One thing NorCal hardcore punks Ceremony have made clear with their new album, Rohnert Park, is that they’re not particularly thrilled with the static malaise being served as current American stimuli. So when we heard they were headed west for their first Asian tour, opening for Bane, we asked them to document what they saw in the brave new world. Singer Ross Farrar checks in with words and photos from the third and final leg, in Japan, after the jump.
The last two days of tour. After Nagoya we drove to Tokyo and dropped into Shinjuku at the Tokyo Inn. This was the second time we stayed there and thank god…the place is real nice. It’s got comfortable beds, a vending machine filled with beer and interesting soft drinks, cola floats, orange mixes, plum, things like that. In Japan you can drink anywhere. You can walk into Starbucks and drink a beer. You can even smoke cigarettes while you drink your coffee (Starbucks) and everywhere is BYOB. More cool stuff: the Japanese aren’t contagious to yawning. Most bathrooms have bidets. Tipping is frowned upon, umbrellas are all over the place—in the bushes, on the sidewalk—people leave them for other people to come across and scattered throughout the city you find bicycles unlocked, even the really fancy fixed gears. This was the most interesting change from America I noticed. Stealing is heavily frowned upon and shameful. I thought that was very admirable about Japan, seeing the people leaving their bikes unlocked, trusting each other enough. That says a lot about culture.
Shinjuku was really cool. There were lots of tiny bars in alleys and sushi parlors. It was hard to eat at the sushi houses because the menus were in Japanese and speaking to the people who worked there was difficult. The main bistro we went to was scarce. The dudes behind the bar made it apparent they didn’t want us there, so we ordered sake, drank quickly and left. When we found a nice place next to the venue, me and Zach got our driver, Ugi, to translate the menu and ordered a kind of sashimi mixture, which was amazing. A bunch of us walked around Shinjuku and me and Jake took out money from an ATM, which for me ended up being three hundred dollars worth. My bank back home charged me around fifty dollars for taking it out, it sucked.
Our last show was fantastic. It was the best show we played in Tokyo thus far and we ended up selling a bunch of merch and drinks kept coming and everyone was all sentimental because it was the final show and everything was fine. After the show, we walked around and continued to drink, eat and be merry. The area we stayed in was sort of like a red light district, so a bunch of scumbags kept trying to ploy us into buying entry, drugs, women, you know, everything which comes with a red light district. Somehow the groups split up and a few went back to the hotel, while a few stayed out and carried on. It was our last night in Asia. We stayed up till 4AM.
The next day we went to Harajuku. This is the hip neighborhood of Tokyo, the place which is notorious for girls dressed up as dolls, Swedish children, dragons, angels, Pokemon characters and all that. There were a bunch of shops the guys wanted to go to for jeans and shoes and other various shit. One of the places was a thrift store that sold over priced T-shirts, anything from Aerosmith to Suicidal Tendencies. None of the shirts were under 60 bucks. We ate for the second time at Freshness Burger, a place where meat eaters and vegans could coexist. After the food we walked around until it was time for Anthony, Jake and myself to leave for the airport. Toast didn’t come back home with us. He decided to stay two extra days by himself to meander and look around a bit more.
In the beginning of this tour I knew Japan was going to be unlike anything I had ever experienced. I witnessed some of the most beautiful places and some of the strangest. To enter a world so foreign, so different from the one you’re used to is hard sometimes. I couldn’t have conversations with people like I do back home. I couldn’t connect as much as I usually do, but that is why it was interesting. The importance was in getting away from familiarities. It is important to place yourself in difficult and odd situations. These are situations which separate us from ourselves. This experience was taken by a stranger and to all of us on earth we are that: strangers to ourselves: strangers to everything around us. Japan was a learning experience and I hope to visit there again. Nothing unwanted came to me. Everything was beautiful.