The Philharmonia and Esa-Pekka Salonen are touring Japan throughout the first half of February, performing works by Beethoven, Mahler and Stravinsky, in cities across the country. Sam Burstin, violist, relays the sights, sounds and stories in this tour blog. If you'd like to comment on anything in this blog head over to our Facebook or Twitter page and leave us a message.
I'm writing from our plane home, which is currently 36,000 feet over the top of Norway; the view is magical. The snowy white land is bathed in the glow of a setting sun, which we have been chasing since we took off from the land in which it rises nine and a half hours ago. When we arrive back in London in two and a half hours' time, we shall have succumbed to darkness, the sun having...
My plan for the rest of the tour was to stay up late and rise late, thus resetting the body clock back towards European time, or at least trying to. The coaches for Saturday's concert in Yokohama, an hour south of Tokyo (and the venue for the 2002 Football World Cup Final), were to leave at 1.45pm, so I rose around 1 and went and bought a banana and a blueberry yoghurt for breakfast. I figured...
Friday lunchtime saw the launch in Japanese of the Philharmonia's awesome app, the Orchestra. I met Nate in the lobby and we took the red Marunouchi line to Ginza, an enormous shopping district in central Tokyo, walked about half a mile to exit A12 and popped out, blinking, into the sunny street. Across the road was a shiny cuboid building with a rotating, once-bitten apple on the roof. I...
Thursday saw the first concert of the tour in Tokyo, which was great for two reasons; there was no travelling during the day, which meant time for some sightseeing; and the hall we were playing in that evening was one of the most amazing structures I've ever seen.
One of the wonderful things about touring the world is experiencing different cultures; the food is a big part of that. Bento boxes are like a packed lunch, with rice or noodles, dumplings, some meat or tofu, maybe some funky vegetables or some other unidentifiable product (see bento B at the Robot place!).
We were quite sorry to be leaving Sapporo, with its fantastic hall, great beer and frankly awesome snow. But Tokyo is a city like no other, and as we took off for the capital, on a surprisingly large plane, I began to reminisce about previous visits.
Dear readers, I just spent rather a long time writing today's blog, only for a faulty internet connection to make it disappear completely, seemingly never to arrive, or return for that matter.
I'll not lie, it was took quite an effort to drag myself out of bed on Sunday morning, as I'd had more Guinnesses the night before than hours of sleep! But after a quick shower I packed and headed to the lobby with a sense of purpose. I was forgoing breakfast for a walk under a cold, cloudless sky, and headed towards the Motoyasu River and the Peace Memorial Park.
I awoke on Saturday around five feeling remarkably refreshed. The previous night's swim had clearly done the trick, and after a hearty buffet breakfast I felt ready for anything. Which was good as we had a long day ahead of us.
Our flight between London's Heathrow and Tokyo's Narita airports was as uneventful and unmemorable as most of the movies on offer to us cattle-class passengers.
Going on tour is such a regular occurance for us Philharmonia players there is a danger that it can become routine, and therefore less exciting.
Hello, and welcome to the Philharmonia's Japan Tour 2013 blog! My name is Sam Burstin, I've been a viola player in the orchestra for seven years, and a few months ago I was writing to you from the USA; blogging topics (blogics?!) included pizza, Jimi Hendrix and the Presidential Election. This time it's more likely to be sushi, Stravinsky and Six Nations Rugby!