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Topics - matsumoto

Pages: 1
Offtopic / I went to a concert in Japan and it was weird - a chronicle
« on: February 28, 2019, 03:24:22 PM »
Following up on my last post in which I listed a bunch of weird things I noticed during my stay in Japan, here’s the story of that one time I went to a concert and it was pretty weird (but at this stage, were you expecting anything in Japan to be normal?). Be warned that this post contains the following allergens: cat balls, cat boners, shiny knickers and frequent album releases. Make sure you're not allergic to nuts, you have been warned.

You can watch the concert I went to here.

1. At a Buck-Tick concert, you worship cats

Hmmmm, fluffy little catballs.

Japan is crazy about cats, it’s a fact. They have maneki nekos, hello kitties, Yoshikitties, more cat cafés than brains per capita, books about cats, songs about cats and if you throw a random stray cat anywhere in Tokyo, at least ten ladies will rush to pet it and take pictures with it. Well, I like cats too. But I usually don’t see the point of band merch that isn’t actual music (no offense to all of you munching on your X Japan-flavored noodles). But I swear for once I gave in and bought the stuffed cat in the picture above. It cost about a week’s worth of food, as expected. But hey. It’s not just a cat. It’s a cat with balls. Tiny balls. If this doesn’t put you in full-blown SHUT-UP-AND-TAKE-MY-MONEY mode, you clearly don’t have your life priorities sorted out.

Fun fact? This stuffed cat is supposedly designed after the band’s pet cat, Maru. They have another pet cat called Kurumi and there’s also merch of her. But if you’re here for the cats, don’t leave just yet, there’s more.

2. At a Buck-Tick concert, thou shalt wear black

I mean, better a little black dress than this.

This is not an X concert, motherfuckers. People here don’t dye their hair funny colours and they don’t walk around in intricate 1993-cosmo-space-priest Hide cosplays. Nope. Black lace is the uniform here. Black lace dresses, black lace stockings and black lace knickers to match, if you want to play by the rules. You’ll see a couple of folks in flashy attire, but they’re all clueless gaijins the veteran Jap fans side-eye with unconcealed contempt. Because, ironically, cosplaying the band's iconic resting bitch face is a thing. I mean, look at Mr. Imai (the guitarist pictured above). Do you think he ever smiles? No, honey, he doesn't. He’s freaking annoyed he has to play concerts for booze money. Fans are a total nuisance, everyone agrees on that in the Buck-Tick fandom, even the fans themselves.

Fun fact? Imai was good friends with the late Hide (of X). I guess you could tell.

3. At a Buck-Tick concert, thou shalt NOT dance or headbang

Serious as f*ck. Laugh and you’re dead.

The band can dance and headbang all they want, but not you, you overexcited twat. The moment the concert starts, everyone stands up and stares at the stage. Did I miss something? Did they just announce something terrible? Who be ded? Gasp. Suspense. Nope, it’s just that the Japanese don’t really show excitement. Or at least not at goth/new wave gigs. So everyone stands there in their funeral clothes and politely nods as the band plays. The girl right next to me froze Han Solo in carbonite-style from the very first notes and only showed signs of life in between acts, during which she proceeded to shout her favourite band member's name repeatedly and hysterically, in a shriek that bore striking resemblance to a dying hyena. Ouch, my ears.

Fun fact? I have since learned that shouting your favourite band member’s name is a thing in Japan and they call it kakegoe.  Screaming your favourite performer or character’s name during kabuki plays or kendo fights was the thing to do back in the day and the Japanese don’t want to put this tradition to rest just yet. Unfortunately for your ear drums.

4. At a Buck-Tick concert, every song is about sex

Buy 1 concert ticket, get 1 strip show for free.

To be fair, some of them are about drugs and cyborgs. But whatever the lyrics are about, rest assured that there will be pole dancing, shoe-licking, suggestive mic-pole stroking, finger-sucking and all kinds of lewd dance moves. Enter a song from their new album about a cat. No, really, they really did it. The song is about a cat called Gustave and the lyrics go like “Catcatcatcatcatcatcatcatcatcatcat”. Listen to it here if you don’t believe me. I bet you wouldn’t expect the singer to screw this one up. But oh boy, he did. By adding an introductory line about the cat going out to pick up pussycats and getting a cat boner (still don’t believe me? look it up). Lewd, man. Very lewd.

Fun fact? According to an early 2000s interview, Mr. Sakurai once got himself a fax machine so he could fax people blank pages with dicks drawn all over them. He must be fun at parties.

5. At a Buck-Tick concert, it’s okay to take off your pants

And by the way, you there with the camera, make sure everyone gets an eyeful of my shiny knickers.

Alright, let’s deal with the elephant in the room. Buck-Tick’s singer is obviously the elephant in the room. For the record, it’s nothing personal. If you like digging through your wife’s/mum’s/grandma’s lingerie drawer, go ahead, dude. Whatever you’re into. But you probably want to keep that in the privacy of your bedroom, living room, BDSM torture playroom or whatever. Going on stage wearing that, though? Well. Backstory. Sakurai the singer used to be a pretty sober dude for the largest part of his band’s career. Like, Professor Snape sober, if you know what I mean. His entire career consisted of teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts during the day and throwing gigs at night. And then he hit the big 5-0 and presumably decided that trousers were a total nuisance and probably not metal enough for his aging rockstar self. So he got rid of them. Actually, he probably burned them in a fire while laughing hysterically and reciting verses from the Satanic Bible. That’s his style. And this old witch is pretty invested in letting everyone know that #nopants is the way to go, by the way.

Fun fact? I couldn’t find a single fun fact about this. I’m too busy applying my eyebleach drops.

6. At a Buck-Tick concert, thou shalt not drink

Kanpaiiiiii~~ we hope that you diiiiiie~~~

What's even better than a good gig? A good gig with beer, my dudes. And if you have a gut feeling that you’re going to a No-Pants gig, beer might not be just a superfluous commodity but a therapeutic measure powerful enough to prevent visual trauma. Trust me on this, kids: if you’re going to a concert where pants are optional, do yourselves a favour and don’t go sober. Except the Budokan doesn't have any beer. Nor cocktails. I learned this the hard way by questioning a few very bemused staff dudes, who looked me up and down and then politely pointed a narrow corridor leading away from the arena. Cooooool, hidden bars! Mildly illegal booze! The forbidden fruit! The beer-ravenous animal in me rejoiced at the thought of some fresh ale, but at the end of the corridor was a soft drinks machine. A staff member looked up in surprise as I (probably) audibly expressed my dismay, raised his hot can of green tea, said “Kanpai!” and gave me a pat in the back as he walked away. Ha. Ha. Ha. So funny.

Fun fact? The fans might be straightedge but the band sure isn’t. Mr. Imai was arrested in the late 1980s for LSD possession. The press turned it into a national scandal but the band backfired by holding a big comeback concert at the Nippon Budokan when he was released. It was in December 1989 and they supposedly had so much fun trolling everyone they decided to turn this into a yearly tradition. Ever since, the band has been performing at the Budokan in late December to celebrate Imai’s release from jail. Not done trolling? They sure weren’t. Months later they released a single called “Speed” and shortly afterwards one called “Chocolate” (a metaphor for coke in Japan) and also one called “Heroin”.

Bonus pic: dear Mr. Imai being taken to jail for popping acid pills sucking on illegal hard candy.

7. At a Buck-Tick concert, you realise that they get shit done

Mr. Toll needs your cash to buy MOAR hairspray.

In the land of Buck-Tick, a parallel universe, they actually release more stuff than you can possibly buy and they throw more gigs than you can possibly attend. No, for real. You would need to be multi millionaire with a teleporting device to catch up with these guys. By the time you land in Hokkaido for the evening gig, the band has already dispatched their virtual dopplegängers to Fukuoka and so on. You think you’re seeing the real Buck-Tick, but you’re actually just seeing their virtual cyborg avatars. The real ones are too busy getting shit done.

Fun fact? Repeat after me: this band released 21 studio albums, a ton of DVDs of their performances, one yearly concert guaranteed at the end of December, constant touring, festival gigs and big arena concerts. In 2018 alone, they performed a total of 51 times (YOU READ THAT RIGHT. Fifty. One. Concerts.), released one album with 13 new songs, a DVD of their tour, a DVD of their previous year’s end-of-year show and announced that they’re not done yet digging into your savings account - two huge arena concerts next year guys, and in the meantime buy. our. cat. merch. plz. Ouuf. I’m out of breath.

8. At a Buck-Tick concert, a concert gets cancelled for the first time in 30+ years

Neck hernias? Dead guitarists? Management fuckups? Postponed concerts? No sir! In Bucktickistan, if you schedule a concert, you play it. In Buck-Tick’s history, only three concerts/tours were ever postponed: the first because the guitarist was in jail. The second because the singer was comatose in the hospital. And the third because Japan was hit by a massive earthquake. That’s it. Every other concert has been properly honored, regardless of whose hemorrhoids were itching, whose neck was about to snap and whose horoscope advised against playing music (perfect timing, alright, huh.)

