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The long way back to Tokyo

I travelled from Fuji Rock Festival to Tokyo in July, 2015

It was 5 am already when I got back to my tent. I knew the sun would rise at 7.30, turning my tent into a sauna, impossible to sleep in. I made a quick decision. I would go back to Tokyo right now, I could sleep on the train, and if I was lucky check in early at the hotel. If not I would have to find a love hotel or manga cafe to sleep in. I would only get two hours of sleep here anyway, that would not help much. I crossed my fingers, hoping I could check in early at the hotel in Tokyo.

Fuji Rock to Tokyo

The main stage at Fuji Rock Festival

I quickly packed my things, headed for the shuttle bus. I was glad I had only been drinking water since midnight. I wasn’t drunk, just tired.

There was a long line waiting for the shuttle bus, but buses were coming all the time. It did not take long before I was aboard one. No empty seats, I sat down on the floor, started drifting into sleep.

From Fuji Rock to Tokyo

The Amateur Stage at Fuji Rock Festival

I remembered these two performers at the amateur stage yesterday. I was relaxing in one of the chairs in front of the stage. It was hot, I had been walking a lot. It was nice to sit down. Two young performers came on the stage, they could not be more than 18 years old. I think they were a couple. He was playing guitar, she was singing. They looked so cute together. While they were playing there was another concert going on at Cafe de Paris, only meters away. The speakers there were turned up much louder, it was hard to hear the couple perform. Most people were watching the other concert. I felt so bad for the couple.

I slept the whole way on the bus. The guy sitting next to me woke me up as we arrived at the station. A train for Tokyo was leaving in 20 minutes. I found the right track, sat down on a bench and waited.

As the train arrived I boarded, found an empty seat and quickly fell asleep. Tokyo Station was at the end of the line, I didn’t have to worry about waking up for my stop.

Fuji Rock to Tokyo

The Red Marquee

As I fell asleep I kept thinking about the day before. The last day of Fuji Rock. Like the rest of the festival it was great.

After the last concert I had met an American, he was so tall. Well over two meters. Japanese aren’t usually very tall people, he was towering over everybody else. We had a lot of fun walking up to random people to introduce him as Fuji-san. The Japanese loved it.

Fuji Rock to Tokyo

It is closer than it looks from Fuji Rock to Tokyo

I was sleeping as the train arrived in Tokyo, one of the train attendants woke me up. I jumped out of my seat, got my stuff, ran out. As I started walking down the stairs from the platform to the terminal I realised my backpack was still on the train.

I ran back up the stairs to the car I had been in. It was being cleaned, the doors were closed. I stood outside, tried to get the attention of one of the ladies inside. It worked. I tried to mime wearing a backpack, she smiled and nodded, showed me my backpack. I nodded.

Fuji Rock to Tokyo

Walking through the woods at Fuji Rock Festival

As she exited the car she pointed down the platform.

‘Station office,’ she said and started walking. I followed. As we got to the station office I was promptly handed my backpack, why we had to do it there and not on the platform I don’t know.

I put my backpack on, relieved, walked from the platform.

I had to pick my suitcase up, I had been storing it at Tokyo Station over the weekend.

Fuji Rock to Tokyo

Ride performing live

Last night, Ride had been the second to last band to play. I had never heard of them, but a guy I met insisited we had to see them. They were the real Oasis he claimed. The concert was really good, I enjoyed it. And maybe they could have been the real Oasis. I don’t know.

I stopped for breakfast at McDonald’s in Tokyo Station. I was hungry and tired, just wanted some food in my system. The restaurant was not far from where my bag was being stored. I quickly ate my food, left the restaurant, found the elevator to take me down to where my suitcase was. The tiny elevator brought back another memory from the night before.

I was walking around the Rookie-a-go-go area, I was alone, having lost all the people I had met. With the massive crowds here, losing one another is not that hard.

It was getting late, I should head home soon. I passed a small tent with a bar outside, a security guard was guarding the entrance to the tent, a few people were standing in line. A sign hung above the entrance: World’s smallest night club. I had to check it out.

It was small. Really small. I have no problem believing it is the world’s smallest. We were five people inside, it was cramped. It couldn’t have been much more than two square meters. As I left I started chatting with the owner. Apparently they travelled the world with the nightclub, their last festival had been Glastonbury.

Fuji Rock to Tokyo

Noel Gallagher. Just hours before I had to travel from Fuji Rock to Tokyo

I picked up my bag from the storage counter, found a train that would take me to Ueno. The trains were crowded, I could not get a seat. It was now past 10 am, I was getting really tired, just wanted to sleep. The ride to Ueno Station did not take long, I got off the train, exited the station. Headed straight for the hotel. I crossed my fingers, hoped for an early check-in

Fuji Rock to Tokyo

Last concert of the festival

The final concert at the main stage had been Noel Gallagher. I have never been a huge Oasis fan, I know a lot of their songs of course, and was interested in seeing what he was doing now. I was a bit disappointed when I realised he was still mostly playing Oasis songs. A few new songs were played, but most of the concert was an Oasis hit parade. It was nice to know most of the songs but I had hoped for something more original.

Fuji Rock to Tokyo

Live radio broadcast

As I approached the reception in the hotel I put on my biggest smile. This was it. I had to get an early check-in. I was tired, could barely keep my eyes open. Had a pounding headache. I was lucky, they let me check in. I quickly took the elevator to my room. As soon as I entered the room I took my clothes straight off, headed for bed.

Fuji Rock to Tokyo

The Bacardi Bar

As I tucked myself in under the covers, memories from the night before still kept popping up in my head. We were at the Bacardi bar. I got a Bacardi t-shirt. I remember watching a man lick another man’s beard. It became a thing. We were constantly photographed. A radio show was being broadcast live at the next tent. My memory is blurry.

I fell asleep in a manner of minutes. I was so tired. I needed sleep. I had a smile in my face as I drifted into sleep, memories of the weekend replaying themselves in my head. Fuji Rock was a great festival, I had the best time ever, and I know for sure that I will return some day.

Fuji Rock to Tokyo

It is time to travel from Fuji Rock to Tokyo

This is the last out of eight posts from Fuji Rock Festival. The previous post was Dragondola.

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