Author: Kangaeroo

Hello Cello, Watch Out Aussies! 2CELLOS Are Headed Your Way

Japan has given a final farewell to the 2CELLOS, the amazing duo of cellists on a world tour they have promised will be their last.

Stjepan Hauser and Luka Šulić are already on their way Down Under, where they will play a series of shows before a final performance together in Auckland, New Zealand, on December 4.

As a jam-packed Nippon Budokan attested, this pair are Big in Japan in a totally unironic sense.

They’ve brought great delight to music fans of many genre all around the world for over a decade and the tour will bring an end to their collaboration (though it’s hard to see this being permanent…)

2CELLOS played a setlist of just over 20 songs with tunes ranging from classics to hard rock with a heavy emphasis on popular tunes, most of them from decades long past.

And many Aussies will be pleased by the Acca Dacca-heavy setlist, most notably a dazzling instrumental performance of Thunderstruck, which has become something of a symbol of the duo’s shows.

Other artists covered included the Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, Bon Jovi, U2, Nirvana and the White Stripes.

Cellos probably aren’t an instrument that comes to mind when thinking of a rollicking good time on stage, but Hauser and Luka put on an energetic show, with the former in particular unleashing a dynamic performance.

After a flawless, 2-hour performance, 2CELLOS gave a moving, poignant rendition of Hallelujah (accompanied by the crowd waving mobile phone lights to create a magical light show). This ended up being a final goodbye to a country that has long supported the pair’s career and both artists individually.

This was in spite of the audience clapping and demanding one last encore for more than 10 minutes after the pair had left the Budokan stage, using their mobile phones to film the audience and waving as they departed.

All in all, a fantastic show where the performers clearly enjoyed being with the audience and a wonderful way for them to say sayonara.

Enjoying the Cycle of Life

Kangaeroo is not a young marsupial.

He is old, fat and lazy.

Exercise is not his thing.

Yet, thanks to the humble bicycle, this exercise-averse old codger can enjoy a relatively healthy lifestyle.

Every morning, almost without fail, Kangaeroo wakes, dresses, has a cup of joe and gets on his bike.

For the most part, it’s not a long ride, but it’s a ride.

Kangeroo has got a lot of cobwebs in his head and these rides usually help to clean them out.

They’re back soon after the rides are finished, but even so, they would be much worse without them.

Kangaeroo got into cycling well into middle age, but it has become an increasingly central part of his life.

Things would have been much easier had it been a bigger player further back in time.

So it goes.

Every ride is special, but the past week has been a little bit more so than others.

The weather has been exceptional, especially on the cusp of deep autumn.

The mornings have been crisp, but not too cold, hovering somewhere from 8-10 degrees, making the first few minutes of a ride a bit of a trial, but easily accommodated thereafter.

Skies have been clear and stars visible. Although the morning ride generally heads in a northeasterly direction, the rising sun provides radiant heat from behind.

As the light broadens, the days have soon warmed up.

The warmth combined with the lingering cold of the night brings dawns where mist rises up over the river.

Being a river rider for the most part in the morning, Kangaeroo is then blessed with the delightful sight of mists rising over the greenery of the Tama River parks and riverside and, upon rounding and turning for home, the rising sun.

They provide priceless views.

It’s not just the mists, though.

Starting the ride downstream at this time of the year opens up the opportunity of getting a glorious view of the sunrise.

The sun seems huge heading over the Tama River.

Turning back also offers a few wonderful sights.

Gates along the river provide wonderful backdrops for a quick photo.

And not far from the river are plenty of wooded areas and parks offering delightful views of autumnal leaves in their burning red and yellow hues.

It’s worth rising early to get to see these views.

There And Back Again: Oz 2022

Kangaeroo made it back to Oz for a while in 2022.

The circumstances behind the trip weren’t the greatest.

But the time spent Down Under was fruitful and poignant.

Kangaeroo got to catch up with lots of childhood friends.

