the trio world tour 1996
Passages from Ryuichi Sakamoto's private journal of the Trio World Tour

09/02 | 08/28 | 08/25 | 08/24 | 08/21 | 08/19 | 08/16 | 08/15 | 08/14 | 08/13 | 08/12 | 08/11 | 08/10 | 08/09 | 08/08 | 08/07 | 08/03 | 08/02 | 07/27 | 07/26 | 07/24 | 07/23 | 07/21 | 07/20 | 07/19 | 07/18 | 07/16 | 07/12 | 07/11 | 07/10 | 07/04 | 07/02 |


On the 28th, we held an Internet live broadcast of my show.

Mr.Masamura, who was in charge of the NTT N-Star satelite we used for the Internet live broadcast is a class mate of mine from junior high. We meet again after 25 years. And professor Murai of Keio University was at the same junior high but in a lower grade. Mr. Shimura was always number one in the class. He got the best grades, he was the fastest runner and the best writer. I can't get over how some people seem to just have it all.

When I stop and think about how many people are watching this live show I am overcome with an immense feeling of excitement.

After the show, we run to Cyberia (an Internet cafe in Tokyo) in Nishiazabu. I see many people I know there, Mr. Shimura, Mr. Izaka, Mr. Furukawa, Mr. Hiramatsu, Mr. Murai, Mr. Iseri and Mr. Kambara. I have some wine and a light dinner at Mr. Hiramatasu's recommendation. Mr. Murai begins his lecture. I also pop my head in the post-production party of the crew who worked on my Internet live broadcast. But I drink a little too much on this night. I promise Mr. Shimura that we will see each other again and I go home.

It was a really good night. I was so happy to hear Mr. Murai say that the live broadcast was a "great success".

The 29th was our last show in Tokyo. Maenaka comes to see my show. He had said to me before the show that he would leave after the first 30 minutes but he ends up staying until the end. When we played the song, "A flower is not a Flower," I dedicate it to Maenaka "as one of my best friends". I hear Maenaka shout from the audience, "Thank you". I was so overwhelmed by so many emotions for him that I couldn't stop crying.

After the show, we go to Mr. Hiramatsu's restaurant in Hiroo, upon his invitation. There, I have my favorite plate of pasta and wine. We make a toast for finishing another show successfully. Jaques is blown away by Mr. Furukawa's very fast way of speaking English.

Now that I have completed an Internet Live on the 28th and played a whole show for Maenaka, I have used up all my adrenalin. My mind is totally out of focus.

On the 31st, we have our first show in Osaka. Now we only have two shows left. I feel awful today because the night before I went to a party at Mr. Goto's house and had too much to drink. To make things worse, the show today starts at 6 pm, which is really early for me. The people in Osaka tonight were really quiet at the start of the show but by the end, they were all on their feet. There were three encores. During my solo of "1900" I make a mistake and I was totally embarassed. During the last song, "Parolibre," the whole audience listened on their feet so quietly that I was totally moved.

After the show, the whole staff, crew and I go out for our last post-concert party. We do it tonight because on the night of the last show of a tour, the crew have to load all the equipment.

First, I give a present to my dearest friends, Jaques and Everton, who are also extremely talented musicians. Then I give presents to the PA engineer, Mr. Shimura, Mashiko the monitor engineer and Mr. Yuasa the lighting engineer. After that, I go around and thank the entire production crew of the tour. Each one of them tells me a little story about all the hardships of this tour. Indeed, at every venue we had to face all sorts of obstacles. Still, I am sure this tour will remain a good memory for everyone. I think to myself one more time how the crew really performed so well under difficult circumstances. I realize how much I am indebted to these people. My head gets filled with memories of different scenes from the tour and I get teary-eyed.

I am the first one to leave the party. I go straight back to the hotel.

September 2nd. Day two in Osaka.

We have a rehearsal at two thirty, which we open to the public. There are about a hundered of my fans sitting on the second floor of the hall. Since today is the last day of this tour, during rehearsal we go over all the songs we have played as a trio. To have some fun, we do a blues song featuring Everton's singing.

To my surprise I find out that Mr. Furukawa of Microsoft Japan, came all the way by bullet train to see my show. My mother also came all the way from Tokyo for the day to see it.

At 5:30 pm, the show starts. I decide to do the show today (uninhibited) without abiding to any rules. I start with "Tong Poo". The staff, crew and audience are blown away by this. But I don't get the applause that I usually get. The song list for the show is no longer in order. The song, "The Last Emperor" which I always play for the encore, is the fourth song in our show tonight. Then after that, I play "The Sheltering Sky" and "Little Buddha". Basically, I play the songs according to Bertolucci's chronology. At this point in the show, I am trying to figure out what to play for the encore.

During the song, "The Last Emperor," the door in the back breaks open and smoke from dry ice comes gushing out. But I think I will just have to fight this one out and come out the winner.

We end the show after successfully completing all the songs in our repertoire. I get hurt by the very same microphone I throw up in the air. My nose is bleeding like hell and all swollen.

I have to say goodbyes to Jaques, Everton and the crew. My friend Asada Akira also came to see the show. It was his third time he's seen it. The other two times were in Roskilde and Tokyo.

Instead of spending another night here, I go straight back to Tokyo on the bullet train. I am with my mother and Mr. Furukawa. I was a bit pissed off because I had to keep an ice pack on my nose the whole time.

The long tour is finally over. Aggh!!
I couldn't sleep well tonight because I was too wired.

