Sunday, January 20, 2013

Oh my... (信じられない!)

Get ready, dear readers, for a tale that will titillate you to your very soul.

Well, it will if you're anything like me, anyway.


...and have a tendency to live vicariously through blog writers.


Anyway.


So, I know that every time I go to a DEATHGAZE live, especially a one-man live (as in, they are playing the set alone, and not sharing the stage with anyone else all night), it will never do anything other than delight me utterly. And that, mind you, is with a regular crappy entry number, somewhere back in the 100s. It's a good time for everyone, no matter where you're standing.




So I forgot to get a picture on the first night. 
I didn't think they'd change the poster, geez.



I'm not sure why I didn't think that having AMAZING numbers (nine and fifteen, respectively, for this two-night show) would enhance the experience so much...but, well, chalk that one up to youthful stupidity I guess.


(Also, perhaps, the fact that I'm still recovering from my cold. Sickness and excess mucus do strange things to the brain, you know.)


Last night, when I was up against the bar on the right side of the stage (!!!), I thought that surely things couldn't get any better. I was up against the bar, for goodness sake. I was in spitting distance, literally (no, literally; remember the 水遊び? [mizu asobi, water play]), from Ai on many an occasion, and the amount of eye contact was making my head spin (the lingering cold probably didn't help, but it was mostly the eye contact, I promise you).

I didn't get touched by Ai directly, even though the girl directly next to me was caught up in a singing molestation embrace that left her flailing in bewildered joy, but I didn't think that I could get too upset, really, seeing as how I was wearing my mask (like a good girl) and, in a way, warning the man away.


And anyway, they played amends and 死臭 (shishuu, the stench of death), two amazing older songs that I never thought I would hear live, so I thought I had maxed out my luck there.


LITTLE DID I KNOW.


But I'm getting ahead of myself.


Anyway, today, with my number fifteen, I was a little (embarrassingly) worried, because how on earth could such a number lead to an experience that could even compare to last night? I wound up arriving even earlier to make sure I got a coin locker (coincidentally, the exact same one I got yesterday--now it's going to be a thing whenever I go to KYOTO MUSE) and, of course, to ensure that I got in EXACTLY when I was supposed to, and not a second later. I was there, lined up smack dab between numbers fourteen and sixteen (ok, fourteen and seventeen, since sixteen was a little late) as soon as I possibly could be.


As soon as we were allowed in (which is again a testament to the AWESOME Japanese, or maybe just Visual Kei, live system--numbers, people), I fought myself to keep a not-running pace up to the stage. I would not be that gaijin, thank you very much. As expected, I could not get a center-stage-bar position like the night before--it was either second row, or bar off to the side. As I am, at heart, a sucker for Ai's performance more than anything else, I took the first option. Besides, being as I am 5'8", I could still see over the two ladies in front of me, easily. I didn't have anywhere to put my bag down like the night before, but such is life.


Once the live began... I realized how VERY close to the center I was. (I mistyped I as Ai right there... I'm not sure if that means anything...) Being decisive won out--another woman was dithering between my spot and another, but I wasn't having any of that nonsense. Dead center or bust, sweetheart! But, yes. Dead center. As in, I wondered if I could have handled it had I been in the front. Ai is a very... vivacious performer.


I thought I was overwhelmed last night. HOO boy.


Anyway. Enough with the suspense. Because, really, up until the good part, it was pretty normal--DEATHGAZE fans are very good about "look, don't touch". Ai has a tendency to lean out into the audience and manhandle people during the performance--something he couldn't do if the fans were grabby. I, personally, am impressed by our restraint, but it's just another thing to admire about DEATHGAZE fans, really. He leaned out astonishingly close a few times, but we're all good and move around him, so other than the mild heart palpitations brought on by being within easy licking distance of a man who you, on some level, worship (because isn't that what going to a rock concert is, on some level? I was thinking about that tonight, and... oh, damnit, digressing), it was all par for the course.


BUT ANYWAY.


