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I went to a concert in Japan and it was weird - a chronicle

matsumoto · 121

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Offline matsumoto

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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.

Quote
Catcatcatcatcatcatcatcatcatcatcatcatcatcat
Cat Cat Cat
in Gustave, a song about a cat

Quote
G J T H B K H T D
DA DA DA DA DA DA
in Dada Disco, a song about the dadaists

Quote
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?

Quote
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

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

Quote
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.

Quote
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

Quote
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

Quote
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

Quote
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.




« Last Edit: February 28, 2019, 05:43:06 PM by matsumoto »

Woah, I can haz admin colour.


Offline Kasumi

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Reply #1 on: February 28, 2019, 08:07:28 PM
Haha! Thank you matsumoto.  ;D I laughed my f*cking ass off!

While I'm away, read this line again...


Offline matsumoto

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Reply #2 on: March 01, 2019, 07:02:44 PM
You're more than welcome, Kasumi!  8)

Woah, I can haz admin colour.