I want to extend a big thank you to all those who supported me in making this tour happen.

(C)Kab America Inc.

Yesterday I had my first gig in Tokyo. From the day before yesterday we started an open e-mail mailing list on the Internet so I have been talking to my fans. Exchanging ideas with fans in this way is very refreshing.

Yesterday I was exchanging e-mail with fans right up until the moment I had to go on stage for my show. The performance itself was okay. By now, the three of us have been playing together for such a long time that even if one of us is having a bad day, our performance will maintain a certain kind of intensity. One also looks for new and refereshing things to produce during each show, but this is difficult, too. Surprises don't come about unless something out of the ordinary happens. It could be caused by people or a place or even a slight change that occurs in one's condition.

The audience in Tokyo is always more mellow than audiences in other parts of the world. Even during the encore. I play "Thousand Knives" for the first time on this night. It is the first time since playing with YMO. And ofcourse, it is the first time I play it in this Trio format.
After the show, I go to dinner with some of my friends who came to tonight's show. After dinner everybody goes to a Karaoke club. I am tired so I go back to the hotel.

(C)Kab America Inc.

The router for Netcom, our service provider for is still messed up. It's been like this for three days already. I serioulsy consider switching providers. If I were the head of a big corporation, I would have switched providers already. The damage to the business would have been irreversible.

A concert in Ohmiya. I was in good spirits today and things went well. Things are totally under control but my mind is running wild in all different directions, total chaos. The crowd is totally into the show and right after we played "Tong Poo" the crowd starts clapping. I can't figure out if the audience tonight is acting this way because they read on the Internet how the crowd in Nagoya went wild when I started playing Tong Poo. If that isn't the case, the reaction of the Japanese audience when I play this song is something totally unique to this race.

Tomorrow I will have a day off. It will be my first day off since I came to Japan.

(C)Kab America Inc.

The day before yesterday we had a concert in Osaka. The audience at that night's show was really into the show right from the start. Their response was even greater than that of the audience in Sicily.

Until the encore, this was the case in Kanazwa too, but by the time we played "Tong Poo" people in the audience were screaming and clapping to the music. I had to laugh. Or is it that people in Nagoya just get over- excited about everything?

Ever since a while back I have noticed that the Japanese audience is less shy and their reaction to music is getting very westernized in many ways. But I also wonder if this trio format just brings that side out in people. I am also begining to think that perhaps the trio format makes people more warm, more passionate. The audience in Tokyo is always usually very withdrawn and cool, but this time that doesn't seem to be the case.

Backstage some one has brought me some grilled eel, which is very delicious and a great delicacy in Japan. It tastes so good that I eat too much of it and get a little bit sick. After the show I take the bullet train straight back to Tokyo.

Yesterday, I go to For Life (my record company in Japan) in the afternoon. I still have heartburn from the eel I ate late last night so I just have some salad. In the evening I meet up with Prof. Sugishita who is a professor of neurological research at Tokyo University (Todai). Afterwards, we go to an Italian restaurant for some dinner. For some reason, I am very tired.

Today (8/24) I only have salad. Nectom, our service provider for, is stuck in a loop. I can't access my e-mail. I am troubled by this.

We take the Dai-san to Yokohama. Netcom is still dead. I am really troubled by this.

On this tour, we draw an ISDN backstage and have a small router, hub and a LAN set up so that our staff can do work. I wish they would draw dedicated lines in the halls, for god's sake. I can't help but feeling wanting to be connected all the time. The future should be a place where you could access 10 mega bytes directly from satelite. A place where dedicated lines are a thing of the past.
Also, what I can't believe are people who talk on the portable phones while they drive. I think this is so dangerous. Why don't they put speakers on portable phones? They have portable phones like this in the United States for ten years now.

We do a show in Yokohama. During the show there, I talk a little bit about our shows in Roskilde and Palermo. I think to myself, was I subconsciously trying to conncect with the people in Nagoya by doing this? With the song "Tong Poo", people start clapping to the music. There were even people making catcalls although their voices were soft. But the audience at the concert tonight was really hot.

After the show, we go to Chinatown for dinner. Next to us is the Japanese band "Mr. Children" who are also having dinner after their show that night. I see Kobayashi, who I haven't seen in a while. I am introduced to the members of this band for the first time. I also meet their lighting engineer, Patrick. I haven't seen him in fifteen years. He was the lighting man during the YMO world tour. I am told that since the last time we worked together he has been doing lighting for all the The Rolling Stones' tours.

I get back to the hotel at I am. They were showing "Schindler's List" on cable so I watch it.

(C)Kab America Inc.

Although I didn't have much to drink the night before I feel like I have a hangover. I check my e-mail, then pack.

At 12:30 pm, I leave the hotel for the airport. At 3:00 pm, I get on ANA flight #910 for Tokyo. Estimated arrival time is 9 pm. And I don't have any interviews planned when I get there. I decide to get some rest.

(C)Kab America Inc.

It is raining so hard today that it is seems as if we are in the midst of a tropical cyclone. The view of the bay and the sky from the hotel is a sea of green and quite amazing.

At 11:30 am, I have another session with the Canadian chiropractor that came to see me yesterday. Even he can't seem to loosen up the "rock" set in my back.

At 12:30 pm, I have lunch with Andy Lau, who is a pop idol in Hong Kong. To me, he looks a lot like the Japanese idol, Tetsuya Komuro. Later, Kenny Wen pops in on our meeting. After the meeting, the three of us have a photo shoot .