Wait a sec. They don’t cancel stuff?

Dafuq is a ‘cancel’?

So you can imagine how surprised I was when I learned that they cancelled one the very week I was in Kyoto. Bad luck, man. But don’t worry. Despite the apocalyptic official reports stating one of the guys was howling in pain with some sort of mysterious internal bleeding (read: the shits), he still showed up on stage a week later for the tour final. Propped up by a cane and with the pallor of a drunkard so starved of booze he’s on the threshold of delirium tremens, but he was there anyway. Much appreciated. And well, in Bucktickistan you get actual apologies. Of the sincere, tearful kind. A-p-o-l-o-g-i-e-s, I said, not a new Yoshikitty variant.

X fans dry their tears with love, BT fans wipe their backsides with BT branded wet wipes.

Fun fact? X Japan should learn something from those guys. By the way, did you know that Yoshiki and their singer once did a gay nazi photoshoot? Well, now you do. Lol. No idea why I dropped this fact here.

9. At a Buck-Tick concert, you hear some of the WORST lyrics in Jrock history

Composing a song must be tough. It’s part poetry and part whatever sounds good when you sing it on a particular note. I have a few musician friends who say they mostly begin by writing the music, sing it a couple of times with just humming or screaming and then see what kind of words would fit the sequence. I don’t know if Buck-Tick plays by this rule, but if they do, I assume by the time they have to write the lyrics they’re just too drunk to make sense. Judge for thyselves.

Cat Cat Cat
in Gustave, a song about a cat

in Dada Disco, a song about the dadaists

The endless mass of "that" that never ever changes piles up beneath the self-righteous puke
the title of a song about... being high as a kite?

I wanna live just like a bitch (...)
I wanna be like your dog
upside down and make a god
in Love Letter, a song about being a bitch. lol #yolo

So hot, so hot, in the red, melting flower bud
That's right, thrust your hips
in Sex for You, a song about having sex with flowers

Hey hey sing it, ice cream
Hey hey why don’t you fuck me
I'm crazy, I'm coming, I’m fucking inside you
in Cream Soda, a song about jizzing (I’m sorry, that’s what it is about)

10. At a Buck-Tick concert, you hear some of the BEST lyrics in Jrock history

This is the only no-joke section of this parody review. And that’s because this band freaking deserves a bit of serious from us in the songwriting department after all. Because when they’re not playing Scrabble or making a nicely seasoned Engrish word salad, you get some pretty deep lines. Judge for thyselves again.

In the brain, mind's eye refrain, I sink
omnipotent, I am
torn apart through the cosmos, in my dream
and out onto the last stage
from Mudai (Untitled), a song about the loneliness of stage performers

Please, when you close your eyes
Make me believe you're sleeping peacefully
I know you're tired
Of acting,
of dreaming,
of everything
from Sakura (cherry blossom), a song written by the singer for his dying mother

And who am I to say?
And what am I to do?
I who sing songs of love and romance to you
And how about you all?
How do you feel?
Someone is killing someone else even now
Your body blows away
Scattered to the winds
All of the ones I loved
Carrying away
My city lies
In flames my friend
However I might love you
This is goodbye
from The Night of Guernica, believed to be about the Hiroshima/Nagasaki bombings

As we played in the swirl of the spiral of the dark
It always ends up this way - the blue sky interrupts our game
In the twilight, gaslight flickering on a red cloak passing by
The night falls, chased in by the moon and a déja vu of a girl's sneer
We accelerate moving ever faster, running on
As we played in the swirl of the spiral of the dark
It always ends up this way - the blue sky interrupts our game
Letting the night's flâneurs on for a ride, off goes the rocket shooting star
Slipping away from the beams of the searching lights
From Hikari no Teikoku (Empire of Light), a song inspired by Magritte's homonymous painting

Fun fact? It's not necessarily fun, and it's not necessarily a fact, but this band writes some of the best shit in rock history. Also, their CD and DVD sleeves are amazing.

Fool thyselves not, that little moon is a battery-powered vibrator. Buck-Tick don't do vanilla.

Offtopic / X JAPAN minus the X: a review
« on: January 25, 2019, 04:30:36 PM »
Last December I took the leap and finally decided to visit Japan. And I had a lot of thoughts about it, so here’s 10 things that might be funny, odd, unusual, uncanny or just plain weird about the empire of the rising sun. Enjoy the read!

1. Porn is everywhere!

Say, you can’t sleep and you desperately need a rice ball at 4 in the morning. No worries, my bud, Japan has your back. Many convenience stores in Japan are open 24/7 and their mild-mannered, excessively courteous employees are more than happy to satisfy your fuck o’clock delicatessen cravings. So off you go to the 7-Eleven across the street, but the last thing you expect to find at 4 am on a weekday is a little crowd (3 is a crowd, right?) lurking by the magazine shelves. Do the Japanese have the compulsion to check the next day’s news in the wee hours of the morning and is it strong enough to make them leave their warm, cozy futons? Nope, they’re there for the porn. A whole, 3 shelf-wide selection of porn magazines with something for everyone’s taste.

A nice stash of kinky stuff at 7-Eleven. Tied shut with ribbon so they make sure you buy them before you take a peek at the good stuff.
Image source: Wikipedia

Airbrushed asian models wearing circle contacts to make them look like creepy child-like dolls? Check. Boobs the size of ripe watermelons? Check. Animated characters with furry tails and cat ears? Check. Porn is super popular in Japan. Way more popular than rice balls and Pokemon. You can’t walk two blocks in any popular Tokyo district without being hit in the face by something flagrantly and unequivocally sexual. Hentai, maid cafés, scantily clad action figures, adult movie theaters, love hotels, you name it.

The perfect Japanese wife.
Image Source: Aliexpress

But if sexuality is as ubiquitous as it seems, then are birth rates in Japan so low the government even decided to have employees go home an hour earlier just so they could… well, do the deed more often? The answer is far from simple. Sexuality is a multi-million yen industry in Japan, but it remains a male-oriented industry and in certain ways a fantasy as inaccessible as your dreams of dating an AKB48 member. Japanese men spend scandalous amounts of yen to feed their own fantasies of screwing a big-bosomed animated character, except animated characters only exist in the ether. They gang up with co-workers and go sit at overpriced maid cafés all evening, except you can’t touch the maids. They lurk around the local 7-Eleven buying cheeky magazines, but if a legitimately hot and available Japanese beauty was to walk by, they might not even raise their eyes.

Hentai books in Akihabara.
Image source: Postcards & Places

Does this sound sad to you? It might not be that bad if you’re a guy with some spare cash. Japan cannot comfort your lonely soul nor can it help you deal with your crippling social anxiety, but it has deployed everything in existence to make you forget about it. The Japanese have even coined a term for that: grass-eater men (草食(系)男子), or dudes who are far too busy absorbing virtual sex to even be interested in actual sex at all. But what if you’re a woman? Which brings us to the next point.

2. Boys and Girls Don’t Mix
Can men and women be friends? Armchair philosophers love to ask themselves this age-old question. Gender segregation in school is still a thing in some parts of Europe, but if you walk past any teenage hotspot in the Old Continent (but hey, why would you, old fart?), you’ll notice that boys and girls mingle naturally and that most Westerners tend to have specimens of both genders in equal numbers on their friends lists. Not in Japan, though. If you’re a woman, you hang out with your girlfriends at the nearest shopping centre or bubble tea café. You spend your hard-earned yen on circle contacts to make your eyes look weird, or on odd devices to stretch your face muscles. If you’re extra daring, you go to a cool music hub like Tower Records and ask for a bento with your favourite #prettyboi idol’s face carved on your bento (which will set you back about $50, but whatever makes you happy). Do Japanese girls even put their doe eyes and cherry-chapped lips to good use? Not much. A whooping 59% of women in the 16-19 age range stated that they had no interested in having sex with real-life guys, according to a 2011 poll.