And deeply explored the places that had played an enormous role during the formative years.

Thanks to an enormously kind and helpful seller on gumtree, Kangaeroo also got to move around outer eastern Melbourne on a Malvern Star!

In many ways, the time spent in Australia was magical and Kangaeroo extends his deepest gratitude to all the friends, family, people, places, critters and creatures that made it that way (even the swooping magpies).

But there was also the realization of coming to a close.

It seems unlikely that Kangaeroo will ever return to his homeland again.

That was an understanding arrived at before heading Down Under, and proved to be a driving motivator to make the most of any opportunity to cherish Australia while there.

It’s fair to say that Kangaeroo pretty much fulfilled the role expected of him (except in his sister’s eyes), and had an extremely enjoyable stay in his homeland.

Thanks to all who made that possible.

Heat map of cycling in and around Melbourne

New Roads

Kangaeroo won’t be doing much riding along the Tama River for a while.

For the next few weeks, it will be back in the homeland again.

Riding will be a bit of a challenge while there.

But also a bit exciting!

Oz is far stricter on policing road rules than Japan.

It will be interesting to see whether Kangaeroo can adapt to the differences.

Kangaeroo grew up in the Dandenong Ranges, which are apparently a cycling Mecca for Melburnians, though it wasn’t the case back in the day (at least to the author’s knowledge).

For the time being, though, it’s ta-ta to the Tama! And what a way to say bye!

Tripping on the Tama River

Kangaeroo cycles pretty much daily.

Due to a number of time constraints, nearly all the rides are along or near the Tama River. This river is one of the main waterways in Tokyo and has been supplying the city with water for centuries.

River-side cycling is on bike tracks and really isn’t demanding (except for the requirement to be constantly wary of pedestrians). But it’s still great fun.

Being able to wake up, get on the bike and shake off the cobwebs and let life rip is a blessing for this old man.

And Kangaeroo is even luckier by being able to ride the absolutely gorgeous La Cangura, who heads the fleet of Roo movers.

The Times, They Are A Changed

Imagine this today? No way!

Japan will finally re-open its doors to unrestricted travelers in October 2022, over 2 1/2 years since imposing strict entry requirements (especially on foreigners) due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the yen at its weakest against most major currencies since the early 1990s (and effectively even weaker still in real terms as the yen of the early 1990s carried far greater purchasing power than the yen of the 2020s), tourists are predicted to flock back into Japan.

Japan is one of the world’s great tourist destinations and it is Kangaeroo’s belief that the hospitality of many Japanese people show toward tourists make it this way. Japan has an extremely well-deserved reputation for being hospitable toward visitors, and that was also Kangaeroo’s experience.

People are expected to come to the Japanese wonderland to see such treats as the mix of ancient and modern traditions, the neon-lit cities, the amazing food, incredible trains, anime, manga, J-Pop and all sorts of delights.

Not a tourism ad, but an example of the exoticism and sexualization used to deal with Japan in the olden days when Boomers were still young

Things have kinda changed since Kangaeroo first came here, though. In those days, the selling point was the exoticism of Japan, especially its women, and the marketing was highly sexualized in a manner unthinkable in today’s prissy age of political correctness. Back in the day, Japan was plugged as being the homeland of topless pearl divers and geisha girls.

MSA Airlines, the forerunner of today’s Singapore Airlines and Malaysian Airlines, tried in an October 1968 advertisement to entice tourists to the Land of the Rising Sun by saying, “Imagine yourself…in Tokyo, where extravagant floorshows are staged in lavish nightclubs and the precise rituals of a geisha part can be seen in many restaurants.” Imagine yourself nowadays if you tried to sell travel with a line like that? (Or even worse, what they said about Hong Kong, where you could be: “Wandering ‘the world of Suzie Wong’ with its brilliant neon lights beckoning you to sample the exciting nightlife.” Definitely a case of mixing up what’s Wong and what’s right.)