9. RLPO Japan Tour 2015 – Fukuoka

One of the choices at breakfast today in the Nagoya Tokyu Hotel was the local delicacy of deep fried chicken in a little sweet chilli sauce. Very nice indeed! I had more than one portion…unnamed-11

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.


Japanese firm Suntory appear to have a hand in many things. The best whiskey in the world, the great Suntory Concert Hall in Tokyo, world class sporting events and a very nice beer too. Is there any end to this company’s talents?!

Perfect timing to settle in to the hotel for a four thirty rehearsal in the Acros Fukuoka Symphony Hall five minutes walk away.


RLPO ‘bumper horn’ Chris Morley about to open his clinic as ‘agony aunt’ in his high backed leather chair…

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…unnamed-5RLPO Concert Master (leader) Jim Clark turning round and giving one of his ‘stares’!unnamed-4A 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. unnamed-6

The Acros Fukuoka Concert Hall. Even the building itself is landscaped!8955201Our 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!


Horn player Jonathan Barratt with his horn shaped glass


RLPO Bass Anthony Williams & RLPO Horn player Tim Nicholson in the Horn Bar in Tokyo

RLPO Bass Anthony Williams & RLPO Horn player Tim Nicholson in the Horn Bar in Tokyo

 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!


Octopus sushi in Tokyo fish market


Tuna sushi in Tokyo fish market


More sushi in Tokyo fish market


RLPO Bass Section – From left – Nigel Dufty, Ashley Frampton, Anthony Williams, Damian Rodriguez-Robido, Danny Hammerton and Section Leader Marcel Becker

The horns even visited a toy shop in Tokyo for a go on a massive Scalextric!

The horns even visited a toy shop in Tokyo for a go on a massive Scalextric!

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.unnamed-7As 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.unnamed-13As per normal, Nobyuki Tsujii was the first to arrive and was busy practicing when I arrived; seemingly oblivious to all those practicing around him.unnamed-11unnamed-12The 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.unnamed-14The RLPO Bass Section have enjoyed a good tour!unnamed-15

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…unnamed-17 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.unnamed-18 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.unnamed-22

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…


About brendanball

Professional Trumpeter: Soloist, Orchestra Player, Chamber Music, Contemporary Music & Education.
This entry was posted in The Tour Blogs & Brendan's Solo Blogs. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to 9. RLPO Japan Tour 2015 – Fukuoka

  1. Brian Willis says:

    Thanks again Brendan…entertaining blogs, everyone of them.

    Enjoy your honeymoon, and we look forward to meeting you one of these days at The Phil.

    Best wishes,

    Val + Brian Willis

  2. Barbara Wall says:

    It has been such a pleasure to read your blogs Brendan. I do hope you and your wife have a lovely time together now.

  3. Robin Bloxsidge says:

    Many thanks indeed Brendan for all your most interesting blogs and I hope that the orchestra gets back to Japan after this very successful tour; the audiences and critics all seem agreed that it should return. Have a great honeymoon and continue to enjoy what now seems to be your second, if not equal, home!

  4. nobufans says:


    Yet another photo of Nobu practicing in rehearsal with the orchestra members around — they all look alike 🙂 🙂 But thank you, thank you. The last encore that Tsujii-san played was a composition of his own, “Still we live on”, which he wrote to commemorate the 2011 earthquake/tsunami victims.
    I have been collecting comments from the Japanese audiences and really, they can’t be more positive. They have hight praise for the orchestra and conductor Petrenko (many ladies shyly refer to his good looks 🙂

    I just heard from Mr. Nick Asano, one of Nobu’s business managers, and I don’t think he would mind that I share this: “They are a very well organized orchestra and it has been great joy and pleasure to travel with them. Mastro Petrenko is also a fantastic musician and a very nice person.”
    Asano-san was really worried about hosting such a large orchestra from U.K. — I can just see the big smile on his face now.

    Happy honeymoon! May you have as much pleasure as we got from the experience that you shared in these wonderful blog.

    Well, this has been a love fest, and I shall miss the vicarious excitement of following the tour. Parting is such sweet sorrow …

  5. Thanks Brendan for the really interesting blogs and pictures. It’s certainly been a very successful tour. We are all looking forward to your next concert back home in Liverpool.
    Have a wonderful honeymoon and enjoy more of what Japan has to offer. (would love to see some pics. eventually!)
    Thank you again.

  6. Pingback: RLPO Japan Tour 2015 – Read About The Whole Tour! | Brendan Ball's Blog

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