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Days 69 - 73 - Five Whole Days Off at Home!

Since this is 'Dave Rat Adventures with Chili Peppers' blog and not 'Hang Out with Dave Rat at Home' Blog and the subject of food is so enticing, what better time to share a food adventure?

"There is an old expression such that "I want to eat fugu, but I don't want to die" in Japan. Since fugu's poison can lead to instantaneous deaths of diners, only licensed cooks are allowed to prepare fugu. You must have special skills and knowledge about fugu to be licensed. Poisonous parts of fugu differ, depending on the kind of fugu. Because of the strict regulations, the number of deaths is decreasing." -

Boring..... I do my best to spend my life in the boredom avoidance mode, though clearly I am not always successful. So today I set out to rally a few roadies together to join me as I have been meaning to go see what this fugu thing is all about. Strangely, the roadies seemed less than exuberant at the prospect so I had to pull out the secret weapons of peer pressure and ridicule. Well, actually, roadie Scott was pretty easy to sway and by default, roadie Nick the Fly and roadie Leif are responsible for Scott and I so they can not risk leaving us unattended in dangerous environments.

The restaurant was very difficult to locate, I guess with all the danger involved, they have to keep them fairly low key to avoid attracting attention:

Just in case we don't make it, I wanted to a final goodbye shot

Clearly Nick is having second thoughts:

Since roadie Scott does lights, he was the obvious choice to be the test subject:

Unlike many before us traversing this treacherous course, we made it out while still being alive:

Unfortunately that did not last as long as we had hoped and roadie Leif began straggling behind. We really will miss him but having an extra junk bunk on the tour bus will be kind of cool.

Ok, Thank you for joining me on yet another journey and off to pretend I am a normal human being living in the real world for bit. Next stop, Lollapalooza, Chicago!

Dave Rat


Day 68 - Japan - Conclusion of the Japanese Tour Leg - Fly home

Wow, it seems like just yesterday we all headed to Japan and here we are near the end this journey. With a sad heart and fond memories I bid thee farewell. Like all great things, this must too come to an end. I feel that a brief synopsis may be in order to accurately relate. First we flew here, then had a day off, did a tv show, Fuji festival and now we fly home. Mathematically, approximately 116 hours will have passed from when I left till I return with only 46 hours spent in planes, trains and automobiles. So that comes out to about 60% of the trip was actually spent on solid ground!

In the mean time, I will just sign on to the internet and work on being boring. Whoa, what do we have here?..... Uh Oh, this does not look good:

Now what am I going to do? Or more importantly, what have I done? Time to get out the antenna because the the threats from the 'allegedly' free hotel internet is making me nervous.

**** Later this same long day ****

I have landed, made it home and just as you loose a day when you fly to Japan from LA, you actually land before you left when you come home! You do not get your lost day back but the super long day acts a consolation prize.

First order of business, food. Unlike the series of delectable meals I experience on the road, at home I am relegated to consume a much simpler grub. Look what $30 at the local mexican market gets me:

Oh, this is going to suck as torture myself with shrimp tacos and home made salsa. Ummmm, I got to go...

The very hungry Dave Rat


Day 67 - Japan -Fuji Festival

Last night the rest of the crew took the bus up the hill but I opted to stay in Tokyo for the night and ride the bullet train up with the band party. Being that the gig is a 'throw and go' and Nick the Fly has no problem getting the gear dialed, interfaced and under control, the lure of actually having an internet connection was too tempting to pass up. Flea, on the other hand, did the opposite and had Clara with him (his older daughter). They cruised up to the ski resort with the crew after the TV show to enjoy a day out of the city.

The bullet trains are really cool and super fast and smooth to ride on. Roadie Jason can be seen here petting the bullet train, which is generally ok to do,

Though whtever came over him and inspired him to touch its eye is beyond me. It is well know that touching the eye of a Trainosaur, could anger it and he is clearly at great risk on being bitten. Roadie Jason is clearly fearless.

Immediately upon arriving at the picturesque venue site we went on an expedition in the general direction of the dressing rooms. And even though the rain was light, I do not know what we would have done without the 8 natives acting as umbrella technicians.

As you may be aware, one of the more challenging aspects of touring is maintaining a healthy diet. After the train ride and mountain drive, I was overjoyed when I found my concerns unfounded, at least for today. Feast your eyes upon this delectable spread the still even had something reminiscent of warmth located towards the middle if you stick your finger in it, may I say "Yummy?"