The face of a popular musician carved on seaweed on a bento.
Image source: q.j_mom on Instagram

3. The Arcade Phenomenon or the Boys Playground

My hotel happened to be just down the road from Akihabara. For the non-initiated, Akihabara is otaku heaven. Manga! Anime! Figurines! Maid cafés! Cosplay! Sega arcades!  Endless towers hiding humongous shopping centers where you can buy the most useless crap this planet has to offer! Neverending lines of people waiting to meet their favourite AKB48 member! If you want to live in a virtual universe full of servile beauties with soft voices and gravity-defying curves, or if you feel like you could totally waste your life away playing video games and munching on strawberry-flavoured Kit-Kats, then welcome home. Walking through Akihabara is a little bit like entering a parallel universe where millions of little men in white shirts spend their days furiously tugging at joysticks and PlayStation controllers while their avatars fight, dance, screw, play the guitar or simply live their lives while their unsuspecting players miss out on theirs. And as we pointed out, the blokes who hit the arcade with the same kind of enthusiasm an alcoholic Irish grandpa hits the local Irish pub are lowkey allergic to the XX chromosome. I bet you get a free Pocky if you spot more than three women in the entire 8-floor building during the testosterone peak hours. The chicks on the AKB48 posters don’t count. Which brings us to…

Japanese dudes doing a great job at protecting their virginity.
Source: Flickr

4. What the hell is AKB48?

Not to be confused with AK-69, Toshi’s rapper friend. Can you even explain modern Japan without first explaining AKB48? You can’t. AKB48 is the elephant in the room. Long story short - one day in the early 2000s a Yakuza dude thought: how can I make a shitload of money off of young, sexless and horny Japanese folks who still believe in unicorns? He soon had a genius idea. He recruited a ton of young, pretty, docile and submissive girls, clad them in schoolgirl outfits, made them sing, dance and entertain. A magic recipe that has stood the test of time. So what’s so unusual about just another idol group that sells imaginary sex? The guy recruited so many of them, there’s always some AKB48 available to greet the average otaku at Japan’s most average otaku hotspots. And don’t worry, when there’s no more AKB48 left, they recruit some MOAR AKB48! And just a side note: AKB48 are not allowed to date, smoke, drink, go clubbing, have social media accounts, get tattoos, sun tans, new haircuts or develop a personality at all. When they hit 30, they “graduate”, a funny metaphor for getting the sack. And if they cross the line, that counts as “graduation” too. Example, that one kid who got the sack because someone leaked a purikura of her and her boyfriend. And that one other who shaved her head and filmed a tearful Youtube video apologising for the fact that tabloids reported that she had a boyfriend (omg! capital sin! behead her!).

In Japan, dating is bad thing. 
Image source: Google

Oh, and fun fact? AKB48 are mostly underage girls who sing bubbly, light-hearted songs about school, love and their friends. You’d expect their fans to be somewhere in their age range. But wrong you are, you rookie Padawan. I walked by their theatre during their evening show on a weekday and I swear a good bunch of fans were well into their fifties, if not sixties. And judging by the way they anxiously elbowed each other when the doors opened, they were not there with their kids. Another fun fact? AKB48 are not allowed to have boyfriends or lovers but their photoshoots are frequently featured on the Weekly Playboy (a Japanese porn mag not affiliated with Hugh Heffner’s Playboy). It’s a strange world, huh.

AKB48 selling sexy to to sexless guys while being sexless in the land of sexlessness.
Image source: AKB48

5. Maid Cafés and Host Cafés are a thing

I skipped the maid café thing altogether because I’m too cool for mainstream stuff they’re so ubiquitous. There sure are high-profile maid cafés worth the detour, but since I didn’t want to break the bank, I chose the maid café’s aspiring third cousin, the host club. A host club is supposedly just that - a bar where cute guys serve their female clientele with pomp and pageantry. Except it’s not just that. Host cafés are all about delusions, competition and milking uncommitted, slightly cyprian ladies of as many yen bills as they possibly can. And they’re willing to go great lengths for that.

A host accessing how many yen bills he’ll make you spend.
Image source: Tokyo Creative

For starters, you’ve got a ranking of the hosts outside - the café I picked in Shibuya had 10 waiters, ranked #1 to #10. Number 1 is the guy who’s better at making ladies order far more cocktails and delicatessen that they can stomach. As I walked in I was informed that I was allowed to buy the hosts drinks if I wanted to chat with them longer and that I would have to pay an extra fee to be served exclusively by my favourite host. Fine, I picked one randomly and went to sit at the back with a guy whose hair was so fried from bad dye jobs and straightening irons it made him look like a your average aspiring visual kei it-boy. The guy informed me, using a mix of broken English and sign language, that if I also ordered a side dish, he would give me a hand massage. Wait. What. You read that right. Side dish = free hand massage. What happens if I ordered everything on the menu? Bad luck, I’m too poor to find out.

Monthly ranking of hosts outside a host club for the world to see.
Source: SCMP.com

The hand massage was nice and it was fun to watch my host pretend to sip his wine - hosts are not allowed to get drunk - but otherwise the experience was quite uneventful. But hey, since we’re here, let me tell you another odd thing. The host café business is actually so huge they have celebrity hosts. Japan’s most famous host is a guy called Roland, a.k.a the guy who milks the most ladies of the most yen bills. Roland is, for a lack of a better description, an amalgamation of a really jacked body with the head of an animated character with spaghetti hair. I don’t know why Jap chicks dig that either, but he makes six figures and gets editorial spreads in every single fashion magazine, every week. Guess we should all learn business from Roland.

Roland, Japan’s no. 1 host
Source: a shit-ton of Photoshop

6. Your backside has never been this clean

But hey, Japan is not just an alien, sexless country. They have some awesome stuff too. So why don’t we start with the one thing that all of us a humans have in common: POOP! According to a Japanese study conducted in 2018, 100% of humans poop and 90% of those who poop would rather poop on a really clean throne. So what did the Japanese do? They invented smart toilets, y’all! It’s not just a urban legend - 90% of all Japanese toilets come with that awesome seat-heating and butt-rinsing function. Note that this applies even to railway stations in the deepest of rural Japan. Now, why is this such a big deal for me? Ever been to a public toilet in France? Good luck, mate.

It rinses your butt! Dries your butt! Warms your entire butt! Plays music while you poop!
Image source: China Daily


So by now we’ve had our sense flooded by porn, we’ve hung out at XY-chromosome-only arcades, flipped through Hentai magazines at 7-Eleven, watched Japan go crazy for a bunch of girls in schoolgirl outfits and won a free hand massage from a random dude. Can things get any weirder? Sure. How about going to the famous Hakone hot springs with a bunch of co-workers… naked?

"Let's talk about work, Hitomi?"
Image source: Teplis Travel

In case you’re unfamiliar with the concept of onsens, they’re bath houses with super steamy hot pools where people supposedly go to relax. Like in many saunas across the world, from Sweden to the Middle East, you’re supposed to go in naked. No bathing suit allowed. It took me a while to find a bath house in the Hakone area that accepted people with tattoos (note than in Japan tattoos are associated with the Yakuza and are generally considered “dirty” or a sign that you’re into some really fucked up shit). But don’t you fret, it was fairly easy to find and no one gave a damn about my awesome inkz. So eyeing the empty onsen, yours truly sheds the yukata and gets into the water praying no one will come in and judge her for having the body of a couch potato who lives on a diet of frozen pizza. Ten minutes later and just as I’m about to tick this one off my bucket list, a group of about ten women walk into the room and settle together at the far end of the pool. My Japanese being very basic, all I could understand was that the said ladies were co-workers on some sort of company trip and they were sitting there talking about...work. Naked. Thumbs up if you dream of chilling with Bob the IT guy, Rob the accountant and Slob the sales rep in an onsen... naked. Yeah man, that’s weird. 

(In)famous musician Gackt at an onsen with friends… naked.
Image source: Gackt’s Instagram

8. The rule of kawaii

You know why Japan is dealing with a huge economic crisis? Because the Japanese spend all their cash on useless crap. And just to be clear, I mean useless kawaii crap. Stuffed animals! Scented stationery! Lolita outfits! Stickers! Bunnies! Unicorns! Alpacas! Yey! There goes your paycheck, but if you have to starve anyway, better starve under a pile of kawaii crap, right? Eugh, wrong. I guess no one can deny that the Japanese have a peculiar penchant, not to say a full-blown weird fetish, for juvenile paraphernalia. Grown-ass women spend a good portion of their waking hours practising their babytalk and naive allure in the mirror. This includes frantically buying all kinds of odd devices to stretch your face muscles, blur out imperfections and make the eyes look bigger and more baby-like. If in the West women are supposed to be forever 21, in Japan they’re supposed to be forever 6. And to be frank both standards are equally disturbing, but the Japs take the cake here. You can’t walk one yard in Shinjuku, Akihabara or Shibuya without headbutting into some sort of purikura photo booth, plushie vending machine, bystander in lolita attire or cartoon-like candy shop. I might not be entirely off the mark if I say that the kawaii industry clearly outperforms the car and tech industries over there. Everybody. is. wasting. money. on. stuffed. freaking. cats.

Women in Akihabara spending their hard-earned yen on stuff originally designed for six year olds.
Image source: Airbnb

9. Sleeping on public transport is a thing

No, by sleeping I don’t mean closing your eyes for a few minutes while you convey satisfyingly vivid images of your boss rotting in hell. By sleeping, I mean slumping on your seat and going into full-on REM-action. Who cares if you snore, drool and end up leaning on whoever’s sitting next to you - they’re probably asleep too! And that’s how it happens in Japan. I was very amused and mildly shocked when I saw a young lady fast asleep on the metro from Shibuya to Ueno. She sat by a window, leaned back against it and began to snooze without a care in the world. If you did this in Paris, by the time you woke up your phone would be gone and there would be a creepy guy hovering over you  trying to stick random body parts of his into random orifices of yours. But not in Japan. In Japan not only it is normal to snooze on the go, you’re even allowed to fall asleep on whoever’s sitting next to you. I think I never saw so many people falling asleep on unsuspecting strangers (who might also be asleep themselves). Two people fell asleep on me on separate occasions. Both fell sideways into my shoulder, snored, then roused and got up without a word. Hey… hope you enjoyed your gaijin cushion?

