[PV] 3nd - SSK

The newest from instrumental/post-rock band 3nd off their debut full-length album "world tour" which was released last month. The band demonstrates strong comparisons to their Japanese peers mudy on the Sakuban and té, with an emphasis on powerful yet technically sound rhythm sections. I also picked this, because I feel the video also definitely fits the mood of Halloween.

Speaking of which, today should be fun. Planning on dressing up and going out to karaoke later on tonight with the suitemates and Gek, who I haven't seen in a while. Speaking of the suitemates, we recently decided to switch our band name from the unoriginal Double Tap to the utterly awesome Icekimonians. All thanks to our bassist and his inability to properly identify ethnic backgrounds.




Clean Room, Clean Life

[PV] People In The Box - Monday / Clean Room

One of the songs off the recently released "Ghost Apple" mini-album, the latest from People In The Box. It is a very light-hearted yet sensitive ballad in spirit, very similar to the kind of music they normally produce. Similar to the accompanying video, the song is very simplistic, but still somewhat stunning to listen to.

Life is a many splendored thing. I'm not going to lie, it's been tough going recently. A lot of things have come up that have been difficult to deal with. But, I really feel like I've gotten my second wind and things are finally returning to normal. Classwork is starting to become a chore per usual, but I do feel much more determined to do better than I usually do. LSATs are coming, but I feel I'll be much more prepared this time around. Work is starting to become more regular and I look forward to some of the prospects that might come in the future. Overall, I feel a lot more satisfied with the way things are going.

And, as luck would have it, now is the time I start getting sick. Living in close proximity with already sick people is the perfect recipe for such a thing I suppose.



Reborn Yet Again

[PV] Good Dog Happy Men - Born Again

The newest single from rockers Good Dog Happy Men. I really have to keep up with bands more often, because I did not even know until now that what was a 4-piece band got cut down into a Quruli-like 2-member band. Apparently, the band lost their second drummer Daichi Itou and their bassist Yuuki Nirasawa earlier in April. Because of this, the sound of the band has transformed dramatically. Previously a much more folk-based band that was unique in its dual drummer formation, the newest material from GDHM seems like a return to the more traditional rock sound that was found in both current members' previous band BURGER NUDS. While I was a fan of the previous work from BURGER NUDS and this song is a definitely a solid one, I am a bit disappointed I won't be able to hear more folk rock stuff from GDHM.

It's funny how life can turn things around so quickly. After much deliberation and contemplation, I recently decided to do a complete 180 and not apply for JET. There are many reasons why I came to this decision, but the main one is that I really want to be able to spend more time with my girlfriend. So, I suppose the plan now is to really push for law schools. I've already researched a bit into it and have a plan. Just going to have to hope my parents accept my decision. I wonder how things will go in the future now, but I can honestly say that I know I'm making the right decision.



Wasted Green Festival

[LIVE] the band apart - I love you Wasted junks & Greens

Yeah, I know it's nothing new from the band apart. In fact, this'll be the first time I post a footage from a live performance rather than a PV on this blog. It's been a little difficult to find new things to post here lately. Also, it's about that time where video from the performances at ROCK IN JAPAN FES. 2009 start popping up. This includes Fujifabric and awesome footage from POLYSICS.

One of the reasons why it might be harder for me to post new things is that I just recently started writing for SparkPlugged. I will admit it is nice writing for a website again, especially in a way that is pretty similar to what I do here. Hopefully, if everything works out, I'll be able to write for them on a regular basis. You can find my first two articles for SparkPlugged here and here.

Not a whole lot has been going on besides that. Still working on my JET application and still considering my backup options in case that doesn't work out. Mostly likely will end up applying to a few law schools to satisfy the parents. School is definitely starting to become a pain in the ass though as midterms are starting to rack up. I have three of them coming up this week with more projects/papers on the way. I really can't wait until school and all its related stuff is over.



Rodeo Clown

[PV] Suneohair - Rodeo

The latest single from the solo artist Suneohair. I haven't really been a fan of his last few singles and his last album "Birthday" was mediocre. But, even though the video is very simple, the song has a solid main guitar riff and could indicate a more-than welcome return towards the better material in "Kanashimi" and "Skirt". Speaking of better material, Suneohair recently released a best-of album in celebration of his 10th anniversary as an artist. It is simply called "Best".

It is kind of funny how relationships can get complicated all of a sudden. Although, I will have to admit that I instigated a lot of that complication, it's been kind of a rough patch for me and Michelle lately. We have been able to talk it out thankfully and things are looking up. Really just got to keep your chin up when you're in long-term long-distance relationships.

Anyways, in other news, the band is still coming along nicely. We are currently working on three songs and still deciding things. But, I'm looking forward to the future. Also, as an aside, I might restart my career in music journalism as I've been exploring the possibility of writing for the website SparkPlugged. SparkPlugged's editor-in-chief Shay has been kind enough to let me join their squad over there and I'm looking forward to contributing what I can to their site.

Here's looking forward to the future. (Oh shoot, JET applications start next week.)



Buffalo Trance

[PV] a flood of circle - Buffalo Dance

The single off "BUFFALO SOUL", which was the first major album release by the alternative rock band a flood of circle. The band claims influences from blues and 70's hard rock, but, as you can hear, it's been really pop-ized, so to speak. "BUFFALO SOUL" does have some other decent songs on it, and, if you really like bands along the same lines as NICO Touches the Walls, it is a pretty good pick-up. My main problem with it is that I just can't stand it when bands decide to fill half of their album with utterly bland and practically interchangeable pop ballads that offer nothing memorable out of them. I understand that this might be due to their relatively recent signing to major label Victor Entertainment, but it ultimately takes away a lot of the enjoyment I could have had with the album.

For some reason, as I am contemplating over it now, it is difficult to place how the past week has been going. Lots of stuff has been going on, I suppose. Progress on the band is being made. We added another member and are currently working on hammering out the three songs that we've been practicing. Also thinking of band names, new songs to learn, and other logistical issues, but, again, progress is being made. Also made a little visit to the school Career Fair. Kind of turned out to be sort of a waste of time, but still got to talk to JET people, which was nice. Gonna be fun when I get to start the application process on that. Also gonna be fun when all my mid-terms start rolling around in the next few weeks. Enough fun to make my head explode just thinking about it.



Rainy Vision

[PV] the pillows - Ameagari ni Mita Maboroshi

Latest single from the pillows. Yeah, I'm not going to lie, I wasn't really planning on posting this video. In comparison to the other 20th anniversary song "1989" that was also released not too too long ago, it makes out for a pretty uninspiring single in my honest opinion. But, being the pillows fan that I am, what the hell, today is the 20th anniversary of the pillows and it's going up. I really can't wait to hear how their Budokan performance went.

This is gonna be a short one. I've been having a lot of free time on my hands. Been trying to make progress on a number of things like the band, JET, and study abroad credit. But, it's been pretty slow going. I have a feeling that these long drags where I don't have much to do are going to be frequent during my last semester. Most of my classes are made up of mid-terms and finals, and do not have much work outside of that. So, there's probably going to be a few days where mid-terms are coming up and I'm going "What did you get yourself into" in my head. But, until then, I'll just have to keep working on stuff. Or let boredom sit in. Hopefully, it won't be the latter.



