Konbanwa, I am currently on a bus, coming from Okaya, where we had our concert, to our beloved Tokyo Dome Hotel, YPC’s home base here in Japan. Right now we are celebrating our successful night, in true YPC style, singing and listening to someone’s ipod, the way we do if we don’t have a concert the next day, of course.
We have every right to celebrate, too. This afternoon alone we took a bus, to a plane, to a bus, to a train, to a bus, to a concert, and finally a long bus ride back to Tokyo. Although last year’s Japan tour has made me a very tolerant traveler, I was still exhausted and jarred by today’s combination travel and concert day! But in order to fully understand your child or friend’s journey, one must begin this story from the beginning…at least the way mine began…
My roommate, Dani, and I set her phone for 6 am, 30 minutes before the mass wakeup call. Unfortunately, because of last nights nearly equally difficult travel/concert day, I didn’t hear the alarm and Dani went back to sleep.
So, we woke up at the wakeup call. After showering and packing our duffle bags for the day’s trip, we went down to a delicious breakfast. I ate rice and udon, the region’s specialty. After the meal, we rushed back upstairs, so as not to make the acquaintance of the dreaded dollar rule. After anxiously waiting for the elevator, then sitting in the lobby, we began our day’s journey.
We took the first bus to the airport, I read and pondered what the day would bring us. It was only a short ride, so we soon found ourselves at the airport. We were informed about the tightness of our schedule and were encouraged to buy the day’s lunch at a store in the airport, something along the lines of a Family Mart, Sunkus, or 7/11. While there is rarely ever a shortage of delicious food in Japan, this particular store did not have particularly tasty options. After several minutes of deliberation, I finally chose a Cup Noodle, being under the impression that there would be hot water on the train… nah, you would have thought….
Anyway, we boarded the plane, anywhere between 10 and 11 am. Although, don’t take my word for it. For me, at least, I never really know where I am or where we are going, I just go where they tell me; it creates a level of mystique, some might say. But once again, I digress. I spent the plane ride reading, and experiencing the unique sensation of being on a JAL aircraft.
Before I knew it, it was time to get on a bus to go to the station, thus beginning the next stage of our epic journey. For reasons still unknown to me, we got off the bus, like, 20 minutes away from where we were actually going. It was a little too hot for that kind of walking, with our backpacks, and duffels. While waiting in the shady shelter of the station we were informed that there was an accident, and the trains were held up. We would have to wait another hour for the train. We were supposed to board at 1, but we got on closer to 2 pm. The ride was two and a half hours long – we would be late for our dress, and many questioned if we would even make our 6:30 p.m. call. Well, after quite some time, the train came, it was cleaned, and we got on. I sat next to my good friend, John Hadfield, YPC’s guest percussionist. After nearly two hours of conversation, he took a nap, and once again, I read.
I was getting hungry; I assume because I hadn’t eaten since 7, I asked an attendant pushing a cart of drinks and snacks if she had any hot water. She gave me a horrified look, and said “noooooo”, with undertones of shock and disbelief. My noodles would have to wait until the concert hall….
When the train pulled into the station we all hurried off the train, and into the next bus, which would take us to our concert. After getting to the concert hall we did a short warm up, taped our places for the concert, ate dinner, and finally got dressed and ready for the concert.
When we walked on stage, we noticed that there were a few more empty seats than we were used to. Everything ran smoothly, and despite that fact that the audience was not sold out or even full we still gave our best first half, or classical and more “choral” act. Excited about this fact, we gave an exuberant second half, the choreographed/ gospel set. We did very well, and we are all very proud. After the concert we began the process of laundry and got on the bus to take us back to Tokyo.
Now we are in present time. I am still on the bus, miraculously still excited and awake. Such is the life of an YPC chorister on tour in Japan.