On that flight was a group of 22 Canadians (with three set to join days later) coming from Corner Brook, NL to Vancouver, BC and many places in between on route to Shanghai for an eight-day trip led by Yamaha Canada Music to visit the company’s manufacturing facilities and offices in China and Japan and also get a short-but-immersive taste of these two countries’ very unique and rich cultures.
The roll call (in addition to yours truly):
Taiki Oshiro – Market Planning Manager – Yamaha Canada Music, Toronto
Richard Lefebvre – District Manager – Yamaha Canada Music, Montreal
Ryan Hamilton – Marketing Manager, Drums – Yamaha Canada Music, Toronto
David Miner – Marketing Manager, Guitars – Yamaha Canada Music, Toronto
Doug Booth – National Sales Manager – Yamaha Canada Music, Toronto
Luc Vigeant – Buyer – Groupe Archambault, Montreal
Mark Hebert – President & CEO – Cosmo Music, Richmond Hill
Jerry Hunt – Purchasing Manager – Cosmo Music, Richmond Hill
Dave Atkinson – Community Manager – Drumeo, Vancouver
Jared Falk – CEO – Drumeo, Vancouver
Rejean Lacroix – Drum Manager – Musique Gagne, Quebec City
Richard Gagne – President – Musique Gagne, Quebec City
Ted Koti – Manager – Guitarworks, Calgary
Dave Simpson – Manager – Guitarworks, Calgary
Eric DesRosiers – Owner – MSP Musique, Quebec City
Raphael Bujold – Owner – MSP Musique, Quebec City
Blaine McNamee – Owner – Rufus Guitar Shop, Vancouver
Murat Baslamisli – Owner – Drummer’s Hangout, Aurora
Dave Hamilton – Owner – Just Drums, Toronto
John “JD” Di Ciommo – President – Drumland, Vaughan
Dave Dudley – President – Dave’s Drum Shop, Ottawa
Nick Hamlyn – Manager – Gary Bennett Music – Corner Brook, NL
Lorne Hoycyk – Asst. Drum Manager – Steve’s Music, Montreal
Jason Hart – Guitar Specialist – Steve’s Music, Montreal
We landed in Shanghai and met our tour guide, Cindy, who’d be with us for the initial three-day leg of the trip in China, before we set off for Osaka, Japan. We made our way into the city, getting some interesting facts about the city’s history, population, architecture, and culture before making it to our hotel for a much-needed shower and quick rest before a fun but relatively laid back night on the town.
First was an authentic modern Chinese meal at a very nice restaurant, where communal dishes of food were continuously placed in the middle of the table to be shared by the group. It was an exciting and ultimately very satisfying dining experience. I get the feeling our guide took great care in choosing dishes that wouldn’t seem overly foreign to a group of, well, foreigners, which I’m sure was appreciated by the group of weary travelers. That said, there were some very unique dishes that had our group (at least the half that shared a table with me) looking forward to what we might encounter over the following few days.
After that, we jumped onto a boat for a quick cruise along the Huangpu River, with a truly stunning view of the city’s financial district, including the Shanghai Tower, the second-tallest building on the planet, and Shanghai World Financial Centre, which lands in the top 10 (and is informally dubbed the “bottle opener building” for good reason).
There was a good debate of whether or not to take advantage of the nightlife on our one evening in Shanghai – known as the nightlife capital of the country – considering everyone was fairly worn down, and ultimately, it was a quiet night for all involved.
After a hearty buffet breakfast at the hotel, we boarded our bus and, as I type these final lines, are now on route to Hangzhou for a tour of one of Yamaha’s guitar and piano production factories. I’m told we may be privy to some new products and even prototypes in the coming days, and will share whatever I’m allowed to shortly…