Inaba or Matsumoto? Take Your Pick

Following their highly elitist arena tour (I believe that’s redundant, however, seeing as these guys will never again perform in livehouses…) that wrapped up at the end of March, the B’z duo will part ways for the summer to pursue separate projects.

Starting off in early June, guitar monster Tak Matsumoto, who is well-known for his collaborations with western musicians, will kick of a nationwide tour in Japan alongside renowned American jazz guitarist Larry Carlton. They will play around 14 dates together in cities Tokyo, Osaka, Yokohama, Nagoya, and Fukuoka. Tickets are JPY 10,500.

Not long after Matsumoto wraps up the encores in in Tokyo on July 3rd, vocalist monster Inaba Koshi will be preparing for a 20-date nationwide solo tour titled Koshi Inaba LIVE TOUR 2010 ~en II~. Inaba has released several works under his solo project, all of which are strong pop-rock releases that will take the house down this summer, no doubt. Inaba will be on the road through October. Tickets start at JPY7,500 and go up to 10,500.

I’m pumped to see these guys going so strong the past couple of years. They had some terrific releases in ’09, including the mind-blowing Ichibu to Zenbu/ DIVE double A-side, and a full-length album, MAGIC. And not only are they keeping the quality releases coming, they’re balancing studio work and live delivery with mastery. The only downside to all of this touring is that it makes prospects grim for any new singles this summer…Although, I guess you never know, do you? J-bands have interesting abilities to defy the passage of time and release things that shouldn’t have been chronologically possible.

…By the way, if you haven’t stopped by recently, check out their homepage. It’s been updated with new pictures, etc. The guys are still some of the classiest, coolest rockers out there, for sure.

Image credit: jayz24

Video credit: tintintin9314

Ain’t No Magic– B’z Madness Is All Real

Although they claim, via the title, that their 2010 tour, LIVE-GYM 2010 “Ain’t No Magic” is, well, not magic, B’z fans know better.

Since the beginning of January, B’z, the iconic classic rock duo that has been enchanting fans for the past 25 years, has been touring select Japanese cities for their 2010 tour LIVE-GYM 2010 “Ain’t No Magic“. They got started with 7 dates in January, and will carry on for another 12 dates through February and March.

2/12 Fukuoka Yahoo! Japan Dome

2/13 Fukuoka Yahoo! Japan Dome

2/17 Nagoya Dome

2/19 Nagoya Dome

2/20 Nagoya Dome

2/24 Kyo-Cera Dome, Osaka

2/26 Kyo-Cera Dome, Osaka

2/27 Kyo-Cera Dome, Osaka

3/3 Tokyo Dome

3/4 Tokyo Dome

3/6 Tokyo Dome

3/7 Tokyo Dome

Tickets Charge (Tax included): “SS” Seating 1,2000円, “S” Seating 9,000円, “A” Seating 8,000円, “B” Seating 7,000円, “C” Seating 5,500円

Open and Start times, Tickets

Whether you’re attending or not, check out the super “kawaii” theme song they composed for the tour. This is the first time I’ve ever heard of a tour getting its own theme song, but hey, that’s the least it deserves!

B’z ひとりじゃないから -Theme Of LIVE-GYM-


Official Website

A Merry Christmas Someday

…Seeing as yet another Happy Holiday has come and is now closing, it will have to wait for someday. To be honest, I really cannot believe that Christmas is already hitting its evening peak (then again, if you spent the day drinking a variety of delectable and pungent alcoholic beverages, paired with assorted delicacies from multiple nations, after first waking up at 6AM to begin Scotch-assisted celebrations, it’s probably less-the-peak and more a rapid crash and burn into post-holiday hell). I don’t know about the rest of you, but I partied pretty hard these past few days, and after several months of very intensive and strenuous work, I’m definitely looking forward to some R&R time!

Unfortunately, due to aforementioned strenuous labor and inexhaustible celebrating, I haven’t been spending as much quality time on Secret Garden as I would like. It comes with the territory, I suppose! I had hoped to have a few more posts on here by now, but at least they made the short list! .

