Thanx Givin’ Day

In an ideal world, we’re always aware of what we have, and hopefully expressing gratitude for it. However, I think most of the time we forget what we have, we take it for granted. We get caught up in our daily lives and the petty troubles and moderate dramas that cause strife and concern in our experience and we lose sight of the fact that, in the grand scheme of things, these issues are nothing more than mosquitos compared to the majesty of what we really have.

This world is far from ideal, and few of us are saints, so days like today are perfect moments to brush off The Swarm and reflect elegantly on the things we’ve been honored with. Although we often don’t remember this, every moment that we have is a gift, something to respect. I hope everyone is living their lives to the fullest, milking each moment for all it’s worth, and listening to as much Visual Kei as they can possible pipe through their headphones.

Typing this out, sometimes thinking selfishly that I need to be honored with more unscheduled moments to spend working on Secret Garden, I feel an incredible sense of gratitude for the past year and a half of blogging, reading, twitting, talking, and rockin’ out with everyone who reads my blog, and whose blogs I read. I would also like to take this moment to thank Reitsu, and Alisa at Sakurayume for being inspiring fellow Visualists, and inform them publicly that every post they don’t write makes for a less interesting blogsphere.

Whoever said there’s not a Visual Kei song for every occasion is obviously navigating their life sideways. As usual, MIYAVI never lets us down. Enjoy, and happy Thanx Givin’ Day.

Thank you Mama,
For there always being a hot meal,
Truly, truly, I’m grateful for that
But hey, Mama,
If occasionally I can’t eat everything and clean my plate,
Don’t be mad, ok?

Hey, I’m sorry, Papa,
For always just doing whatever I please,
For making you worry and causing you trouble
But hey, Papa,
When I also grow up I’ll become like you, you’ll see

Today, also, “thanks for your hard work,”
We know you’re both up doing your best, working hard, until the night grows late
But hey, Papa and Mama, it’s okay for you to take a break once in a while
Always be well,
But above all, always be kind to each other

Thanx Givin’ Day







Thanx Givin’ Day

Translation: gacktpause

W@T’s 1N a Na+Me?

Pretty much everyone on earth has some kind of masochistic pleasure. Mine (or rather, one of them), as many of you know, is the study of Asian languages. Although it’s sort of embarrassing to admit publicly, I read Japanese grammar guides and flip through my Kenkyusha Pocket Dictionary (Which doesn’t fit in my pocket, by the way. I don’t know what sort of pockets they had in mind, but none of my jackets have them.)  for fun.

In my experience of trying to talk to non-Visualists about Visual Kei, there are several big questions that come up, the first being “Are they all women?”, and the second (and much less simple to answer) one is “Why are all Jrock bands typographically disabled?”

As many of you already know, I set out to answer the first question with my Visual Kei series. Today I will attempt to tackle the second object. This is less an explanation of why they are typographically disabled, because only they truly know, and more of a scholarly hypothesis. I was inspired to talk about this after reading a fellow blogger’s post a few weeks ago, wherein the author wrote something about how in 2009 Gackt changed the spelling of his name to the all-caps GACKT. The blogger expressed exasperation at the idol, saying something along the lines of “Doesn’t he know that changing to all caps doesn’t change the name…?”


Actually, that’s not necessarily true.

In Japanese, there are 4 aspects to the written language Romaji (romanized Japanese), Hiragana (あいうえお)and Katakana(アイウエオ), the two phonetic scripts, and Kanji(字電車)– traditional Chinese characters.

If you write something in hiragana (and katakana), you have a direct reading of the pronunciation. So if you write はな (ha na) then you read it, naturally, as “hana”, flower, and to read the characters “ha” and “na” as “ki” and “mi” would be the [English] equivalent of seeing the word “flower” and reading it as “you”. AKA senility.

However, unlike the inflexible phonetic scripts, you can have a lot of fun with kanji. Written Japanese is not an intellectual battle-royale, therefore this is not commonly done, except for in the significant case of given-names, literature, and lyrics. You could, say, write “hana” (花) which means flower, but read the character as “kimi”, (君)which means “you”. A clearer example is in a song by KOTOKO, where she uses the characters for “uchuu” (outer space) but reads them as “koko” (here), which gives the sentence “I am here with you” the implication of “I am here with you in outer space”, without the awkwardness of having to say it.

There is no English equivalent to this practice, except perhaps in the case of given names . You cannot write the sentence  “And then she floated as though on water into the vast deep-sea void of outer space” and actually have it read as “And then she flew into the sky”. In Japanese, you can do exactly that.