Hollow Days


UNDER THE COUNTER's latest single off their recently released album "DON'T LOOK BACK" is a pretty good example of what can sometimes happen when a band gets signed onto a major label. The band signed to Universal Japan last year and it immediately had an effect on their sound. As you might notice if you compare this song with previous UTC singles like "Misora" or "No Therapy", you can immediately tell that the sound has drifted to a more touchy-feely pop ballad sound that depends way too much on keyboards and acoustic guitars for a band that used to be a straight-out alternative rock band. Now, the newest album isn't all that bad. They do have some solid songs like "Kimi, Shinkyuu Fur Coat Nakare" and "Leave me alone!!" But, I can't say I approve of the way Universal is handling the band.

Well, as for me, school has started. My schedule seems incredibly lax so far. I'm sure that'll change in a few weeks. But, for now, it's actually kind of boring. Of course, there are a couple other things I need to get done like moving forward on getting credit for my study abroad classes. Slacking on that like usual though. Hoping to get some progress on that today, but we'll have to see how that goes.

Another thing that I want to get progress on is starting a band back up. For those who didn't know, I was in a band called Super Going! during my junior year. It was pretty fun and we got to perform a bunch of times. I kind of miss that, so I'm kind of hoping to start that back up again. Again, we'll have to see how that goes.



R.O.C.K.ing it all OUT

[PV] iLL - R.O.C.K.

iLL is the solo project of ex-SUPERCAR vocalist/guitarist Koji Nakamura. He recently released a new album called "Force" and this is the single for that album. The video is quite provocative and definitely NSFW for those who haven't seen it. But, the music itself on the other hand is quite approachable considering Nakamura's work in the past. Very reminiscent of SUPERCAR except with a higher focus on straight-out guitar rock and not as much electronica elements as those found in later SUPERCAR releases.

I have to say I'm starting to find myself getting used to being back at school, even though classes haven't really kicked into gear yet. Even when I say that though, I can't help but have that thought in the back of my head telling me how weird this is. I'm not sure whether it's the fact that this is my last semester in college or whether it is because I spent the last semester in Japan. But, regardless, I have a feeling that this strange feeling won't ever go away. Sure, it already has started to regress, but it hasn't completely disappeared. Here I am, starting to ramble. But, onto more.

My class schedule should be pretty manageable this semester. I'm only taking 4 classes and only 2 classes per day. My earliest class is a 9:00 class on Tuesdays and Fridays and my latest class ends at 3:00. So, you may wonder, as I was earlier, what the hell am I going to during all that free time. I really don't feel like picking up shifts at the library again. For one, they booted me off the deskworker mailing list again. I have a feeling that Karla thinks that I graduated...again. Or perhaps its their little way of telling me they don't want me back. But, anyways, I'm probably going to look around and see what's available. Plus, I realized that there is something that is probably going to take up a lot of my time. (Once I start focusing on it that is.) That would be the taking of all those standardized tests (LSAT, GRE) and figuring out grad school/law school applications. There is also the concern of making sure I get all the credits I need in order to graduate on time. There is also applying for JET. (And other related programs on the off chance I don't get into JET.) There is finally also the whole finding a job in between when I graduate and when whatever I get myself into starts.

tl:dr, I'm just starting to realize how much "fun" I'm going to have this semester. Until then though, I'm just going to kick back, try to relax, maybe do some homework, and watch some "Inglorious Basterds" with my awesome suitemates.



A Return to Morals

[PV] Lillies and Remains - Moralist S.S.

The video itself is more than a year old, but the song was released not too long ago on Lillies and Remains' album "part of grace". "Moralist S.S." is a pretty good demonstration of the style that Lillies and Remains is able to develop by adding elements of post-punk twin-guitars in the base tone of gothic rock, thereby separating themselves a bit from other bands in that genre and creating quite an interesting sound for some people.

So, yeah, this might end up getting edited later, but I've moved back to school. Definitely weird as a lot of the people I'm used to seeing when I get back have already graduated and are practically unreachable. I'm going to miss the days when I could just take a short walk to visit those folks. Although I have to say I'm definitely looking forward to life in this suite. It's already decked out with a fairly sizable TV, XBox 360, Rock Band 2, Wii, DDR, a band room, and much more to come.

Overall, this should be a fun semester. At least I hope it will.



Turning It All Around


Newest PV from VOLA & THE ORIENTAL MACHINE in support of their newest album "SA-KA-NA ELECTRIC DEVICE". This song demonstrates pretty well what the main changes that have been made from VOLA's previous sound, as the entire album is filled with a much stronger emphasis towards a synth-based, new-wave dance rock and moving away from the post-punk twin-guitars that had drawn me to VOLA in the first place. If I had known that they were going with this before I had seen them back in June, it might have made seeing them live a little less disappointing as most of their set was filled with the new songs off this album. But, yeah, ultimately, all I can say is that it's different. I know people say that change is good, but in my opinion, it's not necessarily better or worse in this case. Just different. Take it as you will.

As there isn't too much of significance that has been going on with me as of late (yet), I've decided to talk about something I forgot to mention in my last post. I found out last week that the Japanese band SPARTA LOCALS had announced they were going to break up next month. Initially, as with many other fans of the band, this came as quite a shock as the band was apparently in the midst of recording a new album. Many people believed that the future of the band was looking bright. It seemed like they had recovered from losing one of the founding members, drummer Akihito Nakayama. They had a pretty successful return to indie grace as they released a generally accepted album "Leecher". They had just toured the US for the first time this year, with SXSW's Japan Nite Tour. Plus, judging from my experiences with seeing them live in Japan, it seemed like they would go on for a good number of years. But, it seems like the exit of Nakayama has caught up to them. While the band has not released an official reason for its breakup, it was pretty obvious for everyone that the essence of the band changed a bit after his departure. Whether for better or for worse is debatable, but, regardless of opinion, one of the premier bands in the Japanese indie world and one of the first Japanese indie bands I got into is ending. We can only hope that the members of SPARTA LOCALS will find other promising projects to join or start.



Work Diary

[PV] BUGY CRAXONE - Cheeseburgers Diary

One of the songs from the punk band BUGY CRAXONE off their recently released best-of. Really fun/interesting PV. The list is obviously of likes/interests of members of the band, but some of the people that were mentioned on the list were quite surprising like Gus Van Sant, Bob Greene, and Michael J. Fox of all people. And, as many fans have been quick to point out, vocalist/guitarist Yukiko Suzuki looks quite cute sporting the bob cut. Now, I'm disappointed I didn't get to see them while I was in Tokyo. I had an opportunity, but it was on the day of a midterm for a class.

So yeah, it's been quite busy for me lately. I've been picking up more shifts at the restaurant. While it'll be nice to earn back some of the money that I spent in Japan, part of me really wants to just take it easy in the two weeks before school starts. I've been researching a bit on graduate schools and other programs like JET and whatnot for when I finish school this coming December. It's making me anxious to get it over with and also quite sad that my college career is coming to an end. Hooray for uncertainty concerning my future. Now off to work, again! [/short entry]



Froggy Friends

[PV] Veni Vidi Vicious - Sekai ha Kaeru

This quirky/wacky stop-motion video is of one of the newer Veni Vidi Vicious songs off their recently released first mini-album "I Like Beethoven. Especially His Lyrics." As you can easily tell from the band's name and their music, one of their major influences is The Hives. Continuing in the garage punk stylings of that famous Swedish band, this band has been making some noise lately in the Japanese indie rock world.

