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A Yokohama Landing

In 1945 and ’46 my Father, Jorma Sr., found himself a young Naval officer attached to an Army military intelligence unit with General MacArthur’s staff. As a first generation American born in this country, Dad was already something of a linguist. His first language was Finnish, then English taught at the Carnegie Library in Ironwood, Michigan. As a thirteen year old, the Kaukonen family moved to East L.A., Lincoln Heights to be exact… so his next language was Spanish. His younger brothers were combat vets, Tarmo in North Africa and Italy and Pentti in the Pacific, winding up in the Philippines. Dad was a little older and he had to jump through hoops in order to enlist. they sent him to the Navy Language School in Ann Arbor an he learned Japanese. (Before Dad went home for the last time, he would master Urdu, Tagalog and Swedish.)

After the fire bombing of Tokyo, there was little left standing save plumbing and iron safes. Dad and his buds would sift through the ashes of the city and crack safes to see if there were any relevant documents inside and at night they were billeted with Douglas MacArthur’s guys at the Grand Hotel in Yokohama. (Interestingly enough, still standing.) When I was here with Hot Tuna in 1997, that’s where we stayed.

Evening in Yokohama

Evening in Yokohama

After an eleven an a half hour flight from Denver, we arrived in Narita welcomed by a gentle Spring rain. A couple hours later after checking into the hotel in Yokohama, we took a walk to find an eatery.

A ramen shop... yeah buddy!

A ramen shop... yeah buddy!

A simply delicious bowl of Ramen an some Gyoza! A man’s gotta eat.

Jack, Douglas our promoter, myself and Myron Hart... yummy!

Jack, Douglas our promoter, myelf an Myron Hart... yummy

Floto by unknown waitress.

It’s 0100 here in Japan… thirteen hours and a day off from Ohio time. I’m awake… obviously. Hmm. how did that happen? I figured I’d answer some emails, update my blog and see if I can get back to sleep. Today is a bona fide day off so I’m going to walk around the port. Tomorrow we play Thumbs Up here in Yokohama. In 1997 Hot Tuna did a live recording here (Hot Tuna, Live In Japan) at a little club called Stoves which is owned by the guy who also owns Thumbs Up.

We’re looking forward to a great couple of weeks here, and we’re going to keep all of you in the loop.


  1. Brett
    April 22nd, 2014 at 12:47 | #1

    Sher sounds some fun pickin’ awaits….and eatin’ and sightseein’

    Play it Purty for Yokahama guys !!

  2. April 22nd, 2014 at 13:25 | #2

    Glad you made it! I remember the whole story about Stoves. I’m playing Live in Japan at work today in honor of Hot Tuna! Looking forward to the set lists and pictures. Onward!

  3. Stevie Coyle
    April 22nd, 2014 at 13:37 | #3

    Maybe you fellers have time to whip up Hoagy’s “I’m a Cranky Old Yank in a Clanky Old Tank on the Streets of Yokohama with my Honolulu Mama Doin’ Those Beat-o, Beat-o Flat-On-My-Seat-o, Hirohito Blues.” But maybe not, too. Safe travels!


  4. carlo pagliano
    April 22nd, 2014 at 20:55 | #4

    Jack & Jorma-sama are gonna rock Yokohama
    Rock Them All Real High Tonight Jorma!

  5. carlo pagliano
    April 22nd, 2014 at 21:28 | #5

    Extremely beautiful Dan Hicks and Jorma Kaukonen!
    Winsome duet.
    Thank You Jorma!

  6. Barbara Jacobs
    April 22nd, 2014 at 21:30 | #6

    Hi Carlo!
    Jorma and Jack/ Tuna will:
    “Keep on rockin (them) baby!”@carlo pagliano

  7. Barbara Jacobs
    April 22nd, 2014 at 21:33 | #7

    Hey, Carlo:
    Across the great divide:
    You and I are here, via cyberspace, at the same place, same time!

  8. Barbara Jacobs
    April 22nd, 2014 at 22:01 | #8

    Be on the look-out for “Yoshi”:
    He’s a big Jorma/Hot Tuna/Ray Davies/Kinks fan.

  9. George Henn
    April 23rd, 2014 at 08:02 | #9

    Yokahama, hello!

  10. johno
    April 23rd, 2014 at 09:03 | #10

    ‘Live in Japan’ is one of my fav albums. Have some fun in the Land of the Rising Sun. Stay away from sushi and sashimi. Safe travels.

  11. Mike Anderson
    April 23rd, 2014 at 10:45 | #11

    Just to move a little off topic here, a while back I’d asked Jorma about the Ovation guitars he played year ago and he responded that they were long gone, etc. In today’s news here in Connecticut it was announced that Ovation guitars will cease manufacturing guitars this summer. These guitars were the brain child of Charles H. Kaman who also manufactured helicopters.

  12. Cyndyconsentino Consentino
    April 23rd, 2014 at 21:24 | #12

    Dear Jorma,
    Live in Japan playing now as I write this!

  13. Greg Martelli
    April 24th, 2014 at 21:17 | #13

    Great referance and long forgotten -Hoagies – cranky old yank..
    Another interesting allusion to musical taste ;Ray Davies the quintessential , mussewell hillbilly & Hot Tuna , let’s bring Ray to Miegs county for a hoe down.
    This is the age of machinery. !!!

  14. Barbara Jacobs
    April 28th, 2014 at 18:57 | #14

    Hey Greg:
    I only just now saw your comment.
    That Ray/Jorma hoe down is a good idea.

    It speaks to the comment, posted on another, recent blog-post; about how Ray’s songs can give the feeling of nostalgia for places ,to people that have never been there — they only need to hear the songs and are brought to those places.
    “Muswell Hillbillies” is the ultimate example.@Greg Martelli