Looking back through the rain and fog, Kamandi and I first met Ichiro Goto at a dark and dank second story warehouse space in Gastown after Blur’s The Great Escape tour stop at the Commodore Ballroom in the winter of 1996. Bodies seemed to be floating in-and-around each other without a care that evening, drinks, firmly in hand, and feet, footloose and fancy free. “Hey, cool t-shirt,” may have initiated our conversation, but those three simple words sparked a now 21-year and counting friendship between Ichi, Kamo, Sir Derek Neville, and myself. In hindsight, there was something more than late night small talk stirring, the beginning of a cross-cultural exchange that opened the doors to another reality for a group of young music lovers. JAPAN CAN LIDO JAM represents the street level strengthening of the Pacific gateway and an opening of consciousness in defiance of the darker side of Japanese and North American settler relations, ripples still felt around the world long after the atomic (and other assorted) atrocities of WW II. While acknowledging the severity and significance of the past (which wasn’t as far away from the present as we were taught by the black and white images in school), we started to shout: "F%ck racism! Eradicate ignorance! Goodbye distrust! Eliminate hatred! Come together!” We simply wanted to learn from and share with one another in an open and meaningful way outside of the governing powers that be. Bonding over food, UK import records, vintage clothing stores, travel, and the many details of modern coastal living, it was a thrill for us to realize our similarities and respectfully approach any differences as global citizens. Together, we helped to make the earth a smaller place and made efforts to build bridges (instead of walls) as we walked down city streets, into a restaurant, concert venue, arcade, movie theatre or bar. There was no fear, only music, art, film, dance, architecture, culture, family, nature, peace, love, understanding, and leading by example. We are happy to report that after almost thirteen years away from the traditional lands of the Coast Salish peoples, Ichiro will be visiting his adopted hometown of Vancouver all the way from his native Kumamoto on the island of Kyushu. It will be amazing to see the changes to this city through his eyes after so much time has passed. Please join us at the Lido (518 E. Broadway) on May 10th (9 pm-1 am) to celebrate a very special friendship that spans decades, geography, technology, fashion, but also what’s often left out of the equation, heart and soul! We warmly welcome friends old and new for this most social of gatherings. Together we will raise a humble toast to unity and progress during this era of digital distress while continuing to discuss the future. As always, a suitable soundtrack will be offered with precision. KANPAI!