At 4:30 pm, we do a soundcheck. Today is the last day for a lot of members of the crew. Everybody seems a bit restless. The piano today is a pretty good one. I am forced to take the top of my piano off due to the restrictions imposed on us by the concert hall.

At 7:30 pm, another major star from Hong Kong comes to visit me. It is Jackie Cheung. I am a little bit taken a back by having two stars from Hong Kong coming to see me in one day. I hope that some day all of us will work with one another. I have been wanting to do something with artists in Asia for quite a while now.

8:30 pm, I go on stage. The audience's seats in the concert hall tonight surround the entire stage. The layout is very similar to a concert hall in Tokyo called Suntory Hall. I have part of the audience sitting behind me on the stage but this doesn't really bother me. I am successfully able to focus on the music from the start of the show all the way to the end. The show goes well.

We take a group picture after the show with the entire crew. Tomorrow, everybody will be going their separate ways. Kenny goes to Seattle, Craig goes to San Francisco and David D'Arcy and David Rubinson will go to New York. I know that if it weren't for them, this tour would not be a reality. I thank everyone for their hard work.

I go back to the hotel after the show but then go straight out to a club called Quo Quo. But I am too tired to even be out at this time. My chiropractic session has loosened my body up so my body feels like lead. I am the first to leave. When I get to the hotel I go straight to bed.

August 15th was a really good day.

(C)Kab America Inc.

From Taiwan we go to Hong Kong. They are very close to each other. The distance between Hong Kong, Taiwan and Okinawa is very small. It was very interesting for me to be able to see the differences between all the Chinese people firsthand on this trip. Coincidentally, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Peking are all in the same time zone.

I am impressed by the power of the Chinese people here because almost everyone has full command of English. I am sure they will run the world in the 21st century. In Europe, the educational system is really advanced and the country has a great infrastructure. But, in Asia you feel such an incredible amount of energy pouring out of the people and I don't get this feeling in Europe. Somehow I feel that the Europeans are experiencing a slow, quiet death.

I hurt my lower back when I was leaving Taiwan today. My shoulders are killing me, too, and I feel like I am falling apart.

At 1:30 pm we get to the hotel. I meet David, who was a manager of a hotel I frequent in Tokyo. He moved here in July because he was asked to re-structure one of the hotels here. I am happy about seeing him again. He tells me that he misses Tokyo.

At 3 pm I have a press conference at the hotel. At 4 pm I go to CNN to meet with May Lee for an interview. May Lee tells me she is a Korean girl born in Ohio!! She is totally bright and it was good talking to her. I finally meet someone I wouldn't mind being friends with. There are not that many people that I could say that about. At 5 pm I go back to the hotel for another interview.

Having to take a flight without much sleep the night before and then having to do interviews as soon as you get off the airplane is really hard. I have a chiropractor come to see me. He is a Candian living in Hong Kong. And not bad at what he does. My back pain is eased a bit. The entire area from my waist up to my shoulders is in so much pain it is hard as a rock. I am told by the chiropractor to cut down on caffeine and alchohol because it robs the body of fluids, thus tightening your muscles up like a rock. He tells me to drink more water. I know that what he is saying makes sense.

At 7:30 pm, I have a quiet dinner in the Japanese restaurant in the hotel called Kaetsu. I knew the manager of this restaurant back when he was working in Japan.

I find out that there is another stupid article about me in the Japanese magazine "Shukan Gendai." I make my mind at that instant that I will never work with the publisher of this magazine, Kodansha, ever again in my life.

(C)Kab America Inc.

I get up at 10:45 am. I have lunch with Kenny Wen at 12:30 pm.

At 3:30 pm we do a sound check. A video shooting is scheduled in conjunction with today's show so Mr. Iio (Chief Sound Recording Engineer) and Mr. Matsuda (Assistant to the Sound Recording Engineer) are here to help out. It is the first time these two worked with Taiwanese.

The concert hall we are playing in tonight is the Sun Yat Sen Memorial Theater. It is a state-run building so we are obliged to play the Taiwanese national anthem before we start our show!! At 7:30 pm, Kenny Wen opens. He is Taiwanese so he is welcomed on stage by a very warm round of applause. At 8:00 pm, we go on stage. Once I am on stage I realize that I have forgotten my music backstage so I have to go off the stage once again. The piano today is a Bosendorfer and it's pretty good. Today I talk on stage without having a Chinese interpreter. The show goes well. The crowd tonight was good, too. We do three encores.

I meet Sally's mother in law and the rest of her family. Her mother speaks really good Japanese. This is due to the Japanese colonization of this land before the war. After the Japanese lost the war, they were forced to leave Taiwan. I am told that the Taiwanese cried whe the Japanese were leaving. They say to me that the Japanese are good people. I fight back my tears really hard when I was hear this story.

When I get back to the hotel, I watch the movie "U-boat" but I get sleepy so I turn it off and go to sleep.

(C)Kab America Inc.

I get up at 4:30 am. I am not happy about this at all. At the airport in Peking, we fight forever over excess baggage. Once you have hurt a Chinese person's pride, that's it. They go on forever until you give up. We take a 7:45 am flight to Hong Kong. There, we switch airplanes to go Taiwan. We arrive at 1:20 am. It is very hot and humid too. The view of the city on our drive from the airport reminded me of the north of Tokyo. The city looks like a mix of Osaka and the Hiroo district in Tokyo.

Finally we get to the hotel. I am surprised to find that I have ten different rooms in our suite. From here I go to MSN from Tokyo at 21,600bps.