Well, that’s too bad– but using English words is really trendy in Japan. You see it everywhere in advertisements. Usually nonsense, but you can see why they thought the words were cool or interesting looking (one of the best Engrish T-shirts I have seen says “When [that] it has a look HAVE A CRUSH ON”). And you can see it in band names.

In Japanese band names, anime and manga titles, song titles, and album names, you see such typesetting as GACKT, The GazettE, and even more outrageous combinations of upper and lower case, numbers, and symbols I can’t even make on my keyboard.

So, to explain my theory, let’s say that at the beginning of their career, a band decides to call themselves “Taka”, and they agree that they should write it in Japanese characters. At first they agree they should write it  高 (“taka”, the character used for “high, steep, tall”), but then after their initial naivete wears off, they refine their look, maybe they cap fifteen years, and suddenly everyone’s sick of that kanji character, so the bassist says “Let’s write it this way: 鷹 (“taka” the character for ‘falcon’ or ‘hawk’)”. OR, to make things even more interesting, they could start writing their name as 朝日 (‘morning sun’). The difference between this example and the two preceding examples is that these kanji 朝日 are read as “asahi”. These kanji have nothing whatsoever to do with the pronunciation “taka,” but in kanji, you can legitimately write a word using an unrelated kanji and still pronounce it the same way. The only difference is that now the word “taka” means ‘morning sun’ instead of ‘falcon’, and that a lot of people who initially read the kanji as ‘asahi’ will be very confused.

Suddenly, without actually changing their name at all, they can completely change the feel, image, and implications of the same exact word.

Now, let’s say that our hypothetical band Taka doesn’t want to write their name in kanji. They decide that English looks much cooler, so they write it “Taka”. Then, after they cap maybe ten years, they get sick of it, and they really want a fresh new image, they start ripping off ’80s disco songs, for example… Now, suddenly they’re faced with a predicament. They can’t change the name, because then they’ll lose their renown as “Taka”, but there’s not the same flexibility at all in English as there was in Japanese. So they start writing their name “TAKA”, or “T@ka” or “T-aka”.

So what I’m getting at here is that I think it’s likely that using all-caps, symbols, and combining English and Japanese words is sort of their way of creating a similar depth of meaning, but in English. Therefore, actually, changing his name from Gackt to GACKT probably has a lot more implications than we can read into.

SHORT ANSWER: It looks cool. (which is probably the actual answer…Hah.)

Images: Brise/, Wudang_Monk,

“潮騒” Lyrics

Here are the lyrics for Shiosai. Although I didn’t immediately warm to this song when I first got Abingdon Road, it’s steadily starting to grow on me. Especially since translating it, getting a better feel for the lyrics and the emotional context and content of the piece, my appreciation of it has grown. As usual, I cannot get over his use of nature metaphors! I really like the way the whole song is about covering things up, fading away, being washed away, withering away, disappearing into the sea roar.

Song: 潮騒 [Shiosai] (Sea Roar)

Artist: abingdon boys school

Album: Abingdon Road (’10)

Lyrics by Nishikawa Takanori, music by Kishi Toshiyuki


今僕を 洗い流して
さようなら の代わりに伏せた君の瞳が
 最後の言葉を 探していた

俯く君の横顔に 情けない  かじかんだ手を そっと押し当てて
伝えきれないコトノハが遠い潮騒と 吹き抜ける風に 掻き消されてく

不意に見せる その笑顔に 身動き出来ないまま
やけに強く抱きたいのは 別れを近くに感じていたから

今僕を 洗い流して
さようなら の代わりに伏せた君の瞳が
 最後の言葉を 探していた

どんなに声を嗄したって どんなに腕を伸ばしてみたって もう届かなくて
水面を漂を小舟みたいに ふたつに割れた 命の破片が 沖へ沖へと

何もかもを 欲しがってた 過ぎ去った作日さえも
あの日交わした約束 どれひとつ まだ果たせずにいるけど

萎んでく 僕の心は
開ききったまんまの 傷口を晒して

微かに打ち震える 頼りない鼓動が

また君を 思い出すけど
さようならの代わりに くちずけを
見矢(うしな)うばかりの 僕の瞳は
違う応えを 探していた


Mune wo sasu itami to shibaridasu namida de
ima boku wo arainagashite
sayounara no kawari ni fuseta kimi no hitomi ga
saigo no kotoba wo sagashiteita

