On 9th January 2017 I travelled further away from home than I had ever been – Japan!
I had a great time! I got to perform 2 shows, eat loads of new food, and party with some of the friendliest and most courteous people I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet.
Obviously I posed for loads of pictures, so I’ve posted them below, with a brief explanation of what (and when) they are. We did so many great things that I’m bound to forget some of it, and we met so many people I’d like to mention that I’ll probably mess that up too! (But I’ll do my best!)
Thank you all so much for having me and making me feel so welcome! I will definitely be coming back to Japan as soon as I can – I had a blast!
The Flight Out
Andy (my manager) wouldn’t let me get away without taking pictures before we left England, even though we had to wake up at 4am!
After traveling for a few hours we arrived at Heathrow, waited (and took pictures) for 3 hours, and then boarded the plane. We stopped over in Germany for a short break, before embarking on the 12 hour flight to Nagoya Airport
… 22 hours in transit (no wonder my skin was rebelling!)
After landing we were picked up by our brilliant hosts Charlee Laine (facebook.com/charleelaine) and his wife Yoshiko who live just outside of Nagoya. (more of them later!)
After some lovely meals in our hotel and a good long sleep we travelled to ‘The Venue’ for a tech rehearsal.
The Forum theatre in Kasugai. A huuuuuuge building with a lovely theatre, and extremely friendly, knowledgeable staff. Of course, Andy insisted that we take some photos (yay). Including one that makes me look like an ant in comparison to the building!
Then, just as we went back indoors it started to snow, hard. It was beautiful!
The rehearsal went really well, so we were all looking forward to the day after next, when we did the most important part of my trip – the shows!
After sleeping, eating some great food, and meeting a great many people (Thanks for the lunch guys!) and sleeping again we woke up on the day of the performances.
We gathered our gear and went to the venue, set up the dressing room and got ready to perform.
The Shows went brilliantly, we were very lucky to have such great technicians and helpers, some of whom took the next few photos (as Andy was busy cue-ing the music).
I really wanted to do something nice for everyone, as they were being so nice to me, so Andy and I worked really hard to learn a song in Japanese. And I just about managed it! If you’re interested you can see it here. It’s Feed The Birds from Mary Poppins.
There were only 300-ish pictures of me performing to sort through (some of them catching me at very odd moments), but luckily there were a few that I liked.
I was touched to receive several bouquets of flowers – they smelt great and really brightened up our hotel room!
After the show some of us travelled through the snow to a Chinese restaurant (in Japan… weird!) for some really nice food. I’m really glad I already knew how to use chopsticks!
The Rest Day
After the busy day, Andy and I took a brief rest day. We wandered around Kachigawa, where our hotel was and managed to buy ourselves some lunch!
Then it was off to the celebration meal organised by some friends of ours. They rented the whole bar/restaurant for us, and we were treated to some particularly good food (again!)
After that we all moved on down the street to a karaoke bar. They had rented that too, so we had a small, friendly competition (which I won – 93% not too bad!) It was so much fun, I didn’t want to leave. However Andy dragged me away when I started to fall asleep in my chair!
The Tourist Part
Our last few days were filled with trips to interesting places.
Our friend Maki-san took us to an amazing shopping area (Osu) where we visited a traditional Japanese temple, and we had a great time perusing the shops. We also noticed the strange way they set up their electricity poles in Japan (and laughed a little at the seemingly random and often confusing use of English on shop signs).
The day after that we went on the bullet train, past some beautiful snowy landscapes to Kyoto. We saw so many amazing things that we sometimes forgot to take pictures (oops!). We visited the Old Imperial Palace, the Golden Temple, an old-fashioned wooden shopping district in the hills and a whole bunch of other amazing sights. We walked around all day in the intermittent snow and it was astonishingly beautiful. It was a great way to spend our last day in Japan and we had an amazing time.
But we couldn’t stay out too late – we had to be up at 5am to pack for our flight home.
The Journey Home
We arrived at Nagoya airport at 8am, and were surprised to see that it had been invaded by Ninjas! So surprised that we forgot to take any pictures (oops again!)
It was a long journey home, but we did manage to get a great shot of Mount Fugi from the plane.
We saw 3 sunrises in 1 day, and finally got home after a full 24 hours of traveling – whew~!
What a great trip – I definitely want to go back. In the meantime I’m looking forward to hosting some of my new Japanese friends when they visit England this year!