I love Sonic Youth!

I love their music, I love them as magic and wonderful people! And do you know how you sometimes meet people that have a profound effect on your life? Well, Sonic Youth was the first band to take out a full Rat Sound PA system since the 3 Black Flag tours in the mid 80's. After the Flag tours, we at Rat decided to stop touring and rebuild the sound gear to be fully tour perfected based based on all we had learned from the vigilante style punk rock style tours. When we were ready, as with many things in life, no one wanted to risk taking us on a 'real' tour unless we had experience doing 'real' tours. Catch 22. Back then there just was not a lot of bands/managers that both cared who Black Flag was and also were big enough to carry a sound system on tour. Well, Sonic Youth had grown out of the punk rock/SST Records world and they gave us our second big break and took us Rats out on the their Goo tour.

Looking out over the crowd from stage we see many pretty colors:

And the gratuitous snapshot of the rock show, the way I see it:

And following a long day in less than optimum weather, the show was awesome! The crowd was so excited and filled with energy, the steam rising off the audience, and whether the audience got the energy from the band or the band fed off the energy of the audience, the two mixed together with the mountainous japanese retreat and it was all good.

In order to reward ourselves for having so much fun, a celebration was most definitely in order. Here you can see the plush interior of a Japanese tour bus filled with celebratory roadies:

And tomorrow we fly home!

The portable Dave Rat

Day 66 - Japan - TV Show Taping

Of all the yearly occurring festivals I have worked, Fuji Festival is easily my least favorite. There are numerous reasons ranging from it being very far away to the fact that it is far away and hard to get to as well. Invariably a Fuji festival trip consists of flying 12 hours or more depending on your starting point, driving 2 hours from Narita Airport to Tokyo to do some sort of promo, doing a 4 hour midnight run up the hill to the festival site to stay in a mini-bed ski lodge with no internet, hanging out all day in a remote location waiting to do a throw and go rock show followed by another 4 hour midnight run down the mountain to stay in an airport hotel before flying home. And get this, Fuji Festival is not even at mount Fuji! That awesome white topped famous mountain, well that is in the opposite direction, I am told. Though, it did not used to be that way and I remember the first one I worked was actually at Mount Fuji.

Anyway, that is tomorrow, today we setup at a TV studio for a one song live deal. It is pretty interesting, they have the stage on segmented rolling risers with a set change involving what seemed like 50 Japanese stage crew. It was kind of fun and I joined the techs as they surfed their segments moving pretty darn quick out the door and into the other room and back again. Here you can see roadie Tracy surfing his segment into the storage room

Now look closely at the picture above and you will notice that there are a bunch of people working but one in particular must be special because he has a rather large tool belt on. Maybe he is a carpenter that works with hammering nails and sharp things? How else could you explain the fact that he is wearing the Japanese safety shoe. It turns out, every single person I could find that had a tool belt also was wearing the highly protective footwear:

Dave Rat

P. S.

If you are ever looking for a bargain on a square watermelon, you can scoop this baby up in Tokyo for $100.00 US or so!

And is that $60.00 for 2.5 KG of oranges? May as well grab them while you are here.

Day 65 - July 27 - Day Off Exploration

Part 1 - The Scott Walk

Today our Adventure leader will be none other than Scott the Lampi. Famous for his namesake Scott-Walks which involve miles of random exploration and sore feet, Scott has graciously offered to take us on a tour of Tokyo Hands, a legendary store that is rumored to have everything.

On our way there, it is difficult not to be distracted by all the cool motorcycles:

We made a friend:

And here we are at Tokyo Hands, a gathering place for roadies to wander:

Cool little TeeVee (He is clearly showing his roadie roots)

Nick the Fly takes break in a short chair

Scott bought one of the wine racks on the lower shelf:

He appears to be primping:

Scott becomes overwhelmed with curiosity. Hmmm, who is in here?:

Check out these wooden casters:

Who do you know that does not need little plastic scenes of people smoking in an office? And look closely at the one on the bottom left:

With Tokyo Hands being a gather area for roadies, it was no surprise to run across Leif and Daniel:

This is a little projector:

And this is what is projects:

I think he likes the table:

Uh oh! It gets lonely on the road and it looks like Scott may have liked what he peeked at earlier as he is back again:

More useful and attractive items and something I should own:

Oh, cool, I have been meaning to pick up a rhinoceros beetle, ya' never know when one of these babies will come in handy:

And thank you Scott for an informative tour, looks like he may be getting ready for a date with his friend!


