The concert halls in Tokyo are spectacular. Not least of these is the Tokyo Opera City, where we are playing two concerts thanks to the generous support of UBS. The first thing that strikes you when you walk on stage is the sense of space. Only when you look out into the hall do you appreciate the scale of it. It’s like a huge wooden cathedral, drawing your eyes upwards into the massive acoustic chamber. The sound in the hall when it’s empty is incredibly lively, and we spend our rehearsal making the necessary adjustments to suit the hall, used as we are to the Barbican. The sound goes out as though amplified, and as we play through Mahler 5 I’m trying to imagine what difference it will make having the audience in. We play through Star Wars, a possible encore for tonight’s concert. It is decided later, however, that this may be too bombastic following the Mahler, and it is dropped. The first concert goes well. Having an audience in the hall makes such a difference to the sound, especially when it is a full house like this, and the Japanese audience responds enthusiastically. Concert-goers here are generally very polite, so it’s a result to hear discernable shouts of approval for both halves, the first of which is rounded off nicely by a ‘Chinese Tango’ played by the flambuoyantly gifted Lang Lang, as an encore after his impressive Mozart piano concerto performance. The second performance the following day is also notable, not least for the performance of the Beethoven violin concerto by Franz Peter Zimmerman, who is one of my favourite violinists, but also for a very fresh performance of Dvorak’s New World Symphony. Tonight we are lavishly rewarded, by the way, with a reception thrown by one of the Orchestra’s corporate sponsors, with much food and drink. I am particularly pleased as I haven’t eaten since breakfast, having lost a mid-day struggle with jet lag which left me fairly ineffective at getting lunch in. Tomorrow we leave at the crack of dawn for Beijing, where we will spend the next few days, beginning the Rolls-Royce/LSO Tour of China. I’d better get some sleep therefore. Goodbye Japan.