“I think I’m just gonna take a quick nap, Kiyoshi, that 7pm meeting totally wrecked me”.
Image source: presumably Kiyoshi, employee of the month

10. I’m not ready, honey, I want to wait until marriage beer

They’re incredibly polite, they work long hours, they don’t hang out with the opposite sex, their only passions are arcade games and AKB48 and they’re into some hardcore zen buddhism mind-numbing chill pills. So do the Japs ever get rowdy? Like, really loud and boisterous and inappropriate and whatnot? Yes, they do. But it takes some liquid courage. Veer off the most scenic routes and off the beaten track, search for the hidden basement clubs and offbeat bars in Mitaka, on the last floor of a nondescript high tower in Taito, dare to enter the shady pubs on a gloomy Yokosuka street and you’ll find them. And it’s a little bit like seeing the ugly face of Japanese society without the skin blurring filter, the kawaii fluff, the lolita ruffles and the gleeful solicitude. These are the guys who work 16+ hours a day, the guys who fall asleep on public transport because they don’t sleep at night, the guys who desperately want to succeed and hang themselves when they fail, the guys who spent so much time learning maths they forgot to learn how to interact with other humans and so they resort to maid cafés and cuddle cafés to get a taste of the intimacy they crave but can’t get and so on and so on.

Drunk dude. Good luck riding that hungover.
Image source: Lee Chapman

You can only bottle up so much before cracks begin to show in your steely composure. Or until you feel like getting shitfaced is the only way to dodge The System and the robotic grip it has on you. And so you hit the saké bottle like there’s no tomorrow. Give those uptight businessmen some shochu and their subservient female counterparts some tequila and you’ll see what happens. They get loud. They tell jokes. They shriek hysterically. They shout random stuff in English across the bar to the casual gaijin bystander. But is Japan still worth it? Yes, definitely. 10/10. Will do it again.


Coming up next: I went to a concert in Japan and it was weird so I wrote some stuff about it.

Offtopic / What are your New Years resolutions?
« on: January 03, 2019, 01:21:20 PM »
Share them here and cross them off as you go! I'll post mine this afternoon, still deciding on whether or not I want to lose those 5 pounds.  8)

General chat / Do you think the new album will come out in 2019?
« on: January 02, 2019, 03:45:44 PM »
And aditionally, do you think 2019 would be a good year to release it? (let's help Yoshiki on this one)

Bonus question: what strange things do you predict will happen in 2019?
E.g.1: Yoshiki stars in a movie with Gackt.
E.g. 2: Hyde composes a song with J of Luna Sea and calls it L'arc~en~ciel feat. J
E.g. 3: Sugizo becomes an underwear model

News / MOVED: Background
« on: November 20, 2018, 01:57:32 PM »

Other Bands / Get The X Freaks Into Your Jam
« on: August 30, 2018, 09:19:42 PM »
Dear X Freaks, thanks to YOU, I have discovered many awesome Japanese bands in the last few months. So here's an extension of nb's thread on this topic: recommend everyone one or more Japanese bands you like and post a link to your favourite song by them (and tell us why you picked that particular one). We will feature the bands and songs you suggested as opening acts on the next Kurenights!

Rules of the game:

1) The band must be from Japan
2) Only one song per band (your absolute favourite)
3) Tell everyone why you like it


Here's a start:

Band: Loudness
Song: Crazy Nights
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXCpPpPCW4c

Why this band: I got into Loudness thanks to another X Freak (MIHO) back in 2008. If you're a metalhead who likes headbanging, kickass guitar riffs, power chords and slightly mispronounced English lyrics, you'll love Loudness. Fun fact? Taiji joined Loudness when Yoshiki gave him the sack. And if Taiji gives something his seal of approval, that something sure is cool. Listening to Loudness is like hopping on a time machine and going back to that day when you were 14 and had your very first beer (or several) and suddenly rock'n'roll sounded even better, the night was ablaze with a million little flickering lights, all the guys looked sort of like Ronnie James Dio and all the girls were pretty things with a bit of visible damage to them. Yup, that's Loudness' vibe.

Offtopic / Fashion series: the Who Wore It Better thread
« on: August 03, 2018, 12:45:05 PM »
Ever noticed how in the land of sushi, maneki nekos and cringy animated pornography bands seem to think cosplaying other bands is a totally okay thing to do? According to our sources, they call it inspiration and don’t give a fig if it’s been done to death before. Really. Got evidence of copycatting or clothes-swapping in the J-rock scene? Let us know in this thread!

The Purple Jumper
Inoran (Luna Sea) vs. Hide vs. Yoshiki (X Japan)

On Wednesdays we wear purple!

In every group of friends there’s this one jumper you call The Jumper. It’s usually a ratty old jumper that lives in its very own dank and humid ecosystem, stuffed inside a drawer at the very back of somebody’s wardrobe, in the company of three mismatched socks, a feather boa that you got at a bachelorette party (even if the couple have since divorced), and a stash of magazines you wouldn't want your mum to find. The Jumper is never really washed and it’s very likely to sport a couple of vomit stains from that one time your cousin Bob got drunk and barfed on you. The Jumper is also the official item your friends borrow when they sleep over, when they are cold, or when they think you’re so cool they can’t help but scour your wardrobe for statement pieces that they think could elevate them to your level of coolness. Well, Hide had such a jumper. It was purple and if you had been part of the visual kei scene in the late 80s, you sure would have borrowed it from him at least once. Fun fact? Hide liked this jumper so much he also bought it in red and pink. Because when Hide liked something, Hide got the same of it in all available colours. Relatable.

Who Wore It Better? Hide. He’s the only one who can pull off the fugly sweater look. He styled it with a bunch of fugly beaded jewelry, fugly square shades and a fugly hat. If it was anyone else, they’d look like a slob, but since this was Hide, he was burstin’ with swag.

The Little Black Scarf
Yoshiki vs.Toshi (X Japan)

Copycatting? No thanks, we’d rather join a cult!

Thanks Kween for spotting this one! This picture of Toshi was taken outside of a restaurant while the band was on tour in Germany. Here’s the story behind it: Toshi was eating the most delicious Prinzregententorte (try to pronounce that, I dare you) that had ever graced his taste buds when he accidentally dropped it down the front of his shirt. Hey bro, he asked his BFF Yoshiki, since you don’t mind disrobing in public, could I please borrow your clothes? Yoshiki sure didn’t mind (actually he needed a good excuse to show the world that Manson was totes right when he said he looked like a pretty girl/Brad Pitt hybrid). So that’s how Toshi got into this outfit. Okay, fine. We don’t know if it actually happened like this, but it’s quite plausible, don’t you think?

Who Wore It Better? Yoshiki. While we greatly appreciate Toshi’s efforts to stay away from his signature disco ball look, the hair and the ~~disco dad~~ shades ruin it all.

The Knockoff Pink Spider
Sugizo (Luna Sea) vs. Ruki (The Gazette) vs. Die (Dir en Grey) vs. Aoi (The Gazette) vs. Kaoru (Dir en Grey) vs. Imai (Buck-Tick)

Actually, on Wednesdays we wear PINK!

I know, I know, I know. It’s a tribute. It’s sweet of those guys to wear their idol’s ‘do. Really. Bless their heart. But for the sake of argument, you can pay tribute to people in many ways, no need to copycat their ‘do. My uncle Jim kicked the bucket last month. I would totally love to wear his ‘do, but the poor chap was bald. Okay. we’re being mean, kids are going to get all worked up and call us terrible human beings. I should do a green juice cleanse to get rid of all the toxic blasphemy in my system.

Who wore it better? Sugizo. He was Hide’s BFF, if anyone’s got the right to recreate this iconic ‘do, it sure is him. Imai, we'll consider forgiving you too. As for the rest of the #knockoffbois, we found them floating in a deep dark sea called Pinterest and we don’t really know who they are.

The Snakeskin tattoo
Cipher (D’erlanger) vs. Die (Dir en Grey)

Originality is our middle name.

Back in my day, kids all wanted unique tattoos. And by unique I mean something they doodled on the margins of their notebooks during math class (bonus points if it was a wiener). Fine, you don’t need to go such great lengths to embrace your uniqueness. You can get tattoos inspired by other people’s tattoos. You can tattoo your idol’s face on your left armpit. You can tattoo your mum’s face on your right butt cheek. But seriously, please don’t get the exact. same. tattoo. as. somebody. else. Unless they’re your BFF and you’re getting inked together. Otherwise it’s corny. It’s lame. It’s obvious. It’s dumb.

Who wore it better? Do you even need to ask? Cipher, of course. That’s some cool ink, bro. If you wanna prank that bloody brat, get some fake ink on your privates and send him a pic. See if he copycats that one too.

The Fragile Drummer
Yoshiki (X Japan) vs. Shinya (Dir en Grey)

That jacket rings a bell, btw.

