This cafe has these curious things that appear at first to be camping chairs. But there’s no great outdoors here in Kawasaki. These are bag holders – foldable little contraptions to help customers and avoid them having to put their bags on the floor. Any floor of course being viewed as a cesspit of dirt, grime and germs.

I order my drink and look for a seat. Two girls wear almost matching black and white horizontal striped tops, seemingly unaware of their Zebra synchronicity. I’m not wearing mine today so take my seat search elsewhere…

Once settled, I listen back to one of my recent rehearsal recordings. What I do at the moment is rehearse my set every day. This new chapter began on New Year’s Day when I sang for the sun worshipping gang down at the bay, after a festive period of readjustment to my new environs in Japan, peppered with bits of scattered singing and writing.

It feels so great to sing. In fact, the day doesn’t really begin until I play. I make videos of this and post them on Patreon. I practice my songs, old and new and dissect them. The songs are my olive branch to connect with my audience, and it helps me to study them, to observe their contours, but somehow, if I can, at a kind of arm’s length.

They are fragile things afterall, songs. Hold on too tightly and you can crush them, sap their energy.

So this is all good, and I enjoy playing and singing daily – most days. But I am human and imperfect, and a at various points in the week i’m distracted and disorientated, disillusioned and down. This week, after a month of this daily practice, it feels like i’ve reached a juncture where I need to check myself for complacency and arrogance. I made the change, and now I have momentum, but this new chapter is gonna need a little assistance if it is continue to flourish.

I think what will help me accept this are a couple of mindful moments. Two tiny moments of reflection that bookend the session. Before I begin, I want to take a moment to get centred, and ask myself:

?Am I present?
?Am I focused?
?Am I clear on exactly what I’m about to do?

Then afterwards, I want to take a breath to reflect.

?Did you discover something useful?
?Did you run into some problems?

This second part, I sometimes find works better the next day, the following morning – upon listening back to the recording of the rehearsal. I find this is where everything is illuminated, crystal clear – enough distance from the work to be able to comment clearly.

There is no dilema in discipline, a good friend told me.

Dan x

Read the diaries as they are written:
Join me live: