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The Return Of Kiichi-kun III

In our epic conclusion to the trio that is “The Return Of Kiichi-kun III,” Ashely and I were finally able to venture into Tokyo and begin our exploration of all things Japan.

The first expedition found us wandering the back streets of Shibuya to head towards Harajuku. At first, we felt as if we were completely lost, attempting to utilize my phone maps (which for a USA phone in Japan, it doesn’t quite work right). Eventually we found the shops getting cooler, the food stalls becoming far more interesting looking. We popped in and out of punk-clothing shops, a baby clothes store that featured graffiti-style printed clothes for toddlers, some thrift shops, then gradually made our way towards Kiddy Land; the king of all toy stores. I’ve hit Kiddy Land each time in Japan, collecting my Final Fantasy toys, but this time they had none! We stocked up on omiyage for our friends and family, then went for food. Continue reading

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The Return Of The Kiichi-kun II

It was a short van ride to Saitama from the Tokyu Excel for Loud Park; when we finally arrived, we all grabbed our bags and stage clothes and headed to the dressing rooms. 

Like pretty much everything else in this country, Japan really has the dressing room situation figured out; not only figured out, but basically has all things hospitality, nailed down better than any other country could even fathom. Each band has their own large private space, a decent rider in their room, temperature controls for your room (you’d be surprised how rare this feature is typically), a clean bathroom and showers nearby (a rarity in some countries to even have a shower or toilet), world-class catering (with Japanese food), and really pro backstage crew (including stage crew, caterers, hospitality, security, press, etc.). Japan, just like in everything else, does the backstage world better than anyone else. Continue reading

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The Return Of The Kiichi-Kun I

There’s no place on Earth that I strive to be in more than Japan; no where I feel more at home (outside of my own home); no where that when I’m away from it, I miss like one misses loved ones on a trip far away in some remote part of the planet.

I was born in the Yamaguchi prefecture (Iwakuni) January 26, 1986. I consider myself to be half-Japanese (my mother’s side), half-Marine (thanks to my military father). My family relocated to the USA when I was about 1, so I have zero recollection of ever being in Japan as a child. 

Thankfully – due to the band I am in, I am able to return once every year and a half or so. Lately – and unfortunately – Trivium only comes back for either a brief press run or one show in Tokyo. One show? That’s torture! I’d prefer to have a year long tour there than one measly show. Either way, one is better than none. Trivium returned for Loud Park 2013 and we had the greatest Japanese show ever, and one of the greatest shows of our career even. But if you live in Japan, you probably already heard about that show. Let’s go behind the scenes of everything else that happened on my visit. Continue reading

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Vancouver, Canada

Food-freaks in the know, know that Canada has some of the best food you can find in North America. Don’t believe me? Check out just a few of the restaurants recommended by people who know good food in Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto and Vancouver. Sure – French Canada is known to have some great bites, but Vancouver can seriously contend in the good-food arena. I believe I heard from a native Vancouver-an that Vancouver has one of the highest Asian populations in North America, and you know what that means: great freakin’ Asian food!

Vancouver has one of my personal favorite sandwich restaurants in all North America: Meat and Bread. We had a late arrival into Vancouver, but I was lacing up my boots as soon as we hit the city – my mission was to sprint to MaB as quickly as possible and just take it all in. A couple of us suited up and made the trek; the whole time I could be heard repeating to my gang about “how amazing this place is.” Long story short: we showed up and it was closed. It was like being a child who finally coerced their parents to take them to Toys R Us and it was closed for the day. I was heart broken. Defeated. Continue reading

K I I C H I chaos – Ramen Tatsu-Ya from Lobo Sucio Creative on Vimeo.

Here is a wonderful little present my dear friends at Lobo Sucio created for me. This was shot amidst the recording of Trivium’s “VI” in Austin, Texas. 

One fateful day – I was hungry (as always) – and my new foodie soul-mates at Lobo took me to Ramen Tatsu-ya, a little oasis in Austin not unlike a mini-Japan. The folks at Tatsu-ya do a perfect bowl of Ramen and I’m proud to say I downed at least 3 bowls in that shoot alone. From my initial introduction to Tatsu-ya, I found new friends in the staff and owners alike, and found a new spot in the USA that has some of the best food I’ve come across.

Basically – you need to get to Tatsu-ya. My current favorite is the Tsukemen or “Dipping Ramen” – surprisingly – it was my first time ever trying that style at Tatsu-ya.

If you’re unfamiliar with Lobo Sucio, they are the multi-medium-extraordinaires who create some truly fantastic visual art spanning across photography, videography, and film. Lobo Sucio is doing the Trivium documentary that surrounds “VI”; both in photo and video.

Be sure to get on their site and check out some of the work they’ve done with Sorne – my new favorite Austin artist (check out the short film Lobo did for Sorne – breathtaking stuff). 

If you dig the tunes in the background of this piece – that’s ol’ Kiichi-kun on the jams.

Enjoy this little food episode my friends created for me. Thank you Lobo’s, thank you Tatsu-ya’s. 

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Last Supper

(Tokyo. Day 4.)

The last day was a quick one – rested and revitalized, there was no press today. Just the impending cross-globe flight to NYC to hit the press trip over on that side of earth. Koji had some work to do, so after Corey and I packed our luggage – we decided to hit whatever we could find randomly. Continue reading

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Sake-Stomach-Soup 

(Tokyo. Day 3. Part 2.)

Shrimp-mayo again. Happy, little fried-nuggets of shrimpy-goodness; these were way smaller than the ones from the first night, but just as amazing nonetheless – the bed of greens and sprinkles of green onion were a good compliment. The duck (with the fat) skewered with wasabi was a good laugh. A good laugh in the sense that every person who took a bite (after about 3-5 seconds) was immediately invaded upward-nasal-style with a kick of some serious wasabi-ness. This is what I imagine Steve-o’ lines of wasabi felt like; every single person at the table had the same “Holy shit!- but I’m trying to maintain composure, red-as-a-beat face on.” Terrific. Continue reading

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day 2. part 2.

Lots and lots more great press… yadda yadda… 

We actually had all the head retailers of all the CD-retailers from all over Japan come in to have us demo our new album, videos, artwork, and basically be the salesmen of the new record: it went amazingly… but it made me hungry. Continue reading


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(day 1 continued)

 

The next dish was (if in the USA it would be called this) Shrimp. 3 ways. It was shrimp covered in Japanese mayo (a completely different taste than our american mayo), deep fried shrimp heads (the best part of a shrimp to me; cooked the best way), and shrimp crackers. This dish was something special. The shrimp mayo was probably one of the best damn things we ate that night – Japanese mayo has a sweeter flavor than US-mayo, and it’s far lighter; fried shrimp heads… if you haven’t had them done right before – try it; it rules. Continue reading

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Since being home and off-tour – I’ve found it very difficult to be able to type up new food adventures… so – to keep this bad boy alive, I will be posting old issues off my original tumblr food blog. I’m sure not everyone has had the chance to enjoy these original blogs. The writing ain’t as good, I may be cruder, and the pictures are all iPhone… Guten Apetit. 

 

Day 1. Tokyo.

Having never done a blog based around my travels and gastro-adventuring, my friends and family have always encouraged me to start something like this up. All of these photos are iPhone photos in (obviously) some of the most un-photogenic lighting situations; so you’ll see the food pretty much as i did… in a semi-blurred haze (not unlike mine, which was induced by copious amounts of delicious japanese alcohol and jetlag). Continue reading