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2540Re: Touring in Japan?

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  • jeff winterberg
    Oct 13, 2006
      i have been over there twice to play. generally, it is
      not super easy to just get a tour together. japan is
      controlled by a few big entertainment heavyweights.
      the smaller outfits are few. to go over and be totally
      legit requires a lot of paperwork and jumping through
      hoops to get the proper visas. even lightning bolt
      can't do it properly and they have been there a few
      times and have done well by underground standards.
      generally it is pretty easy to get through customs by
      just saying you are not there to play for money,
      despite the fact that you have instruments and
      merchandise. the feeling among a few people i spoke to
      in japan about the lightning bolt incident (i was
      actually over there when that happened) was that
      someone with a grudge ratted them out to customs. they
      were immediately pulled aside at the immigration line
      and the authorities had a list of their tour dates and
      everything else about them ready as evidence. this is
      somewhat of a rarity, according to a friend in osaka,
      but it does occur from time to time.
      the other big obstacle is just the fact that japan is
      an expensive place to get around so any tour usually
      involves a rented van and high toll rates. you just
      have to find a sympathetic person willing to brave the
      obstacles. it is a great place to play and the
      audiences are very attentive, very knowledgeable and
      extremely friendly.

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