tisdag 25 september 2018

Malice Mizer ESP Exhibition

I first began listening to Malice Mizer in high school. I remember they usually came up on lastfm as a similar band to Velvet Eden and I really loved the picture from Gardenia so I decided to check them up. I really disliked Gardenia eventhough they were one of the coolest bands I had ever seen (still don't like Gardenia, so boring). A couple of months later I decided to try them out again and ended up on the PV for Le Ciel and from that moment on I've loved Malice Mizer (10 year anniversary for us this year). 

Out of my top 3 favorite bands I've been able to see 2 (sort of), Malice Mizer was the only one missing. I tried to make things work so that I could go but since I was going to Japan as a student I could not go too early and unfortunately I could not attend the concert, so I had to settle with just going to the exhibition held at ESP museum in Shibuya.

Eventhough I have been to Tokyo many times and stayed for longer periods as well, I still get excited when I get to see my favorite bands. Seeing Malice Mizer shown like this felt so special, Malice Mizer has sort of been something just displayed on my tv or computer, almost as if they don't really exist. By the entrance was a poster signed by various members and a picture of Mana and Kozi from Moi Dix Mois and ZIZ (which I found a bit weird but whatever).

On a tv they played the first live DVD with Gackt as vocalist (unfortunately they did not include the N.P.S.N.G.S), and on the walls hang posters from the first era with Tetsu to the very last with Klaha.

Other than posters were also nostalgic items such as the doll Kozi had on his back during Brise at the Merveilles concert, Mana's teddy backpack and the Merveilles book.

Of course the new costumes were also on display! My pictures are rather poor though and doesn't make them justice considering the amount of details. Közi's especially incorporated much of his previous costumes doll like appearance. The chest part had a ruffle like his Gardenia outfit, and the left leg of the pants had a check pattern.

 Kami's drumset as well as other items, such as a bag he had drawn on was up for display. By the cashier was Kami's hat and gloves from Gekka no Yasoukyoku on display with the two dolls from the PV.

I really liked that they had so many random objects (even the whips Mana and Kozi used), and of course their instruments. They also had a guestbook in which you could write something in (I assume the band will receive it later?), and I saw some fans who spent a lot of time writing their messages. I went back the following day just because I wanted to spend some more time in Malice Mizer heaven, hoho, and noticed they had then changed to the last live DVD. I didn't stay for all of it, but a long while, and picked up both of Közi's and one of Mana's guitar picks! ESP also sold a keychain so you could put the pick in there, I decided not to get that because I sort of want to try and make one of Közi's picks into an earring (let's see how that goes :P).

Seeing the exhibition was awesome, but it also made me so sad I could not make it to the actual concerts. Might not happen but I can't help but to hope they'll make a new one in a couple of years. The last couple of years I haven't really listened to Malice Mizer as much as I used to, but this exhibition really made me remember why I fell so hard in love with this awesome and so unique visual kei band.

söndag 23 september 2018

Sailor Moon shop in Harajuku Laforet

Last September the first Sailor Moon shop opened in Harajuku Laforet (a couple of weeks after I left Tokyo grrrr). Since then I've been dying to come back and have a look.

watched a couple of videos on Youtube recorded from the store and I have to say I was expecting a bigger shop. It's devided into two parts though, one with more expensive items, such as dolls and clothes, and one with cheaper and more usable items such as totebags, pens and smartphone cases.

Since I was about to leave for Osaka I didn't want to shop and fill my bag even more, so I just bought an accessory for my phone (or any other Place you which to hang it), in the shape of Sailor Jupiter's staff.

The store is totally worth a visit, even if just for window shopping.
Laforet can be reached from the Omotesando street.

lördag 22 september 2018

Tokyo Bay Night Cruise

I really love Odaiba, it's so different form other parts of Tokyo. The architecture stands out and it's kind of quiet compared to the rest. During my many visits to Odaiba I've seen boats circulate in the water at night and it looks very nice, so I mentioned this to a friend who also wanted to try one of these Cruises and we decided to go.

There are different kinds of cruises in the area, the smaller boats just go between different stops (for example Asakusa-Odaiba) during the day and then sometimes during the year they will have a longer trip for which they will lie in the water outside of Odaiba for a while for the night scenery.
The cruise I went for though, was a bigger boat with 4 floors, taking off from Close to JR station Hamamatsucho.