As far as memory serves, they perform the song "paranoid parade" at just about every show. It's a good song, good for rocking out and headbanging to, and good for Ai to give some delightful oral-based fanservice during. Normally, that is the highlight of the song for me--watching Ai stick his fingers in his mouth and working through various, delightful tongue contortions is... well.


It's enjoyable, all right? Back off.


But today. Today.


Today, during one of the later verses...


Ai got down onto the audience floor.


Reached past the ladies in the front row.


To grab my head.


AND SERENADE ME DIRECTLY.


HE WAS SINGING WHILE GAZING INTO MY EYES AND CARESSING MY HEAD/HAIR/FACE/MASK.


OH MY GOD.




...


So yeah.


Quite frankly, I'm pretty thankful for the mask, because I don't know what my face would have looked like if I didn't have that mild level of protection up between us.


For goodness sake, I know what the man smells like now.


He smells really nice.


AND SO DID MY HAIR.


...


If I were a certain level or two above where I am, in terms of obsession, I might not wash my hair.


...


Unfortunately, it's all sweaty, and I also got at least two splashes of 水遊び on top of that.


...


I am, however, saving the mask.


And labeling it.


Because.


OH MY GOD.


I am also very proud of myself for acting very normally throughout the rest of the live. To the point where he rested the microphone on top of my head momentarily to get the shouts from the back of the audience, and I just made sure I held still enough to support his arm.


But holy crap guys.


HOLY CRAP.


Just so we're clear.


JUST SO WE'RE CLEAR.


AI GRABBED MY HEAD IN THE MIDDLE OF A LIVE AND SERENADED ME.


So, yeah.


I knew only good things would happen if they came to Kyoto.


ONLY GOOD THINGS.








This is Edo, signing off in subtle amazement that she can still actually form sentences.


BECAUSE HOLY CRAP.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

?!?!

So, um...


This happened.

Last night, I went to see Vol. 7 (their words, not mine) of the Beauty and Beast tour in Osaka, which was hosted by defspiral (not my usual cup of tea, but hey) and featured DEATHGAZE and Sel'm.

I'll go see DEATHGAZE most anywhere, and I do casually enjoy Sel'm from time to time.

Although I had to sit through two bands who I was not as SUPER AWESOME EXCITED SEE HOW I HEADBANG about as DEATHGAZE, I had a beyond excellent time, particularly because for the encore, defspiral played two hide songs, one each with the guitarist and vocalist of the other two bands. That was well worth the price of admission right there.

But... yes.

See.

During DEATHGAZE's last song (GENOCIDE AND MASS MURDER, which is a good song to end on--and also a good song to terrify all of the decidedly non-metal defspiral fans milling around), Ai (vocalist, keep up) did his usual 水遊び (mizuasobi, playing with water--yes, I know there's another way I could translate it, but it doesn't have that certain connotation in Japanese, so I SPECIFICALLY AVOIDED THAT PHRASE WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU) which involved drinking half of his water bottle (or thereabouts) and spitting the rest over the audience either in a mist, or in an "I am a fountain, see me dribble" fashion. I know, to a non-Visual系(kei, style) fan (and maybe even to a fan who doesn't attend indies concerts very often), this sounds odd, but trust me. Fair play, and completely expected. Not the point. ANYWAY. Afterwards, he flung the mostly-empty bottle out, which he occasionally does.

The astounding part was that he flung it right into my outstretched hands.

WHAT.

WHAT IS THIS MADNESS.

I DON'T EVEN KNOW.

Yes. Yes. That's right.

Ai's mouth, Ai's LIPS were on that bottle neck. Repeatedly.

... and were I a less neurotic and slightly more devoted fan, I might have finished off the remaining water myself and scored one of those "indirect kisses" you hear about so often in anime.

But come on, what if he had a cold? I have things to do, man! Those things do not involve catching a cold from one of my favorite vocalists... devastatingly attractive as he may be.

Ahem.

And then, when I saw that pick on the ground at the very end, I wound up accidentally dumping out most of the water anyway.

Oopsies.