At 5pm, I have a press conference with tons of journalists. I don't feel an anti Japanese vibes here in Taiwan. I am surprised to find that the press here know a lot about my history. At 7:30 pm, I invite Ichikawa over to my room and have some dinner. I find out that they are broadcasting a Japanese program called "Hawaii - Malay Sea Battle" from NHK television channel. I am a bit bewildered as to why they are airing a movie like this at this time. I realize that we are approaching Memorial Day for World War Two in Asia. I realize that on Memorial Day, I will be playing in Hong Kong. Later, I have a talk with David, who is my piano tuner on the tour, about how he's been causing some problems since we got to Asia. At midnight, I go to bed.

(C)Kab America Inc.

To recover some of the damage from yesterday's press conference I get talked into doing a bunch of interviews with the press. Sally, who is also the wife of Andrew, the promoter of this tour, translates all the Mandarin Chinese to English for me. Two pm: got to meet with a group of journalists who were also at the press conference yesterday. The interview with them goes real smooth . The journalists were also very enthusiastic about meeting with me today. I am confused as to why they had such a bad attitude yesterday. At all the interviews I've had here, I am able to gather valuable information regarding contemporary music in China today. I've been wanting to release music of the young generation in China on my own Gut record label. I have been saying this since last year, but I never had the opportunity before to actually come to China. Unfortunately, this trip is for only three days and it just doesn't give me enough time to do anything with my ideas. But, I was able to meet some really interesting young journalists here and we were able to exchange some very interesting ideas.

At 4 pm we have soundcheck. I am curious to see how the audience here will react to my music. I feel ill today from drinking too much alchohol last night. Being a pro and having a hangover just seems to come hand-in-hand.

During the first half of the show, I am too nervous to really get into the music but by the end I am able to forget everything and get totally absorbed by it. The audience is very resposive to the show tonight. They warm up to the music immediately. Their reaction to the music is just like the audiences we had in Europe and in Japan. This was not the case last night. I was also happy to see that there weren't any assholes taking pictures during the show like there were last night. I am told that it is very rare for the people in this country to go to a show and listen to it so quietly. I am told that it is common for the people here to talk on their cellular phones, eat or talk to each other loudly while they are watching a show. My tour production crew couldn't believe their ears when they heard this.

After the show, the people from the Japanese embassy come to congratulate me backstage. The Japanese Ambassador to China came to my show last night. At 10:30 pm, we take a van to go back to the hote and I find out that I have to check out of the hotel at 5:30 am tomorrow morning.

I take a moment to take a deep breath to relax. I am happy that my shows in Beijing ended successfully.

(C)Kab America Inc.

I had to leave the hotel early in the morning with a hangover and no sleep. We get on a Cathay flight to Hong Kong. After a four hour flight we land in Hong Kong. We switch planes and get on a China Airline flight for Beijing. Two hours and a half later we get to Beijing. It is pouring rain. We find out our luggage was left in Hong Kong.

A gigantic white limousine picks us up at the ariport. We are told it used to be Madonna's.

We are greeted warmly at the hotel. I am totally exahausted by this time. I don't care how long a flight is, just being on an airplane is exhausting. I think you get like this because of cabin pressure and the constant sway of the plane.

I go to bed with my clothes on because I have no other choice.

(C)Kab America Inc.

Today is my first show ever in Singapore. At noon, I attend a press conference held at my hotel. Scoal showers begin to fall outside during the conference.

Singapore is so clean that you don't even see one speck of waste on the streets anywhere. Jay-walking is illegal here. I am kind of freaked out by the way things are so strict but the local people look content and happy. Eighty-percent of the people here are of Chinese descent, the rest are mainly Indian or Malaysian.

This city is the best example of a futuristic restrictive government. The Singapore and Chinese governments are censoring the Internet. Yet they have the highest percentage of people hooked up on the Internet in Asia. I am told that there are twice as many servers here than in Japan. I had read that they had information kiosks planted in the city, but I could not find any. The public telephones in the airport were the old kind, no ISDN, no open jack to go on-line. There is no connecting line to MSN here. I get on MSN by connnecting to a MSN point in Tokyo from here.

The concert hall is gigantic and resembles a convention center. It is very hot here so eveywhere you go the airconditioning is on full blast. So, whenever you go inside a building you end up freezing yourself to death. During rehearsal I have them turn down the air conditioning because it is way too cold.

The piano I have today is the worst one I've had so far on the entire tour. David, our piano tuner is really upset about this. Actually, David is not enjoying our visit to Singapore at all. He was in trouble from the moment he set foot in the airport here.

This was the only piano available so I agree to use it tonight. Playing this piano is like trying to tame a wild horse. In the end, I couldn't concentrate on my performance during the show because I had so much trouble with the piano. The performance did not go well at all. The acoustics in the hall was awful. I am extremely upset that I could not deliver a great performance to the audience here, especially because it is my first show in this city. After the show, I told the local promoter that I would never come back for another show unless he figures out another way to get a better piano.

I go to a club called "Zouk" before returning to the hotel. I meet Dick Lee there. We talk. I find out he was living in Japan for five years. I also find out that he is an entrepreneur and that he owns a lot of companies such as a modelling agency and a produciton company.

I return to the hotel drunk. I find a cat in the lobby of the hotel so I bring it back to my room.

Everybody in Singapore speaks English. If Japan does not learn to make English it's main language I think the country will stop growing as much as the other countries. I guess it's the peoples choice. What do I care. Korea faces a similar problem. With the development of the Internet, English only seems to become more and more the standard everyday. I hate how English is taking over everything, but it's a reality.

