This is Life

Monday, December 04, 2006

My third continent with U2

Well, I guess I am not as accomplished as some of the truly well-traveled peers I met when I saw U2 in Tokyo On November 30th, but to be able to say I have now seen U2 on 3 different continents is kind of neat - at least for me. I talked to one guy from California that had already been to 12 shows on this tour alone. I mean, he literally uses all of his holiday time and a good bit of his income to travel the world following U2. Now, in all likelihood I am a bigger U2 fan than you are, but I gotta say that that is a little sad to me. But who am I to judge?

Anyway, one thing I discovered in the only other previous concert I had been to in Japan was that Japanese fans are much less aggressive than anywhere else I have been. Politeness generally wins the day. So, when I saw Coldplay during my first weekend in Japan in the summer of `05 I learned that I could get pretty much as close to the stage as I pleased. That saw me standing about 2 or 3 meters from the front of the stage and within one meter of the barrier that divides the stage and the crowd.

It was pretty darn close and pretty darn cool. With the U2 concert my expectations were a little lower, mainly because I anticipated there to be a lot more foreigners there who wouldn`t be so accommodating. True, there were a lot of foreigners, including what seemed to be ever single Brazilian that currently resides in Japan, but I was still able to secure some prime real estate. In fact, I was standing about 1 meter behind the barrier again and this time right at the tip of the runway that juts out into the audience. This runway soon became the domain of The Edge and we had some real bonding moments, the two of us. In fact, the band asked me to come out for drinks with them afterwards, but I already had plans. I was pretty tired so that last part may or may not have happened.

Anyway, after the concert I had to hop in my car and drive half way back from Tokyo to Niigata (by the way, I DO NOT recommend driving around Tokyo). At which point I thought it would be a good idea to stop and sleep in my car. See, it was 1am at this point and I had an early golf appointment so I figured I couldn`t bother with getting a hotel. Bring a couple blankets, slap on half a dozen warmers (you know, the ones with sand or something in them and when you shake them they get warm) and I would be good to good. That had to be high on the growing list of the dumbest things I have ever done. I am really hoping I never top my brilliant "sun-intensifier in Hawaii" incident. Anyway, needless to say, I didn`t get much sleep and spent most of the time contemplating what life without my nose and my toes would be like. Poor balance to say the least.

Long story short, turned the car on around 6am to thaw my appendages and then going completely on muscle memory, rather than actually feeling, I drove myself to the golf course that I was meeting my former high school's PE teachers for a round to celebrate the end of the year. They actually all had a party the night before, but, as you have read, I was a little preoccupied. On the other hand, they also had a better nights sleep than I did so if nothing else I was equipped with yet another excuse.

And boy did I need all of my excuses when the scores were tallied. My only other round of the year I shot an 84 at Greywolf Panorama. Not an easy course so I was mighty surprised. Well, first I'll tell you that my yearly average worked out to be 98. The really quick ones will have figured out that I shot a 112 this time around. On the bright side, that is my best ever score on a par 72, full length course in Japan. So, the excuses are that I was using a borrowed set of clubs, no 3 or 4 iron and no 3 wood. Also, I believe they were made of melted paper clips, or at least they felt that cheap. Second, no sleep. Third, no practice. Fourth, just had a bad day. I realize that if I really were a good golfer that I wouldn't need excuses. Like I said, I really need my excuses.

Other than that, it was a very pleasant day. This was a very pretty course and was actually quite a bargain ($70 CDN, including cart and all you can eat lunch buffet, plus use of the hot tub and facilities). The cart was a bit of a pain, though, because it was actually auto-driven. This means that the cart will follow the path no matter what. You press a button and it will just drive itself. Unfortunately, the person that programmed it was clearly Miss Daisy because you can practically walk faster than it. It is kind of neat, however, and it will automatically stop itself if it gets too far from you or there is something, such as a small child, lying in the middle of the path. You can also control it remotely, which needless to say, can make for a lot of fun. Oh, the other neat thing the course had was conveyor belts. After you finish on the 9th green, you press the button and watch your car drive off the the club house to be cleaned, while you hop on the uphill conveyor belt to whisk you off to the clubhouse. If it seems completely unnecessary, well, it is, but that's not the point. Its Cool! Anyway, then you have a half hour or so break to have lunch and then you resume your round afterwards. Odd, isn't it? It was a good time though, despite my playing partners not knowing English. Good lads though, them PE teachers.

After the golf I had to drive a few hundred kilometers to get back to my neck of the woods for the International Committee's year-end dinner party. And that was my weekend. I was also scheduled to drive another couple hundred kms on the Sunday morning to write a test at 8:30 am, but figured it was just too much and I deserved a break. Besides, I hadn't really studied so there was pretty much no point in taking the test anyway, other than seeing the scenery along the drive.

10 more days and I am on a plane (December 20th).


At 10:13 AM, Anonymous Christina said...

oi. lucky bastid. U2 up close and personal.
and the bright ideas don't stop do they? I'm hoping your appendages are still attached and regardless, that's a better score that I would've ever managed. i do intend to write you soon, but my internet is being a little retarded right now. for now, no more sleeping in cars. especially in december.

At 5:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No more updates? I miss the photos, and funny talk!!!


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