMG_3109
McDonald’s delivery in Japan! Now if we had this in the US, people wouldn’t have to move at all to get their artery clogging McCholesterol….just sayin’.
IMG_3110
Makes sense that this is right next to the McDonald’s….just sayin’.
IMG_3116
I want one! I want one!
IMG_3125
Heading to the airport to fly home. Boy I can’t wait to come back again. I love you Japan!
IMG_3122
The flower arrangement in the hotel lobby. Breathtaking…