>**** Special Feature - Japan, a Culture of Industriousness and Innovation ****

Part 1 - Overcoming Environmental Challenges

There are a few things that you can be sure to expect on a journey to Japan. First of all, it is a well known fact that if you are traveling with a group of people over 30 years old, it is socially impossible not to discuss what an incredible feat it must be to keep Tokyo in such great shape. It is hard to imagine how industrious the culture must truly be and somewhere right around the bridge coming from Narita when you spot the big ferris wheel is usually the trigger area that sets off the discussion.

It is just one of those things that we westerners take for granted. What other culture could deal so adeptly with the massive devastation and chaos caused by giant reptiles regularly battling in the streets of a their largest city? Between the adventures of Godzilla, Giant Robot and my personal favorite Gamera, it is astounding the city remains at all, let alone intact and functioning. Here are a few pics and once you start to comprehend how big these beasts are, you will begin to realize how great of a geological, social and economical impact these huge monsters can create::

This tower has been toppled so many times, I bet they can rebuild it in no time:

Incoming! Just imagine if he lived in your neighborhood, he is actually a good guy:

But when trouble comes, Tokyo takes a hit:

This guy is cool, but even so, do not underestimate the repair bill and man hours after Gamera has spent the day defending the city:

Finally, Giant Robot I hear is actually remote controlled by a kid somewhere but no one really knows:

Part 2 - Revolutionary Technology

The Japanese have created what I consider to be one of the most life altering innovations of the 20th century. What does every human go doo every day? Yep, pretty much. And where do they doo? That's right, the toilet. Now imagine this. You sit down to lay your weary buns to rest and the first thing you notice is the warmth of the heated toilet seat. Next an infrared sensor detects your presence and activates a deodorizing fan just in case that the unlikely event of something smelling less than pleasant should occur.

Upon completion of the task at hand, you have a myriad of choices to offered, but they all end up in about the same thing: a well aimed small nozzle comes out and emits a steam of warm water in an upward direction.

Naturally, there is a button that offers a special redirecting of the stream for females whom desire to have that warm jet of pulsating water wash a different area.

Furthermore, this stream can often be adjusted in temperature, exact aim and even be oscillated or pulsated.

Finally, after you have flushed away your donation, yet another button activates a heated air blow dryer that, though time consuming, will dry your nether region. All in all, if you have the time, what the Japanese have done is to create the first practical and fully functional, 'Paperless Office.'

**** End of the Special Feature - Japan, a Culture of Industriousness and Innovation ****

The very clean Dave Rat


Day 64 - The Vanishing Day

I boarded a plane at noon on the 25th, I spend 12 hours on the plane and I land at 4pm on the 26th 28 hours later, and somewhere along the way I seem to have misplaced a good part of the day and now somehow now I reside in tomorrow.

Coffee time:

And being in the future has some benefits as well. Here you can see that I am making a dent in the 'being gouged for internet' issue. Thanks to a belated birthday gift from the Rat family, I now travel with a long range, high power, Wi-Fi antenna. I would like to thank the kind souls whom leave their networks unlocked as I do at home:

Since Japan is on a completely separate cell network that is incompatible with the rest of the planet earth, I rented a phone at the airport for the hefty sum of $5 a day. Normally I do not have a camera phone but since I have one now, I may as well use it and off to 7-11 to grab some essentials. Hmmmm, look, a useful bottle of ice:


and of course Sake:

with the self heating Sake can being the drink of choice. You press on the bottom of the can and it activates a heater element that warms it up.

David Ratti-son

Day 58 - Day 63 - Extended Summer Vacation

Spent a couple days in Portland hanging with my brother and scooping up the little ones from the mom. Hey, if you are in Portland, check out my bro's bars - Shanghai Tunnel and Bar of the Gods, tell him ya know me and the drinks will be free! Well, maybe not free but they are fun places and he is super cool and its worth a shot.

Brother Rat

Miserable Kids not having fun:

And three days was more than enough time to unpack, put three weeks of my life back together, repack and head to the airport, hey, lets go see what's going on in Japan! I am so excited, I can't wait to get on another aeroplane and get away from my stupid bed.