I was actually looking for a pick that Kousuke (DEATHGAZE bassist) had flung out earlier. It never seemed to land, and people were looking around, so I thought there may be a chance that it had somehow gotten lost in the crowd. However, upon closer inspection, there was a pile of bags right about where it should have landed, so even if no one picked it up themselves, the most likely scenario is that it popped itself into a bag, or in between a couple of bags so that anyone besides the owners of said bags could kiss that pick good-bye. Alas.

However, during my inspection of the ground, I saw the above-picture pick instead.

Which would be guitarist Masato of defspiral's pick.

Not too thrilling, as at the time I was pretty ambivalent about defspiral in general (aside from the hide thing, that was awesome), but hey. A pick is a pick, and it had a pretty design on it to boot. Why the hell not.

I certainly wasn't just going to leave it there.

And then, once I got home and started listening to some more defspiral...

Particularly LOTUS...

Which I should be biased against anyway since it came out suspiciously soon after Dir en grey's LOTUS...

I discovered that they're my guilty pleasure.

AND I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHY.

I like soft stuff. I like Plastic Tree. I like NOIZ. I LOVE BUCK-TICK.

(I realize belatedly that the capitalization scheme of certain band names on top of English writing necessity make it sound like I'm screaming that entire last sentence... Oh, well.)

And yet for some reason, jamming to defspiral makes me feel guilty.

Maybe because of the contrast...? The fact that I heard them immediately after DEATHGAZE...?

The fact that most of their music induces the urge to dance instead of headbang...?

What a strange person Edo is indeed.

And just think, if I had been slightly more careful with the neck of that bottle last night, I could be growing a tiny Ai-clone even as we speak.

Alas.

This is Edo, signing off and wondering how on earth she can display an empty water bottle and not look like a crazy person.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Well now. (さて。)

Well, that was an interesting way to start a Saturday.


With an epicenter in Kyoto, even. That's impressive.

Probably the most intense earthquake I've felt in a while... and yet I still wasn't convinced that's what it was until it was updated on the JMA.

Honestly, it kind of felt like something ran into my apartment building.

But I suppose that, in light of Japan's relative position on the Ring of Fire and all... that's the far less likely possibility.

Oh, well.

Too bad I won't be home to watch the news tonight; I bet we make at least a local headline.

Oh, right. 宇宙戦隊NOIZ concert!

But I've written about that quite enough. The earthquake was by far the most novel experience for the day.

... though I am going to Shiga. Which is a first. (Er, when it comes to live destinations, anyway.)

Although considering the fact that Melon and I are going straight back to Shiga for BUCK-TICK next week... it's not all that impressive.

...then again, tonight I'm going all the way to Yasu. BUCK-TICK's only in Otsu.

The highlighted one, as you may have surmised, is Yasu. The big one right next to Kyoto is Otsu... and I'm assuming that the BUCK-TICK concert is going to be somewhere near the very bottom tip of the lake there. (Yea, the thing in the middle is Lake Biwa. Shiga is mostly lake, dontcha know.) Couldn't tell you about the NOIZ concert tonight... All I know about Yasu is that the last train at night to get there is quite conveniently late.

So, yea. It's not as far away as the train ride makes it feel, I guess.

See? None of this is nearly as exciting as the fact that the earth kinda moved a little bit.

Especially because it was a tiny one that (theoretically) didn't hurt anyone.

Really, though, they're the only ones to get excited about.

...yeah.

This is Edo, signing off still feeling phantom quakes every five minutes or so.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Not the appropriate response. (適切な対応ではない。)

So... I have a little confession to make.

I kind of... get excited when I hear that a typhoon is coming.


Yes, I know. It's inconsiderate, inappropriate, and possibly even horribly, horribly callous.

(You have now idea how much it irks me to have completely ignored the great possibility for alliteration up there.)

Mind, I don't feel excited at all for the damage and devastation it's going to cause. I'm not quite that much of a misanthrope, after all.

But, well... being in the middle of the no-breeze valley called Kyoto, I... I must admit to getting excited about weather phenomena that might shake things up a bit.


