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Backstage with Baldy

Tokyo – March 10th

I’m sitting with Sean Kinney in the Alaska Airlines lounge in Los Angeles International Airport as I write this. We just arrived from Japan and are waiting for our connecting flight home to Seattle.

I haven’t slept in 24 hours, my body is literally tingling from the lack of sleep, and my brain is complete mush.

In other words, it seems like a perfect time to write some more about our time in Japan.

Recently I bought a gift for someone.

I’d narrowed the choices down to a final two, and the sales person was trying to steer me in the direction of the more expensive choice.

That’s when she held the item up and said, “this one’s more uniquer because blah blah blah…”

I just figured that I misheard her, so I asked her to repeat herself, figuring she had just used some industry jargon I wasn’t familiar with.

Then she said it again.

“It’s more uniquer”…

MORE UNIQUER?

Wow.

I’ve heard the English language get mangled before, but usually a ten car verbal pile-up like that only happens in a country where English is the second language.

Anyway, I just brought that up because I was telling someone how Japan is a unique place, and that story popped in my head.

Japan is just different. The people are exceedingly polite and helpful, and for a gigantic city, things seem really clean.

I’ve never been anywhere before where the taxis have doilies on the arm and headrests.

And of course Japan is home to the world famous heated toilet seat.

Walking into a Japanese hotel bathroom is like stepping into a cockpit of a 747.

You practically need a degree in engineering just to operate the thing.

First off, as I mentioned, it’s heated, which is quite possibly the single greatest 20th century invention since penicillin.

Then there’s the bidet portion.

We were about 30 minutes from leaving the hotel on our last day, so I figured I’d finally get adventurous and throw caution to the wind and take the bidet out for a test drive.

There was a little control panel on the wall with several toilet-related buttons to push. Naturally the writing was only in Japanese, so I tensed up, steeled my nerves, and started pushing buttons.

Five buttons later (and without going into unnecessary graphic detail), it was like I’d taken my ass on a wet & wild theme park ride.

I can’t say that I enjoyed it, but it’s important in life to try new things, so I can now scratch Bidet-apalooza off my list.

Another thing that’s unique to Japan is the fact that there are signs posted all over the venue informing the concert-goers that photography is not allowed.

They even had a person in the pit before the show walking back and forth with a sign on a pole holding it up for everyone to see, and also making announcements over the P.A.

And it worked. I can’t remember another show in the last 8 years where no one in the crowd was holding up a cell phone or a camera.

Looking out into a sea of cell phones being held up is just the way things are now, so it was weird to have that element removed, but I kind of liked it actually.

Speaking of cameras, I took a picture of Mike in front of the marquee before the show.

It said, “Alice In Chains – Japan Tour 2014”.

I don’t really think two shows makes up a proper tour, but I’d love to come back and do a full Japanese tour someday. Hopefully it won’t be another 7 ½ years before we get the chance.

Now we take a short break before starting up on another trek through parts of the U.S. next month.

I’m going to miss the first four shows due to my commitments to the Coachella festival, but I’ll be back in May to bring you more uniquer insights into life on the road with Alice In Chains.

See you soon…

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Backstage With Baldy

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