The past week has been pretty normal. Been working a bit at the restaurant, filling in for my mom while she's been visiting family in Hong Kong. Some of the highlights include the send-off party for Jimmy. There was also a little birthday party held for me by some of the restaurant staff.

Jimmy's send-off party/concert was pretty fun. After work that day, I met up with Jimmy beforehand to catch up and show him all the stuff I was giving him for his trip. Soon after that, we met up with a bunch of the other people who were going and we headed off to the Middle East. It was the first time I had been in the Middle East Downstairs and I have to admit, I was a bit surprised as to the size of the space. It was pretty enormous. Soon after getting a few drinks at the bar, the first band headed up on stage. It was the all-girl band Bad Girlfriend. And boy, were they bad. We're talking, insanely simple 2-3 chord, same lyrics over and over, and no lead guitar bad. I have a feeling the only reasons they were on the tour is their looks and their relationship with the frontman of We Are Scientists. He actually filled in as their drummer during their set.

After Bad Girlfriend finished their way-too-long set, Bear Hands got on. And I have to say, I really liked them. Had a real post-punk/Modest Mouse feel to their sound at times. Real interesting to listen to. It wasn't until almost midnight that We Are Scientists hit the stage, so unfortunately, we had to cut it a bit early, as I had to drive a few people places before heading home. But, definitely a great way to send off Jimmy to Japan. I really hope he has a great time during his orientation in Shinjuku and ultimately his placement in JET. Hopefully, I'll be able to do something similar when my school time is over come this December.

Oh, and as for the other notable event, a bunch of people at work threw my a mini-birthday party. All that pretty much happened was me coming in, getting a cake made out of sushi created for me (AWWWEESOMEE), getting a real cake, and getting a few drinks while I was at in. Cool stuff. It was a nice relaxing birthday for me. Oh, and I got a nice call from Michelle. (WHICH WAS AWESOME.)



Overflowing Feelings

[PV] lego big morl - Afureru

The latest single from the indie rock band lego big morl. Musical comparisons could be made to other Japanese acts such as UNCHAIN and NICO Touches the Walls as the band is focused on creating a melodically-driven pop-punk sound. Feel free to check 'em out if it tickles your fancy.

So yeah, been a while, eh? Just got back from my trip to California a couple of days ago. Spent a crazy amount of time unpacking all my stuff, but I can't help but reflect on how awesome my time was in California. Got to spend a lot more time with Michelle. Plus I got the opportunity to explore San Francisco, meet up with a bunch of family members that I haven't seen in a while, and meet some of Michelle's friends. I do wish I got to do more stuff in LA, but it was still a definite fun experience.

Kind of crazy when you consider all the stuff I have to do during the time until school starts. I get to start looking into my options after school ends. Plus, I have to brush up on my Japanese. And, I get to work a couple of shifts at the restaurant, which will be weird to get used to again. Speaking of which, I actually should be getting ready for my dinner shift tonight, so I hate to cut this short. Hopefully, I'll post a more meaningful post next time.



Bright Ending

[PV] Far France - Burebura

One of the songs off the band Far France's latest album "AHYARANKE". Upon first impressions, I thought Far France sounded pretty similar to the band monobright. But, as I listened to more of their music, while some of it is similar, they certainly take many more risks and therefore have a much more interesting sound than monobright. You also have to admire the dedication of being hit by paint in order to make an awesome video. So, by all means, I'd recommend checking them out if you are interested.

Yeah, this is going to be a much shorter post than usual. Not really a whole lot has been going on lately. Finishing up my semester here in Japan. Just took my Japanese final yesterday, which went well. (Hopefully.) All I have left to do is a presentation for Japanese tomorrow and a 5-page double-spaced paper for Japanese Urban Society. Shouldn't be so bad. Really can't believe I'm so close to being done. I do have mixed feeling about this. On the one hand, I feel like I'm just getting used to living in Japan and could go for a few more months to explore places that I haven't done so nearly enough. Also, the fact that Nano-Mugen Festival takes place mere days after I leave and most of the major summer rock festivals take place within the same month doesn't help things either. But, on the other hand, I have started to miss home. Plus, there's always the fact that I'll be seeing my girlfriend upon my return to the States. (Something that I'm GREATLY looking forward to.) So, yeah, mixed feelings. But, overall, I have to say it's been a great 3-4 months. Expensive, sure. Slightly uncomfortable at times, of course. But, an overall great experience.

And to answer what some of you might be wondering, yes, I will be continuing this blog after I get back. It might take me a while to start it back up again, seeing as how I'll probably be a bit preoccupied in California with Michelle. But, it's gonna happen.



Go to the Ghost of Nonfiction

[PV] susquatch - Ghost

A song off the relatively recently released full-length album "In This World" by the indie rock band susquatch. It's their first full-length, but the band already shows an incredible amount of depth in their music. Blending the musicality of post-rock/shoegaze and the airy and reflective tone in their vocals ultimately creates a sound that reminds me of other post-emo bands such as the defunct Bluebeard. So, if that tips your fancy, I recommend checking them out.

Yeah, a bunch has happened since my last entry. So much so, that I'm not fully confident that I can tell all of it properly in the limited amount of time I have to make this entry. (Technically, I'm supposed to be working on my final papers/midterm I still haven't handed in yet. But you know how that went obviously.) Anyways, I've gone to two different concerts since the last post. I'll start with seeing lostage on the finale of their tour for the recently released album "GO".

I'm not going to lie, lostage was pretty average to me. CLUB QUATTRO was a pretty nifty venue. The sound was pretty nicely set-up. The only complaint I have in regard to the venue is that the drink menu leaves something to be desired. I ended up going with a couple of kids from my program and, don't get me wrong, a good time was had by all. But, even though lostage played a lot of the songs that I liked from their recent releases such as "SUNDAY" and "Bonyuu", something felt missing from the performance. Then, I realized what it was.

Most of the songs that lostage ended up playing were from "DRAMA" onwards. I spend a good portion of the show, waiting/hoping for the band to push back a little further and perhaps play a song like "TELEVISION CITY" or to even a song like "DIG", which would be quite fun and energy-filled. But, it never happened. This ended up making the whole performance sound really..."same"-y. I mean, there were cool moments like bassist/vocalist Gomi Takahisa doing some stage diving. But, overall, the hard-hitting energy that drew me to lostage in the first place seemed absent. I mean, I guess I should have seen it coming, seeing as even though "GO" had some really nice tunes, it wasn't really all that hard-hitting either. Oh, by the way, I totally witnessed other gaijin besides me and my friends at this particular show. And, one of them totally took pictures of the band on stage with her cellphone. (In Japan, in most cases, you're not allowed to take pictures at live shows.) Needless to say, I was pretty peeved that she was doing it, getting away with it, and that I had no chance in hell to get away with it if I tried. Being Asian in a predominately Asian country can really suck sometimes.

