Hi Carl !
Yes touring was so interessting, we don't like big towns, we prefer to go to visit country and traditionals spots, Japan is about 60% not occupied, it is deep "sugi" forests (sugi are Cryptomeria, a kind of little sequoia trees), and bamboos everywhere, and mountains in center of this country... we 've visited Japan many times since 1998, i am saling lutes and early instruments to many japanese lute teatchers. I've never sold banjos in Japan. I am also playing koto music, and practice japanese shodo (calligraphy) since my first travel in Japan in 1998. We was in Japan last november and visit inToyama prefecture, the villages of Gokayama and Shirakawa, great spot !!!
About banjo music, we've given classic banjo concerts in Japan in year 2008, organized by our great friend an pianist Noriko Natori, concerts are difficults to organize because rent a concert hall is expensive, and you must be pay also lights, staff, the stage, security staff, sono or not sono, publicity , you must be pay all by advance...but we've sold all the concert tickets before the date of concert... After banjo concert, many and curious peoples was visit us on backstage , they like ragtime banjo, and there is many ragtime clubs in Japan. Peoples are curious about "exotics"...