What’s not to love about Japan? There is certainly a lot to love. Everything is done with so much . . . well, respect. Perfect egg salad sandwiches (with the crusts cut off) seem to have been lovingly handmade by actual angels. Even the ones you buy at railway stations. No one is counting on your being an hour away on the train by the time you discover your sandwich is inedibly stale as in America. No! These angel-made sandwiches will still be fresh many hours – possibly even days – from now. Everything is so thoughtful. It’s not about getting the most money from you, it’s about you. In America you have to buy an entire loaf of bread, never mind that you’ll have to feed most of it to the birds in a few days. In Japan you can buy two slices of bread at a time. One egg. A tiny can of beer.
And you know how in Macy’s, when you buy something the sales associate screws it into a sort of ball, like a teenager might, before shoving it into the plastic bag and pushing it across the counter kind of at you (as in “Take that!”)? Not in Japan. Everything, even in the 7/11, is beautifully packaged, carefully folded, sealed and handed to you as if it were a pearl on a pillow (except without the pillow – or the pearl).
It’s all about presentation. It’s how you are handed a business card (with both hands) and how you receive one – in the same way, before inspecting and fondling said business card with the utmost interest and concern. There are so many ideas to copy in Japan but the Japanese attention to detail and concern for the “other” is my favorite. This society is not about the money, it’s about pride. Integrity. respect. These things rule.
We had such an amazing time. From beginning (three sold out nights in Kobe) to the end (thank you, Romero Lubambo for getting us into the Cotton Club on our last night – wow! What a concert with you and Peter Martin). It was so exciting to have people show up all across Japan with our CDs and even vinyl to sign! Actually, it was crazy! Perhaps people get used to these things. I never will. One person even came with pictures they had taken of me at the 55 Bar five years earlier!