Revenge of the Typhoon Concert, Japan!
of 2004... Once again I traveled to Japan
Unfortunately or big Onishi Concert was canceled due
to a Typhoon.
We decided to reschedule
the same concert for October 2004. October is was
a good choice as the typhoon season would be over
and fall in Japan was a beautiful time of year. (Not
The new outdoor concert
we titled "The Revenge of the Typhoon
So again, off to Japan
I went, however, this trip was very, very
The journey began as usual.
I flew from Vancouver to Tokyo. My first stop was
to meet my good friend Daisuke Osawa. Daisuke is a
music producer / Engineer in living in Tokyo. The
first day we went to the Canadian Embassy to get future
help with new performances in Japan. (Daisuke
helped me record, produce & engineer my cd Peace)
The embassy is a wonderful
place to help Canadian musicians traveling and performing
in Japan. Thanks to our Embassy meeting I was invited
and performed at Expo 2006 in Aichi, Japan.
The next morning I was
to meet another good friend Vincent Degiorgio. Vince
has been a really big help shopping my music to people
around the world. He was in Japan the same time as
I and wanted to introduce me to a colleague of his
while in Tokyo. Just as Daisuke and I were to leave
to meet with Vince we received a call from Robert
and Machiko (Robert & Machiko are friends
from Canada now living in Japan. Together they have
been bringing me to Japan to perform a very special
concert in Onishi.)
Roberts call was regarding
another typhoon! This typhoon was
at the south end of Shikoku island and would arrive
at Imabari exactly at the time my flight was to leave
Tokyo to Shikoku island. The typhoon was then going
to continue to move into tokyo the next morning. We
all had to make some very quick decisions.
If I left that moment
there was a chance I could get an earlier flight and
beat the typhoon before it arrived at Imabari. I would
miss my meeting with Vince at 11am that morning. The
other choice would be to stay, attend the meeting and wait
for the typhoon to pass tokyo.
If the typhoon moved to
slow I would miss some or all of the media events
on Shikoku (The media events were very important
to promote our Typhoon Revenge Onishi Concert later
that week). Daisuke and I called everyone we
could to help with our decision. Because the flight
could not fly through or around the typhoon, we decided
it better to cancel my meeting with Vincent and leave
that moment for the airport as the media day on Shikoku
would most likely be in our best interest.
Daisuke and I took off
to the airport. When we arrived we found some flights
were already being canceled to the southern part of
Shikoku. We decided I take the earliest flight to
Takamatsu on the north end of Shikoku Island.
Takamatsu was a 2 hour
drive north of my final destination, Imabari. The
flight would leave at 12:45pm however, Japan Airlines
would not sell us the ticket until they knew the flight
would not be canceled. There would be an anoucement
at noon to let us know.
Ten minutes after 12 noon
there was still no announcement so we decided to get
back into the very long line for a ticket any ways.
At 12:30 we were at the front of the line however,
there was still no announcement. Daisuke had a great
idea to stay where we were in the front of the line
and just let people move ahead of us until the announcement
At 12:35 the announcement
was made that the flight would leave however, if the
typhoon moved to quick the flight would be rerouted
to a different city such as Kobe or Osaka or the plane
would return back to Tokyo. We decided to take the
flight, if the flight detoured I would catch the shinkansen
(the bullet train) to get me the rest of
the way. If the flight returned to Tokyo again I could
still take the shinkansen. (about a 6 hour trip
from tokyo to Imabari on Shikoku island, Japan)
We bought the plane ticket
and I had less than 10 minutes to get to the gate
to catch it. I managed to get to the gate with no
problems and caught my flight. The flight was wonderful,
blue sky all the way, which was nice as Tokyo had
been cloudy and overcast all the time I was there.
Twenty minutes before landing I could see the ground
and Takamatsu city and we also began entering the
dark typhoon clouds. A very spooky and interesting
experience. We flew into the clouds, solid white with
water pouring past the windows like flying through
a river. the ride was like a roller coaster, bumping
up and down as we prepared to land.
A few minutes later we
touched down in Takamatsu and everyone on the plane
cheered. There was a lady who I sat with on the plane
who spoke a little English. She was very kind and
allowed me to use her phone to call Daisuke to let
him know I had arrived safely. I gave her a few cd's
and thanked her for her help.
Daisuke was still waiting
at the Tokyo airport in case the flight came back
so he could help me catch the shinkansen. He told
me that Robert and Machiko were about an hour away
from picking me up at Takamatsu. When they arrived
the winds and rain were getting much stronger. The
drive would be about 2 hours to Matsuyama for a meeting
with NHK's Hiroshi San. (then we would continue
Hiroshi San owns a piano
jazz bar, he's a great musician and is also a radio
Dj for NHK Matsuyama. I had performed at Hiroshi's
jazz bar a few months ago to promote our original
Onish concert. Hiroshi has been very kind to promote
my music on NHK Radio Japan. (Japans national
radio station, similar to Canada's CBC)
We drove as far as a small
town called Doi Cho were the traffic had began to
crawl. The rain at this point was very heavy and blowing.
Some people in the town were sand bagging and some
of the streets we drove though were under a foot of
water. We began to crawl in traffic inch by inch.
Fortunately the storm was beginning to calm. We thought
we may have been in the center of the typhoon however,
we realized later it had passed.
Because we weren't moving,
we decided to call on people in Doi Cho for help.