Okay, onto Base Ball Bear at their show dubbed "Hibiya Nonfiction". I actually was kind of really late to this show, just making it in time before it started. But, I have to say that even though I didn't really have time to enjoy the view of the park so much as I was running to the venue, Hibiya Park is really nice. If you didn't know, the live took place at the Hibiya Open-Air Concert Hall, which is in the middle of Hibiya Park. Well, I eventually made it and I have to say it was ridiculously packed. This shouldn't have come to that much of a surprise, seeing as how Base Ball Bear is the most famous band (at least in Japan) that I've seen during my time here. But, I kind of wish I had made it there earlier so I could have gotten a better view. Either way, I've definitely never seen so many Japanese people doing the whole "synchronized pointing" thing at once. The band went through most of their hit songs and some older ones such as "YUME is VISION". They also played some new songs. (As in unreleased songs.) It was definitely fun to see them live. I was also able to get a view gifts for friends back home. Unfortunately, I decided to leave just a little early, so as to make it back at a reasonable time. So, I only was able to catch up to the second encore, which was pretty cool. Ended with "Matsuri no Ato".

Anyways, thus ends my experience with concerts in Japan. It has definitely been a pretty cool experience going to shows here. It should make for a good final paper for my Popular Culture class. (That's right, I'm writing about all this stuff for an academic paper. Kickass.) Hard to believe I only have about 2 weeks left here. But, it should be a fun time, at least after all my work is done. God only knows when that is going to happen.



Curly Ecstasy in the Mashed Machine

[PV] mothercoat - Curly Mash

Newest song from the indie rock band mothercoat off their first full-length album "Patchwork Shiki". The only other song that I've listened to from them was "galileo" off of the album "interphone", so I have to say I was pleasantly surprised to hear this one. It is much more of a playful and quirky indie pop song that borders on experimental/post-rock. It really reminds me of the song "STROBOLIGHTS" by SUPERCAR. The tone of the music carries through into the video as well, which is nice.

Apologies for the lateness in updating. It's been tough finding new things to post on. Plus, it's been getting kind of crazy busy with all the midterms and the upcoming finals. Ugh. Anyways, I'm sure some of you are wondering how my "ECSTACY IN THE MACHINE" show went. It went, um, swimmingly? Yeah, even though I had a paper and a presentation to do the following day, it's probably the most at ease I've felt at the Japanese concerts I've been going to. And by at ease, I mean not feeling totally awkward while desperately trying to figure out what I'm supposed to be doing.

In any case, LIQUIDROOM was nice as usual. A funny moment in the beginning was when Ahito Inazawa (the frontman of VOLA) made his way to the DJ booth to run it for a bit and, when people noticed it was him, all of girls got crazy excited and practically bum-rushed the booth. It was kind of funny to see how even Inazawa has rabid fangirls. It really seemed less of actual DJing though, and more of "Inazawa picks random songs he likes and he dances to them. If you like them, you can dance too". But, yeah, eventually, the opening band you're gold, i'm pink made their way to the stage. Can't say I really liked them at all. It was cool that the band had a bit of variety in their instruments. But, they had too much of a unrefined pop sound that ended up reminding me of a Hanson-type band that depends far too much on their looks and their soft and whiny harmonies.

After you're gold, i'm pink finished their short set, Riki Kinoshita from ART-SCHOOL had his turn on the DJ booth while VOLA set up. It was pretty much the same thing as when Inazawa ran the booth. But, I thought it was pretty awesome that Kinoshita picked both "SUNDAY" by lostage and "Coin Laundry" by OGRE YOU ASSHOLE during his DJ session. I was pretty into those two songs. Anyways, eventually, VOLA started their set. I'm not going to lie, I was a bit disappointed. I know this is going to sound bad, but I really dislike it when bands just play new songs and don't play any of the songs that they are known for. It leaves me trying to listen to the new songs and not getting into it as much. It didn't help that I wasn't really liking the way the new songs were sounding. There was way too much of Inazawa just dancing and not enough of the delicious twin guitar licks of the past. The one saving grace was that the set was started with "self-defense" moving into "An imitation's superstar". The closing of the set with "Mexico Pub" was pretty awesome too. But, seriously, no "A communication refusal desire" and no "Principle of machine" made me sad.

As I had that long paper and presentation due the following day, I decided that it would be best if I had left after VOLA. My sincere apologies to those who were interested in seeing how ART-SCHOOL was. But, anways, onto the crazy concert week that includes Base Ball Bear, lostage, and possibly even more. Yay. (Also, onto finals. Boo.)



Young Version OH OH


PV for the upcoming single "Young OH! OH!" from Japanese new-wave stalwarts POLYSICS. It's definitely pretty standard affairs from them, which, in this case, isn't necessarily a bad thing at all. The song has everything people have come to expect from POLYSICS: high-energy and infectious tunes. The video is also pretty standard POLYSICS with absolute fun randomness. I actually saw POLYSICS perform this song live at Hibiki Rock Festival last month and I have to say it was pretty awesome.

Last night was version 21.1. And now is the review. It was pretty different than what I was expecting. First of all was the absolute size of it. I've been to STUDIO COAST a couple of times now. Not only were there three separate waiting sections, but I also have to say that the stage floor and the upper decks have never seemed that packed to me before. It was definitely comparable to Hibiki Rock Festival in terms of size, and that show had at least eight bands. This one had only the three and a DJ, which leads me to the other difference. This was my first show where a DJ was present. When I finally got in, I really was surprised to find there was already music playing in the stage area. DJ HIROAKI MAEDA ultimately got to do his thing in between bands, which was awesome in filling up the break-down and set-up time.

The first band that went on was Sakanaction. I really have to say that, after experiencing them live, I have come to the conclusion that their music has to have been strongly influenced from the club scene in Japan. There were many times where I felt like I was in a Shibuya techno club. The opening with the song "Ame(B)" really hammered that point home for me. The crowd was definitely into as well. I've never seen that many people doing the seemingly everyplace synchronized jumping. It seemed like the entire crowd floor was jumping. This really surprised me, seeing as how I had thought Sakanaction was the least well-known out of all the bands on the lineup. The band really ended up impressing me, both in terms of crowd appeal and stage presence.

OGRE YOU ASSHOLE was up next, and I have to say it was a bit disappointing. Before giving people the wrong idea, getting the chance to finally see this band live was definitely awesome. The band brought a lot of their hit songs, kicking their set off with "Coin Laundry" and playing others such as "Flag", "Shiranai Aizu Shiraseru Ko", and "Pinhole". So, I can't say I was disappointed in this regard, although I was kind of hoping for other songs like "Mata Ashita" and "Omajinai". But, maybe because their music isn't very dance-friendly, the energy of the crowd seemed to have died down a bit. I do have to say though that the announcement that they were in the middle of recording seemed to have gotten a good response from OYA fans, including myself.

the telephones ended up closing out the show. And I have to say they couldn't have done a better job with that. Starting off with the infectious and VERY dance-friendly "Love&DISCO", it quickly turned into a ridiculously fun and very interactive set. My personal favorites were "DaDaDa" and the closing with "urban disco". Keyboardist (and cowbell player) Okamoto Nobuaki really stood out as well for his extremely manic onstage dancing. The band apparently also had an encore after their set, but, to be honest, I was just way too drained to stick around for it.