(C)Kab America Inc.

The day before yesterday we had a show in Melbourne. The place reminds me of a city in a Nordic country, really big and super clean. The concert hall was great. Even the backstage area was nice. There was no smoking allowed anywhere at the venue.

I could not sleep at all due to jet lag. Moreover, the bed in my hotel is really soft and I have massive pain in my lower back. I am not in good form at all. But the show here went really well.

Kenny Wen has joined our tour now. He plays two songs alone then comes back to play with the trio ensemble for two songs of the encore; "The Last Emperor" and "A flower Is Not A Flower". To my surprise we had a local warm up band I had never even heard of before our show. I find out this is required by the law.

I meet some people backstage before the show. There is an eight year old girl here too. She is cute. I give her a kiss on the cheek.

Yesterday I went back to Sydney to rest in the hotel. At four-thirty pm I go to the concert hall. During our tour in the Pacific we have a different piano and equipment everytime we have a show. We have to spend a lot of time to get the right sound every time there is a change. Mr. Shimura our PA engineer has to work super hard because of this.

Today we have another local warm up band on before us. Kenny Wen goes on a little after eight o'clock. He is getting a great round of applause. At eight-thirty, showtime.

Due to jet lag, Jaques, our cellist has not been able to sleep since three am. I am almost faint with fatigue too. All of us were in the worst condition but somehow performed extremely well. I don't get it. How does this happen. Even in Paris and London we made a few errors throughout the shows, but tonight all of us have sailed through even the most difficult parts very smoothly. All the parts of the show gelled together perfectly for some reason, the acoustics, the audience, the way we began the show etc.

We have three encores. The song "Eastern Wind" was very fast like last night. I joke to everyone that everything is this way because of the Olympics. Al Green was great. He represented the local culture of Atlanta and they should have left it at that. The opening ceremony was a mass-ive mess. I wonder if Pepo was watching it from his bed in Barcelona.

Today we leave for Singapore.

(C)Kab America Inc.

I have never in my life been in a place so distant from Japan and yet is only one hour time difference away . Most of us usually think of the horizontal lines that mark the international time zones as being the measure of time all over the world. Often we overlook the fact that the earth is round and that the lines that demarcate the international time zone runs from top to bottom of the globe and that this distance is far and wide. Being here really makes you realizes what all the lines really mean. If you go out into outer space these horizontal and vertical lines make no difference but I guess while you are on earth they do.

I sleep until one in the afternoon due to jet lag. I am woken up to take a phone interview from Taiwan. I am half asleep through the entire interview.
Someone tells me that to adjust one's internal body clock it is useful to expose ones self to the sun so I go out for a walk. It turns out the hotel I am staying in is located close to the red light district of Sydney. I scope the whole place out. There are a lot of Korean run businesses in this area. There are also a couple of Japanese run businesses too. Chinatown is located a little bit further away. I am impressed again by the Chinese and Korean people's will to survive. I buy a couple of CD's. I have a cup of capuccino in a small coffee shop similar to the kind of shop you find in Kichijoji in Tokyo.

I hear in the news that Taka-aki Yoshimoto almost drowned and that he is in critical condition. An image of Maenaka enters my head.

Back in my hotel roon, I watch "Broken Arrow" and "Bird Cage". "Bird Cage" is a good movie.

I do a search on gernerative music on Alta Vista and get straigh to Brian Eno's web page, KOAN. I don't down load it because I am not in a good mood. I let Yasaka know about the URL and I find out he just found out about it yesterday too. I burn for "encoded music".

The one giga-byte of memory in my lap top is getting full so right now I don't feel like increasing it. When I get to Tokyo I will get a 640M MO. I tell myself that there is no way of getting around trying to limit my luggage during my travels.

Tomorrow we go to Melbourne.

(C)Kab America Inc.

On July thirty-first we left for Sydney. We get to Sydney at five am on August second. This is the first time in my life to fly for twenty-two hours straight. It is also my first time to visit Australia. But, I have this feeling already that I won't be coming here too much in the future.

After checking in the hotel, I go straight to bed. At twelve o'clock I have press interviews for TV, newspaper and radio. It ends at six pm. I was afraid that I wouldn't understand the heavy Australian accent, but it turned out it wasn't really a problem for me to understand what they were saying. But I still get nervous when I do radio and TV interviews in English.

I go to a Japanese restaurant near the hotel with John and Sky. The place resembles a typical Japanese tavern. There are a lot of Australians there too. The restaurant seems very popular.

It has been 200 years since Australia was founded. It is a land made of immigrants and there are still a lot of immigrants here. There is a Chinatown here too. It seems there isn't much racism or prejudice here. But the native people of this land, the Aboriginees, all live in the slums. I am told that many suffer from alchoholism. This is the price one pays for having the British, French and Spanish come to your land. They just barge their way in uninvited, conquer it and act as if the land is theirs and rule it. And for thousands of years it has been this way.

Humans are sinful beings. When will the sinners be persecuted? When will the victims be saved?

I must write a requiem. Throughout my music rings the sound of a requiem for the suffering. The requiem is not about melancholy. It is to do with an anger from a deep depression. An anger towards history. An anger towards humans. An anger beyond words. It is an anger that says, "I will make you pay for what you have done to us". No matter how evil of a person you are, every man would shed their tears over their mother. It is not about mourning over something, it is way past all that. But deep down I have a feeling that nothing can ever be done to undo our history. It will be a requiem as an opera. I do not know yet where I will find the story to model my ideas on. Dostoevsky? Dante?

