New York Mniute

19th and 20th August

Sapporo is always special to me. The first time I ever played music in Japan was in Sapporo. That was 1992. Throughout the years, I have made a lot of good friends in Sapporo and one of them is Setsuko san, the owner of New York Minute. New York Minute is situated in the heart of Sapporo City and Setsuko san is Blues music lover. Setsuko san is also a good friend of Mr. Peter Green, one of the icons of Blues music. My two shows coincided with the 7th Anniversary of New York Minute. One of my old friends Hitoshi Karsahima san came to join me on on stage on 19th and my other old friend Yanagiya Tadihiro joined me on stage on 20th. At New York Minute, the feeling is always warm and cozy and it is always good to meet my old friends and to meet new friends.

 

My drummer and bassist of my New York Minuite shows are two young musicians both of whom are in their early twneties : -

Sai Takeuchi

Michiya Tanaka

Due to the shortness of time, all we could have was just one rehearsal before the shows and we were playing some 20 odd songs. We have never played together before and it is always difficult to play shows with just one rehearsal; there simply wasn't enough time for us to get to know one another musically. But the two young men had done their work and like most Japanese musicians, they have a good and solid foundation for their insturments. The rehearsal went smooth and well. We were steady and rolling in the first show but in the second show, we really got it all together and really enjoyed playing the music together. It is always good to play with young players, they have endless energy and they are full of awarness of what is going on during each song.

After the rehearsal proper and with a drink in hand, Niikawa san, Yana san and Setsuko san and I all sat around for a jam session and to work out some of the finer parts of some of the songs we were going to play. We played fora long time, jamming and exchanging ideas, each of us taking turns to sing a tune. I often think we play our best music just sitting around relaxed, drinking, talking and laughing and let the music take us where ever it takes us.

On the first night, Nastsuki san and her choir singers opened the show. Natsuki san has a great voice and sings great gospel music. On the night she was backed by a troupe of 11 backing singers and the music was really fantastic and exciting. It was so exciting that it was only after they had finished their music I realised I had forgotten to take pictures of their show. On the second night, Yana's and V Bishop opened the show and we all played together at the end doing "Can't Stop Loving The Blues".

Hitoshi Karahsima

s

 

 

Setsuko san joined us om "Got A Mind To Give Up Living" and "Something Inside Of Me"

Yanagiya Tadihiro

Niikawa with his '58 Les Paul Re-issue

 

The two Sapporo shows were just the right shows to start off a long tour in Japan. I always feel good visiting Sapporo and is it always a happy time meeting old friends and and making new friends at New York Minute. I am most grateful to Setsuko san for inviting me to play in New York Minute.

 

With Natsuki san

 

 

Hot Spring

On 21st Sunday, we travelled to a hot spring hotel. It took some two hours to drive to the hotel form Sapporo City. Hokkaido has renowned for its beautiful countryside and hot springs.

The hotel was situated beside a river and combined western and Japanese style in the hotel rooms. The food was absolutely first-class including three different kinds of kani (crab). I just could not stop eating. After dinner it was hot spring time.

The beauty of the hot was spring simply breath-taking. It was only the end of August but the nights were already chilly. Soon after we arrived at the hotel, it started to rain heavily and the temperature dropped even more. But that is just the right kind of weather to take a dip in the hot spring. Due to the rain, very few guests at the hotel venutured out to the out door on sen and I found that I had the whole hot spring to myself at night. The hot vapour from the water turned into a mist just above the water and the scene was almost surreal. With rain falling down icy cold, I just immersed myself in the hot spring and relaxed every muscle in my body. I took four dips in course of the day.

The next day, my wife and I set off for Chitose airport for a Tokyo bound plane to meet up with my young drummer and bassist in Tokyo for the start of the Japan mainland tour. From Monday onwards, it would be 7 shows in 7 nights for me starting off in Tokyo and finishing off in Osaka.

To the next show : Imagine in Tokyo