So, yes, version 21.1 definitely ranks as the best show I've gone to in Japan so far. Not only did I get to see three awesome bands and have a great time, I also got an awesome free sticker out of it as well.



Eyes In The Darkness of Crazy Amounts of Work

[PV] BUDDHISTSON - Eyes In The Dark

One of the songs off the impressive album "SLOWDANCE -wisely and slow, they stumble that dance fast-" that was released by BUDDHISTSON earlier this year. It had been a few years since BUDDHISTSON's last release, so I suppose the slight shift towards a more pronounced heavy distortion in the guitar shouldn't surprise me that much. But, for the most part, both the song and the rest of the album keeps the main core of BUDDHISTSON's sound the same and strongly focused on the airy vocals of lead vocalist/guitarist Shima and an overall light and reflective atmosphere in their music.

Let's see, the past week has gone by pretty crazily. It seems I won't be going to the pillows show. I went to pick up tickets about an hour and a half after they went on general sale, but apparently, they were sold out. I'm still going to try and see if I can still make the show and at least check it out the day of. But, man, I can hardly believe how quickly that show sold out. It seems that the pillows are much more popular here in Japan than I had expected. Still, looking forward to the rest of the shows that I'm going to though, so it's not an earth-shattering problem. Looking forward to the OGRE YOU ASSHOLE/Sakanaction/the telephones show that is coming up this Saturday in particular. Expect a concert review for that coming up in the near future.

Besides that, other crazy things have happened. I randomly bumped into John at Roppongi while I was meeting up with Wesley for lunch. It was pretty cool seeing both of them. Also, work has really been piling on as of late. Right now, I'm supposed to be writing the first draft of a 3 minute presentation that's due tomorrow for my Japanese class. Also working on a huge skit that my whole class has to present to the whole school in a week. I also have a midterm coming up for my Japanese Popular Culture class coming up on Friday. After that, I have a pretty sizable midterm paper for my Japanese Urban Society class that's due next Tuesday. And then, I have a presentation on Japanese jazz that I have to make for my Popular Culture class for next Friday. And then, a few weeks after that, I have finals. And then, I'm done. CRAZINESS.



Black Markets and Blue Seas of Okinawa

[PV] 9mm Parabellum Bullet - Black Market Blues

Newest release from the increasingly popular melodic hardcore punk band 9mm Parabellum Bullet. It doesn't feel like too long ago that I first discovered this band when they were just coming out with their first mini-album "Gjallarhorn". But, the band has definitely grown a bit since then, perhaps a bit more so in popularity than musically. Still depending largely on their hard-hitting yet still infectious riffs and impressive overall raw energy, the band can draw connections to similar acts such as THE BACK HORN. However, with this new song, I have to give some credit that the band is trying to deviate at least a little bit as the song manages to create a slight salsa feel if you want to stretch it.

Yeah, first of all I have to apologize for the lateness in the posting. The week has been a bit busy since I got back from Okinawa. And I have to say that the Okinawa trip was definitely worth it. It would be really hard for me to go through everything that we did in this one post, so I guess I'll just talk about what I thought were the highlights of the trip were for me. All of the food that we ate was really nice. Getting the chance to play a sanshin (the Okinawan version of a Japanese shamisen) was a real treat for me too. I really was having way too much fun fooling around with it, while everyone was learning the song we were going through. Very tempted to purchase one, but it was really just too expensive. (Even more so than the guitar I bought.) Visiting the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium was also really awesome. I don't think I have ever seen a fish tank as impressive as the main one that can be found inside that aquarium. Getting free time on Kokusai Street was also really nice. I have to say that overall though, spending time on the amazing beaches at Okinawa was definitely the real highlight of the trip. Definitely a nice break from the city life of Tokyo.

Oh man, part of me can't believe that it's already June. I only have about a month and a few weeks left in my program. With that said though, work is definitely piling on as many of my classes are in that midterm period. The one positive I could probably take from June is that it is the month where I am going to the most concerts. I am currently planning on going to a grand total of 5 shows over the course of this month. Actually planning on going to 3 on the last week of the month too, which will be really nice. Pretty damn excited about all of the shows I'm going to as well...

6/13 - version 21.1 (OGRE YOU ASSHOLE, Sakanaction, and the telephones) @ STUDIO COAST
6/24 - SYNCHRONIZED TOUR (the pillows, The Pees) @ CLUB QUE
6/26 - GO TOUR (lostage) @ CLUB QUATTRO
6/27 - Hibiya NONFICTION (Base Ball Bear) @ Hibiya Open Air Concert Hall

Yup, June should be a fun month when I'm not getting my ass kicked by work.





One could find this catchy little alt-rock number off monokuro's recently released album "CLASSIC". When watching this video, I can't really help but be reminded of (the pillows') Sawao Yamanaka's side-project THE PREDATORS. Stylistically speaking, both in terms of music and even visually, there are definitely some comparisons to be made. Makes sense, seeing as how monokuro is signed onto Sawao's DELICIOUS LABEL. Sawao was also responsible for producing monokuro's new album. Oh well, take it as you will and feel free to check them out if you like.

Let's see, yesterday was pretty eventful. Ended up going to Akihabara with Griffin and picking up a brand spankin' new DSi and a few games to go along with it. I ended up going with Ouendan 2 and the very necessary Kanji Sono Mama Rakubiki Jiten. Also had the chance to go to Mos Burger for the first time ever. At the time, they were promoting donut burgers. Yeah, weird I know. But, nonetheless, it was pretty delicious (albeit expensive as hell). Griffin decided to head back after that, and I ended up heading into Shibuya to do some extra research at Tower Records (AWESOME, right?) for a paper I have to write (and am currently procrastinating on) for my Japanese Popular Culture class. After spending about an hour or so there, I made my way over to Ebisu LIQUIDROOM for NO EVIL NIGHT.

I have to say NO EVIL NIGHT was pretty damn awesome and a great way to end the day. Firstly, I was pleasantly surprised by the set-up of LIQUIDROOM. The actual space itself was a bit bigger than O-NEST, but not up to the same size as STUDIO COAST so it still felt pretty cozy. MASS OF THE FERMENTING DREGS opened the show with about an hour-long set. Kicking it off with "She is inside,He is outside", the band pretty much went through most of the songs off both their self-titled and "WORLD IS YOURS". One thing I want to mention about this band is that bassist/vocalist Natsuko Miyamoto really looked like a Japanese Karen O (of Yeah Yeah Yeahs) at times, except with the demeanor of a cute Japanese schoolgirl. My only complaint at all about their performance was that the back half of the audience was pretty dead, which is a trend I'm starting to notice with more indie bands here.

Headliners MO'SOME TONEBENDER headed out about 10 mins after MOTFD finished up. Opening the show with "TIGER" (SO AWESOME), quickly followed by "You are Rock'n Roll" and "Unhappy New Age", it was pretty awesome and the entire crowd was definitely into it. The overall swagger that MO'SOME had the entire show definitely added to the fun factor. The band did break up the action with a couple slower songs, but, to be terribly honest, all they ended up doing was breaking up the pace of the show. All in all, it was a pretty fun experience though. Overall, I do have to say that it was one of the louder shows I've been to here though.