Let us guess. So you’re a delicate little flower of a drummer in a metal band with a red-haired guitarist, a shrieky five-feet-tall vocalist and a starving bassist (does no one ever think of feeding the poor bassists?). You sport a fab shade of fake blonde, you have an inexplicable fondness for stuffed animals, Farrah Fawcett and coloured contacts. You sometimes swap clothes with Toshi and to top it off, you’re BFFs with Hyde. Yup, either you’re Yoshiki or his minion Shinya.

Who wore it better? Yoshiki. Fool thyselves not, he may look like a dandelion, but he can dive face-first into his drum set and live to tell the story. Sorry minion, we’ll speak again when you have your own Hello Kitty doll.

The Daddy ‘do
Ryuichi (Luna Sea) vs.Teru (Glay) vs. Sakurai (Buck-Tick) vs. Cipher (D’erlanger)

*Flips bangs to the left dramatically*

Are you in your 50s? Do you have a band? Was your band a big deal in the 90s? Did you sport a crazy hairstyle back then? Do you still cry about it when you look in the mirror? If you answered yes to all, congrats! You are eligible for the daddy ‘do! The daddy ‘do is actually a pretty simple haircut with layers and bangs flipped to the left (what happens if you flip them to the right? new world order?) There’s a big chance these four blokes all ask their stylist for the very same thing: something that I can wear to my gigs but that won’t look embarrassing when I go pick the 4 year-old up from ballet class. Yup. Say no more, fam. It’s all fun and games as long as these four don’t show up at the same place at the same time. Which they never do, because their respective 4 year olds attend different ballet schools. Well, until two of them accidentally showed up together at this year’s Lunatic Fest.

Who wore it better? We honestly don’t know. We had a pretty hard time telling them apart, in the first place.

The Nose Band
Hide (X Japan) vs. Reita (The Gazette)

Is that pancakes I smell or did I drop my nose band in maple syrup again?

As we said, we don’t know the Gazette, other than that eating spaghetti makes you puke gazetti, which is an established fact, and we’re not sure why the bloke on the second picture insists on wearing that thing on his nose. Could it be that he has an atrocious congenital deformity? Nah, we got wind that he just doesn’t like his schnoz. Which is the dumbest reason we can think of to do something like that, but whatever.

Who wore it better? Do you even need to ask? Hide knew how to balance bombastic and classy like no other. Who is the other kid, again?

The Epic Mohawk
Ryuichi (Luna Sea) vs. Toshi (X Japan)

I really don't see the resemblance, do you?

We don’t know what Mr. Ryuichi was thinking when he decided to wear this hairstyle to Luna Sea’s reunion tour finale in 2011. Was he not aware of the fact that it was once Toshi’s trademark ‘do? Was he hoping no one would notice? Was he just too lazy to care? Either way, it was a huge faux pas and it was not the first time we saw him copycatting somebody else’s hairstyle. Please, Ryuichi. What are you gonna do next? Break the band? Write a cookbook? Join a cult?

Who wore it better? Our KING, of course.

The Glorious Extensions
Kamijo (Versailles) vs. Yoshiki (X Japan)

One of us is a Barbie, the other is Krissy, Barbie's knockoff cousin.

Again, dearest rockers from the Far East, take note: cosplay is only cool when it's the fans doing it. And by the way, the vampire pimp look with a background of paper flowers, burgundy velvet, black lace, ruffled white shirts and Victorian adornments has been done to death too. It was only cool around the time they made that Interview With The Vampire film adaptation of Anne Rice's book, which was around the time Yoshiki sported this look, so he's forgiven. He was doing it when it was cool and when girls were all hype about Tom Cruise in the role of a very blond, very obnoxious and very rock'n'roll vampire Lestat. Vampire Lestat was French, but he was not known to jump into the picture shouting 'BONJOUR!' with a moronic grin on his face - let that sink in, Kamijo.

Who wore it better? There is only room for one Barbie, and we all know who our favourite Barbie is. Someone hit the BONJOUR guy with a stale baguette.

The Mannequin Molesters
Hide (X Japan) vs. Sakurai (Buck-Tick)

Why so silent, honey? Am I not doing it right?

That they all swap clothes and copycat hairdos in the J-rock industry is an established fact. But did you know that they also swap chicks? Yessur, they do. Bonus points if you have a thing for inanimate wooden chicks - after all, they’re silent, submissive and PMS-free. They don't nag you when you don't notice their new haircolour and they don't threaten divorce when you leave the toilet seat up. Wooden chicks are every macho’s dream come true, hooray! We were able to locate this very wooden mannequin, who has since retired from her stage prop career and rebranded herself as a standard H&M mannequin in Thailand. According to her, the pay was better (and the #metoo movement totally helped her realise being molested by band dudes was NOT okay). Wooden chicks have feelings too. This particular one is no exception.

Who molested her better? Hide molested her first. And when Hide does something first, of course he does it better.

The Black Speedo
Yoshiki (X Japan) vs. Sugizo (Luna Sea)

Less is more, hun!

Way before hardcore veganism was cool and kids were all hype about minimalism, shia seeds and green juice cleanses, these two had already unraveled the magic formula: less cloth = less fret. Clothes are made of fibers that are potentially irritating to the skin, y’all. You don’t want to get a nasty rash. Burn those shirts, burn those slacks, no suit can compete with your birthday suit! Now serious, kids. Don’t try this look. Just… don’t. Speedos went out of style at some point in the mid-90s for a reason.

Who Wore It Better? Yoshiki. Because if you’re going to wear something weird, at least wear it out of context. Aim high. Aim for the full blown cringe. Don’t just wear it to the beach - film actual videos in those flimsy briefs! Shoot album covers in them! Go total cringe, or go home!

The Rose Petal Diva
Yoshiki (X Japan) vs. Kenji Darvish (Golden Bomber)

*American Beauty theme playing in the background*

Look away, minors. Go do your homework and stop looking at near-naked pictures of your favourite rockstars on the internet. Now serious: I don’t know Kenji. But whoever you are, Kenji, you might want to consider putting some clothes on, changing your hair, closing all your bank accounts, deleting your browser history, getting a new identity and starting a new life somewhere far away from wherever you are. Because when Yoshiki finds out about your little knockoff of his iconic 1995 shoot, he’ll wreck your life so hard you won’t know what hit you. Cool makeup, tho.

Who Wore It Better? There is only one Rose Petal Diva in Japan, and it’s not you, Kenji.

Offtopic / Post funny X-related things you come across
« on: July 31, 2018, 01:32:38 PM »
...this has to be the worst thread title ever, but you get my drift.  8) Post here things you see in our hometown, on the internet, or anywhere else that somehow remind you of X. Bonus points if it's hilarious!

Found this thing here in Paris the other day:

Damn, Yoshiki, I didn't know you owned a shoddy sushi joint over here!

Offtopic / The Visual Kei Best Styling Awards 2018
« on: July 05, 2018, 04:34:19 PM »
In our last post in the VK Fashion Series (wait, did we just say we’re going to do a whole series on this? well, probably not), we put together a ranking of the worst styled people in the Visual Kei industry. Now that we know who gets dressed in the dark, who shops at Salvation Army, who channels their inner suburban mum, who secretly likes wearing lingerie and who copycats everyone else, we might just as well talk about those who, in contrast, would never dream of committing such fashion faux-pas. Bellow, you will find our ranking of the most stylish people in the scene. And you, who do you think deserves the Golden Toshi here?

[Click here to read the The Visual Kei Bad Styling Awards 2018]

#12 Miyavi

Is Miyavi even considered visual kei? Probably not, but it doesn’t matter. I’m not a fan of Miyavi, but his recent stellar improvements in the fashion department almost made us forget what a bloody toxic visual hazard he was in the mid-2000s. See? We all deserve a second chance. We like his new haircut and the long layered robes, which effectively conceal the fact that he weights 90 lbs soaking wet. Congrats, Miyavi, fatherhood and maturity look good on you! Hope you burned your sk8er boi crap.

#11 Toshiya (Dir en Grey)

I don’t know this person and just trying to pronounce his name has earned me a sore throat - is it tosh-eee-ah or tosh-ay-ah? Nevermind, no one cares about bassists anyway1. This chap’s pictures keeping popping up on my Pinterest feed and to be honest, he kind of looks like he jumped right out of a sappy K-drama, with his bowl cut and his permanent tantrum-toddler frown. But hey, we’re not here to judge Tow-sheeea’s offended vegan mug. Whoever he is, he seems to have a pretty decent wardrobe. The long black evasé coats definitely do it for you, sir. Kudos. We really hope you share some of your styling tips with your mates Cursed Child and Suburban Mum.

#10 Marina Bozzio (Aldious)

We find the lack of ladies in the Visual Kei scene disturbing. Recently, someone brought the existence of a badass female-only band to our attention (thanks Morgan!). We can’t help but love idea of girls slaying it to power metal and showing the patriarchy that they can suck it up and stick their biases up their derrières. We're not fond of the rest of the band’s image, but Marina’s stage costumes are always on fleek. Can you think of anything sexier than a lady in a chic cocktail dress SLAYING her drum set like there’s no tomorrow? Us neither. Fun fact? Marina is Terry Bozzio’s stepdaughter. Not that she needs to bring up her daddy to be cool, though.