Jet lag keeps me awake all night. I was in Europe for almost a month and I have not been to this side of the Pacific for a while. I guess I have to tough this one out.

I have pain in my shoulders and lower back. I must be getting old.

I spoke to Maenaka yesterday. . Maenaka was one of my teachers in high school who taught modern literature. Ever since high school we have been friends. I invite him to all of my concerts. I am told he will not live past August because of cancer. I really want him to make it through this month so that I can see him one last time when I am there in two weeks. Perhaps this is a selfish thought. I want him to meet my children. I have learned a lot of things from Maenaka. We talked a lot about Japanese literature: Dazai, Soseki, Ooe, Yoshimoto, Kitamura and the Manyoushu.

The sun begins to rise in Sydney. I am supposed to be sleepy by now. I have a drink, but I am still not sleepy. I guess sometimes one has days like this.

In Australia, you can go straight to MSN at19,200bps.

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The show in London tonight is the last show in Europe for this tour.

At noon, I participate in a Japanese television program called "Music Station" via a satellite broadcast. This program airs weekly on channel Asahi. I do the show because Miki Nakatani will be on the show. She is one of the artists I produced.

I return to the apartment afterwards. At 3:30 a car comes to pick me up to take me to the Royal Festival Hall. We do soundcheck and the hall sounds good. My friends Yuka and Fumiya who live here in London show up to see me.

At 6 pm I go to the Museum of Moving Images which is located near the concert hall. There is a screening of "Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence" and "Wuthering Heights". I go to participate in a informal interview with the audience at this screening.

At 7 pm I get back to the concert hall and get changed. Afterwards, I take a moment to thank and say good bye to some of the crew who will not tour with us after tonight's show.

The 7:30 pm show begins. Many of those on our crew are from London and seem a bit nervous tonight. Even the musicians, including myself are a bit nervous about playing tonight. It's because we are playing in London. The criticism and fame you get here can set the standards for you for the rest of the world. The audience in London are the probably the most or the second most toughest critics in the world. They all kind of sit back in their chairs and have these expression on their faces that say, "show me what's you've got". I have had several shows here, but they were never totally rocking.

But things tonight were totally different. By our third song "Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence" Jaques almost couldn't finish his part because the applause of the audience was so great. We had four encores. I have never seen such a hot crowd in London as this evening. At the end I joked, "you guys tonight are almost like Italians". It was a perfect show, a perfect night.

I ask myself why is it that the trio ensemble is so popular with everybody. Why is it that when the material is more pop it doesn't go over so well. Anyway, I know the answer. It's because this trio format is more strong as music. The music is more direct and easier to understand for the public. Even the touch of my fingertips on the piano can be heard to the audience. There are no borders between the audience and us on stage to block the music.

With this kind of music, the audience is able to get as absorbed by the music as the musicians. I have to say my instinicts were right all along; the trio format embodies the core of what my music is all about. I should always think about the Trio as the nucleus of my music and just add on to it what I want when I think it needs more.

After the show, I go to greet the staff that worked on the live Internet broadcast of my show. I thank the people from Mitsubishi/Apricot UK who were the supporters for the Internet broadcast tonight.

Later, I have a drink with my personal guests. Roddy Frame, Michael Nyman and Eno's assistant Saffron were among the guests that showed up. But, I was most surprised to see Cynthia there. She is someone I hadn't seen for four or five years and didn't know whether she was dead or alive. Cynthia was the one who introduced me to Steve, who died of AIDS. Words can't express the memories I share with Cynthia.

I go back to my apartment filled with deep emotion. I hadn't eaten anything yet because I was so busy, so I go out to Kings Road to grab a bite to eat. I have a salad. I am almost faint with fatigue. When I get back to my apartment I fall onto my bed.

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The show in Paris went really well. I got stuck in a few places during the performance but all in all everything went really well. We had five encores, which set the record for this tour so far. I got to see my old friends, Zazou and otheres who came to the performance.

After the show we left Paris for London. This was the last bus ride for the European leg of the tour. We began our trip at 2 am. We finally set foot in Dover, England, at 7 am. I am woken by one of my staff to go through immigration. It sucks when you have to do this when you are sleepy. To make things worse, the immigration officer was this young girl who was a stickler for the rules type and she tortured me by interrogating me with questions. She even had the nerve to ask me if I knew the name of the ferry boat that I came on to cross the Dover Straights. It always amazes me how you always find people like this in these jobs everywhere you go. And, they are always a big pain in the ass.

After customs, I get back on the bus. I doze off after gazing at the beautiful landscape of the English countryside for a while. By the time we get to London, it is rush hour. Moreover, it seems that the subways were on strike on this day. Someone tells me that this has been happening every week recently. I try to sleep but I can't because of the stop-and-go driving so I gaze out the window and try to figure out where I am but I can't. I find a sign that says SW5 so I know that we are trying to get into London from the south side.

After a three hour drive from Dover, we finally get to our apartment. We say good bye to our driver Ken, who has driven us around Europe for three weeks without ever getting us into an accident. I thank him for all of his hard work and tell him to take it easy with the bottle.

I totally space out for the rest of the day.

7/24/96 in Paris.

I have only two more shows left in Europe. I am already sad about leaving Europe.

At 10 am we check-in to our hotel in Les Halles. The hotel is very close to the concert hall.

Half of the pain I had in my neck yesterday is gone by following Doctor Tsushima's remedies that he gave me over the phone. I am really happy about this.

