02/04/2015 14:01 BST | Updated 02/06/2015 06:59 BST

Almost Famous: Big In Japan - Packing Up!

At the time of writing this blog, I am going to Japan with Gaz Coombes tomorrow... in fact, I'm just packing now (what to wear?) and then I got distracted by the need to write this blog, so here goes!


I guess my angle with this blog here is "Almost Famous."

You see, I'm Piney Gir - I'm not very famous, but I have a certain indie-underground-cool status (I think/hope). I'm about to embark on releasing my 6th album, but before I do that, I'm going to Japan (an actual life-long dream, the stuff of bucket lists!) and I'm tagging along with Gaz Coombes for his gigs at Billboard Live, one of Tokyo's primary music venues. We'll be put up in a fancy hotel across from The Lost In Translation hotel in Shinjuku (there is a park full of blooming cherry blossoms between us and the famous Hyatt) and we'll be looked after extensively by the promoters of the venue & the record label, so this will be a little different from the average Tokyo tourist experience. We'll be given the VIP treatment & taken places that a visitor might not be able to find.

"What a jammy dodger," you might be saying, "How on earth did you get to go along on such a cool trip, Piney?" Well, my beau Garo plays bass in Gaz's band, incidentally my bass player Growler plays guitar in Gaz's band too. Could the UK indie-rock underground get any smaller? Hmm... probably not!

Already I'm excited to visit the place where trained parrots sing Beatles songs, The Robot Restaurant, and the bar where tiny monkeys bring you edamame beans (I have been assured that the monkeys are very well treated and only work for two hours a day). For me, these places are a must-see! I also wanna do karaoke and stock up on Japanese tat at the 100 Yen store, I am hopeful to tag along to some Kabuki Theatre production (but maybe not all 4 hours of it!)

We've already been alerted to cultural differences as to how gigs happen over there. I.e. apparently the Japanese have a meeting prior to the gig with everyone involved... (from Gaz, the soundman, the top promoter, tour manager, etc... right down to the person serving sushi at the snack bar and the person tearing tickets!) I can't imagine what that meeting is going to be like or why on earth they have such a meeting. Is that actually true? Or urban myth? & if it is true, what is there to talk about? But it is lovely that they care so much!

Apparently nobody speaks English but everyone is very friendly, so?? I think that's going to be fun, lots of smiling, nodding and pointing!

Anyway, it sounds like a mad place with mad stuff going on & I think it'd make an entertaining read from the angle of an indie-chick in the wings, spending a week with a rock star in one of the most eccentric cities on earth.

So, please join me on my Almost Famous adventure!

Sayonara for now...