The Japan tour in the
summer each year is always
the highlight of that year. This is always the most enjoyable and relaxing
time of the whole year, a time to play music to an appreciative audience
and to meet my friends in Japan. Then there is the food and the shopping.
There is no other time in the year I enjoy more. The year of 2010 has
been a very memorable year. I played shows in Beijing, Macau and Guangzhou.
This is the year I played the most shows outside Hong Kong yet. Then came
the Kansai tour. Something I always look forward to.
The trip to Japan each
year is always bitter sweet
: it reminds me of the relentless onward march of time. When one is young,
times seems immobile; everything seems a standstill and if it moves, it
moves at a snail's pace. A year seems such such an impossibly long time.
But as the years silently slip by, one begins to feel the full swing of
the pendulum of the time. Before you knew it, another years has slipped
by. You have an almost hopeless feeling as you see the years rushing by
and there is nothing you can do about it. You realise that very soon,
if it is not all over yet, it wouldn't matter anymore one way of the other.
I always ponder over what life would have been like if I chose a different
path. What if I chose music instead of law when I was 18 years old? Would
I be a happier person now? Or would have I gone down that beaten path
of dissolutionment and self-destruction so many went? I really don't know.
But the moment is now.
When I go on tour in Japan,
I always bring with me my own rhythm section or at least part
of my own rhythm. But this year, through the co-ordination of Mr. Masato
Nishimura I teamed up with one of Japan's top Blues band, The Outloop
Way Blues Band. Together we went on tour in Osaka and Kyoto. Mr. Masato
is the organizer of my shows in Japan. Mr. Masato's record company handles
the distribution of my cds and also the cds of The Outloop Way Blues Band
The Outloop Way Blues
Band is a trio band, with
Satoshi Sanda on guitar, Tokuji on bass and Yuji Nogami on drums. The
music they play is Blues Rock with a distinct Texas flavour and deep in
the Stevie Ray Vaughan style. They played one show in my Blues bar in
April 2004. They were the last overseas band to play in my Blues bar before
I closed down it down. It was inopportune that when they did their show
at my Blues bar I was in Japan doing some shows in Sapporo. We never got
to meet until 2008. Last year I played a show in Sanda san's Blues bar
in Kyoto. We had a jam session and it felt great. This year is even better,
we got to played together as a band. This is a fantastic band. I was really
looking forward to playing with them.
This year I did a total
of 5 shows within the span
of 6 days. Five of the shows were in Osaka : Beggars' Banquet (21st August),
Doors In Heaven (22nd August), Ruido (25th August) and Club Jungle (26th
August). One show was in Kyoto was at Toga Toga on 16th August. Toga Toga
is a famous live house in Kyoto and this was a special show. What made
the show really special was the presence of the Blues master Mr. "Weeping
Harp" Senoh. We would be playing together on stage. This was the
first time in 4 years. I knew I would enjoy myself feeding on the immense
electricity and energy of the Blues master. There is also one other thing
that was special in this show. For the first time in 10 years I did not
use my Steinberger guitar for standard tuning guitar playing. I used a
Telecaster style guitar made by a Japanese company under licence from
an ex-Fender masterbuilder Fred Stuart (more about that later).
Toga Toga with the
Blues Master Mr. "Weeping Harp" Senoh"
Anyone who has been to a
"Weeping Harp" Senoh show will
never forget the energy, the intensity and groove of his
music. His harp can bring a tears to your eyes and joy to
your heart. Mr. Senoh is such a powerful performer and his
shows are always unforgettable. As to his Blues harp, it
simply is one of the best in the world. In Toga Toga, I
had the chance to play along side the master again. It was
an exhilarating experience, it was an emotional journey
playing through the set list of the master. With a musician
of Mr. stature, he lifts you up in your music, he inspires
you and you see to rise above yourself.
Toga is a famous live house in Kyoto. Literally
all of the top musicians in Japan have performed at Toga
Toga. For me, this is another unforgettable experience.
I am on tour with a super band backing me and for this show
I would be playing with Mr. Senoh as well. The Outloop Way
Blues Band opened the night, I did my set and than Mr. Senoh
came on stage. We had such a good time on stage. The audience
were so kind we were asked to go back for encores.
complain I have is the public transport system.
To get from Osaka to Kyoto, we traveled by train. The last
train was 11:00 p.m. By the time we finished the set with
the encore, we had so little time before the last train.
Packing up my gear I could only say a few words of thanks
to Mr. Senoh and everyone before rushing off to catch the
last train. The was no time to sit down, relax and talk.
But I suppose the music did all the talking already.
in the heart of Shinsaibashi and is a stone's throw away from
our hotel. I have never played in this venue before. As with all
the venues in Japan the sound on stage is excellent.
Live At Club Jungle
Club Jungle has
become a must-do every year. I am
getting know this place really well. The sound is really good on
stage and I feel really relaxed playing here. This year we have
also Kimura and Misaki's Folk Rock Band and Hiroke's Folk Rock Band.
Always love playing at Club Jungle.
Kimiura's Folk Rock Band
Hiroke's New Band
Doors In Heaven
In Heaven also in Shinshabashi, not
far from Club Jungle. The first thing that struck me when
I walked into this place was its feel : it has the same feel
as my old Blues club in Hong Kong. There are pictures of Blues
musicians on the walls, there are guitars lying around and
music was thick in the air. The moment you walk into this
place, you know this place is music, you know music matters
here and you know the owner loves music. Not surprisingly
the owner turned out to be a great Blues fan and also a Blues
guitar player. Some of the guitars here are very very nice
san's new band New Directions. This is a Funk, Rhythm &
Blues and Soul outfit.
year has just flown by. Before you know it, another
year is gone. On 24th September, I learnt of the killing of Hong
Kong tourist in Manila by the rogue policeman. It is so sad. When
you number is up, your number is up. I don't consider join a tourist
company going sight-seeing in Manila a particularly high risk venture.
Yet, so many died, sons, husbands died just like that. I really
don't know what to say. Maybe the only thing to learnt from all
this is to enjoy life as much as you can. You never know when your
number is up. Don't waste time, do what you want to do, do what
you think is meaningful. You may never have the chance to do it.
I made really good friends with the Outloop Way Blues Band. We enjoyed
playing music together so much. Before I left, Sanda san told me
that we have to do it again. And yes, we really have do it again.
Every year I feel sad when it was time to come back to Hong Kong
and this year is no exception. But it has been such a good time.
My cousin Nicholas joined me again and had a really great time together.
He took some fantastic pictures.
I am now back in Hong Kong,
but the good times linger in my mind every day ; the music, the
places, the friends and the good times. I smile when I think about
it all. Life is so good. I am so glad to have gout out of law. There
is so much more to life than working 10 or 12 hours a day, arguing
cases in court, make as much money as you can and spend it as quickly
as you can. Such a meaningless life. But that is all by-gone's now.
I have never enjoyed life more. I always look forward to tomorrow
and the next show.
Another thing to
make this year in Osaka so memorable is I bought
two fantastic guitars. These guitars are simply the best of their
kind. Their brand is Stuart. Never hear of it? Well, you should
really find out, it is something you want to know. Check it out