#9 Inoran (Luna Sea)

Inoran has been growing out a random strand of hair on the back of his head for ages, and just for that, he deserves our respect. I mean, as much respect as a guy with a random piece of long hair poking out of his scalp can possibly deserve. Now serious. Inoran dresses smart with a subtle hint of négligé. If he were French, we would call him a bobo, which means a dude who would otherwise have been a hobo, if he didn’t have a nice fat checkbook shoved down the back pocket of his tattered Burberry jeans. Either way, it’s pretty hard to pull off that look - it’s a very fine line between bobo and hobo. Mr. Inoran is on the safe side of it.  His hairstyle is cool too. Congrats, Inoran. Hide that random piece of hair well, if Ryuichi sees it, he’ll start growing one out too.

#8 Issay (Der Zibet)

Creepy Goth Overlord is a b*tch of a look to pull off. Most of the people on our Worst Styled Awards 2018 list have tried and failed at some point. But hey, this guy naturally looks like he drinks the blood of innocent virgins with his breakfast cereal, with his luscious long hair and his creepy AF eyeballs. He reminds me of a bloke that used to hang out all the time at the local goth club back when I was an emo kid2. He once showed up with an inflatable doll in BDSM attire on a leash. He just sat there sipping his Bloody Mary and petting his plastic date’s head suggestively. No one dared to laugh. No one. Just like I don’t dare laugh at Mr. Issay for this cringy album cover.

#7 Hidehiko Hoshino (Buck-Tick)

If you know Buck-Tick, you probably know his band has its fair share of fashion atrocities. But guess what? If you look to the right side of the stage and squint really hard, you’ll see a pretty decent bloke on guitar #2. (I know, I know, no one cares about rhythm guitars3). That mighty fine chap is called Hide (and don’t worry, he’s alive). Fun fact? He modelled for Jean-Paul Gaultier in the 90s. That’s just how awesome he is. Hide sure knows how to pull off the causal dad. Actually, he makes us think of a French dad strolling through St. Germain-des-Prés on a Sunday afternoon. Carrying a baguette on one hand and Vanessa Paradis on the other.

#6 Yoshiki (X Japan)

We don’t think Yoshiki is particularly stylish, but he paid us a lot of money4 to be included on this list, so here he is.

#5 Ryoichi Endo (Soft Ballet)

You might not know Soft Ballet, but they were around for a while, and they were a big deal in the Japanese goth scene in the 90s (I mean, not that we were there sniffing glue with the scene kids on Dobuita Street in 1990). Anyway. Let’s get poetic. If Soft Ballet’s music was anthropomorphic and clad in fabric, it would have materialized as Mr. Endo, no less. Dark, sleek, elegant, charming, intriguing, haunting. Mr. Endo is the result of that one time Audrey Hepburn and Peter Murphy made sweet, sweet love on the back seat of Siouxsie Sioux’s shiny black DeLorean DMC-125.  I have no clue how else to describe what’s so fascinating about this guy’s style. Style is like the ability to lick your own elbow - either you have it or you don’t6.  As we’ve said before (see: Issay), not everyone can do goth. Goth is an art. And Mr. Endo’s sense of goth is not something you can find readily available at Hot Topic (sorry you had to find out this way, Morrie.)

#4 Yagami Toll (Buck-Tick)

The legend says Toll once had a massive argument with his mum. You can’t keep wearing that abominable ‘do, my son, you will never get a job, she groaned.  SHUT UP MUM, THIS IS NOT A PHASE, Toll yelled back before he slammed the door to his The Stalin-themed room. The year was 1978. Forty years later, Toll is still committed to proving his mum just that. It. Was. Not. A. F*cking. Phase. Just for that, the man deserves our respect. Also, Toll doesn’t complain that his spine is about to break out of his neck when he plays the drums. Toll sucks it up and does his job, despite being older than the dinosaurs. Toll is a good guy. Be like Toll.

#3 Taiji Sawada (X Japan, Loudness)

Taiji, also known as the best bassist The Land Of The Rising Sun has ever seen, totally deserves a spot on this list. Taiji was the one who made us all rethink our ‘no one cares about bassists’ policy. You totally broke the glass ceiling, sir. Kanpai! He and the late Hide were buddies and too bad they both carried their very well-kept fashion secrets to the grave. Few people can pull off the badass biker look with 80s hooker undertones quite as flawlessly as he did. I once bought a cowboy hat in hopes of looking like Taiji. Unfortunately for me, I just looked like a twatwaffle sissy in a cowboy hat.

#2 Hide (X Japan)

What happens if you go out wearing a potato sack? Right, you look like you’re wearing a potato sack. What happens if Hide wears a potato sack? It’s high fashion, b*tch.  Throughout his tragically short life, we saw him wear some of the strangest, WTFiest outfits conceivable, including, but not limited to: a fluffy pink knit backless sweater, a bright orange onesie, an astronaut suit, a !spacegopnik tracksuit, his grandma’s sahri, a witch costume (we could go on, but you get our drift). And just when you thought he couldn’t get any classier, Hide popped the f*ck it pill and showed us that he looked just as badass half-naked and covered in cockroaches. Go Hide. The only reason you’re not #1 on this list, sir, is because you’re… well, dead.

#1 Sugizo (Luna Sea, X Japan)

Sugizo is a prince. He only eats organic low-carb vegan fair trade sharing economy fresh produce and is certified 100% cruelty-free. He plays the guitar, the violin, does some cringy backing vocals, does charity work in the Middle East, raised a kid with a weird name, he’s in a kazillion bands, hosts the Lunatic Fest every year, looks presentable in flip-flops and speedos, keeps his cool around Copycat Ryuichi… can you think of anything negative to say about Sugizo? Me neither. Sugizo has never broken his mum’s favourite china vase. Sugizo is nice to everyone, even on Monday mornings. Sugizo doesn’t snore. Sugizo doesn’t poop7. Hence, Sugizo deserves to be crowned Best Dressed VK Artist of All Time.


1 That’s not true.
2 Metaphor used for style purposes only. We were never really emo. We just had some weird bangs going on.
3 That’s not true either.
4 That’s totally true.
5 Fake. Everyone knows Siouxsie drove a Mercedes.
6 Please tell me you didn’t try it.
7 The accuracy of this assumption is disputed in several academic circles.

Offtopic / The Visual Kei Bad Styling Awards 2018
« on: July 02, 2018, 12:55:20 PM »
As most of you might have noticed (and you probably have, if you have a pair of functional eyeballs), there seems to be a bizarre correlation between talent and fashion sense in the Visual Kei scene: the more talented the artist, the more disastrous their wardrobe seems to be. And to prove my point, I decided to compile a ranking of the most calamitous blokes. And you, who do you think deserves the Worst Styled Award? Winner gets a Golden Globe Toshi.

[Click here to read the The Visual Kei Best Styling Awards 2018]

#11 Morrie (Dead End)

I have the power to scare the sh#t out of you with just my cheekbones. Boo!

If you’re a hardcore 80s VK fan, when you read Morrie you probably think of the bloke with the nice curly hair on the Seraphine video. Well, that’s back when he was nice and tame. Then Morrie went to New York, got high on some protein shakes or whatever and shit got weird. No one really knows what kind of look he’s been aiming for in the past few years, but we guess it’s something like electrocuted anorexic creepy-ass shredded cyborg with a hint of Edgar Allan Poe. Anyway, it’s creepy AF.

#10 Tasturou (MUCC)

*strangled Ju-on style wailing sounds*

I didn’t know about this creature until I watched Yoshiki at Lunatic Fest and the (surprisingly interesting) cover of X he did with his homies. I was busy being the meanie that I am, laughing at this guy’s manky looks, until I realized what a kickass voice he has. No, really. He sounds like his vocal chords are made of metal. His band sounds amazeballs too, even if it’s called MUCC, which makes me think of the word ‘mucus’, which is rather gross. You know what else is gross? This guy’s make up. Who in their right mind thinks smearing black eyeshadow around their lips is a good idea? It looks like your herpes isn’t healing properly, sir. Also, are you related to that creepy creature in The Grudge? I could swear you’re twins.

#9 Gackt (Malice Mizer)

Did you know that bananas cause constipation? It sure explains your face.

Does this one need a description? Back when I was in middle school and way before I even found out about the Visual Kei scene (a kazillion years ago, that is), I had a friend who was completely obsessed with this guy. She was so hooked, she asked me to design a Livejournal layout for her with a picture of him. Fine, I’ll code an LJ thing for you with that Asian bloke if you buy me Skittles, I said (Skittles were our currency in the early 2000s). The Skittles better have been worth it though, because I spent an afternoon digging up photos of this guy and cringing. I mean, when Gackt dies, will they bury him or take him to a plastic recycling facility? Serious question.

