Today would be the third destination the RLPO would be accessing on the Shinkansen, better known as the bullet train. It is an amazing experience, travelling at close to 200mph, and the trains are incredibly punctual. We boarded at 11.13am and disembarked at 2.39pm, just as advertised. The RLPO then boarded buses to the hotel arriving at 3.30pm.
Perfect timing to settle in to the hotel for a four thirty rehearsal in the Acros Fukuoka Symphony Hall five minutes walk away.
This has been a long trip right to the other side of the world. Japan is nine hours ahead of the RLPO natural body clock by nine hours. Many, such as extra trumpeter Cai Isfryn are still suffering the effects of jet lag…RLPO Concert Master (leader) Jim Clark turning round and giving one of his ‘stares’!A lovely river view on arrival at our destination in Fukuoka. The hotel is just to the left and the concert hall is just on the right side of the river.
The Acros Fukuoka Concert Hall. Even the building itself is landscaped!Our intrepid RLPO horn section always get up to interesting things on tour and this Japan tour has been no exception. A couple of days ago they all visited The Horn Bar in Tokyo. They were even served in ‘horn’ shaped glasses!
The horns also went to Tokyo fish market where they queued for two hours to be served fresh sushi there. Apparently it was well worth the wait!
The Acros Fukuoka Concert Hall is a new facility. Another world class venue. It is also surround by many places to eat and drink, including the local delicacy of octopus.As I have already said on previous Japan Tour 2015 blog posts, the Japanese attention to detail doesn’t just ensure the concert halls worked acoustically and function well but they also ensure that the venues look nice too. This makes such a difference to both the experience of the performer and the audience.As per normal, Nobyuki Tsujii was the first to arrive and was busy practicing when I arrived; seemingly oblivious to all those practicing around him.The RLPO Brass Section have tended to get dressed ready for the concert prior to rehearsals even to make the most of our meal times between the rehearsals and concerts.The RLPO Bass Section have enjoyed a good tour!
The concert was packed out! All the concerts have been. The audience loved it. As with all the performances, encores were demanded of both Nobuyuki Tsujii, who played two and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, who played Rachmaninov ‘Vocalise’ and Brahms ‘Hungarian Dance no. 1’. This has been a very successful tour. Well organised, great hotales, travel arrangements were excellent, the food is amazing, the concerts were all sold out, the people are just brilliant… Afterwards, many tried some of the very many restaurants and bars in Fukuoka to get a last proper taste of Japan before departing for the UK in the morning. The RLPO will miss this wonderful country. I hope we return soon, the orchestra has been made to feel very welcome and very much at home in Japan. I hope that all following the travels of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra who have visited these blog posts have enjoyed reading them. I have tried to convey the atmosphere of the Japan Tour 2015 so you that you can join in with our experiences here from the comfort of your own homes back in the UK or, as from the statistics of this site, from readers all over the world.
I’m going to sign off now. I will be staying in Japan for two weeks longer than the rest of the RLPO as I recently got married to a Japanese lady. We will be on our honeymoon.
Good luck yo you all and normal blog service will be resumed soon… who knows… maybe I’ll post some pictures etc from our trip over the next two weeks…