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  • Writer's pictureChester B Simpson

Good Time Charlie

Hanging out at the Good Time Charlie club in Kumamoto, Japan while on the Country Gold Tour in 1996.

The year was 1996 and I was on the Country Gold Tour, and it was our first night in Kumamoto, Japan.

We all walked over to Good Time Charlie’s club from the Hotel and met his son and wife working behind the bar. I was hanging out with the band BR-549, so we ordered a bottle of Jack Daniel’s and beer and proceeded to drink.

Performing on that Country Gold Tour were, Toby Keith, BR-549, Ronna Reeves, Mark Collie, and Charlie Waller and the Country Gentlemen.

Despite being such a rowdy alcohol-consuming group, everyone was so nice to us, and we met the mayor and his friends all wearing cowboy hats.

Charlie and his band performed a few tunes, then he invited members of each band up to perform. It was such a small stage for the likes of big Toby Keith and everyone sharing the stage with him. I shot photos and videotaped the show, and really enjoyed getting along with everyone. We were all having a great time singing, drinking, and talking the night away.

Everyone was bonding and happy with meeting Charlie and his family, who took good care of all of us. We started our drunken walk back to the hotel, while in the distance we heard chanting and drum beating.

Having turned a corner, we came upon a large group of young Japanese people beating drums and chanting out loud and it looked like a lot of fun.

Some of us joined in and beat their drums and chanted whatever it was they were saying, despite none of us knowing any Japanese.

This went on for about 15 minutes until the police raided the party and started breaking it up. A young lady who spoke some broken English expressed to me the urgency of which we should run from the police. She grabbed my hand, and we ran several blocks away. She told me we were lucky not to be arrested because that was a political protest that we had joined in and that I was safe to go on my merry way.

Once alone I realized I did not know the name of the Hotel or the location, and I was lost because I could not read the Japanese street signs. I hit upon a plan to travel 10 blocks in one direction and if I did not find the Hotel, return to my original place, and go ten blocks in the other direction.

Of course, I finally found the Hotel on my last attempt and made it to my room around 3 or 4 am just in time to feel an earthquake. It did not matter; I was safe in my room and not lost.

The next morning after talking to a few of the band members, I realized I was not the only one that drank too much and got lost. I did not feel so stupid, but my head reminded me not to combine too much beer and whisky on the same night.

I learned a lesson to always get a card from the hotel you are staying in and to not combine whisky and beer. The hotel card I’ve never forgotten, but the other promise I have been known to break.

Check out photographs from Chester's tours: USO Gallery

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