Merry Xmas, Visualists!

So I started thinking about what I wanted to do for you all for Christmas, and, given everything that’s been going on recently, it only made sense to use this opportunity to “come out” in a sense on here. Here is a message/playlist that I recorded for you guys. Hope you enjoy it!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from SG. 

Special thanks to Roukun for helping put this together. 

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YFCz, New Musical White-Meat

I have an idea, which I may or may not feel like taking down in writing and forwarding to GACKT: Like, maybe he should drop the whole band thing and found the GACKT Orchestra. Then he can have as many band members as he wants on stage and nobody will think anything of it.

I like to think of myself as an adaptable soul, and I’m pretty open to change. But I’m also pretty comfortable with the 5-member band formula, now that Visual Kei has pushed me out of the standard 4-man comfort-zone and into the whole almost-as-cool-as-it-sounds “dueling-guitars” thing.

But to have 7 band members just hurts my brain. And dear lord, what exactly does that coat on the chair symbolize? Surely not the potential addition of an eighth member? Seriously, this is not A-PeaceAnd I still can’t figure out for the life of me what Jon’s actual, serious purpose is in this group. I know all the fangirls who harbor tender teenage dreams of going to Japan and starting Visual Kei bands will hate me forever for saying it, but I’m honest-to-gawd just waiting for a logical explanation for his presence in this band.

I can’t figure out if GACKT is just working the edge, or trolling us.

Not able to scrape enough interest off the bottom of my boot to watch the PV for The End of the Day, after the redundant lyrics pushed me away initially, I will say that I’m not entirely disinterested in All My Love. The song sounds decent enough on its own. That being said, I’m not sure I’m tempted enough to pre-order a copy of YFCz’s new album, destined to drop early 2012.  Title is TBA at the moment, but I’m sure it’ll be something relating to the waning phase of a 24-hour segment of time.

GACKT will also be releasing a single (solo? As far as I can tell) on the same date (2.22.12), titled Until The Last Day. Still haven’t heard Graffiti, but my Jrock senses tingled as I passed the Christmas tree earlier, and I’m pretty confident it’s in my future, all thanks to myself Santa of course.

Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! 

Personally, I’m approaching today from a point of its traditional values, yes, in the sense of appreciating and giving thanks for the bounty in our lives, and all of the blessings we are honored with throughout every day of each passing year. To celebrate all of this with the people you really want to give thanks for as well, is a wonderful thing.

But I’m also approaching it as something of a check-in point for myself. Probably should have done this, like, yesterday so that I can feel totally selfless today, but that didn’t happen. I think it’s important to reflect and express gratitude for yourself as well. Well, any excuse, right? [Kidding]. This year I’ve really been trying to steer myself in a new direction, and this has meant reflecting on a lot on my values and priorities, in regards to life and my goals and ambitions, and what I’m doing with myself day by day. It’s so easy to fall into habitual patterns.

It’s like, you can look into your past and pinpoint the time at which a spark was struck; a dream ignited inside of you. A dream, or probably dreams, that flared up, somehow, out of nowhere and really stuck. Dreams you thought you would see come to fruition; dreams you were sure would really come true. And you dreamed and you dreamed until you couldn’t dream anymore because you couldn’t do anymore, and like a match that you lit under a waterfall, finally you can’t protect it with the clammy palm of your hand, cupped so protectively over a whim, fizzled out, leaving nothing in its wake but years’ worth of thinking and hoping and believing and the acrid scent of smoke.

Looking back on dreams you held onto for what felt like forever. Dreams that finally locked the door on you and, pushing
you into that chair you spent so many hours sitting in and dreaming and hoping and believing, and making you decide –and
I mean really decide– whether you were going to make those dreams come true.

That’s what I’ve been working with in this second half of 2011.

Over the summer, I hit a pretty solid low point that lasted a few months. My own inability to attain the goals I was reaching for, or rather, planning on reaching for, floored me. And while it was going on, as miserable of an experience as it was, I just kept reminding myself that it was one of those true learning experiences. I didn’t know what I was going to learn from it yet, I just knew I had to trust that there was a valuable lesson in there somewhere, and if I could let go of the urge to grasp at the illusion of the solidarity of my habitual patterns, I knew the lesson would show itself to me.

And it did. Just when I thought the feeling of futility and worthlessness would go on forever, things started changing. And as I’m sure a lot of you know from experience, it’s not exactly a and then the clouds parted and the meaning of life was revealed  kind of experience. It’s a gradual process of realization — one that doesn’t have a black-and-white, clean-cut beginning or end, but one that occasionally gives you some kind of sign that you’re getting on or off an exit along the way.

Part of this process was allowing small changes. And part of being able to allow those changes was to create a space in my experience, both in the mental and the material senses, for them to emerge. And part of that was giving myself permission to give up on some of the dreams and desires I’d been holding onto for a long time — years. A lifetime. Or, if you believe in karma, which I do– then probably for many lifetimes.