The tickets cost 2600, but if bought beforehand 2100yen, and if wearing a yukata 1600yen. Included in that price is a nomuhodai, meaning they have drinks available for free. Smaller food is sold as well. The boat leaves at 19:15 and is back at 21:00.

They have events on the boat aswell, like dancing for those who might be interested. I went for the view, and I also like riding boats. Unfortunately we did not have much luck with the weather. It rained, a lot. To the point where we had to go inside, and we weren't allowed on the top floor either due to the weather.

I did get some good photos though from passing Odaiba, and it was a fun experience. Will probably try it out another year.

Beautiful rainbow bridge.

This was when all the water from the roof ran down the side... it had rained a lot.

This cruise is only available between June and September!


I guess I'm not in Tokyo anymore

The reason I'm in Japan this year is because I'm doing an exchange semester at Osaka University as a graduate student. I had the option to chose a University in Tokyo but decided to chose with my brain and not my heart (Osaka had much more courses within subjects of my interest). However I love Tokyo and can't imagen going to Japan without visiting, there are also some people there I really want to see, so I started my trip for a week in Tokyo (Asakusa to be more exact) and then I took the nightbus (booked through Willer express, be sure to check them out if you're planning to travel within Japan) heading for Osaka and I arrived yesterday morning.

From the start I've felt kind of weird coming to Osaka, I've only been here once and it was ok I guess, but my heart is in Tokyo. On top of the location I felt that the University was pretty bad at keeping in contact with me. For example the first contact I got was in late May, and that was because they needed me to sign a contract in which I agree to respect the school's rules etc. On top of this my visa application was very late and I didn't receive my document needed to apply for a visa until 4 weeks before departure! Up until then I had not received any information whatsoever on how my time there would pass, the curriculum or other very basic things. This made me feel very uncomfortable, and unfortunately my worries were confirmed yesterday when I arrived.

I'm placed on a campus for foreign and japanese language, nothing I intend to study (I'm assuming they just place all foreigners in the same spot), they showed me to my room and then left me there without any explanations for anything. To be honest, I was kind of emotionally upset just by the fact I'll be here for 5 months without knowing anyone, but just being placed in a (very dirty!) dorm without explaining anything made me feel like I just wanted to get out. My room was dirty and I had to start with cleaning (I mean dirty for real, the previous guest had left trash), and I didn't even know when the supposed orientation will be, how to use the kitchen and other facilities, where my mail box is etc. I had to go find staff myself to get these things explained.

I've been on exchange once before, at Chuo University in Tokyo, and had a great time. They really took care of us, even had japanese students help us get to the city office for registration (do I need to point out I was just handed a map here?). Everyone kept telling me at my home University that this is the first time they have this exchange so things are kind of unclear, but this is just a mess. Truthfully, I hate it here and I have no idea how Osaka University can be one of the top universities in Japan (not sure how they rank them though, it can obviously not be based on the administrative). I can't wait for classes to begin so I can occupy myself because since I arrived I'm just counting down the minutes.

It's so depressing here I really need to get out, so tomorrow I'm gonna take a trip into the central parts of Osaka, so that I can think of something else than this shitty place.

torsdag 20 september 2018

Schwarz Stein outstore event

Today was the outstore event for Immortal Verses in Tokyo, and I was lucky enough to attend!

The tickets to attend was handed out to everyone who bought Immortal Verses at the venues or from Hora's webshop.
Last minute it was also announced you could buy the cd there and get to participate, as well as the fact that they'd offer a cheki photo shoot.

Since I participated in the instore for Sleeping Madness I've regretted not bringing one of the Rudolf Steiner tapes so eventhough it was bothersome I decided to bring Perfect Garden with me this time!

The event was held at Saravah in Shibuya, so the capacity was pretty high for an instore. Immortal Verses was playing while we waited for Kaya and Hora, and pretty on time (13.00) the event began.

Since this event was kind of a replacement for an after event I sort of assumed/hoped they'd play a song or two from the release, unfortunatley not. Like at live gigs they sold the regular merch, including the new photosets, and they also had the option of taking a cheki with them for 2000yen.

I had not bought Hora's new solo album RESONANT yet, so I picked up a copy as well as the new photosets (see below).