Alright, back to that paper that I should be writing.



Pride of the 1989 Marines

[PV] the pillows - 1989

Newest song from the famous Japanese power-pop/alternative-rock band the pillows set to be released in their upcoming compilation album "Rock stock & too smoking the pillows" in June. As some pillows fans have been quick to say, I have to agree that this probably has to be one of the best songs that the band has released the past few years. You can really feel the emotion in this song, especially as it comes to a close. The touching animated story that was created for the PV is such a great compliment to the song as well. Definitely looking forward to seeing them here in Japan next month when they hold their 20th anniversary tour.

Whoa, the last week has gone by pretty fast. Haven't really done too much. I did end up going to a Chiba Lotte Marine baseball game yesterday with a couple of friends. It was pretty fun. For me anyways, probably not so much for Marines fans as their team lost in pretty terrible fashion to the Saitama Seibu Lions (18-0 in their home stadium, ouch...) much to the disappointment of Griffin who had bet me 20 yen that they could score at least one point by the end of the game. Fun times either way, and it was interesting to see a Japanese baseball game after going to a few in America. There was an awesome fireworks show during the 5th inning, I think, and the cheering sections in particular were definitely very entertaining to watch.

Well, don't have too much planned in the near future. I will be going on the IES program trip to Okinawa in about a week and a half. Probably gonna try and pick up a new DS before the trip as I've been holding off on getting it for a while, and it'll be useful to have as a kanji dictionary and obviously the games. Ooh, I also got that MO'SOME TONEBENDER/MASS OF THE FERMENTING DREGS show at Ebisu LIQUIDROOM coming up next week, which should be hella fun. Yay.



Cloudy Skies on the Sound Festival

[PV] DOES - Donten (+ Shura + Subterranean Baby Blues)

The three-piece hard-rock/blues-rock band DOES is featured in this PV/live compilation that was put together on YouTube. The first song, "Donten" (which can be translated to "Cloudy Skies"), serves as a pretty good example of the type of music they generally put out. Almost minimalist in nature, the band serves up ridiculously simple yet catchy rock ballads, depending largely on the vocal stylings of vocalist/guitarist Ujihara Wataru to pull listeners in. I almost want to make comparisons to Nirvana in that regard. So depending on your opinion of the vocals, it will probably be very hit or miss. Also, before anybody bothers to point it out, yes, DOES has become pretty famous for their contributions to the hit anime Gintama.

Okay, time to go into my experience with the highly-anticipated Hibiki Rock Festival 2009 last Wednesday. I have to say for my first actual rock festival, it went pretty well. I also have to say that it went pretty differently than the other shows I've been to so far. The first difference, obviously, was the fact that it rained most of the day, which kinda sucked. It was also packed as the concert sold out (which prevented one of my friends from coming along unfortunately). It was weird seeing STUDIO COAST set up the way it was with food stands, a make-shift second stage outside, and all the people milling about. But, overall, it was definitely a blast.

I got to watch the entire set of te', THE BACK HORN, SPARTA LOCALS, and POLYSICS. Also caught a bit of sleepy.ab on the second stage. POLYSICS was definitely the highlight of the night, as the band always manages to bring out the energy in the crowd. They also manage to always bring out hardcore POLYSICS fans who cosplay in homemade POLYSICS outfits and start mini-mosh pits through a ring-around-the-rosey type move. Needless to say, it was really fun to take part in that. My only complaint was that the bands had way too short sets (~45mins or anywhere from 5-6 songs). I know this is probably because the event was only 6 hours long for 12 bands. But, it still left me wanting more by the end of it, even though I was exhausted.

Also, ended up spending tons of money. A warning for people going to lives in Japan, band t-shirts/merch are usually really expensive. I bought a POLYSICS tee, a SPARTA LOCALS tee, and a 9mm Parabellum Bullet baseball tee, which led to me spending around $70. I know I can justify it in my head, by saying I wouldn't have any other chance of getting those shirts without spending even more on shipping and what not. Either way, not spending that much on band merch again anytime soon...I hope.



Perfect Garden of AMAZINGNESS

[PV] People In The Box - Kanpekina Niwa

A song from People In The Box's latest mini-album "Bird Hotel", "Kanpekina Niwa" or "Perfect Garden" is an ironic choice for this post. (Details for that coming later.) I was able to get my hands on the album People In The Box released before this one, "Frog Queen", and, judging from that, I have to say that this song is very similar to their other works. Overall, People In the Box generally manage to find a suitable balance between creating a sound pleasant to the ear and a sound that can be interesting from a musical standpoint.

Now onto the irony. Just got back from the trip to Ashinoko Camp Mura. If you don't see the connection between a perfect garden and my trip, just Google image search it and you'll see what I mean. The area around the camp is just amazing to witness. The trip to and from the campsite was a bit long (~3 hours), but it just as amazing as the campsite itself as we got to ride a freakin gondola over the mountains and get the most amazing view of Mt. Fuji. I really have to stop saying amazing now, but that's how fun the trip was. Did I mention that the campsite was right next to a lake(?) and that there were "pirate ships" doing cruises?

Unfortunately, I didn't get to go on said pirate ship because I headed back a little earlier than the others on the trip. The reason for this was so that I could catch the VELTPUNCH/condor44 show in Shibuya. One of my classmates from IES, Brian, managed to catch the show with me, and I have to say a lot of things about the show caught me off guard:
1. In smaller venues, the bands strut in and out the main entrance like it's no big deal. I guess it's because they are more unknown. Either that or Japanese people are really good at holding in their rabid fan behavior.
2. The crowd was even deader than the band apart show. Me and a few others were the only people really getting into it when VELTPUNCH was playing. And even then it was only collective head-bobbing and/or slight movement.
3. VELTPUNCH played for only about an hour. And I didn't stay for condor44 due to my nonchalant feelings towards them and my desire to get back to the dorm at a reasonable time.
4. I totally forgot that there was a drink ticket charge. Thankfully, I didn't put my change pouch in the coinlocker at the time. But, I ended up looking like a concert noob. Awesome. [/sarcasm]
5. VELTPUNCH's Hidenori Naganuma (vocals/guitar) pulled an awesome stage antic move on the last song. ("Your corolla" for interested VELTPUNCH fans.) First, he jumped into the crowd. Then, he jammed out for a bit. Then, he handed his Stratocaster to a random fan who proceeded to jam out on it while Naganuma did his vocals for a good portion. Then, Naganuma took his guitar back and played the rest of the song up until the outro in the crowd. All I have to say is amazing.

Really looking forward to the rest of Golden Week now. Firefly + Serenity marathon with friends, reviewing my Japanese, maybe meeting up with Sabbanban, and, last but certainly not least, going to Hibiki Rock Festival. FUN.



Native Dancer vs Native

[PV] Sakanaction - Native Dancer

A song from Sakanaction's third (and latest) album "Shinshiro". Sakanaction is a new-wave/alternative rock band that has recently started to become popular in Japan over the last couple of years. And judging from the sound of "Native Dancer", it's pretty easy to see why. This accessible and catchy electro-pop tune really beckons comparisons to other hit artists both in America and Japan. The video's pretty entertaining too.

