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Playing at the Plastic Factory in Nagoya, and the Sleepers at McDonald’s

October 9, 2011

plastic factory night club in Nagoya, Japan

plastic factory night club in Nagoya, Japan

I discovered the Plastic Factory night club, event space and art gallery through an open mic internet search that revealed it is the local of an open mic on the last Sunday of the month in Nagoya. It was one of three or four open mics that take place once or twice a month on days of the week in which I am in Nagoya, but without being on the precise days when I am here! That is a common hasard of this open mic adventure. But what suddenly became interesting when I visited the Plastic Factory web site was that they announced that last night there would be an open stage for musicians and DJs. So I decided to take my guitar and take the subway two stops from my hotel and join in.

Well, joining in turned out to be not entirely the accurate word. Dominate would be better, as I ended up as the only musician present. Having said that, I played my heart out to a small but cosy, kind and interesting audience, including Heinz Senn, the owner of the Plastic Factory, who comes from German-speaking Switzerland.

Moreoever, after I played Heinz asked me about whether I’d ever recorded my music, and I produced a CD with the four songs on it that I recorded last year. He promptly put it on the turntable and piped it through the massive sound system very loud. I have never heard it in a club situation coming that loud through speakers, and it was very cool and inspiring!

So was the Plastic Factory, this is clearly a hip and comfortable joint, and no wonder it has lasted seven years. I think Heinz is putting on a party next week to mark the seven years of the place’s existence. The web site gives clear instructions on how to find the place, but the small hallway entrance is still difficult to notice from the street. You follow it down a long corridor until you come to the bright yellow/green entrance door, enter the room and you feel like you’re in a cool, private loft. There is a nice stage with a big DJ set up on it, but room also to play music in front of that, with a screen above the stage for projections.

Heiz said his Harmonium Parlour open mic is the biggest and most successful in the city and that they have 80 to 90 spectators and up to 24 musicians every month. And given the vibe of the place, I can believe it. And he may be of European origin, but he said the clientele at the open mic is very much a mixture of Japanese and foreigners. So was last night’s clientele, by the way.

This morning as I stopped in at McDonald’s in Sakae to have my daily dose of pancakes and egg McMuffin – in order to avoid the rice, fish and vegetable “breakfast” at the hotel – I saw once again the same scene I have noticed in this McDonald’s every day: Revellers or workers taking a morning nap on the tables of the restaurant. Is their lifestyle so tightly and overworked that they take every minute available to sleep? Just when I thought the McDonalds was a center for crashing out, a journalist colleague of mine in Formula One, told me that this morning he had seen them sleeping in the 7 Eleven store too….

The video I took this morning shows far fewer than the usual number of sleepers, but it was after 9 AM, and it was a Sunday – there are more on the weekdays. I just had to get a shot of it for the blog….

I also put up a couple of videos of my songs being piped through the sound system at the Plastic Factory, with a segment of “Except Her Heart” and a segment of “Since You Left Me,” which I also sang live.

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