Previously I had only been to the instore for Sleeping Madness so I was pretty excited to attend and to be able to get something signed. While talking with my date for the day I got the idea I'd try and ask if I could get 2 items signed, since I have bought 2 copies of Immortal Verses. I was in the first row so I did not have much time to think and act, so when they gave me a clear on having 2 items signed I ripped open one of the photosets. I love getting stuff signed but at the same time stuff like this makes me so nervous, especially if I have the rest of the fans staring at me while I pose for a photo (I hate being in pictures in general). I felt like I wanted to sink through the earth to be honest and it showed so well in my photo hehe.

For the talk, they discussed the next possible live (maybe in December), and if Hora is good at English since he goes to Hawaii (he said he's like a native. Seriously though, he said you can use Japanese to some extent on Hawaii).

I always enjoy seeing Schwarz Stein but I was a bit disapointed in the arrangement of this event. Would've appreciated if the photo was taken after the signing and not at the same time. Also they only had a black pen (to start with!), I would've liked them to sign the cover but since it's dark it wouldn't have been that visible. After a couple of people had received signaures however, the staff handed them more colors -.-'

(Funny thing, I was so nervous I didn't talk to them other than say hi and thanks, I handed Hora the lyrics sheet and he said it's nostalgic, when I went over to Kaya he didn't say anything but just signed it, then Hora turned to him and pointed out it's an original tape which made Kaya burst out that it's nostalgic. Hehe, Kaya seems to be going on automode)

onsdag 12 september 2018

Back in Japan

It's been a bit over 1 year since I left Tokyo, and tomorrow I'll return to Japan. 

Starting in Tokyo I will spend some exciting 6 nights and then I'll head for Osaka where I'll do an exchange semester at Osaka University as a gradstudent.

Of course I'll attend different concerts like always but since I will be staying in Osaka not as many. I will however this time try and travel more around Japan, on my to do list is a definite visit to Kyoto and Nara, as well as Hiroshima.

As for bands, so far I will attend Schwarz Stein's outevent on September 15th in Shibuya, Tokyo. 

Later in November I have tickets to see Buck-Tick in Osaka on their standing tour (23rd) as well as for their Fish Tanker's only gig on the following day.

I hope this will be a just as fun experience in Japan as always!

lördag 26 maj 2018

Mononoke kaizokuban もののけ 海賊盤

The downside with listening to smaller bands is that they're usually featured in a  lot of stuff which isn't related to their own band, and as a collector, gotta catch 'em all. I would say that's also part of what makes it interesting, at least for me, that you really get to hunt down certain items. This was one of those items.

I had no idea this excisted until I saw it up for bidding on the facebook page of Rarezhut. For those who aren't familiar with them, it's a US based webshop for Jrock and Visual kei. Most stuff they have are easy to find items, but sometimes some rare stuff acctually show up, like this video. They're not super expensive, but many of their items can be found for the same price or cheaper if bought from Japan (if you know where to look). However I think for US based fans it might be cheaper in the long run because of the reduced shipping costs! Also, one great thing is that with all VHS or cassette you buy you'll get a rip sent in an e-mail. I no longer have a VHS player so this was highly appreciated.

Anyway, they put this up and to put it short, it's a VHS recording of cali≠gari's guitarist Ao's birthday and one of the guests is Dada from Velvet Eden! So I cashed up around 60$ not knowing how much he'd acctually be featured, but it was worth it.The VHS is 30minutes long, featuring different session bands. It was limited to 100 copies.

Dada had been sharing photos of him particiapting in cali≠gari's gigs, but I had no idea at least one had been recorded. Some might for example remember him sharing a photo in which he had this outfit

For which they perform a cover of Italian Gazebo's 80's song I like Chopin (Rainy Days).
Dada also contributes with a cover of the enka* (演歌) song Mago (孫) by Oizumi Itsuro (大泉逸郎). I have to say Dada's voice fit enka very well.

The VHS came with a n envelope in which a photo was included, and I think the photo differs from tape to tape, so there might be a photo of Dada included in another tape. Since I don't really listen to cali#gari I'm not sure who the person on my photo is (sorry).

Dada is only featured in three songs. The last minutes of the tape seems to be footage from a completely different event.

*Enka is a Japanese music genre, the lyrics often centering around Japan, love, nostalgia or everything at the same time. This song for example is of a grandparent remembering his grandchild while still a child. It has a certain nationalistic vibe, so most often the artist will perform in kimono. The music style can be seen as a sort of mixture of traditional Japanese and Western music. It follows the Western style (intro, chorus etc) and it uses Western instruments mainly, but the singing still has a style between traditional Japanese and Western.