We are in the Bangkok airport, in transit! This post was written in my music notation Moleskine notebook which you can see below in this picture of my airplane tray table.
MN to Japan was my longest plane flight ever, for sure. We took a bus into the center of Narita (city near Tokyo where both the airport and our hotel were) and poked around a couple blocks. An entire flock of some small but very vocal small birds were gathered in the trees above us. Besides the birds, everything seemed very quiet. Commuters, students.. We had trouble finding a restaurant until we walked up to an elevated walkway that led to a train station. Through the other side was a whole other world, much more like the Japan I had imagined – flashing colored lights, cute looking tiny bars, little restaurants.. After a popular place was full, a couple steps further brought us to a beautiful medium sized restaurant with a sliding door entrance (couldn’t figure out how to get in for a moment). The entire kitchen staff greeted us with a loud unison friendly welcome! After getting through couple language barriers, we were able to order a pitcher of beer and some food. I don’t think the cold udon noodles on ice were exactly what my bandmates had in mind but it looked really good. My rice box (see my last mini blog) was a large, hot, splintering, wooden box filled with steamed rice (perfectly cooked), tender grilled salmon, and plentiful salmon roe. The wasabi was the freshest ever – a whole other world of wasabi. The beer in Japan that we were able to taste (I know for a fact the rabbit hole goes deeper but we weren’t able to find any Japanese craft beer) is not very flavorful but tastes very real. Extra light malts with herbal, mineral-like hop bitterness with extremely clean yeast profile.. refreshing and delicious!
As I sit here on the plane to Thailand (en route Laos) I’m left wishing we could have seen Tokyo proper and spent more time in Japan. Aside from a little noodling in the hotel room apres dinner, we did not get to play our instruments. I hope to come back, with a gig next time!
Update from Bangkok airport: Did I mention how excited I am to play music in Southeast Asia?! Not to mention the food which is amazing at every turn! So far the beef curry on Thai Royal Airlines has set a new bar for best airplane food ever. I sat next to a Japanese businessman, also 25, who runs a business selling orchids internationally. He was eager to practice his English and we both worked on how to order Thai food at the desired spice level. The snacks – mix of rice crackers and dried fish and the green tea ice cream add to my high rating of this flight. The seats were brightly colored, and you quickly see that the Thai culture is a very colorful culture. The vibe is very inviting. Now we’re in the airport, waiting to fly to Laos. Our first concert is on Monday! Even if this seems like a food blog right now, the music and cultural exchange is about to hit really hard and we are so ready to start picking tunes! Thanks everyone out there listening!
Below: Eric Robertson keeps calm on our flight
Hey friends! We made it through the longest flight ever to Narita / Tokyo airport in Japan. We are alive, well, and beyond excited! Monak from Jazz at Lincoln Center is traveling with us through Laos and Thailand. Speaking of Laos and Thailand, tomorrow early morning we fly from Japan to Laos via Bangkok. travel travel travel! This picture is of a cooked salmon / salmon roe rice dish from downtown Narita. Deeelicioius!
The Earth StringBand is intact and ready to go! Our faithful guide, Monak, missed her airplane to Boston this morning due to the rain but we’ll be meeting her in Minneapolis before our flight to Tokyo. We’re all looking forward to the 15 hours of flying! Dang Dang!
Today marks the first day of consuming Malaria medicine. This is a sure sign that in under 48 hours, The Earth StringBand will officially be off for Southeast Asia!
We’re almost 100% ready with all our equipment and generally having our things come together. We cannot wait to land on the other side of the world and spread the good stringband word!
This is Andy Reiner from The Earth Stringband! We’re all beyond excited to travel to Southeast Asia on The Rhythm Road produced by The State Department and Jazz at Lincoln Center. If you are reading this, you are in the same place that each member of the band will be posting text, videos, and pictures of the people we meet and the places we go. We’ll be travelling to Laos, Thailand, Burma (Myanmar), East Timor, and South Korea. We hope you will follow our travels as well as download our free album (though please feel free to donate!) We’re leaving on September 8th and returning on October 11th so expect this site to be updated with new posts every chance we get! Thank you and come back soon for updates!