Since we’re all Visualists here, I was just wondering– is there anything you lot, as Jrockers and core elite Visualists, do to add a bit of VK to your seasonal exploits? Remember– there’s always New Year’s, and next year’s; so it’s always interesting to hear how the Jrockers keep on shredding even in the snowy days.

Personally, I keep a special seasonal playlist on hand: D‘s Snow White, GACKT’s 12gatsu no Love Song and Story, andB’z‘s SNOW and Itsuka no Merry Christmas, among others. I resonate perfectly with that style of composition this time of year, and it’s also a great escape from traditional seasonal music. :) Aside from that, I think my Visualist nature will probably be able to unfurl its wings a bit better over New Year’s– more flexibility and freedom from traditions.

If you have anything to share– tips, tricks, and traditions– I’d be psyched to hear them here, so leave us a comment and we’ll start some elitist traditions of our own. On that note, I’ll cease my ramblings and the use of ‘holiday’ and ‘seasonal’ every other word, and leave you with some posts to wrap up our Christmas Caroling– Jrocker style.

The lights of December

Are slowly lit

And everyone comes to love

This frenetically dancing town

I know I already used this brilliant opening verse (the translated first lines of the masterpiece) as the catch-phrase of a recent post, but they’re so incredibly spot-on right now that it can’t be a sin to use them again and again. After all, you couldn’t possibly disagree with the tender, faintly heart-breaking lyrics (even translated) of Japan’s start-all-end-all “Juunigatsu” (December) masterpiece: B’z’s いつかのメリークリスマス[Itsuka no Merry Christmas] (A Merry Christmas Someday). Pretty much the Silent Night of Japan’s caroling-repertoire, the bittersweet ballad encapsulates the Japaneesy Christmas feeling we’ve been yakking on about lately.  But enough talk: this one is pretty much self-explanatory, so I’ll let you get back to the lyrics, and have a listen for yourself. The Japanese romanized lyrics are included at the bottom, because if you aren’t countering every assault of Good King Wenceslas with a round of Itsuka no Merry Christmas, you have the bah-humbug of Jrock! Listen and weep– Merry Christmas, and keep reading Secret Garden~

The lights of December
Are slowly lit
And everyone comes to love
This frenetically dancing town

I rushed to the shops right before they closed
And bought the chair you wanted
Alone on the train, holding my package
I was happy

I felt like we could
Hold hands forever
Everything was sparkling
As we chased our dreams without a care

We smile at each other
As we think of how the day will come
When we’ll share all of both our happiness and our sadness
A merry Christmas one faded day

I sang as I followed the tracks to your house, hurrying a little
When you opened the door
You were busy making dinner

When I proudly showed you your present
You were happy from the bottom of your heart
At the sight of your face
I came right out and held you again

I felt like we could
Hold hands forever
Everything was sparkling
As we chased our dreams without a care

For the first time
I was afraid of losing you
A merry Christmas one day
When I realised what it was like to love somebody

Watching the light of the candles that lit up the room
I said we’d never be apart
And then suddenly
I cried, without even knowing why

I felt like we could
Hold hands forever
Everything was sparkling
As we chased our dreams without a care

For the first time
I was afraid of losing you
A merry Christmas one day
When I realised what it was like to love somebody

As I stand still someone hurries past me
Carrying their luggage with a happy face


Yukkuri to juunigatsu no akari ga
Awatadashiku odoru machi wo
Daremo ga suki ni naru

Boku wa hashiri heiten magiwa
Kimi no hoshigatta isu wo katta
Nimotsu kakae densha no naka
Hitori de shiawase datta

Itsu mademo te wo tsunaide
Irareru you na ki ga shite ita
Nanimo ka mo ga kirameite
Gamushara ni yume wo oikaketa

Yorokobi mo kanashimi mo zenbu
Wakachiau hi ga kuru koto
Omotte hohoemiatte iru
Iroaseta itsuka no merii kurisumasu

Utainagara senrobiroi wo ie e to sukoshi isoida
Doa wo aketa kimi wa isogashiku
Yuushoku wo tsukutte ita

Hokorashige ni purezento miseru to
Kimi wa kokoro kara yorokonde
Sono kao wo mita boku mo mata
Sunao ni kimi wo dakishimeta