#8 Hyde (L’arc-en-ciel, VAMPS)

My puberty is late this month, could I be pregnant?

We’ve got nothing against Hyde. After all, he’s so famous they named a park in London after him. The thing with Hyde is that he reminds us of a prepubescent Shakira (when you see it, you can’t unsee it). Mr. Hyde takes it up a notch, though, with his freaky contacts, his multi tone hair braids, his top hats, his navel piercings, his body paint, his tacky angel wing tattoos and his cringy facial expressions (Lemme stick my tongue out like this, chicks dig that. No, sir, chicks don’t dig that, sorry to tell you).

#7 Die (Dir en Grey)

I added a sprinkle of highlighter to top off the diva look, see?

I’ve got nothing against Die, save for his funny choice of stage name. Actually, I know nothing about the guy, except that he plays guitar. But I can’t help but wonder what on earth this bloke asks his stylist for when he gets his hair done. – Do you know the suburban mum who’s just bought some discount box dye and GHD straighteners ? – Say no more, fam. And can we talk about the hotpants and patterned stockings he wore to Lunatic Fest this year? Die, this is not Coachella. And you are not one of Beyoncé’s support dancers. 

#6 Kamijo (Versailles)

This is the way dudes dress in France, right? Wrong.

I don’t even like this band, but it’s so omnipresent I can’t help but notice how bloody atrocious this guy’s outfits are. Sir, have you noticed that your Meg Ryan ‘do is so heavy it makes you tilt you head to the side? That can’t be good for your neck. I appreciate your efforts to copy Yoshiki’s style in 1992, but heck, you just look like a knockoff Barbie. And why do all your outfits have to look like a Fabergé egg just barfed on you? Bonjour and au revoir.

#5 Atsushi Sakurai (Buck-Tick)

I've been digging through my wife's lingerie drawer again, don't judge.

Mr. Sakurai has a bunch of cool achievements under his belt: he lays albums like chicken on steroids lay eggs, has fathered 90% of Japan’s population since 1980, owns a bunch of cats, has played Professor Snape on all Harry Potter films (Rickman who?) and most importantly, he’s a mighty fine singer and songwriter. Unfortunately for him, his sense of fashion = dungarees, ill-fitting shirts and… lingerie? Hello sir, your Midlife Crisis called. Says you need to stop right there.

#4 Ryuichi Kawamura (Luna Sea)

If I do Toshi's 'do with black hair, it counts as an original style, right?

Ryuichi, the man who pronounces Kurenai as 'Keerenai' - but it's okay, we forgive him because he's cool. Ryuichi does everything, from singing to surfing, to driving race cars, to copycatting everyone else on the VK scene. Unfortunately for him, his talent doesn't stretch out to fashion, so he has to get his 'inspiration' from other dudes. Toshi, Morrie and Sakurai are his favourite victims, but hèlas!, they’re all on this list! It's like copying your homework from the dumbest kid in class.

#3 Imai (Buck-Tick)

Real men wear transparent lacy skirts, you mofos.

Imai scores pretty high on the coolness scale. He was the cool rock’n’roll kid back in his small town in the late 70s. He has been running an awesome band since 1983 with no disbandments and no drama. He plays weird ass guitars left-hand. He can play while dancing a thing that looks like a trippy Irish folk dance. And let’s not forget that he once went to jail for buying a mighty fine stash of LSD for the entire band. Epic. Imai was really good friends with the late Hide, who once described him as ‘a really pretty mannequin I’d like to put in my room’. The two have probably spent many afternoons thrifting at the Japanese equivalent of Salvation Army, but Hide failed to teach him how not to look like a glittery hobo.

#2 Kyo (Dir en Grey)

I'm 42, just for the record. But if you let me, I can call you Daddy.

Kyo has one of the best voices in the Visual Kei scene and he sure knows how to flaunt it (by growling like a dying walrus, that is). He is also a a great poet and his song themes are haunting, enthralling and deliciously disturbing (if you manage to decipher whatever he’s screaming, good luck with that!). Too bad he seems to have an unexplainable fondness for fake vomit, coagulated blood, spit and god knows what else. Does he ever let his hair down and dress like a presentable human being, you may ask? Yep, he does. And it’s not nice to look at either. Hopeless case.

#1 Toshi (X Japan)

I shine bright like a diamond because I. Am. A. Gem.

King of the Xfreakistan. Prince of Visualkeiland. God of all shrieky tenors of this planet. Nuclear powerplant of stamina and passion, all packed into his unimpressive 5 foot-tall frame. Toshi sings, plays guitar, cooks, gives his fans 3 hour-long orgasms and is the only man on Earth who dares troll the almighty Princess. He went from cult member to cult leader and owner of a harem of hoes on Discord. And did we mention that he’s a fan of Beauty and the Beast? Well, ladies, before you drop everything to go chase him, remember to buy a few gallons of gasoline. When he’s yours, you’ll need to make sure you effectively burn his entire wardrobe.

Disclaimer: this is a shitposting ranking. I'm a fan of most of these guys. Don't be offended. It's unlikely that their atrocious fashion sense will improve just because you're offended, my ol' chaps.

General chat / X Japan Translations - post your requests here!
« on: June 29, 2018, 09:48:49 PM »

Do you relate to the guy above? Don't worry bro, most of us do! The X Freaks community might be able to help, though.  8)

Would you like to translate a song, interview or press article from Japanese into English? Curious about whatever Toshi was saying in his latest TV show appearance? Wondering how to say a certain phrase in Japanse? Post it here and our kind X Freaks volunteer translators might pick it up for you, if they find it interesting!

Disclaimer: our volunteer X Freaks translators are not professionals and they have limited time. Don't post super long articles or videos. Don't be mad if they're too busy to help - translating is a hard and fastidious job (says a part-time translator!).

« on: May 09, 2018, 03:22:02 PM »
Hey everyone,

As you know, on Wednesdays we wear pink weekends we watch concerts together!

Here's what we we've got on the menu for this Saturday 2nd: Kung Fury

Recently watched:

April 28: Blue Blood Tour (1990)
May 5: X Japan live with Orchestra (1991) + afterparty: Hide our Psychommunity (1994)
May 12: X Japan live in 1986 (feat. Jun and Hikaru) + afterparty: Tateyama Shoukou Kaikan (Band Explosion 1987)
May 19: Aoi Yoru (live in 1994)
May 26: Toshinight (Toshi's 1995 Grace Tour) + afterparty: best of random Toshivideos
June 2: X Japan live in Wembley (2017)
June 9: X Japan Returns (night 1, 1993)
June 16: X Japan Live in Hong Kong (night 2, 2009)
August 5: Rose and Blood Tour
August 12: Toshi's Crystal Memories (2017)
August 18: Visual Japan Summit (day 2)
August 26: We are X, a documentary by Stephen Kijak
September 1: J-rock Jam Night (featuring Loudness, Bow Wow, Dir en Grey, Soft Ballet, L'arc~en~ciel, Buck-Tick, Luna Sea, MUCC, Dead End and  Der Zibet)
September 9: Sugizo's Unity for Universal Truth tour (2017)
October 5: Shigeki! Visual Shock Vol. 2
October 6: X live at Makuhari Messe (2018)
October 14: Heath Tribute Night + X videojam
October 21: The Last Live (1997)
October 27: X JAPAN WORLD TOUR 2017 WE ARE X Acoustic Special Miracle ~Kiseki no Yoru~ 6DAYS 2017 07 17
November 04: X live in Yokohama 2014
November 10: L'Arc-en-Ciel Live in Paris,  May 9, 2008 "TOUR 2008 L7 Trans ASIA via PARIS"
November 18: YOSHIKI CLASSICAL 2018 - Live from Japan 11/15/2018
November 24: Nichts ist wahr - Alles ist erlaubt: Everything from Japan ( J-rock/pop Jam Night Vol.2 )
December 8: L'Arc~en~Ciel ‎– Documentary Films ~Trans Asia Via Paris~ 2009
December 16: Luna Sea 20th Anniversary World Tour REBOOT -  to the New Moon - 2010
December 22: Xmas Special - メリークリスマス ( J-rock/pop Jam Night Vol.3 )
December 30: Junk Story with english Fan Subs by Lakeisle and Siilit

January 14: Yoshiki Classical at Carnegie Hall
January 19: Hatsor's Birthdaynight: Everything Indie (...not only from Japan)
January 26: Your Name 君の名は 2016
February 02: Kung Fury 2015
February 10 Nausicaä from the Valley of the Wind
February 23 X Japan Tokyo Dome 1995
March 3 L'ArChristmas

Mini FAQ:
When do you guys do the Kurenights? We alternate between Saturdays and Sundays - log onto the Discord chat to stay up to date on the Kurenight schedule!
Do I have to download the concerts? Nope! We download them for you, you just have to click the link and the concert is streamed by the host.
Do I have to pay to use rabb.it? Nope! You just need to create an account and click the room's link around the time the viewing starts.
Where do I go to watch the streaming? https://www.rabb.it/matsumoto73391
Who picks the concerts? We all vote what we'd like to watch, every week! Join us on Discord to suggest the concerts you'd like to watch: https://discord.gg/MHt97qH
Can I host a theme Kurenight? Sure! Anyone can  8)
What time is 6 or 8 pm UTC for me? Check here: https://www.worldtimebuddy.com/gmt-to-utc-converter


EDIT: X JAPAN live with Orchestra it will be! Join us this Saturday (May 5th) at 8 pm UTC. Since the concert is only on hour long, we will watch Hide Our Psychommunity 1994 afterwards.  8)
Link to the viewing room: https://lets.rabb.it/prb7JFaQDM

Hi everyone! Next week is the Cinco de Mayo, so prepare the fajitas, the tequila and the X  8)

Join us on Discord: https://discord.gg/MHt97qH
We will stream the concert on rabb.it, so you don't need to download anything. A link to the streaming room will be posted later: https://www.rabb.it/

FAQ: Help! What time is 8 pm UTC for me?
Use this website and enter your location or convert to GMT: https://www.worldtimebuddy.com/
Or just comment here, we'll figure it out together  ;)


Hi everyone!

