Japan Is Not Inscrutable

I'm on tour in Japan now, joined by Nova, a rapper/singer from Java (indonesia). �With luck she'll be along for some future tours in other nations, dependent on promoters $ and her availability. Jakarta and Barcelona could be the two most distant points one could find on the globe, so it's not a very logical collaboration, but then there aren't many women rappers who can also sing in bahasa and come from a DIY/activist perspective. Getting her a visa to japan was no easy task, there is a little bit of historical animosity. Japan invaded and thrashed Indonesia in their WWII-era expansion, and their government isn't big on apologies. In fact they barely teach school kids here about their imperial adventuring. At least they seem to have learned from their past, which is more than can be said for my fatherland. The tour started in Hokaido, which is like japan crossed with alaska, more of a wild west free spirit engendered by all the open space, not to mention the plentiful weed. And there are vestiges of Ainu culture, which seem so similar, in art at least, to the tribes of the Northwest coast of the North America. Sapporo's memories are partly obscured by the fog of jetlag, as I nodded off in any five-minute vacancy of tasks. There was a great gig in an izakaya (kind of a pub) crammed with enthusiastic peoples, memories are hazy but here is a foto of dinner. We spent the following afternoon at an onsen (outside natural hot spring) the next day, surround by snowy mountains, set among sculpted gardens with trees as carefully trimmed as poodles. Always great to sit around naked with a bunch of japanese men with elaborate tattoos and stoic expressions, steam rising from the rock pools. The gig that night was full-on japan underground hiphop style, tiny black basement venue with massive sound, organized by the super friendly B.I.G. Joe. He composed his album in an Australian prison as he served his sentence for heroin smuggling.