[Editor's Note: Ryan Ritchie is one of our talented music scribes at the Weekly. He's also in a local punk band called the Heathens who just toured Japan. This is the third and final part of his crazy tour diary.]
December 2, 2013
No show today, but we attended the going-away party at the Moon Cafe, a diner run by Mooneyes–a legendary SoCal custom racing brand. There was free barbecue, but nothing was vegan, so I drank Chu-Hi and ate potato chips.
I made friends with a guy named Corner from Sweden and two couples from Rome. Everyone was very cool and for the first time I found myself wanting to return next year not just as a musician but as a person with new friends.
By the time we assembled outside the cafe for a group shot, I was drunk.
The Heathens Tour Diary, Pt.1: OC Punks Encounter Japanese Bidets
The Heathens Tour Diary, Pt. 2: We're Kinda Big in Japan
We decided to walk back to our room, even though it was far, cold and we had no idea where we were. Walking meant more Chu-Hi, so we stopped at a store, where we met an Australian guy named Brett also associated with Mooneyes.
Al, Craig, Brett and I were walking past a tiny bar when we stopped and saw one patron inside — Shige. He gave us a look that suggested he did not want to see us, but offered to buy us a drink. An hour later, Shige was gone but the free drinks kept coming. Needless to say, the remainder of this night was the epitome of a party.
I positioned myself at the end of the bar and talked to a group of Japanese women. One was 47 but looked 27. Her 30-year-old boyfriend was there too. In broken English, she told me he wasn't a good boyfriend because he didn't support her. Feeling bad for her, I bought her a drink. The next thing I knew, I was buying rounds for this half of the bar. Forget that I am poor and have no money — these people thought I was an American rock star and for once in my God-forsaken life, I could buy drinks for strangers because that's what an American rock star would do, right?
Another woman reminded me of Beige from Foxy Autopsy. She was half Greek, one quarter Chinese and one quarter Korean. She spoke with a Japanese accent and was fluent in English. And she was wasted. On a Monday night!
The rest of the night is hazy at best. I remember waiting for a cab after 3 a.m., freezing my ass off and thinking a taxi would never come. Eventually, one did. I got in and before the driver hit the gas, I was out.
December 4, 2013
Picking up shows on the fly in Japan is just as easy as it is at home, which is another way of saying it's impossible. Since we aren't playing, we decided to see Zebrahead and maybe do some of that network stuff people are always talking about.
The first thing I was told about Zebrahead was that their tour manager Mark would be on stage singing back-ups. More importantly, however, he would also have a bar set up and would be making drinks all night for anyone who wanted one. For free.
Ah, but there was a problem with getting wasted tonight and that problem was free food. As a vegan, I have not eaten a proper meal in a week. Backstage, Zebrahead had apples, avocados, peanuts, almonds and peanut butter. My eyes gazed at the tables like a newly-released prisoner at the Playboy Mansion. It was the Thanksgiving feast I didn't have and there was no one stopping me from gaining five pounds in one night. That said, I am not a thief nor am I ungrateful — this was Zebrahead's food and I was not going to eat all of it. But I was most certainly going to eat an apple and some nuts and see where that got me.
Where that got me was enough energy to stand on the side of the stage drinking tequila. A few drinks later and Al, Craig and I were invited on stage. Naturally, we said yes. We sang, we danced, we toasted and if I wasn't buzzed, I might have been a wee bit jealous of this band and all the fun they were having.
As we walked off stage, Al turned to me and said, “I want this.”
After the show, we hung with Zebrahead. Each guy was nicer than the next and that has nothing to do with the green light they gave me for their food. In all my years of being a musician and/or a writer covering bands, I have never encountered a more awesome group of guys than this band.
I left the venue with some almonds while Al took a bottle of vodka. We walked to Shibuya, ate and drank booze while leaning against a wall.
Maybe we didn't play, but I sure felt like a rock star.
December 5, 2013
Two shots of Jack.
Two shots of Scotch.
One shot of sake.
Two eight-percent Chu-His.
Two vodka cranberries.
One shot of Jager.
One glass of champagne.
That's what I remember drinking backstage with Zebrahead and at an after-party in Roppongi. What I don't remember drinking could probably bring a dead man back to life.
When I say I was hung over for two days, I mean I was HUNG OVER FOR TWO FUCKING DAYS. I ain't no amateur, so can someone please explain how this happened? No joke, I have never been in worse shape than I was this Friday. My entire body ached. I had crazy dreams of electronics overtaking my body. I shivered. I sweat. And at one point, as I hovered the toilet for maybe the fifteenth time that day, I began to shake and felt like I was about to pass out.
I did not leave my bed all of Friday (not counting trips to the bathroom to vomit, of course). I drank two apple juices and ate three bites of a blueberry bagel. Other than that, this was a fasting day. Except, I didn't plan on having a fasting day.
Thinking about this day makes me want to throw up. Therefore, I have decided never again to think, speak or write about this wretched experience.
Tokyo, I love you, but let's agree not to do that again, shall we?
December 7, 2013
Hangover day two sucks, but not nearly as much as day one. Still, I had a gnarly stomachache and the thought of curling into a ball and dying sounded much better than it normally does.
We walked around a flea market where I bought a GameBoy for the equivalent of one American dollar. I also took another creepy picture, this time standing next to a group of teenage cheerleaders. Please note the hangover-remedy large apple juice in my hand.
I didn't plan on spending my final two days in Japan with a Godzilla-sized hangover, but that's rock 'n' roll. And, as someone who knows more about rock 'n' roll than I do once sang, I like it. So, Japan, let's do this again soon. Next time, however, let's leave the hangovers in the States.