I try to take a nap because I couldn't sleep well on the bus coming here. I can't sleep because there are construction noises outside so I go out for a walk around Les Halles. I go to the Centre Geroges Pompidou briefly. I buy this thin book with a great lay out titled, "Avant Garde Films 1955-1995".

At 5:30 pm I got to the concert hall. It is a very small, modern hall but has great vibes to it. The audience's seats are layed out on this great incline so when you are on the stage it feels as though the stage is on a higher plane and you are looking down on the audience.

In Italy, all the shows started really late (from around 10 pm) but in the Northern part of Euorpe it seems that things get started earlier. The show tonight starts at 8:30 pm, but this is still much later than Japan.

I think Japan is the only place in the world that has a strange system for running concert halls. In Japan, the time when shows start are determined by the administrative staff of the hall. It pisses me off every time I think about it. I mean, concert halls are nothing more than a box or a container to put something in so, in theory the showtime should be determined by what and who is playing in the hall that night. Once I had a concert that started at twelve because I hated the Japanese system.

After soundcheck, I have some dinner prepared by Linda. I also have a bit of red wine.

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A concert in Zurich.
The stage here is inside the couryard of a church that was converted into a museum.
After doing a bunch of shows in Italy, my crew, musicians and I are blown away by how organized the local Germanic staff are.
But, I still really love the people in the South.

At 9:50 pm, it seems that it is going to rain so we go on stage early.
In the middle of the performance it starts raining but the crowd stays. It then rains even harder.
There is a flash of totally dramatic thunder,twice.

I return for three encores since the audience was so patient and well behaved that night. "Parolibre", the last song I played was perfect night time (Nachtmusik) music.
After the show, we head for Paris, watching thelightning from the window of the bus.

I am left now with only two more shows in Europe.

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A concert in Palermo, Sicily.
This was the first time I've been to Sicily,the island of the Mafioso.
It is very mountainous and the land is very white and dry, like North Africa.

As I suspected, the stage was another man-made one. This time the stage was to be located right in the middle of the city.
Nobody here speaks any English. No English is spoken by the local Sicilian people working as part of the stage crew, no English is spoken even by the staff working in our hotel there.

A crowd begins to gather around the stage as it gets darker. It begins to look like everyone in the entire city is coming to see my show.

10 pm, showtime.
The crowd is warm, passionate.
As the tension increases in the music throughout the show, the tension also rises in the audience.
The audience here is very receptive to the music.

During the encore, crazed fans come running up toward the stage. The audience begins to go crazy and it's not just the ones out there that look like they own all of my CD's. All these old people are yelling "Bravo!, "like the lady in Genova. I begin to feel a little alarmed so when the show's finished, rush on the van and we run to the hotel.

Sicily is really one hell of a place. But now I know that it would be really hard to do any business there.
Someone tells me later that there were five thousand people there that night but that only a thousand two hundred actually paid to see it. The rest just pushed down the fence and barged their way into the show.

The next morning, we head for Milano, pass it, cross the Alps by bus and go on to Zurich.
The view of the Alps that morning was incredibly beautiful.
It reminded me of the Sierra Nevada mountains in the US.

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A day off in Milano.

In the afternoon, I went to Prada and went shopping like crazy. In the evening I went to my favorite restaurant and had a super dinner.

It was definitely the best day for me of the entire European tour so far.

(C)Kab America Inc.

The show in Milano was to take place on this man-made stage that floated on top of this man-made lake.
It was the first time in my life I had such an experience.
This was equally true for the concert staff, too. This set-up was the hardest imaginable situation to set a stage with a good lighting and PA (sound) system.

As in Torino, we had an army of mosquitos attack us again. Unlike the mosquitos in Torino, the Milanese mosquitos showed no appreciation of the music and just went after all of the musicians during the entire performance.
By the end of the performance, my back was eaten up.

The Milano show was not as perfect as the show in Torino, but the Milanese audience gave me a standing ovation. Unfortunately, even if the audience wanted to come closer to the stage they couldn't since there was water separating the stage from the audience.

I was told that people from Prada, Dolce & Gabbana and Armani came to see the show.

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After a day's rest we have a show in Torino.
The concert is to take place on
a man-made open air-stage, again. Thanks to our PA man, Shimura, we are able to solve the problems we had with sound in Genova.

Our performance on this day was especially good. The feeling of one-ness of the audience and the musicians on this day was really incredible.
Of all the shows we've had so far, this was either the best or the second best.

But we still had one major problem that night. We got attacked by an army of mosquitos.
Before the performance we sprayed ourselves all over with bug repellent.
And during the performance we burned a ton of Italian bug repellent incense on the stage to rid ourselves of the mosquitos.
To our surprise, as soon as the show started, the mosquitos left us musicians alone.
Jaques said later, "its because the mosquitos appreciate the music, too."

Ha ha.

After a two-hour drive, we returned to Milano from Torino.

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On to Genova, Italy.
I see huge ships sitting in the port of the city.
Someone tells me there is a major naval base in Genova. Genova is also a major vacationing spot. The concert is to take place right in the middle of a park that is right in the middle of this resort. I find out that the concert will be on a man-made open-air stage in the middle of this park.

I begin to have bad feelings about all this.

Bingo. The audience was placed in an area that was really cut off from the stage, making any kind of dialogue between the musicians and the audience impossible. It was basically a no-win situation for all of us, but especially for the musicians.