Itsumademo te wo tsunaide
Irareru you na ki ga shite ita
Nanimo ka mo ga kirameite
Gamushara ni yume wo oikaketa

Kimi ga inaku naru koto wo
Hajimete kowai to omotta
Hito wo ai suru to iu koto ni
Ki ga tsuita itsuka no merii kurisumasu

Heya wo someru rousoku no akari wo minagara
Hanareru koto wa nai to
Itta ato de kyuu ni boku wa
Naze da ka wakarazu naita

Itsumademo te wo tsunaide
Irareru you na ki ga shite ita
Nanimo ka mo ga kirameite
Gamushara ni yume wo oikaketa

Kimi ga inaku naru koto wo
Hajimete kowai to omotta
Hito wo ai suru to iu koto ni
Ki ga tsuita itsuka no merii kurisumasu

Tachidomatteru boku no soba wo dareka ga ashibaya ni
Toorisugiru nimotsu wo kakae shiawasesou na kao de

The song has also been covered by rocker king GACKT, who remarked that the first time he heard Itsuka no Merry Christmas, he was brought to tears. He performs it as a duet with Hamasaki Ayumi, and another time around with Namie Amuro.

Get your workout on with B’z’s LIVE GYM

[Due to the excess of spam pingbacks from Motherly, this post’s name has been revised. If you want to buy mothering care products, please go to If you found Secret Garden through Motherly Pride, I apologize for not being a distributor of organic washcloths and bath-salts.]

If you weren’t already totally pumped out of this world over the new album in line for B’z this November, then I highly recommend any videos from their 2008 LIVE GYM Pleasure GLORY DAYS tour DVD to get you rocking down to your socks. The lives are absolutely phenomenal, and the energy of Inaba Koshi and Tak Matsumoto was awesome. Check out the long-shots out over the crowd– many thousands of people attended the live, despite the pouring rain.

The DVD was released February 25 2009. It is currently available at a 5% off price (doesn’t sound like much, but it saves you JPY300). So now’s your chance to check it out! (All DVDs region 2 encoded [Japan, Europe, Middle East, So.Africa], no subtitles). It’s an absolute must-have– and currently my greatest source of shame rests in the lack of it in my collection. Unfortunately, I’m not Region 2 authorized. YET.
B'z Live-Gym Pleasure 2008 -Glory Days- / B'z

Also, if you’re experiencing any autumn blues as the cold and rainy days kick in, LIVE GYM presents us with just the right tonic. Listen and let your soul be solved~

Listen to B’z for a spell

I don’t know about any of you– but it’s been made very clear to me by now that I have a fairy-godmother. What she does, see, is she makes it so that all of the greatest bands alive keep making incredible music, on and on and on…Where she goes wrong, if I understand this correctly, is she never actually delivers the goods unto me, as it were.

No problem. Follow the “Gacktpause” page link, and click on the big golden button that says Give a Gift. And just follow the prompts…
Magic / B'z

Yes. It’s true. Cinderella, get ready to have a ball, because on November 18th, 2009, rock duo wizards B’z will release an all-new full-length album. The album, titled appropriately MAGIC, follows up the releases of singles DIVE/イチブトゼンブ and My Lonely Town— and anyone who missed those will be in for a treat with the release of MAGIC. Featuring 10 yet-unheard new tracks, the album will also host their hit newest singles, Dive, Ichibu to Zenbu, and My Lonely Town.

A limited edition with a DVD is available for JPY3600 (USD$40.04), regular edition CD only available for JPY 2800 (USD$ 31.15). Pre-order now before you turn into a pumpkin.


Dive into this….


B’z new single released in August presented an interesting level of depth to support the dive its name suggests. The single, which boasts a decent serving of 3 songs: theme song to the TV drama starring heartthrob Yamashita Tomohisa, Buzzerbeat – Gakeppuchi no Hero: イチブトゼンブ[Ichibu to Zenbu], TV spot insert song Dive, and National Holiday. This is generous fare here, giving ‘singularity’ as it were not to the quantity, but rather to the quality.

Ichibu to Zenbu/ DIVE, released August 5th 2009 is an interesting combination of going where we have not gone before, while keeping one foot on familiar land.

