Tour report: Japan 2011

Day 1: Hello Tokyo
After a very long flight from Oslo to Helsinki, then from Helsinki to Tokyo it felt extremely good to stretch the legs. Even though I have developed a zombie mode when traveling, and don’t mind long flights that much anymore. Already by the luggage claim we get a taste of the Japanese efficiency, as all the bags and instruments are already waiting for us. After picking up the baggage, we walk out to the arrival hall and find ourselves pleasantly surprised with two very nice japanese fellows called Tetsu and George welcoming us immediately. Shortly after we met the driver Nambu, which turned out to be the organizer of the whole tour. They drove us straight to the hotel, but we weren’t allowed to check in there before three hours later. Luckily Nambu, Tetsu and George had planned to take us out for traditional japanese lunch! The restaurant offered us both looks and tastes we’d never experienced before, in a good way. Since we’d missed one night of sleep it felt really great to get a couple of hours sleep at the hotel, before everyone (except Rein who slept to the next day) went out to check out what Tokyo had to offer. What immediately stroke us when we found ourself in the most busy are of Tokyo, Shibuya, was that even though there was an insane amount of people it was rather quiet in the streets. That is impressive! Even in Norway (which is not the most noisy country in the world), the same amount of people would have made ten times as much noise. For not to mention the cars! Before going back to sleep at the hotel, we ended up eating at a really great japanese plays, which made me look at raw fish in a completely new way. I mean, I’ve tasted sushi in Norway several times without being blown away.

Day 2: Asakusa
Being rather confused with the new time zone, I woke up VERY early this day. I think 3 am is the earliest I’ve ever woken up ready for a new day. Of course I tried to go back to sleep, but without success. As soon as daylight found his way through the curtain, I went down for breakfast with Rein and Ihsahn. Today we had a day off and were all going to Asakusa, which is a district in Tokyo most famous for the Buddhist temple Sensō. It was a very pleasant experience to be able to see old japanese architecture. The area was heavily bombed during the second world war, and was later re-build. A really nice off day!

Day 3: O-East
One more night without a sufficient amount of sleep! It certainly takes time to adjust to the new time zone. Finally time for the first show day! O-East, today’s venue, is one of the nicest concert places I’ve ever been to. Huge stage, the finest equipment available and very nice backstage facilities. For the first time ever, we were about to do shows with two different bands without a break between. We have never played in Japan before, so it was with great excitement we entered the stage. The response when we entered stage was humongous and very inspiring, so it wasn’t difficult to give everything today! After playing the last note on the last song, we literally ran off stage to change from red and black to black. Three minutes later we were back on stage, this time with Ihsahn. It was a new, and very good experience to play a double show in such great circumstances. Thirty minutes after we got off stage, The Haunted entered the stage. I have to be honest and say that it’s long between metal concerts I really enjoy, but the Haunted delivered one of the best metal shows I’ve seen a while. Really passionate and intense performance! After the show we went out to say hello to some of our fans, and when we got back 20 minutes later the stage was 100 % cleared! Wow, we REALLY have a lot to learn from Japan!

Day 4: Nagoya
Finally a night with proper sleep! We were picked up quite early at the hotel, and driven to the closest train station in Tokyo. This trip was full of “first times”, and we experiences a new one of those when entering the express train to Nagoya. Approximately an hour later we arrived in Nagoya, and was driven to the venue immediately. The venue was located in a huge shopping mall, and the was the hotel. Very convenient! As I’ve revealed to our blog readers earlier, I’m a sucker for sweets and desserts. Therefore I was exceedingly excited when I saw the most fantastic dessert restaurant I’ve ever witnessed! After the soundcheck almost everyone joined me for some desserts, and my day was already complete. The venue in Nagoya was a lot smaller, but it was also a great place for concerts. The show went really well, and Japan still lives up to all our expectations!

Day 5: Big cat
As we just arrived from a european tour where it was impossible to have a single moment alone, it was a really pleasant surprise that the organizers had booked single rooms for us every night. When on tour it is always on the third and fourth show is at its worst. Today was no exception, and I was quite worried about the show. We stayed at the venue most of the day today, as we knew that we had a day off the next day to check out the city. I started warming up my voice one hour before the sow, and it ended up working OK. It was a bit more difficult on the Ihsahn set, as it is usually a long wait between every time I’m singing. So the voice becomes hoarse between every time I sing. Despite the problems the show also went great today, and it was a really worthy last show on this small tour. We managed to see a part of the Haunted’s show, and it was really great today as well. Check out this band live if you ever have the chance! The organizers takes us out for dinner every day after the show, and this day was no exception. We've gotten the chance to taste new and great food every day, Japan is fantastic!

Day 6: Off day in Osaka
Woooohooo, no sleep at all! Today we checked out a rather rainy Osaka, while trying to buy some christmas presents. George (which became a good friend during our stay) also gave us a really nice guided tour through Osaka It was an OK day, but not the most memorable.

Day 7: Hello Oslo
Time to go back Norway! We were driven to the airport quite early, and the check in at the airport was problem free. It was with mixed feelings we left this great country, and we really hope to get back really soon. The flight was nice, and despite the mixed feelings it felt good to be back on Norwegian soil.


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