Utsumuku kimi no yokokao ni nasakenaikurai kajikan da te wo sotto oshiatete
tsutaekirenai KOTO NO HA ga tooi shiosai to fukinukeru kaze ni kakikesareteku

fuini miseru sono egao ni muugoki dekinai mama 
yakeni tsuyoku daitai no ha wakare wo chikaku ni kanji teita kara

Mune wo sasu itami to shibaridasu namida de
ima boku wo arainagashite
sayounara no kawari ni fuseta kimi no hitomi ga
saigo no kotoba wo sagashiteita

Donnani koe wo karashitatte donnani ude wo nobashitemitatte mou todokanakute
minomuwo tadayou wo kobune mitaini futatsuni wakareta inochi no hahen ga oki he oki he to

Nani mo ka mo wo hoshigatteta sugisatta kinou saemo
ano hi kawashita yakusoku dore hitotsu mada hatasezuni irukedo

Nasanariautabi ni hanareteyuku hodo ni
shibandeku boku no kokoro wa
hirakikitta manma no kizuguchi wo sarashite
shitataru akai chi wo muguezu ni ita
Kasuka ni uchi furueru tayorinai kodou ga
yosetewakaesu nami no you de

Mune wo sasu itami to shibaridasu namida mo
mata kimi wo omoidasukedo
sayounara no kawari ni kuchizuke wo
ushinaubakari no boku no hitomi ha
chigau kotae wo sagashite ita


 The pain that stabs my heart,
Now, with the tears that are wrung out, I am washing it away
The eyes of you who covered up your goodbye
were always searching for the final words.

The profile of you who hang your head in shame is miserable,
you softly pressed my numb hand, but the words which are too many to relate
are being swallowed up by the roar of the distant sea, and the wind that blows through me

Suddenly you showed me your smiling face, and although I was unable to do anything
I felt that we were going to part soon, and I desperately wanted to hold you tightly

The pain that stabs my heart,
Now, with the tears being wrung out, I am washing it away
The eyes of you who covered up your goodbyes
were searching for the final words.

To what extent did I scream myself hoarse? To what extent did I reach out to you? I can’t reach you anymore
Like a little boat floating on the water’s surface, the fragments of two separated lives, moving out to sea, to the sea…

Everything that I wanted has faded away, even yesterday is gone
Not a single promise we exchanged that day is still upheld

Everytime our bodies overlap, my heart withers away
to the point that we’re completely separated
I pulled away the bandages and revealed the afflicting wound,   
wiping away the trickle of red blood 

The unreliable heartbeat that is faintly trembling,
Like waves breaking against the shore…

The pain that pierces my chest, and the tears that are wrung out
Remind me of you again, but
The kisses exchanged for goodbyes,
The eyes of me, always left behind,
Were searching for a different answer…


“From Dusk Till Dawn” Lyrics

I’m on a roll. And, as they say, yesterday’s enemies are today’s friends. Speaking of which, I think I’m starting to get a hang of Nishikawa’s lyrical style, so things should just get easier from here on out. Just as a note, in the ABINGDON ROAD version of the song, Nishikawa sings the chorus once as an intro before the regular lyrics begin.

Song: From Dusk Till Dawn

Artist: abingdon boys school

Album: From Dusk Till Dawn (’09)

Lyrics by Nishikawa Takanori, music by Shibasaki Hiroshi




人は誰も 迷いながら 罪とう名の 運命を背負って
それでなお 生きる意味を 知るだろう

僕らは そう Day by Day 明日へ 続く道の途中で
Now Say It Again 君とふたりのまま居られたならいいのになー

何かを 失って 何かを手に入れて
消れてく 僕の心には


僕らはそう Day by Day 描いた 果てない未来の地図に
Now Say It Again ずっとあの日のまま居られたなら

限りある時の中で 限りない夢を抱いて
打ち鳴らす胸の鼓動が 君を呼び続ける
From Dusk Till Dawn

ひそやかに野に咲く 名もないき花びらの様に
そう Day by Day 明日へ続く道の途中で
Now Say it Again 君とふたりのまま
移りゆく世界に その足音だけを 残して


Kureteku yuubaeni suna ga osarete
arukidasu kage ga shimesu hou he

Taenai ikutsumono deai to wakare wo
kurikaeshi doko e mukau no ka?