I honestly don't even think that's a picture from Kyoto, but, in general, that's about all the excitement I personally experienced in our version of typhoon number 17. The warnings on TV were all for the surrounding prefectures, whose proximity to the ocean and/or general lack of protective mountain ring leaves them much more vulnerable to the elements.

And really, it all comes back to my desert heritage. It is ingrained in my bones that any kind of storm is worth some degree of excitement, because, you know, I only see them maybe twice a year.

(Okay, maybe it's not that bad, but it's what it feels like, more often than not.)

So, yes. Am I a horrible person?

This is Edo, signing off wishing that her laundry interests and her weather interests didn't conflict so very often.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Airport woe and BUCK-TICK joy. (空港の苦悩とBUCK-TICKの歓喜。)

Well. I could give you a long, drawn out description of what, exactly, it's like to spend an almost fourteen-hour layover in the San Francisco airport right before an eleven-hour flight...

But suffice it to say that no matter how much you hate waking up early to catch that flight out of Phoenix... it probably just isn't really worth it.

I didn't even get clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl.

Sigh.

I did, however, have a certain playlist to keep my spirits up...


Oh, yes. Nothing like a new BUCK-TICK album to fight off those "oh god I'm trying to sleep in an airport just so I can get into a small metal tube and jet out over the ocean!" blues.

I still like the regular-edition cover better, I think. Label me plebeian if you must.


I mean, come on. They're on a boat for cryin' out loud. And stand-up bass action!

I admit that it did take me a few listens to love the whole album... aside from 夜想 (やそう, yasou) and INTER RAPTOR... and of course the singles, which I loved to begin with. (Adding more horns to ONLY YOU? Nice touch, guys. I approve.)

Also.

I totally own that towel now.

This is Edo, signing off hoping that the jet-lag wears off sooner rather than later.

Monday, August 20, 2012

SO glad I went. (行ってよかった!)

So, all I'm saying is...

If you ever get the chance to attend a one-man, three day, close quarters live event....

Take. It.

Especially if that band is as good during their performances as is DEATHGAZE.

I mean, good lord people.


I don't think I've ever produced so much sweat before in my life. ...Even calculated cumulatively.


And my neck isn't even sore! Who knew that the cure for headbanging aches... was more headbanging?

(And, admittedly, liberal ibpruofen dosage, but still. I haven't taken any since!)

If that isn't a valuable life lesson, I don't know what is.


This little dude was at the drink bar every night. Well, I say that, but as another audience member and I were discussing... was it really the same little dude? This picture was taken on the first night, and he never did seem to degrade in any real noticeable way. Thus, he was either made out of supremely high quality watermelon (which is possible--this is Japan... which also makes me hope that it got eaten eventually), or someone managed to get so very good at carving the little mascot dude and his brethren that no one could tell the difference from night to night.

Or maybe it was all thanks to the スイカパワー!(suika powaa, watermelon power). Apparently, that's what we were all going on, and who am I to argue?

There was also some sort of metaphor about us all being the seeds, but I'm still trying to work out the deeper meaning of that one.


After we got the red fan on the first night, I dithered about bringing it along the second. I ultimately decided not to, as I wanted to keep my nice little souvenir as pristine as possible, and lo! We received another, and in a different color as well! (They're lined up in chronological order, because I'm just that way.) Probably the best souvenir possible to get in that venue, in this season. Never let it be said that DEATHGAZE is not considerate of their fans!

(They also made a big deal, both in blog posts and each night during the pre-show announcements, about not trying to power through if you started feeling faint or sick, but to let someone know--even one of the band members if that's what you could manage--and get someone to help you out of the crowd and into an open space so you could recover. I don't think anyone ever did/needed to, but it was a nice thought regardless.)

And since I still can't even come close to containing my excitement (I mean, come on, they announced their new single coming in November, and then another new tour staring in December! Allow me to squeal in fangirlish delight.), I find I must share just a weensy bit more.

(Plug your ears, grandma.)