After the show, my staff tells me that the audience was totally into my show.
They also told me about this 70-year old woman who kept yelling "Bravo" after every song.

This woman gave the show in Genova a whole new meaning.

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After our performance in Madrid, we headed for the cities Porto and Lisbon in Portugal. In both cities, I am greeted by the kindest, warmest, lovingest crowd one can imagine.

The acoustics of the space we performed in Porto were especially good. I would love to go back and do some recording work there. The crowd in both shows just fell wildly in love with my music. In Porto, there was a group of these middle aged men who were wailing and lamenting to my music. I was moved to find out that I have a lot of fans out here, too.

After the show in Porto, we left for London.

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Noon, I get to the hotel in Madrid. Couldn't sleep well on the bus over here so in the afternoon I get sleepy.

6pm - soundcheck.

The place where the concert is being held reminds me of a college campus somewhere. The stage set-up is a man-made open-air stage. I hate playing music in this kind of situation, it's impossible, really. I never want to play on an open-air stage again. My experiences playing on open-air stages on this tour has confirmed this.

There are places that are specifically built in a way that inspires you to play music. The audience in such places is inspired to listen to music seriously. That's what's important.

We begin playing at 10 pm.

Jaques opens the show. He always has a glass of scotch or wine beforehand.
He also takes sips of the same stuff during the show.

This night I am feeling totally uncreative so I have some scotch before the show to put my mind into place. The show goes well, but it wasn't as good as our show in Barcelona. Even our staff say this.

The audience that night is a bit strange. They were quiet throughout the whole show. They started getting really into the music at the encore. I am convinced this had something to do with playing on an open-air stage.

After the show, I take a quick shower, jump on the bus for a 10-hour ride to Lisbon. The bus left for Madrid at 2 am.

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From London, we head for Barcelona. The sight of the airport and the city brings back memories of when I was here four years ago for the Olympics. For some reason I know that tonight's show will go really well.

Before leaving for the concert hall, I call my old friend Pepo who was the producer of the opening ceremony of the Barcelona Olympics. I find out he is bedridden due to intestinal cancer. I am totally saddened by this awful news. I gather that he forced himself to answer my call because he didn't sound too good when he spoke. I could barely hear what he was saying. Before hanging up, I told him to be strong.

The concert is at this open-air stage similar to the one in Athens, but smaller. The place has a great vibe to it. This tour is the first time that the places we perform influences how the musicians and I play each night.

9:30 as the sun sets, a warm glow hangs over the sky. It's almost show time.

Yuasa, who's in charge of our lighting, lights these trees close to the stage and it looks really great and I am totally inspired to play really well for the next two hours. I dedicate the first song of the show, "Bibou no Aosora" to my friend Pepo Sol. I know there are a lot of Pepo's friends at the show tonight. Like in Athens, the audience is great and we play really well.

I had six days off before coming here so I make a few wrong turns througout the performance, but spiritually I am right on. After the show, the Spanish fashion designer, Antonio Miro comes to see me backstage with his friends. It's been four years since I saw him last. I notice he's aged a bit, but in real good form. We both talk about how sorry we are regarding Pepo's state.

I have no time to go to my favorite restaurant. I just take a shower after the show and jump on the bus for a 10 hour ride to Madrid. I think to myself, " Barcelona is really great, it's really my kind of town and I want to come back here next year".

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I'm in Paris to perform at the Cartier Foundation. The show is to be a totally "unplugged" show. No PA system, no lighting. The Foundation is inside a 10-story building made totally of glass. Inside the space we are performing in tonight there is a huge cage with thirty birds in it.

During performances, the musicians and I are used to using microphones and an amp to help us hear how we are playing. We won't have that luxury tonight.
Soundcheck ends up running longer than usual. I find out the piano will have to take the lead in the performance tonight.

During the performance I do a little bit of a Messian-inspired improvisation hoping to get the birds to participate in the show. The birds don't join in with us as much as I had hoped. Nevertheless, the performance goes really well. After the show, a reception is held on the top floor of the building overlooking the whole of Paris. I meet Catherine from the Centre Georges Pompidou there.

The next day we leave for London, where I will have six days off for rest. But when I get to London I find out that I have a day of shooting for TV and a half-day of interviews with BBC radio and Channel one already booked for me. I get even more exhausted.

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The show last night was incredible. It blew away the shows we had in Bologna and Roskilde. We played in a real Roman amphitheater right below the Parthenon. The acoustics were incredible, the place was totally inspiring and great. I wouldn't mind playing there all day long, with or without an audience.

Needless to say, the audience that night was really great. I had the undivided attention of three thousand people. Their silence was musical in itself. I could tell they were totally into the music.

I was the only one who did an improvisation. Jaques joined in with me after my improvisation and then we went into "Bibou no Aosora". "Little Buddha" is a perfect song to play in that space.

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Our first show of our world tour was in Bologna. It was totally great. Toward the end of the show the audience was fighting like mad to get closer to the stage, sort of like how I imagined it was in Woodstock.

But the shows in Naples and Rome was not rocking at all. It was really cold there, too. The piano I had in Rome was hard and I hurt my fingers on it. After Rome, we played in Roskilde which is about an hour's drive from Copenhagen, Denmark. The show there went really well. We played in this huge open field with ninety thousand hippies there. The field had seven tents, each with a stage set up in it. I played on the "white stage" that day, with all these X-generation hippies with pierced body parts swarming around me. The show was short but rocking.

The sight of all these pierced kids saying "shhhhh!" to listen to our performance was quite a sight.

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