I’d been hanging by a thread for a while, obstinately pushing ahead out of a sense of stubborn refusal to, in essence, give up. And this is all starting to sound pretty miserable, like I’ve been crushed by the weight of my goals and my own inability to achieve them, but that’s not what I’m trying to get at here. What I’m really trying to say is that at the very heart of this process of self-reflection, eventually you have to be straight up and honest with yourself about how you’re spending your life. Whether the goals that you’re trying to achieve are goals born out of passion and seen-through out of passion, or whether they are goals born out of passion and fought-for out of obligation.

I stumbled across a quote that I had written down in a notebook some time previously, that really spurred me on in this process. It said,

 Relaxation is who you are.

Tension is who you think you should be.

-Chinese proverb

I thought a lot about this; I applied this to my life as a kind of view to guide my decision making. And it guided me to a point where I was OK acknowledging that I had outgrown a lot of the goals and aspirations I was struggling so hard for. But even though I got to a point where I had to say, alright, it’s time to move on from this, part of me, the one that wants to see things through to the end and achieve the things I set out to do, didn’t want to let it go. It strongly urged me to “just do it, because you’ve already come so far,”, and I hesitated over it because it was logical. Like, if I shelved these dreams now, wouldn’t all the past years’ worth of work just become a waste of time?

 But then, especially as the prospect of this time of acknowledgment and thanks-giving began quickly approaching, as I just sort of let the thought hang in the back of my mind in the form of an open question, not really expecting an answer right away, I kind of came to something of an understanding of all my work up to this point.

 All the past years spent working toward the goals that I’m now putting behind me, or at least setting aside for the time being, were not a waste of time. Setting them off to the side and starting off on new ventures is not a defeat; I’m not seeing this as “losing” to myself. On the contrary, I look at all the work I have done, all the goals and dreams I have had, as extremely important steps toward the greater aspirations that are definitely going to arise out of the ashes of the original dreams.

 The dreams that I was clinging to, and the goals I was grasping for so long, have made me who I am. They are huge steps in the winding  ascent of my life. I don’t see them as failures, or even as childhood dreams that were foolish and unattainable, because I still do believe they were, or rather are, very attainable. I was the only thing getting in the way of attaining them, and in realizing and coming to terms with that, I’m able to see the necessity of all of it. And so, I am unendingly and extremely grateful for all that they have brought to my experience. They have given me tools and knowledge that will propel my progress on into the future. Those dreams of the past made the dreams of today possible, and the determination to live fully, with purpose and meaning, could, for me, only be born out of their death.

 Today I am giving thanks for that. Great, great thanks. I am thankful for the conditions I was born under, and the conditions I am living under now. I am giving thanks for the people in my experience, many of whom I am very blessed to be acquainted with, and many, many of whom I have yet to encounter face to face, but who have, regardless, contributed greatly to this life I am leading.

 I can but hope that I may return this gift to you all ten-fold. And even if it was necessary for me to abandon all of my goals, I should still hope that every day I could wake up to yet another opportunity to always, in every moment possible, be expressing gratitude for all of this.

 All that aside, or perhaps better to say “all that in mind”?, I feel like this might be a somewhat relevant theme for the day. Enjoy your holiday!

So everybody – everybody
Days we grew up are days
We will treasure
Everybody show is beginning
Curtain has risen
Make your own storyline
Dream as if you will live forever
And live as if you’ll die today

 

*Chaosmyth by ONE OK ROCK,
from the album Zankyou Reference (2011).

 

 

GACKT to fulfill his promise at last…?

“Although the Japan tour is over, we’ve gotta keep our focus for the America tour beginning in March.
(translation by amaiakuyume)

I always knew this day would come. From the bottom of my heart, with the strongest gut instinct, I knew it would come. Through the Japan tours and the European tours and the hints and the teasers and the vague little “maybe”s, I knew he would one day have to cave in and give us what we want.

GACKT is coming to North America.

Not for movie premiers. Not for holing up in a recording studio. Not for sight-seeing.

GACKT is coming to North America for a tour.

Funnily enough, I always used to joke that the one day he finally announced a NA tour, it would be at exactly the same time I went back to Japan, and we would pass like ships in the night. Guess where I was supposed to be in March?

Lemme write about this when I figure some of these emotions out.

….As a side note, he knows North America is more than just Canada and California, right? Hurry, someone send him a map before they finalize locations..!

Thanks to @kimberdesu for the tip.

Source: amaiakuyume

Official:  http://yellowfriedchickenz.com/blog/articles/1308/

Pipe Up To Down PIPA

As I’m setting out on the process of creating this post, on my personal blog, cursor hovering over the “add media” button, it really hits me. I’ve avoided getting interested in politics for years for one reason: part of me clings onto a vain hope that humanity isn’t so bad after all. Politics follow that vain hope like thugs follow a woman into a dark alley, where they beat that hope and leave it for dead. People are riddled with ignorance. There’s a certain point where you just can’t ignore that fact anymore.