Pretend that guitarist Tataki's hair is blonde for the full experience.

And since that's the first song of the album... why not wrap it up with the last?


Glory Sky

I had to wait until the last day for this one, but ah, it's always worth it. The look of pure, unadulterated joy on  vocalist Ai's face as the audience sings along with the chorus is absolutely wonderful, and it gets me every time.

(You can listen to this one, grandma.)

This is Edo, signing off nursing only a mildly sore upper-arm and battling a serious case of permi-grin.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The effects of the rainy season. (梅雨の効果。)

So, most of Japan is notorious for this funny little weather phenomenon called 梅雨 (tsuyu, the rainy season; check it out.) Basically, from some undetermined point in June to some undetermined point in July (okay, sure, there are averages, but we all know how reliable those are), the rain falls like a college student onto a free buffet which includes churros.

... indefatigably, I mean. Ahem.

Now, to a desert dweller such as myself, this is more than a little strange.

In fact, it's downright "freaky," to employ the vernacular.

(The humidity isn't too great either, let me tell you, but considering the fact that that's still an issue at present... it isn't really 梅雨-specific.)

Having only experienced these early summer months in Hokkaido before, I was, prior to this year, blissfully inexperienced in terms of this so-called rainy season.

So too, it seems, was my dear little desert amigo, Sabotendaa. (He has a name now. The resemblance to his namesake is uncanny.)

You see, I leave him out on my balcony so he gets plenty of sunshine. My room only really gets indirect sunlight, and I want to be sure that he gets as close to his native habitat as we can possibly manage in this temperate-cum-subtropical suburban paradise of Sakyo-ku. As we've discussed before, I've taken a certain degree of pride in his unprecedented growth since he has returned to my care. Far be it from me to rob him of his birthright. 

But... well...

Let's just say I may have been a little bit neglectful when it comes to remembering where my dear cactus was when it was coming down in buckets.

Oopsies.

Apparently, your average cactus is very much the optimist, and will attempt to make as many damn pitchers of lemonade as possible when presented with a veritable crap-ton of weather-varietal lemons.

Instead of giving in to the temptation to simply up and drown in this excess of precipitation (I have... experience with other cacti succumbing to such a fate... though through no fault of my own, I assure you!), my adorable little prickle-puss instead chose to put on a little weight in order to take full advantage of this bounty of hydration.

After all, that is, of course, what most desert creatures do, given the opportunity. Desert storms, while few and far between, tend to be hard-hitting, and therefore everything has to take in as much water as it can, as fast as it can, despite any resulting consequences, if it wants to survive until the next downpour.

In other words, my tiny little cactus has the survival instincts of a full grown saguaro.

I'm.... so proud. (sniff)

And look!

All better!
A month or two later, and he's thinned right out again. It may be my imagination, but I also think he's a little taller to boot. Talk about adaptation! This is one tenacious little sucker, let me tell you.

(...although you may be able to see that the fake dirt hasn't fared so well. Apparently it just can't handle precipitation of that magnitude.)

This is Edo, signing off pondering how her Japan blog has been overrun by such a cornucopia of desert-related tomfoolery.

Friday, August 10, 2012

So... yeah. (ん…じゃ。)

This isn't going to work, guys.

Despite my best intentions... I am being a horrible, horrible blogger.

I mean, really.

So, I think that a new blog-order is...well, in order, as it were.

You see, you people just don't realize how much effort I put into your average post on this thing. Really. I am deeply, deeply invested in these trivialities I throw out there into the ether for your amusement. I am also deeply invested, for some reason, in packaging said trivialities into large bundles that take time and planning to produce.

And nowadays, well...

Let's just say that there's probably a reason that "higher education students" do not represent a very large percentage of personal bloggers on the internet at present.

... at least, I don't think they do.

... I really hope they don't.

... if they do, please don't tell me.

Either way, though, don't take that as me complaining--because I am most emphatically not. Being in higher education is awesome. That's why I'm here, after all.

But it is not exactly conducive to my blogging activities.