Osashiburi desu ne. Apologies for the long wait between entries this time around. It was tough to find a new video to post up and not a whole lot has been going on lately. Classes are (already) starting to become a blur. It's hard to believe that Golden Week is coming up next week. Don't really have any major plans for Golden Week. I might be heading to an onsen with some friends. I also know I'm planning on going to a couple shows in Tokyo during Golden Week. On the upside, I will be saving more money than if I went to someplace major like Korea or even Kyoto. Also, my parents gave the "OK" to go ahead and sign up for the trip to Okinawa that IES is doing at the end of next month. So, that'll be fun.

I guess the other news is that I recently was able to get a guitar from the Shimokura Secondhands guitar shop in Ochanomizu. ~$100 for a used guitar ain't half bad. Plus, over the past couple of weeks, I've been aching to have a guitar with me, so I can have something to do while I'm bored in my room. And now, I do. BTW, for those interested in the specifics, the guitar I got was an Aria Pro II MAGNA Series. [Pic] Fun.


P.S. More and more, I'm noticing how often I get mistaken for Japanese. Awesome.


Concert Ozis

[PV] mudy on the Sakuban - Ozis

PV of the song "Ozis" from the post-rock/instrumental band mudy on the Sakuban. On the first listen, I actually felt that mudy was ridiculously similar to their Japanese post-rock peers te'. But, after listening to them a bit more, there can be similarities in terms of the pace of their music. But the aesthetic feel of the bands is certainly different. Oh, and I particularly got a kick out of this video due to the fact that, unlike in America, those photo booths are EVERYWHERE. I mean, they are almost as common as vending machines over here.

Okay, now onto the (highly?) anticipated report on the concert I went to yesterday. First of all, I have to say that going to a show in Japan definitely feels different from shows in America. I showed up at the venue about an hour before the doors opened like most fans do in America. It's a good thing I did, not because there was a line of people (I'll get to that in a bit), but because they started selling band merch like t-shirts right outside the venue almost a few minutes after I got there. And then they stopped like half an hour later. Another thing that is pretty different that some of you might know about already is the fact that there is no line when it comes to getting into the venue. When you buy your ticket, you are assigned a number. The venue staff will then call you up by number when the doors open. (Hooray for practicing my Japanese numbers.) Also, this might not be the same for everyplace, but the venue I went to forced you to purchase a 500 yen drink ticket upon entering, which you could use at the bar for practically anything on the menu.

As for STUDIO COAST, it looked really nice on the outside, but it really wasn't as big as I expected. The actual size of the stage/floor was about the same as House of Blues (the last venue I went to in the States), but the neat thing is they had what seemed like metal separators (to prevent moshing perhaps?) in the floor. I ended up choosing a spot in the back, as I didn't want to get sucked up in the mosh pit that I was expecting to appear. But, when the show started, it really wasn't as bad as I thought at all. I almost regretted choosing a spot in the back, because all the people in the back were barely moving at all. Everyone seemed to have their own personal space for rocking out. The actual "moshing" seemed more like synchronized jumping and finger pointing. Now, I don't want to generalize the entire Japanese crowd as tame. It might have been because the band I was seeing wasn't a real punk/metal/"rock out" band. Either way, it was really fun, especially for someone like me who gets sick of dealing with the shovers and pushers of a normal American concert.

Oh, and for fans of the band apart, being able to see them live was amazing. When I got to see/hear the transition from "higher" to "amplified my sign" for the first time live, I really couldn't hide the smile on my face at all. Plus, now I totally understand the reason why bassist Hara Osakazu is such a fan favorite with his antics and sense of humor during his running dialogue with the crowd between songs. Getting cheered on for chugging water bottles sums it up pretty nicely. The ending of the first set was pretty cool too. Hara and drummer Kogure Eiichi did a fun little switcheroo during the outro of "beautiful vanity". The final encore of "K. and his bike" was also a nice touch.

Needless to say, I can't wait for the next show I get to go to. (Which is apparently VELTPUNCH and condor44. Nice.)


P.S. Doing much better in Japanese class now. Yay.



[PV] Base Ball Bear - Kamigami LOOKS YOU

Newest single from power pop band Base Ball Bear. Is it just me or do they use an acoustic in this song? And is it just me or does vocalist Yuusuke Koide sound ever so slightly different than usual? Well, either way, I always find it interesting that the band was actually originally an Oasis cover band, because I think you can hear the connections between Oasis and Base Ball Bear musically pretty clearly. This could be why they are oh so popular with the Japanese kiddies. It could also be the fact that their bassist Sekine Shiori was in the film "Linda Linda Linda". Also, yay for zombies.

First week of classes went good I have to say. Haven't exactly been doing the best in Japanese so far. Been struggling a bit on kanji dictations for no good reason. I will say that it has been a lot of fun in class, and I feel like I'm getting much better with speaking. The other classes I am taking on Japanese culture both seem interesting so far. (Contemporary Urban Society and Japanese Pop Culture, for those interested.) Not looking forward to the papers I am going to have to write on those classes though.

As for the weekend, I went to karaoke with a bunch of friends last night. T'was fun albeit a little more expensive than I thought. And today, I got to travel to Narita for the Taiko Matsuri (Japanese Drum Festival). Very fun. Got to eat quite possibly the best unagi (eel) that I've ever eaten. Also got to see the sights around Narita which I have to say was very nice. The temple that the festival was located in was complete with Buddhist shrines, waterfalls, koi (and a random mallard), and that is not even mentioning the actual performances by the taiko players. Good times.


P.S. My first concert in Japan is on this coming Wednesday. Impressions coming soon!


I'm Doing Alright Sugar

[PV] Fujifabric - Sugar!!

Newest single from prog/funk/disco/etc. rockers Fujifabric. I have to admit, when I first heard this, my first reaction was "Wait, this is Fujifabric, right?" Vocalist Shimura Masahiko sounds so soft in comparison to the songs on "TEENAGER". The song is also very synth-heavy, even more so than "Passion Fruit". It's not until the chorus first hits that the typical Fujifabric sound starts to pop out. The band has also made another look change apparently, with Masahiko looking more and more like BUMP OF CHICKEN's Motoo Fujiwara with his long straggly hair. I do have to say that I approve of his new guitar choice. Also, the video is pretty standard for Fujifabric with the inclusion of yet another random dancing girl.

So classes are now in session (since Monday). It's been pretty fun in Japanese class so far, but I can already tell that the word load is going to be killer when we start getting into the thick of things. We're just reviewing right now and, while I am thankfully not struggling with the stuff we are going over (I know most of it), it's gonna be fun when we go even faster and start going over completely new material for me. But, I have to say that the teachers are fun (even though Kinoshite-sensei totally picked on me all of the last class for no reason) and I know that I'll definitely get better this way.

In other news, I was able to get some tickets finally for some concerts I'm interested in. Let's see, I got tickets for:

- the band apart @ Shin-Kiba STUDIO COAST on 4/15
- HIBIKI ROCK FES. 2009 @ Shin-Kiba STUDIO COAST on 5/6

Also planning on getting tickets for these shows when the tickets become available:

- Fujifabric @ Zepp Tokyo on 6/7
- Base Ball Bear @ Hibiya Open Air Arena on 6/27
- OGRE YOU ASSHOLE @ Shibuya O-NEST on 7/10
- Suneohair @ Shimokitazawa GARAGE on 5/22
- lostage @ CLUB QUATTRO on 6/26
- VELTPUNCH @ Shibuya O-NEST on 5/2

So should be a fun 3 months. Hopefully.