The X Freaks community is proud to announce its first group viewing of an X concert!

(Group viewings for n00bs: a group viewing is when a bunch of people watch a synched video and discuss it in real time. It's like a LAN party, but waaaaay more metal.)

Join us tonight (Saturday April 28th at 8 PM UTC) on our Discord chat for our inaugural Chi To Bara (1990) viewing:

You can download Discord on your phone or PC here: https://discordapp.com/download
We'll use Rabb.it to synch our videos, which you can download here: https://www.rabb.it/

Cheers freaks!  8)

Re-posting what the kind translator behind the FB page X Japan Translations posted yesterday.
Credit: https://www.facebook.com/xjapantranslations/

Yoshiki was asked about the album recently in Yoshiki channel again, and I thought, it was really interesting what he said, and you guys might be interested in it as well. Feel free, to share your thoughts in the comment section. It always makes me happy, when you do.

'I don't want to talk about the album anymore. I'm sorry. I have a lot of reasons. I can't say those things, and doesn't matter what I would say, everything would seem like an excuse, so all I can say is, that I'm working on it. At this moment, I have choices what I should do. And in this situation I'm trying to make the best choices. My life isn't going well at the moment, but I want you to know, that I'm working with all my might. Although things are not going smoothly, that would made me very happy if we could make each and every concert well. We're allowed to play at Coachella. There are things we're worried about, like the time, and my physical condition, however this is a story that has been going on for many years. I made the final decision, because it's a chance we got, so I definitely want to take it. There are a lot of things, I can not talk about, and I feel stressful. Every day feels like a typhoon-like storm, but a lot of good things happening as well. However, the best thing I can do is, to stay conscious. Back to the album, I've already mentioned this before, but I visited the psychiatry​, I felt like I was being chased, and I wanted to get rid of this as soon as I could. But what's the point of releasing it? What's the meaning? Maybe it would sound even more like an excuse, but 1 year, or 2 years, who decides when to release an album? "It must not take 20 years. You don't have money, you're not even working on it, 20 years passed. You don't have the physical strenght, and you don't have the mental health either". I'm starting to reach my limits, one more year, and I swear, I'll go crazy. Because no matter what I do, no matter where I go, someone will definitely bring up the album. Recently, while we were talking about something totally different, someone suddenly asked "What happened to the X Japan album?". I asked "What do you know about X Japan?". He said "They're a band, who doesn't release an album". Something like this happened. I found it pretty funny tho. We're creating a really high quality product. Basically, the recording is over now. Everything had been recorded. This is the last mixdown. I don't want to compromise. Actually I have a deadline with the album, but I know, I can't make you believe it. Coachella festival was announced on New Year's eve, today Zepp have been announced, which has it's pros and cons, but I think, after this you will understand, why everything turned out like this. The day may come, when we will be able to play in arenas and big stages again, but until Coachella, whatever happens, I want to do my best. If you could support me, and us like this, I would be really happy. Since we'll perform soon, I'm training my body as well. There are a lot of things, I can not say yet, big good news I'm holding in myself, I want to spit them out in front of the camera right now as I'm standing here. Soon, I can say more and more, in a good way.'

Toshi / Toshi's fantastic sense of fashion
« on: December 15, 2017, 01:14:40 PM »
Here's a thread to discuss the clothes Toshi needs to burn and bury far away.

Starting with this pink pullover: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bWq0e2k-u8

General chat / X Japan's 90s gems
« on: October 12, 2017, 03:20:18 PM »
Let's share the funniest/most WTF X moments here.

I start: that one time Yoshiki cancelled a show and filmed a naked apology to his fans. Except it genuinely looks like a low-budget porn clip with a flat-chested actress: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwEvkAm_FCo

(NSFW. Includes roses, G-strings, pearl necklaces and a skinny guy who clearly doesn't mind showing off)

hide / Hide the fashionista appreciation thread
« on: August 28, 2017, 01:24:45 PM »
Hi guys,

I'm a long-time die-hard fan of Hide's outfits (yep, check out this username I picked 10 years ago when I was 16 and in fashion school). Has anyone got any idea if it's possible to buy replicas of his Indian saris and eyeball jewelry? I'm not going for super-accurate replicas, I'm just curious if you guys know where to find stuff similar to what he wore.

That being said, feel free to express your adoration for that total FASHION GOD here.

General chat / Celebration PV appreciation thread
« on: August 21, 2017, 03:33:40 PM »
Hi guys, it's been a long time since I had the time to look at X's PVs. I just watched Celebration and oh gawd, I had forgotten how awesome that video was.

This thread is for everyone to share their appreciation of Cinderella Yoshiki/Cowboy Taiji/Witch Hide/Drunk Pata and Toshi swinging from the chadelier. Enjoy!

General chat / Let's create a big X community - who's in?
« on: July 25, 2017, 10:11:05 AM »
Hi everyone!

I'm a long-time fan of X Japan but I'm feeling kind of lonely here in France. I know the band has a lot of fans here in Europe (hell yeah, there were hundreds of people at Japan Expo and on Yoshiki's 'We are X' event in Paris), but we don't seem to have a steady online community anymore.

I was wondering if you guys were interested in creating and joining an actually *active* X Japan Facebook Fanpage or some other thing where we can talk and get to know each other.

Let me know what you think (open to all suggestions!) - and hey, if anyone here is in France drop me a line, I'd be super glad to meet you all at my place and blast some X in my tiny parisian flat.  ;D

Have a great day!

Offtopic / the ghost thread
« on: November 26, 2009, 02:53:18 PM »
Me and my room-mate have been discussing these videos for long hours. She's more of a paranormal person than I am but we both agree to the point that this seems to be the most realistic and best achieved ghost hoax of all time.

Part one of the thing is all about a ghost girl that appears behind a pantry door and opens it. The owner of the house first decides to leave the camcorder on during the night and I think later he stays there, awake and even invites over a skeptic:



(notice that there isn't any space between the shelves and the door for a person to hide in)

Part two is all about sightings of the ghost in other rooms. As you can see, it's easier to debunk but hey, together with the previous recordings, I don't know what to say:



Feel free to debunk it... ans add other pseudo-ghost videos  :P

Forum Games / The Lolpets Thread!
« on: July 18, 2008, 07:52:20 PM »
I can't believe we haven't got a funny-pet thread yet!

...so here's the challenge; post the funniest pictures of your pets (or other than yours, if you have none), with or without captions. (the famous Lolcats are an example)

I go first: meet my big-eared lazy bunnies!

Yoshiki / Yoshiki's health condition
« on: March 29, 2008, 07:48:42 AM »
Hello people,

Does anyone know anything about Yoshiki? Has Night of Madness been cancelled?

(Sorry for my ignorance but I'm miles away from Japan and have no idea what time it is there, to start with.)

hide / did hide draw?
« on: September 20, 2007, 06:02:40 PM »
I've read somewhere that the beautiful spider-boy could draw.

Some time ago I also came across a nice drawing of a guitar in some hide-fan-site, signed «Hideto M.» (in ocidental characters) Yet, it looked old, like a school drawing.

In addition to the fact that he designed guitars, it made me wonder if he was an arts-person, too. Does anyone know anything else about this?

General chat / Mr.Toshi on heavy-heavy drugs? :)
« on: August 31, 2007, 03:33:46 PM »

Towards the end he even starts rolling on the floor.
hide doesn't seem to be very sober too. (but that is not abnormal)

Sorry this is a little off-topic and random. I just found it funny and decided to share with you, in case you haven't seen the video yet.

Drawings / Yoshiki - acrylics on canvas
« on: August 17, 2007, 11:02:48 PM »
Quality is pretty bad because it was photographed by a phone-camera.

hide / hide and TVs?
« on: June 02, 2007, 03:05:45 PM »
I read in some wikipedia article that hide had beaten world record of throwing TVs out of hotel-windows.

It sounds very strange but it was on wikipedia which makes me think twice about it's eventual falseness. Does anyone know anything about this?

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