Hito wa dare mo mayoinagara
tsui to iu nano sadame wo seotte
sore demo nao ikiru imi wo shiru darou

Bokura ha sou Day by Day ashita he tsuzuku michi no tochuu de
Now Say It Again kimi to futari no mama iraretanara ii noni na

Nanika wo ushinatte nanika wo te ni irete
Kesureteku boku no kokoro ni ha

kizudarakede aza ni mo nita hokorobi ga atte
soredemo mata hikarisuyousho wo mezashite

Bokura ha sou Day by Day egaita hatenai mirai no chizu ni
Now Say It Again zutto ano hi no mama iraretanara

Kagiri aru toki no naka de kagirinai yume wo daite
uchinarasu mune no kodou ga kimi wo yobitsuzukeru
From Dusk Till Dawn

hisoyaka ni noni saku namonaiki hanabira no youni
Sou Day by Day ashite he tsuzuku michi no tochuu de
Now Say It Again kimi to futari no mama
utsuriyuku sekai ni sono ashioto dake wo nokoshite


In the darkening sunset, sand pressed underfoot,
the shadow that begins walking indicates the direction we are moving

 Are we turning toward the cycle of endless meetings and goodbyes,
which are too many to count?

Despite their bewilderment, a person is, everyone is, burdened by the destiny called “sin”
Still, because of that they know the reason of living, don’t they? 

We are, yes, DAY BY DAY, moving toward tomorrow
On the path that continues on
NOW SAY IT AGAIN remaining together with you, it would have been nice
to live that way….

Losing something, and gaining something,
It’s being erased, my spirit
Covered in scars and bruises, there are too many open wounds to count
But even so we are aiming at a better, brighter place

As for us, we drew it DAY BY DAY, the map of the unending future
NOW SAY IT AGAIN if we could only live together forever, remaining as we were that day

Within the time that has limits, I embrace the limitless dreams
The heartbeat ringing in my chest continues to call out to you…

Blooming wildly in the stillness, like the petals of an unknown flower
Yes, DAY BY DAY moving on the path that continues toward tomorrow
NOW SAY IT AGAIN, remaining in this way together with you
Leaving behind only the sound of our footsteps, in this changing world

Translating is a lot of work. Please do not reprint without my permission. Have a correction? Email me and let me know!

“and I love…” Lyrics

Here are the romanized lyrics of abingdon boys school‘s ‘and I love…’. Phew. Nishikawa is an amazing lyricist, and I really like his use of nature elements, metaphor, and way of expressing complex feelings with simple words. My favorite line in the whole song is the one about the bubble.

 Song: and I love…

Artist: abingdon boys school

Album: Abingdon Road (2010)

Lyrics by Nishikawa Takanori, music by Kishi Toshiyuki


Amadare ni koboeta kimi no kata ga nureru 

tsunaida boku no te wo poketto ni shimatte

sonna nanigenai yasashisa ni boku ha kidzukenakute


 Mou ichido kimi ni aerunara tarinai kotoba wo zenbu tabanete

ayanashite tsutsumu kasa ni nari kimi wo mukaeni yukukara


My love, and I love…

My love, and I love…


“gomen ne” tte dorekurai kimi ni kikaseta kana?

“arigatou” tte dorekurai kimi ni ieta no kana?


ima ha nani mo nai kono heya ni fuyu no nioi ga shita

me wo tojirutabi ni omoidasu kimi no egao mo, koe mo, nukumori mo

namima ni tayutau awa no youni   usete kioku no unabara e


mou ichido kimi ni aetanara karenai omoi wo hitotsu kakaete

harumoe amane wo utanishite kimi ni todokeni yukukara

boku no kokoro wo takushite


My love, and I love…

My love, and I love…



The rain drops fell, and your figure became soaked

In my pocket, I close the hand that you held

I don’t notice your casual kindness 

If I can meet you again one day, binding up all of the insignificant words,

I’ll become an umbrella that covers you with multi-colored lights, because I’m setting out

to see you


My love, and I love…

My love, and I love…


How many times did I tell you “I’m sorry”?
How many times did I say “thank you”, I wonder?

Now, in this room where there is nothing, I caught the scent of winter

Everytime I close my eyes, it all comes back to me; your smiling face, your voice, your warmth

Like a bubble drifting on the waves, disappearing, into the deep ocean of my memories


 If I had been able to meet you once again, holding onto this single unwithering feeling,

Singing the sound of the first spring rain, I work my way toward you

I entrust my heart to you


My love, and I love…

My love, and I love…


Translating is hard work. Please do not reprint these lyrics without my permission. Have a correction? Email me and let me know. Thanks!