This is Sparta

I’m really not so talented at remembering to acknowledge milestones. I never celebrated 1 complete year of blogging back in April. I never said something really wise, witty, and RT-worthy for my 1,000th Twit on Twitter. When I saw that I was at 297 posts on here, though, I became absolutely determined to make the 300th post a real milestone marker, acknowledged and everything with some overblown, self-congratulatory post.

Well, 298 came. 299 just blew right by me. Come 300, I had completely spaced on the entire thing. “301,” I thought, “301 will be it.” That didn’t happen, either, but what’s being 1 or 2 posts off the count matter, right?

That is to say, on September 11th, I reached a milestone of 300 posts here on Secret Garden.

In many ways, it almost seems like 300 posts isn’t all that much for 17 months of working on this blog.

Looking back at those 300, and not necessarily needing to delve that deep, I can see a lot of imperfections. Not to say at all that anything I do now is perfect– not even close. But I can see a steady improvement, at least a little, throughout the timeline, along with a deepening commitment to blogging. Each of those 300 posts has taken a lot of work to create, compose, and get out there, and although none of them are perfect, I at least feel proud that I believe I was able to give each one my all.

Due to my stubborn addiction to Jrock, these 302 posts probably would have existed even if this blog never saw the light of day. But I have to say, it is the input, discussions, conversations, and overall presence of my truly epic readers that (shed a tear, yo) make blogging on SG extremely interesting and challenging. It is something I don’t do just for myself, or just for Jrock, but also for you.

I will continue to strive to constantly improve the quality of the information I present and how it is expressed here. Feedback is always greatly appreciated, complaints are usually deleted and ignored, and compliments go straight to my head. So keep it all coming. May the next 300 blow everything up to this point straight out of the water. Keep reading Secret Garden.



Hyperventilation- and Other Responses to the BUNRAKU Premier

TIFF’s “Midnight Madness” has, it would seem, some serious carry-over into Mid-day — at least for GACKT fans. “Flail”, “spazz” and “hyperventilating” have been predominant keywords on Twitter during the steady influx of press, pics, and reviews for this morning’s 12:00 premier of BUNRAKU. Other Tweets, from more self-possessed sources, have also been flooding in, and those that have, of course, caught We the Fandom’s attention, have mostly been expressing appreciation (mingled with surprise) of the incredibly good reception GACKT apparently received on the Red Carpet (tremble in awe).
Although the elitist in me cringes haughtily whenever it hears GACKT described as “the Japanese pop sensation”, I have agreed to dismiss my criticism of the West’s painful ignorance concerning such matters, and focus on more interesting people saying more interesting things, such as:

mmadnesstiff Dare I say GACKT got more applause than Josh Hartnett, Ron Perlman & Woody Harleson combined at BUNRAKU tonight?

Video footage of GACKT answering a few questions has also hit the web. He blows away all the gawking whities in sense of presence and charisma, even though he does seem slightly nervous. Pressure must have been incredible.

[For a transcript of the video, click here.]

Several reviews of the film have also been released, most of which complain gratuitously about lack of plot and how confused Josh Hartnett seems through the entire thing, barely even brushing over the contribution of GACKT, all while typesetting his name in lowercase (the noobs), making it nearly impossible to tell if they even saw the movie at all, actually did any research, or are simply trolling for the sake of being a troll critic.

Also check out some screen-shots (full of whities doing whitie things).

This is gacktpause, over and out.

Images: Getty Images

Video: TIFF Midnight Madness blog

It’s Morphin’ Time

Yes, I know everyone who follows me on Twitter thinks that I’ve been being mischievous all day. After posting that faux KAT-TUN banner I just know we’re going to have trust issues. The purpose of this post is to inform you all, if you’re reading this, that all of my Tweets from this afternoon were entirely genuine. This is my new favorite song…

Ah ah ah, wait, wait, not yet….

A little backstory: I was killing time when I had no time to kill, watching a bunch of completely random VK videos that I found on this website through this PV bot that I follow on Twitter. (First of all, I was appalled at my own snobbishness. I think the sheer weight of my sighs stopped half the videos 53 seconds in…). This is how I used to discover most of the music I listen to, after all, so it’s not the uncommon to find me immersed in the endless oceans of Visual Kei PVs. In fact, sometimes I end up doing it without even thinking about it. Usually when I have something important to do, like composing important emails or writing business plans, or reorganizing my Netflix queue, I just sort of “come-to” on Youtube, clicking through suggested videos and playlists of the low-budget PVs of the lesser minions of avex’s ‘happy family’- well, if avex’s family is happy, then these guys must be the black sheep. The importance of how exactly I ended up there is always determined by the quality of the videos I discovered. On a scale of 1-5 (1 being the lowest) the quality of the discoveries made in the forty minutes I spent between writing non-diatonic chord progressions in the key of G and making dinner would have to be….wait for it. 5.

First of all, I thought it was from the ’80s. I had no idea PVs made in the ’90s were such poor quality… I mean, this is really…So yeah, anyway. The actual quality of the PV aside, it’s the content that we care about anyway. And I would watch this ten times in a row even if they took it back in time and remade it in 1948.

The artist is Chisato [千聖], the guitarist for ’90s VK band Penicillin. I’m not much of a Penicillin fan, and that’s my excuse for how I’ve been in the dark for so long. Initially, I heard Wake Up!, which was ok, but then scrolled down a little bit, and, like a young beggar on a cold night in the middle of the desert clinking two pieces of a jeweled scarab together, I parted the sands and there it was- the diamond in the rough. Chisato’s Cyber Rose.

Electronica that should only have existed in the 1980’s. Latin influences. The type of soaring melodies that laid the foundation for anime theme songs as a whole– the kind of melodies that, if we were Power Rangers, we would Mighty Morph and fight badly to-, and one of those voices that we stopped hearing after GACKT made the tenor go out of style in the year 2000.

The steady beat of the song could potentially be annoying after two minutes, but the chorus is killer, and I was totally digging the random (intentional?) Fur Elise clip that just sort of happens. The construction of the song is awesome, the licks are totally catchy, and the whole thing is just exuding raw character. The acoustic salsa-esque guitar solo steals the whole show…well, it might, were it not for the fact that Chisato is wearing a cowboy hat, which is so ’90s Jrock, isn’t it?

Cybernetic Axeman. I couldn't have put it better myself.

Thanks to Dreamsprite.