09/04/2015 18:48 BST | Updated 09/06/2015 06:59 BST

Almost Famous: Big In Japan - Day One Is Two Days Long!

So in case you missed my first "Big In Japan" blog post: I'm Piney Gir and I'm almost famous, by virtue of tagging along with Gaz Coombes to Japan!

This second installment will not be a blog about jet lag because seriously how boring would that be? But it would be unfair not to mention it because it is significant. I.e. Day one actually lasted two days, one of which was spent on planes. It was nice to be collected at the airport though. Here's a picture of the Billboard Mini Bus that picked us up, it felt kind of flash & people were peering to see who was getting into that bus. Billboard has a gravity here and messy people with sunglasses getting into that bus attracted some glances. It sure beats a taxi!


We got ourselves together and hit the town straight away. The best cure for jet lag is meant to be perseverance. I.e. if you can stay up as late as a local person's bedtime you're doing pretty good.

So we hit Shibuya, famous for its crossing, which feels a bit like Glastonbury Festival when you're en route to the Pyramid stage on a Saturday night.

The main square is reminiscent of Times Square (and makes Piccadilly Circus feel like small potatoes), there is constant cultural bombardment: videos, moving signage, flashing lights, static lights & lots and lots of people.


Near the crossing are a zig-zag of streets lined with cafes and shops, featuring a plethora of tat. The boys were tempted with Japanese editions of guitars, a specific one called a Kalamazoo (for the fact fans!) which prompted a couple of visits to the guitar shop. We visited the famous Tokyo Hands department store, which was like if John Lewis drank nine shots of espresso and expanded to seven floors worth of home-ware, haberdashery, Star Wars toys and jewellery made out of shellack-covered-biscuits.

Naturally after all that travelling, navigating and shopping we hit a nearby bar, where Gaz was a magnet for fans. He's such a down-to-earth chap, you forget that he's actually a rock star. But two sheepish fans hesitantly approached him very excited because they have tickets to his show. This prompted more attention from people at the bar and from the staff. Pretty soon the whole restaurant was excited and requesting autographs and photos! Here's a photo of our waitress & busboy; they got Gaz to autograph some things.


Shortly after this photo was taken a young boy from the street rushed into the bar/cafe and was violently ill in the toilets. It was loud and surreal the boy looked 40 in a formal suit and tie and he also 14 like a school kid who shouldn't have been in a bar. It reminded me of a Studio Ghibli film I once saw, specifically the one where the girl's parents turn into pigs once they enter the spirit world. I think it was the sound effects this boy was making... anyway I digress... next stop Robot Restaurant!