Had an interesting conversation with the immigration officer at Narita airport: (NB I'm not supposed to play concerts on a tourist visa, so I wrote "part-time worker" as my occupation.)
"Part-time worker...? What will you do so long-time in Japan?"
"Just visiting my friends."
"Really? Nothing else?"
"..... I believe you" (in a tone which said, "I don't believe you, but what can I do?")
Got the tourist visa. And to my surprise, the customs officer didn't fully search my luggage. Usually when I arrive in Japan from India, via Thailand, with my tabla in hand, they're very suspicious... This customs officer just seemed really happy that I could speak Japanese.
I headed off to my old friend Martine's house - lovely place that - dropped my luggage and then headed to Yoyogi Park where the Earth Day festival was going on. I had a rehearsal with Masa (of Mbira Zvakanaka) and Shun for our show the next morning, and then headed to Ogikubo to see my friends Yasu (sarod), Teiju (sitar) and UKO (tabla) giving an Indian classical performance. Lovely stuff.
Playing with Mbira Zvakanaka and Shun @ Earth Day
(Thanks to Martine for the photo - original here)
The show on Sunday morning with Mbira Zvakanaka was quite fun, but unfortunately I couldn't hang around and enjoy Earth Day, as for the last 6 days I've had an almost non-stop headache, and it was just too much. What a pain! As I mentioned last week I've been a bit worried it might be malaria. I had a blood test in Bangkok which came up negative, but apparently if you're not suffering from fever at that moment it will usually be negative.
Yesterday I came to Taro's house and he took me to a hospital to get checked out again. Same result as in Bangkok - no fever, negative for malaria - but here's a brief comparison of the two hospital experiences:
: Bangkok - got pushed around in a wheelchair from arrival to departure;
Tokyo - please take your blood sample down the hall to the testing department yourself
: Bangkok - blood test took about 20 minutes and the whole visit about 1 hour;
Tokyo - blood test took over 1 hour and the whole visit 2 and a half hours
: Bangkok - final bill 1000 baht (about A$40), and I got 4 kinds of medicine for 3 days;
Tokyo - final bill 12000 yen (about A$150), and I got 10 headache tablets.
So the moral of the story is, don't get sick in Japan!
Still got a headache... I'm hoping it will either go away soon or if it is malaria that it will hurry up and make me feverish so that I can get on with fixing it!
Coming up for me this week: Thursday morning rehearsal with Dr. Chandrakant Sardeshmukh, Sunday workshop and concert with Taro Terahara in Niigata, then from Monday I'll be at the Greenhouse in Chichibu, enjoying the Golden Week Gathering with a host of DJs and musicians including sitar, tabla, Indian vocal, shakuhachi, koto, Flamenco dance and Balinese dance!!! (My Japan tour schedule is here.)
Please leave a comment if you've gotten this far. :-)