Mainly because, to people outside of academia... my daily life at the moment probably provides approximately the same level of vicarious excitement as does watching bread rise. Except without the delicious, yeasty payoff.

So, my new goal, which may be at least partially inspired by the recent slew of band member blog updates that have inundated my inbox, is to lower my content standards.

... those are a few words I never thought I'd use in that order.

Er, what I mean is, I am going to start allowing myself to make posts that aren't, gasp, necessarily constructed around a cohesive, singular topic that is in some way personally distanced from myself. This is, after all, basically an "I live in Japan, aren't I nifty" blog, and if I am constantly reining myself in because I don't have a fully formed, five-page essay on a recently popular drama written, proofread, thoroughly edited and ready to go for the day... well.

Suffice it to say that I may lose a few readers if I start posting even more inane, day-to-day trivialities, but I will surely lose all  of my readers if I stop posting entirely.

(... yeah, that really doesn't sound as deep once I get it down in writing.)

So, for the time being? Let's try out the less of two evils, and see how things go.

...And now...

Well. I am researching gender and sexuality in the Visual music scene, so posting BUCK-TICK videos is entirely appropriate, regardless of any content downgrades, upgrades or sidegrades.


Especially when they're this awesome.

I am so excited for this album, you don't even know.

(Although really, Atsushi. What did your eyebrows ever do to you?)

Besides, concert-going is, in my opinion anyway, definitely the most exciting thing going on in my life right now, so I think we're really hitting all of our bases here.

This is Edo, signing off while wondering if using the word "nifty" automatically disqualifies you from being so.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The power of the desert compels you! (砂漠の力が強制する!)

That translation might be a little suspect, but then again Japan doesn't have quite the cultural history needed to really make that phrase work.

Which suggests that I might have been better served picking a slightly more universal title.

... but since when do I bow to the powers of untranslatability.

(Since never, that's when.)

And besides, it's incredibly fitting.

Because, seriously, just look at this dude:


LOOK AT HIM.



I really wish I had a picture of when he was small to compare it with... Definite lack of foresight on my part.

But for some textual perspective: he used to be shorter than the fake fruit he's in the pot with.

Admittedly, he did grow under Melon's care, but unless my brain deceives me (which I admit it sometimes does), he has shot up in the month or so that he's been back under my care.

Because clearly, my desert heritage has the power to super-charge cacti wherever I go.

...or something like that, anyway.

Given the option, I prefer to think that I have ecologically based super-powers.

This is Edo, signing off with a strong urge to run amuck through local garden stores.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Just a little late. (ちょっとだけ遅刻しちゃった。)

Although I'm sure you're all quite used to that by now.

I must inform you that, in real life, I'm actually quite punctual. I feel like I need to get that out there before you lose all respect for me.

And I'm not really talking about the blog post. No, no, I've come to terms with the fact that I am no longer maintaining anything close to a decent updating schedule. Ironically, being busy and (theoretically) having things to write about breeds nothing by apathy when it comes to online reporting.

No, I'm late on reporting BUCK-TICK's new single, エリゼのために (For Elise).



... Look, I'm a research student looking at conceptions of gender and sexuality within Visual Kei and its fan culture.What do you want me to post about? My cooking really just isn't all that interesting, especially considering the fact that I've decided that rice + some mix of meat and vegetables is both an easy and (somewhat) healthy fallback when it comes to daily cuisine.

... really? Fine.


See, レタスチャーハン (lettuce fried rice) really just isn't all that exciting. I mean, I did add some shimeji mushrooms, but that's really only interesting to a a very specific kind of person.

(...so I watched a morning show where they went to a lettuce farm in Nara and ate a lot of lettuce-themed dishes. Like you've never been influenced by the television.)

Just count yourselves lucky that I'm not, instead, posting endless links to fascinating articles concerning the gender dynamics of certain subsets of  modern Japanese women as relating to their musical preferences and the resulting societal implications. In Japanese.

Ahem.

This is Edo, off to cook more boring yet ultimately satisfying food. After updating her mp3 player, of course.