We performed in Doi last year and met a some great
new friends there. They're big fans of my music and
big supporters of Machiko and Robert.
It was now beginning to
get dark and one of our friends came to meet us. We
followed her through numerous side streets to a road
that would take us to Imabari. (by this time it was
to late to go to our meeting in Matsuyama)
Once we were moving again
we heard on the radio (a station in Ehime where
Robert and Machiko have their own radio program),
that there was a mud slide in Doi and the freeway
was closed. Part of the concrete wall that protects
the freeway broke and mud washed out the freeway.
A few moments later the
traffic stopped and we were once again moving inch
We called our friend to
let them know how we were doing and that the traffic
had stopped. Once again our local friends came back
to our car while we were waiting and brought us special
rice balls, drinks and deserts. We moved a few meters
forward and discovered that the road we were on was
Robert decided that maybe
Machiko should call the radio station to report what
was going on out here. We found that none of the radio
stations could tell anyone anything and Japan doesn't
have a number to call to find out road info, etc...
Machiko called her producer and she was patched to
the station manager who just happened to be running
his own program from 10pm to midnight. Machiko began
to tell the live listening audience where we were
and what was happening here.
Because of our network
of friends in Doi, we could keep every one in their
cars up to date with all the road conditions, etc...
Machiko also told the radio audience how they were
trying to get me (the canadian musician)
to Onishi for the Revenge of the Typhoon Concert.
Not only was Machiko's reporting becoming a real time
voice to what was happening in Doi Cho, it also became
a story of how the people here in Doi Cho were trying
to help me get to Onishi to perform at the Revenge
of the Typhoon concert.
I have discovered that
the people here in japan really like foreign visitors
and were very, very worried about me not liking Japan
because of my experience now with canceled concerts,
typhoons, etc... I have found that the japanese people
are some of the most gracious, giving and caring people
I have ever met.
The Ehime radio program
was now extended to 4am, to keep everyone up to date
with the events in Doi and the surrounding area. The
program was also broadcasting my story. How I had
returned to Japan to perform the "Revenge of
the Typhoon Concert" Machiko kept calling in
live on the radio to let everyone know how we were
Once we found our new
route was closed we decided to go back into town to
get a bite to eat and wait it out till the road re-opened.
We found that on our way back to town that the traffic
also stopped moving as everyone was waiting for the
main free way entrance to open. The main roads out
of Dio Cho were now blocked to the east and west.
We had mountains with no roads to the north and the
sea beside us to the south.
we were trapped with no way out!
Again we called on our
Doi Cho group of friends. One man was an architect
who I had met at the Doi Cho concert. He knew all
the roads very well and had us meet him on a side
road. He then took us up the mountain to a maintenance
access road that follows along side the highway. Once
we got along side the freeway we were stopped by a
maintenance worker who told us we could not go any
further. We got out of our car and saw were the freeway
had been washed away due to big mud slide. We reported
back to the radio station and continued to another
service road. We went further up the mountain and
found we had to turn around as this road was also
Our only route out now
was to head to a service road traveling away from
the slides. back to were we came from towards the
Takamatsu airport were I had originally arrived. From
Takamatsu we would take the Seito Bridge (I believe
it's the largest bridge in Japan, joining Shikoku
Island to Osaka on Honshu island)
Once in Osaka we could
drive south to Hiroshima and take another bridge back
to Shikoku island. Our architect friend escorted us
for close to an hour taking side roads to avoid all
the traffic jams. Once out of Doi Cho we followed
freight trucks who seem to know were to go to avoid
the traffic. We finally made it off shikoku island
and continued reporting live to Ehime radio.
Our original 2 hour drive
from Takamatsu to Imabari, turned into a 12 hour adventure
I'll never forget! Traveling from
Takamatsu to Doi, back to Takamatsu leaving Shikoku
for Honshu Island to Osaka, south to Hiroshima back
to Shikoku Island to Imabari! Wow!
the good people at Doi Choi we arrived in Imabari
and were ready for our Big Media Day...
I had 4 hours sleep that
night and it was off to Bari Bari radio in Imabari
for the 1st program on our media blitz. After the
program we went to Matsuyama to perform on TV Ehime.
Then we rushed to NHK radio to perform live on Hiroshi
San's program. We then had a quick bit to eat and
again, off we went to perform on Ehime radio. I performed
live on the program and then we opened up the phone
lines. We receiving tons of emails and calls as everyone
in Ehime loved the music and wanted to know my impressions
of Japan, Typhoons, etc...
Because there was so little
information regarding the events surrounding Doi Cho,
everyone was very thankful for Machiko's detailed
coverage of the typhoon and the radio programs broadcasting.
Normaly programs would never deviate from their programing
in japan. Because Radio Ehime dropped all there scheduling
to inform people what was happening, it has created
a huge buzz around the program and around Robert,
Machiko and myself. Even
NHK radio began pulling a few strings for me, putting
my music into their archives and sending cd copies
to NHK Radio Tokyo, etc...
The next day was a lot
busier than expected, a lot more networking and rehearsing
for the big show. Not only was I to perform my own
music. I would also perform with Machiko's group.
The following day I was
again up early to be at Fujiyama Park for the Onish
Typhoon Concert. We arrived at 8am to set up for the
2pm concert. The concert was wonderful and was broadcasted
live on Ehime radio.
So ends another
incredible adventure in Japan!
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