jónsi news

tour diary #6

December 2nd, 2010

jónsi’s manager john best is spending some time on the road with the band as they tour asia, here is the sixth installment of his tour diary

december 1st, 2010 osaka, japan

just back from the osaka show. 24 hours into japan and things are feeling alright. the crowd tonight was, as predicted, kinda reverential, which was nice, if entirely diametric to korea the other night. i guess they are just soaking it up and being respectful, and eventually things did get a little hotter under the collar, but only one paper plane tonight as opposed to to the hundreds in seoul, so come on nogoya and tokyo, let down your hair a little bit, why dontcha?

in other news, the band are presently unusually clean, thanks to the amazing bathhouse area on the 6th floor of the hotel. you can go there and sit at you own private station in a wet room and do the complete top-to-toe treatment, with a full range of products and utensils. obo and doddi are now closely shaved where it counts (on the face), while alex could eat his dinner off jonsi, if that were his thing. sadly for ulfur he can’t go to the bathhouse because he has a tattoo, and tattoos are banned in such place to prevent yakuza from using them as meeting places. true fact. anyway, the plunge pool after the sauna is a new high in human sensation, bettered only by the prospect of an ice cold asahi in the relaxing area afterwards.

– not everyone drinks asahi, old action dudes prefer pocari sweat

so, that’s what me, jonsi and obo did last night before hitting shinsaibashi for some late night action. actually it wasn’t that late, because everything seems to happen really, really early in japan, including tonight’s gig which took place at 7pm. also, we didn’t really *hit* shinsaibashi so much as lightly mollycoddle it, since despite coming to japan for years now, we never really feel we quite get the hang of it. so we wandered round the narrow streets with more tiny bars than there can possibly be people to drink in them, stultified by choice. the so-called “girls bars” are intriguing, but of course we were too pussy to go in one. we did try to go into something labelled a “cabaret” but the guy at the door said it was for japanese only. is that legal? i mean, isn’t it racist to exclude the white man? whatevs, we perambulated on, impressed that none of the bicycles choking the roadsides seem to be locked, and wondering why the guys in the big white cars leaning on their horns seem to get everyone else to pull over to the sides to let them through like they’re the 4th emergency service. maybe they’re the guys with the tattoos?

– those bikes aren’t even secured!

– typically warm and inviting shinsaibashi bar

in the end we went randomly to a tiny jazz bar called tako tako, which had some atmos and cool record sleeves on the wall. i guess the western decor was something to hold onto in an otherwise gently bewildering nipponese experience. and if you think we are typically “gaijin” for being discombobulated watch this:

this raises so many questions i don’t know where to begin. or – still not convinced? – consider the fact that japanese people go to concerts like this (scroll down to video):


no wonder they politely clap when a mere human takes to the stage.