First of all, the PV quality for both title songs is perfect. Both Tak and Inaba are at their finest, musically and stylistically. Even the most determined nitpicker could not contest their classic, casual style– and come on, nobody ever sang like him, and nobody ever will. The PVs are smooth, grungy, and moody, with plenty of thick coloring, creating a very rich, real texture. They’ve veered from shots of Tak vested in ’90s glory tearing up Tokyo with his sickening riffs atop breezy buildings and Inaba knee-deep in water (ねがい {Negai]) which are, uh, ’90s, and abstract, to down-to-earth, flowing footage of them simply rocking out in as casual and disgusting awesomeness as only B’z can.

Secondly, the guitar on this single is so incredible it’s disgusting. Like, really. When one listens to a lot of bands these days, one feels, oh, you know, inspired. Motivated. Like, hey, cool, I want to be like him, and with enough practice, I can be! And then you happily devote yourself to callus-splitting hours of guitar practice. But, when you listen to Tak play– we hearken back to ’92 comedy glory Waynes World prostrations before Alice Cooper and wails of We’re not worthy~! Any emotional damage you may suffer at the hands of Ichibu to Zenbu/DIVE is unfortunate– but in some states therapy is included in health-insurance. Let’s hope that if you’re taking the plunge and picking up this single, that you live in one of those states.

Ichibu to Zenbu / Dive / B'z

What I mean by ‘going where none have gone before’ and yet ‘keeping one foot on familiar ground’, is that the single opens with Ichibu to Zenbu. Ichibu to Zenbu, already noted as the theme song for the basketball-themed drama starring Yamashita Tomohisa of NEWS fame, Buzzerbeat, is a slick combination of classic B’z sound and a  new feel. The opening, electronicky loops, for example, have a hip, totally fresh feel that promises to wrap up our summer fun nicely. Those loops lead into some interesting, killer guitar riffs  that sustain themselves through the entire song, new and striking. The vocal melody, however, sounds somehow familiar. Not that it is in any way a copy or ‘shortcut’ of a song, but IMPO Inaba hasn’t challenged himself in the composition of this piece. The melody is classic B’z fare– unpredictable, a little hard to follow at first, and yet bursting with their standard appeal and typical Inaba vocals.

If you’re looking for a whole new cup of tea, however, drift neatly into Dive— which is really, honestly, all you need. The PV is incredible– bizarre, but stylish and super-produced (I won’t give any spoilers). The opening sound is an instant hook, muffled lalalalalas that skip right on into the meat. The volume picks up, the muffle-effect zaps, and we’re ker-splash right into Dive— the true heart of the single.

Not only is Dive super catchy– it seems to be charting new waters for B’z. Where Ichibu to Zenbu was, shall we say again, classic, Dive is all nouveau. The melody is straightforward by B’z standards, and its repeat value seems nearly inexhaustible– try as I might, I can’t seem to get sick of it. It picks up with the same strangely polished yet grunge-appeal as its predecessor, but loses the “OP charm” and we’ve got a one-way ticket back to hardcore rock town.  Somehow the chorus route of lalalas into lyricsville is aloof, challenging, packed with attitude, and yet totally on the map with catchy accessibility.

The third song and B-side, National Holiday, feels, well, admittedly like a B-side. But in the case of B-sides, I hold to the old tolerate and accept formula of when in doubt, exceed low expectations rather than fall short of high ones. In any case, National Holiday is a gentle conclusion to the gum-chewing name-taking title songs. Enjoy it as the charming pop song it is– but really, Ichibu to Zenbu and DIVE are quite something to follow up, and by the time you’ve listened through, you’d win hardcore-of-the-month if you could handle anymore sheer awesomeness.  Bz+Yasei

Dive into B’z this August!

Time to get out your hammers and crack open your piggybanks, Jrockers! August is going to bring in a great crescendo of new releases– the majority of which will be released August 5th and 8th for some reason. It is my great pleasure to announce something really worth getting pumped over!

B’z to release new single, August 5th: Ichibu to Zenbu / Dive

The single includes 3 tracks:

ichibu to zenbu


and National Holiday

Ichibu to Zenbu / Dive / B'z

An amazing song from MONSTER: SPLASH. Enjoy!