Shout Aloud Fun Times

[PV] POLYSICS - Shout Aloud!

Newest single from the new-wave/electro-rock band POLYSICS. I have to say that I personally am not a fan of the new outfits they have chosen to go with since the latest change. (My favorite has to be the outfits before this one from KARATE HOUSE-era.) But, either way, both the video and song are the typical fare you would expect from POLYSICS. It does sound really fun to listen to live, as do most of their songs. Also, as many fans have been quick to point out, the teaser for the b-side "Beat Flash" at the end of the video sounds very promising!

To follow up on the last post I made, I did kind of terrible in the placement test, mainly in the listening and conversation sections. However, thankfully, I have been fortunate to not get placed in 200-level Japanese (the lowest section you can get placed in my program). I'm right where I want to be, so I guess that makes me happy.

All of the other things that have been going on since then have been making me happy too. Let's see:

-Visited Harajuku and the famous Takeshita Street
(Also found a really awesome modern art gallery in Harajuku.)
-Visited Ueno Park and proceeded to get stuck in permanent awe-mode.
(Awesome shrines + tons of sakura = permanent awe-mode.)
-Went to Meikai University's Nyuugakushiki.
(Nyuugakushiki = Entrance Ceremony.)
-Visited Yoyogi Park and proceeded to get stuck in permanent awe-mode...again.
(Tons of sakura + awesome atmosphere = permanent awe-mode.)
-Visited Shibuya.
(Got screwed on my tickets for OGRE YOU ASSHOLE and POLYSICS. Sold out. *shakes fist*)

Oh well @ the last part. Kind of disappointed I won't be able to see OYA. (I found another POLYSICS show I can attend thankfully.) But, now, I know a bit better on how tickets in Japan. Selling out about a week before the show is more common than I thought, so I'll have to be more careful in purchasing them a bit more ahead of time.

I'm still determined as ever to attend a show here before I leave. Oh, and to not fail miserably in Japanese. Riiight. >_>



SURRENDER my free time

[PV] lostage - SURRENDER

Now I present a song from the latest album of lostage known as "GO". Sounds like a typical fare from them, complete with ghostly vocals, airy melodic guitar riffs, and pretty solid drumming. Seems like their stuff has been leaning more and more towards this exact kind of soft yet foreboding sound since the days of "PLAY WITH ISOLATION". Maybe they're finding their musical "niche" so to speak or maybe their signing with major label Toy's Factory has something to do with it. Either way, if you like the song, I do recommend checking them out.

Okay, so lots of things have been happening since I last posted. I did end up going to Akihabara with Dobby. We mainly just explored the place, but we did end up visiting and eating at a maid cafe. I have to say that it was even more interesting/fun/awkward than I had thought beforehand. The both of us got a combo meal that came with a picture with the maid that served us. And by picture, I mean getting up on a stage in the middle of the establishment in front of all the other customers and doing cute poses with the maid while wearing things such as cat ears. Needless to say, you can imagine how crazy it is. I mean, we even had to repeat a cute chant with our maid as she served our drinks and food. Again, interesting/fun/awkward.

Not much has happened since then. I have noticed that my legs are getting ridiculously sore the past couple of days. I guess that means I've been doing an equally ridiculous amount of walking, which doesn't really surprise me I guess.


P.S. I took my placement test today. I did well.

P.P.S. April Fools! I didn't do so well. :(



[PV] SpecialThanks - You Say GOOD BYE

SpecialThanks is a pop-punk rock band that has been making a bit of noise lately. This song is off their debut mini-album "SEVEN COLORS". The band also surprisingly been getting a lot of buzz including from Japanese punk-rock icon Ken Yokoyama (Solo artist, creator of PIZZA OF DEATH RECORDS and previously a member of the Japanese punk rock band Hi-STANDARD for those who did not know). SpecialThanks has also been getting noticed in America, participating in SXSW 2009. Makes sense seeing as their sound has some obvious American pop-punk influences. Feel free to check 'em out if you like.

Not gonna lie, the last couple of days have been quite a blur to me. A wonderfully amazing blur, but a blur nonetheless. Let's see, I've moved into my dorm near Higashi-Funabashi station on the JR line. It's pretty nice, but I really need to get out to some konbini and get a few things. Namely a towel (which I forgot to pack apparently) and some laundry lines for my room. Drying my clothes in my room is gonna be fun (aka not so fun). I guess the reason I haven't done all this stuff yet is because I've been stacked with a smorgasbord of both fun things and orientation things over the past couple of days. Let me list some of the things I've done already:

-Izakaya (Japanese-style bar) with some of the fellow IES students in my dorm
(Hooray for getting totally buzzed 2-3 days after getting to Japan.)
-Karaoke party that lasted about an hour w/ Dobby, Griffin, Jacquie, and Lindsay
(Hooray for train schedules messing with "normal" party schedules.)
-Exploring the most amazing koen (park) in Makuhari w/ Dobby, Griffin, and Jacquie
(Hooray for staring Japanese children, lots of stray cats, koi, and more awesomeness.)

And much much more. And did I mention that today I might be making a trip into Akihabara? Until next time.



Carving the Sense of Arrival in Japan

[PV] ACIDMAN - Carve With The Sense

Pretty nice stuff from the newest single from ACIDMAN. To be quite honest, I had previously lost a bit of interest in this band. Wasn't a big fan of LIFE or the latest singles. Basically, in my opinion, it's been way too much of fluff recently from them. But, this single seems to be full of the raw energy that drew me to ACIDMAN in the first place. I hope the next album has more of the same.

So, where to begin? If you did not know, this blog is a continuation of a previous one called Hey STRANGER. [Warning: It is a Xanga-based blog. Unless you have a Xanga account, you won't be able to read it.] But, basically, the layout will (try to) be a video of a song from a Japanese rock band that I find interesting and my comments on said video/band, followed by a brief expose on what's been going on recently for me. This way, if you aren't interested in the band/song/music, you can skip that. And if you aren't interested in my life, then I suppose you can skip that too. I guess this is where I get into the stuff about me then.

Just arrived in Japan late yesterday. It's been quite a surreal experience so far. Went through the TITANIC of airplane flights, both in terms of size and disaster issues. Some of the disasters include up arriving in Japan almost a full hour later than I expected, getting rerouted to Seattle and missing the slim chance to see my girlfriend Michelle in LA, and losing my luggage to top it all off. Hooray for random plane crash at Narita and volcano eruption in Alaska for creating issues. But, I am here and it's been pretty good so far. My room at the OVTA (the site of my program's orientation) is pretty small as expected, but so interesting. Another hooray for having Japanese television and radio at my finger-tips. Being surrounded by Japanese people and Japanese language has also been making me nervous and excited at the same time. Haven't really had the chance to meet many kids from my program yet. Apparently, a lot of them got held up in the same issues I ran into. But I'm looking forward to meeting them. Here's to new starts.