Kaotican Alphabet

Roadie #42 – Blog #138

#42 and the globe-trotting adventure

Greetings to you all from Tokyo. We just flew in from London yesterday and boy are our arms tired…

And so begins a trip that sees us do an entire lap of the planet in just fourteen days. London-Tokyo-Brisbane-Sydney-LA-Chicago-London. Two weeks of insane travel, monstrous jetlag, huge shows and days packed with promo. There’s just no getting around the fact that we’re going to need taking home in a basket.

As ever, when faced with such a brutal schedule, Coldplay’s response is completely predictable: “Can we fit a bit more in?”.
To that end, studios have been booked at every step along the way for some final (yeah right) fiddling with the record and Mat Whitecross has joined us to see if they can get a video made while they’re at it. I do sometimes wonder whether the fellas are going to get to 40 years of age and just collapse onto their respective sofas and refuse to move for the rest of their lives. I have to say, it’d be hard to blame them…

The next fortnight then, is going to be an interesting experiment in human endurance and the effects of timezone-disorientation. Everyone arrived at the departure lounge bright and fresh after a couple of weeks at home or on holiday. I expect that the versions of ourselves that will walk through the arrivals hall in a couple of weeks time to be looking a tad less bouncy. We’ll see.

Without getting all “world traveller” on you, I’m finding Tokyo feeling a little less alien every time we come here. I’ve heard people say that for a westerner, it’s the most like visiting another planet you can get. I was in agreement the first couple of times I was here, but it doesn’t feel that way at all now.

Obviously, the alphabet is impenetrable to someone who hasn’t studied it and the food too, (at least for someone so used to western over-processed crap) is a long long way from what you’re used to. On top of this, is the fact that the jet lag from GMT to here is pretty shocking, so everything is usually viewed through the lens of exhaustion and confusion that makes even the everyday seem heavily surreal.

I’m starting to feel a bit more familiar with it now though. Having said that, I’m not sure if it’s perhaps a sign that I’ve been doing this a little too long when after travelling six thousand miles, the first thing I think on arriving is “Ooh, this is exactly the same room I had last time – right, I might nip round the corner for coffee…”.

The one thing I still haven’t totally got my head around is the bowing. Now don’t get me wrong, I adore the Japanese and always immediately feel rude not to be as respectful and cheerful as they seem to be by default. The problem is, that having been brought up as an ignorant westerner, I never quite know what the protocol is. This means that I start off by feeling that I’ve been impolite by not bowing appropriately, then inevitably, I massively overcompensate by walking around bowing at every person I pass.

This time, I’ve decided to go with bowing in every instance where I would say either “hello”, “thank you” or “goodbye”. So with that, I shall place my hands at my sides, keep my back straight and bring my shoulders forwards 45 degrees…