I stopped thinking of it as “Independence Day” almost 5 years ago when I first discovered GACKT. From the very moment The Sixth Day fell into my possession, the annual fireworks ceased to acknowledge any kind of gimmicky patriotism for my country. From that moment on, the Fourth of July fireworks became a celebration of my true patriotism: Jrock; a celebration of what I believe I truly need to honor annually: GACKT.
It’s amazing to me, sitting here writing this. Exactly a year ago I wrote a post for GACKT’s birthday, and during that time, GACKT had just celebrated his first decade as a solo artist, concluding the anniversary singles campaign with the release of FLOWER. Scanning that page now, it’s hard to believe it’s already been a whole year. Seeing those images, videos, and the paragraphs I wrote, however, somehow it suddenly feels like it’s been five years, not one.
In April I celebrated my first complete year of blogging here on WordPress, so this also marks an interesting time for me personally. It’s fascinating to be able to look back at posts I wrote one year ago and compare them to what I’m writing now, to see how I’ve changed as a person reflected in how my blog has changed over the past 15 months. Yeah. I don’t know what I’m writing about here– me, or GACKT, I don’t know yet. I don’t even bother separating them out anymore, somehow whenever I talk about anything to do with myself personally it comes back to GACKT in some way or another.
Back when I was younger, before GACKT or Jrock or Visual Kei– or even before anything to do with Japan–, I had this clear idea of who I was and what I was going to be (I wanted to be a novelist); it was like I had this big highway stretching out in front of me and I never even considered turning onto an exit ramp. There was never even any need for me to think about it, because I just knew.
A lot of people ask me how I became interested in Japan, and the answer is, the music. When they ask me how I started listening to the music, though, I don’t have an answer. It was as though suddenly one day I was listening to this streaming online radio called kawaii-radio, where I heard Vanilla, and then somehow GACKT’s The Sixth Day came into my hands. And when that happened, it was a complete flip of the above mentioned situation. The highway didn’t matter anymore and all there was was an exit ramp, and I was taking it at 180MPH.
Right now, I can remember that time perfectly. I can remember exactly the experience of hearing OASIS for the first time. I have a clear recollection, even, of a dialogue I had with someone where I explained who GACKT was and what his music was like. I still have this dialogue frequently, trying to help outsiders understand what it is I do and why. However, I wonder if I would ever use any of those words to describe it now? I have no idea.
I’ve been blogging for almost 3 years now, but in reality, this past year (since my move to WordPress from Vox in April ’09) has been the most intense. As a fan, and blogger, I followed GACKT more closely than I ever had before. I went to my first Jrock shows, I went to Japan, I listened to so much music, and to be honest, I think I finally became serious about Visual Kei. I remember as recently as November, attending the abingdon boys school live show, it was like I committed myself to it more than ever before. As if there was still a barrier preventing me from truly living all of this. As recently as last Saturday driving home from Boston and seeing MIYAVI, I realized that one of the things I took away from that show was the knowledge that seeing MIYAVI had broken down even more of that barrier, committed myself way more– that I now know perfectly well that this is it. Sitting here, right now, listening to Kimi ga Oikaketa Yume from The Seventh Night, I realize that all of the pristine faces taped to my walls, the stacks of CDs piled on top of CD racks, the bass guitar, this blog that I’m writing, this life that I’m leading at this point in time, it’s all, every last bit of it, thanks to one person.
I know that as a fan, I’m helpless to do anything for him except give him my unconditional support 200%. But I think that more than cards or gifts, what I can give him for his birthday is my promise that no matter what happens, or how discouraged I become, I will always live by the standards and philosophies that I have learned from him. If there’s a barrier, if there’s something getting in my way, I’ll push through it. I’ll commit myself 180% to whatever I choose to do. I’ll keep breaking through that barrier until I find myself standing in the live-house or arena, in the front row, supporting him with all I’ve got.
I’ll live eternally by your motto If you put your mind to it, you can do anything.
Happy 37th Birthday, GACKT.