Secret Garden 2.0

Welcome to Secret Garden 2.0!

I can’t believe in all of the 2+ years I’ve been running this thing, it’s never had a makeover. Lately, though, it’s felt like everything could use a bit of a facelift–my blog, my life, I don’t know, whatever. I’ve been struggling to hold my interest in keeping SG updated. I buy and enjoy albums and singles, but don’t review them. Long story short, I’ve just outgrown the original, and it’s time to level up.

I’m pretty stoked on it, if I’m perfectly honest. As you can see, theme and header are brand new. Pages are now up top, and dropdowns, so there are multiple pages stacked in there… They’ve also been rearranged a little bit. A few have been completely revised. Check them out if you feel so inclined. The sidebar and widgets have also been moved around and edited– I find that it can take a few tries to get the sidebar right…So if anyone is having problems with it or encountering issues, do me a favor and let me know so I can smooth out the kinks.

There’s a lot I would still like to update, develop, and refine, but for now I’m okay with taking all of this one step at a time. It feels good to have a new face, and I’m sure the rest will follow suit.

Part of the reason I really needed a change was due to the fact that GACKT has pretty much always been the face of SG. He’s graced the header, sidebar, and pages for the past two years. This is all well and good since I have so much respect for GACKT, but on the other hand I felt like the image was misleading–to myself, as well as readers. My blog isn’t a blog about GACKT. And I realized the other day that I don’t even want to say it’s a blog about Visual Kei. Honestly, there have been a few instances in which I have felt inspired to write about something, but I decided not to because I felt it veered from the path I was trying to take. This has helped develop a sense of congruency (I hope) in content, but on the other hand, I honestly couldn’t give less of a shit about congruency right now. Seems blase.

So as things continue moving forward here, I hope to start introducing new bands into the flow. Film and drama reviews might show up after a while. I might throw some other genres, perhaps even some Asian music that’s not Jrock, in there if it’s sick enough.

All of this oh, no point in blogging because Visual Kei is idle is starting to get boring. I’d like to take a minute right now and just go ahead and choose not to let that get in the way. Just because bands aren’t releasing endless amazing albums doesn’t mean we all just pack up our headphones and throw sheets over our speakers, does it? When D’espa disbands and it seems like all hope is lost, what kind of playlists are you rockin’? I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.

 Here’s to new beginnings.

2nd Anniversary

I scheduled this post to go up today, but actually I’m writing this on Monday the 4th, around 1AM. I’ll be traveling all day Wednesday, but I wanted to ensure that something went up to acknowledge an important marker in my days as a Visualist. Today, Wednesday, April 6th, marks the 2nd anniversary of Secret Garden, as we know it on

I’m sitting up awake right now for two reasons—I’ll leave it to you to judge how I should prioritize them–, the first being that I can’t stop craving the maccha ice-cream in the freezer. The second reason is that now that I only have two days left here on the west coast, I’m starting to experience a lot of resistance to heading back east.

A month is a long time, and while it has flown by for me, as I look back on it from here, the end, I can see how many shifts and changes occurred while I’ve been away. The biggest shift, and one thing I want to mention now as I did not have a chance previously, was the earthquake that hit Japan the second week of March. Although I was unable to catch the news from where I was, fortunately I have sympathetic friends who kept me informed as to what was going on, and I’m grateful to them for keeping me in the loop. One of the best texts from that week was my mom checking in to see if I had been able to hear about ‘the Visual Kei guys’ in relation to the trauma.

The articles that have been shared with me that showed even small examples of the devastation were enough to shake even an iron-clad heart.

Since the quake, I have witnessed glimpses of the Seattle Japanese community rallying to assist with the relief efforts, including gathering encouragement and spiritual support, as well as raising funds. I’ve been grateful to be in the presence of that, and party to it in whatever way. My thoughts continue to be with Japan as it gathers its strengths to restore and renew, and my thoughts are especially with the families and individuals who have experienced hardship, loss, and discomfort as a result of the quake. がんばれ日本!

In a perfect world, I would probably have canceled my ticket a week ago and started looking at apartments here; but I’ve had a month to be selfish and live in a, if not exactly perfect, then pretty damn fine little world. Now this session is up, and there are people and obligations and responsibilities waiting for me that I need to go back and take care of.

I’ve been resisting the pull of these obligations. I guess once I started thinking about returning, I became afraid of going back and getting sucked into unchanged scenery, into that low-def daily-grind of Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day. However what I realize is that everything has changed since I left. Situations and circumstances have changed. New faces will be there to greet me, and the ones who saw me off will be different people from when we said goodbye.

This has taken shape in different ways, but primarily in the form of major shifts and changes in my personal life and, particularly, my family situation. I thought I was going to come back to the same patterns and flow of habits, but now that I see what is actually waiting for me, it’s a creature of a very different breed.

It’s a beautiful thing, really. You set out on some path, real or interpretive, without really knowing who you are or, in the end, what your destination will be. Trying to see through the fog of the great-unknown is a fruitless expenditure of ones’ energy, and will get you nowhere. All you can really do is stick to what you’re passionate about, what you’re interested in, and trust your gut instincts—trust those tools to guide you through that uncertainty and the discomfort that comes with it. Trust that you’re going to wake up one morning and go to look in the mirror and realize that you don’t recognize yourself anymore, and that, in my experience, can be a really powerful moment.

I feel like I’m at a new beginning place, a crossroads. Today I concluded one section of my life, and am getting ready to face the challenges of new paths and doorways opening up before me. It seems fitting…somehow, meaningful, in my eyes, that today is the day that I open a new doorway by heading back to the east coast; the day that I start a new chapter by beginning my 3rd year of blogging on WordPress.

Right now, I don’t know what will change, but I do know it will change.

Many thanks go out to everyone who reads Secret Garden. Special shout-out to that select few of you, known and unknown, who have been reading since the very early days on Vox and WP. Thanks also to the people who support me from the sidelines and put up with all the off-blog Visual Kei ramblings.

So I thank you. Keep reading Secret Garden.