I’ve been pushing that line lately. Pushing against it pretty hard. I live in a pretty democratic and open-minded state that fights for great causes, pulls down a lot of bad ones, and makes the crunch for things like gay marriage, anti-nuclear culture, and green community. It’s difficult to avoid an activist streak (maybe it’s something in the water?)– but more than having to climb the ladder of generalized labels such as “humanist” or “activist” or “social warrior”, I think in the end it comes down to the fact that, whether you’re a hippie trying to camp your way through to Occupy victories, or a whale-saver trying to squash the ignorance-driven sealife slaughter, or a Visualist who can’t yet figure out how they fit in, you’re a human. And we’re all stuck on this planet together. And when it comes down to that pivotal moment when your rights, especially, in this moment, for an American citizen, are threatened, one has to realize that there’s a greater good that has to be upheld. It’s not enough to sit around Tweeting about what you had for breakfast, is it?

Tweet about the fact that you might not have “share media” buttons, or even blogs, or maybe even Twitter as we know it, in the not-so-far-off future. Tweet about it before our “democratic nation”, and especially in this case its collective Internet, becomes a dystopian, free-speech-free web.

Let’s not be foolish flies that get caught in such a web.

Not to mention fundamental personal privacy and freedom of speech that is being threatened by the potential passing of the IP Protection Act and the SOPA bill that are being discussed in congress today, there’s a lot that’s threatened in the not-so-fine print. I hardly need to sing the praises of the internet to you– if you’re reading this, then it’s already obvious to you what’s at stake.

Congress is considering two well-intentioned but deeply flawed bills, the PROTECT-IP Act and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

As written, they would betray more than a decade of US policy and advocacy of Internet freedom by establishing a censorship system using the same domain blacklisting technologies pioneered by China and Iran. -tumblr

For a basic breakdown, check out this video from Fight For The Future, which spells it out in layman’s terms.

In one article someone remarked how if you want a global issue side to all of this– think of every time you thank the heavens the [US] internet isn’t policed like it is in countries like China and Iran; the US is a global leader, and we don’t want PIPA to come in and set a precedent for other countries to instate similar policies.

If you disagree with the PIPA bill, which I’m confident you do, then do some research. Sign tumblr’s petition. Check out some of these sites. Get some signatures out to congress and tell them not to pass this blatant attack on our basic constitutional rights.

Change.org 

Fight For The Future

White House

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Top 5 Lives To See Before I Die

I’m going through serious live-withdrawals at the moment– a fact that isn’t helped by knowing that I’m missing Matenrou Opera, MIYAVI, and Dir En Grey this fall/winter. I pray there is a show in my near future, lest I go stark raving mad.

I started this list when I began going to lives in 2009. A while ago I shared the list with one of my brothers and he suggested I keep adding bands so that I never die. Seems legit.

The List – 2009

  1. GACKT
  2. abingdon boys school
  3. 雅ーMIYAVI
  4. D’espairsRay
  5. B’z

The List – 2011

  1. GACKT
  2. ONE OK ROCK
  3. B’z
  4. girugamesh
  5. exist trace

 

D’espa Members Get Busy

Good news for me any D’espairsRay followers out there who may have yet to fill the void left by the great veteran VK group that, due to extremely unfortunate circumstances, disbanded this year. Although I heard in passing a few weeks ago that guitarist karyu and bassist ZERO were added to the Angelo lineup** and that Hizumi was designing kawaii romping tigers to bounce cheerfully atop Japanese website banners (is this true, or was that a weird dream?), personally I find the most intriguing new venture by former D’espa members to be THE MICRO HEAD 4N’S.

Brand new band consisting of drummer Tsukasa, bassist ZERO, vocalist Ricky (formerly of Dasein– “You’ll be in my heart….yes you’ll be in my heart…”, ok, I’ll stop.), and guitarists kazuya and SHUN., both formerly of bands I’ve never heard of, the names of which were too case-sensitive to remember*.

Well gee, ZERO, I guess karyu’s invite got misplaced.

THE MICRO HEAD 4N’S (is it just me, or are they getting more and more out-there with the band names? Thank goodness they didn’t ditch the apostrophe-trend) will make their debut appearance on December 1st at Shibuya O-EAST’s stylish wave GENERATION live, performing alongside Penicillin, Daizystripper and LM.C.

* FANATIC◇CRISIS and Lastlip

** Not changing the post, but this was a brain-slip. ZERO wasn’t also added to the Angelo lineup, the other new member was former-Vidoll guitarist, Giru. Thanks, Kaxxina, whose below comment made me realize I should switch to decaf.

OHP