Last time I was in Tokyo, I truly enjoyed visiting the fashion stores in LaForet in Harajuku.
Apparantly, h.NAOTO opened a brand new shop in LaForet Aug 23rd with theme “Neo Victorian Gothic”. I truly look forward to visit the shop in Mars!
The following video is a message from YOHIO to the readers of “FRIDA” – a Swedish magazine for teenage girls. (I will tell you a secret – I’ve been in that magazine too approximately 10 years ago… And I still got it saved in a box somewhere. But I won’t tell you why… *ha ha* )
Well, not because I was an upcoming superstar as YOHIO – that’s for sure. Wow, life must be crazy for him right now – so much happening and so much work to do.
In this movie he walks around in Harajuku and it’s painful to see Takeshita Doru and the lovely stores in the Laforet building. I want to go back so badly. When I visited that music-store in Laforet there was no YOHIO-singles…. but now there apparently is. And it’s quite funny to see him walking around in the fashion stores. I looked down on myself right now and realized that I’m wearing a jacket that I bought in the very same store as he stood in.
Japan is so close and still so far away.
Anyway, less whining from me and more focus on YOHIO. I hope you all will vote on him at Mars 9th… I think that’s when the final is. ^^
After visiting the Meiji Jingu Shrine, I decided to take another round on Takeshita Street.
I don’t seem to get enough of that place either… It’s located only ~200 meters from the Shrine entrance.
The Japanese telephone wires is not buried in the ground. They often look very tangled, much more than on this photo.
It started to rain. Again! But it’s OK, ’cause I spent most time indoors in shops… ;-p
I bought these tamagochi stickers for my niece. I hope she will like them.
Soooo, yes, I had another shopping spree… :-S
I fell in love with this shirt. (to the left) You can buy stuff like this in Europe too, but to the double price. I also fell in love with this lovely and cozy “jacket” in black velvet.
And when I saw this “The GazettE” shirt it just had to follow me home…
Today I went to Harajuku to take a look at the Meji Jingu shrine. I’ve been there once before with Hide and Josefin.
This is the first “tori” – the portal – to the area.
The path to the shrine is so beautiful, even when it’s autumn. Last time I visited the meiji shrine, it was summer and rain season.
Very early I got approached by these colleague students; Yuka, Shun, Yu and Natsumi. ^^ They wanted to join me to practice their English and I got good company and guides. Perfect!
These guys were adorable and I loved to spend some time with them. They were so nice and they knew so much about the place. We walked and talked a lot.
These guys told me so many interesting things.
Natsumi told me that this was a “couple tree”. One tree is the wife and one is the husband. They are united through the earth. These trees stood outside the Meiji Jingu Shrine.
Yuka was a big Gackt-fan so we sang Vanilla together while walking. ^^ Well, I hummed mostly, I don’t know the lyrics in Japanese. She had seen him live twice.
Shun showed me how to pray at the temple. We threw coins into some kind of wooden box, bowed twice and clapped our hands twice. Then we prayed. And then we clapped our hands once again.
I hope my wish will come true…
I bought these charms at the Meiji Jingu Shrine. Different charms have different purposes. I will give them to my brother, his wife and my niece. That small one is especially made for children to keep them with good health.
Warning: This will be a very nerdy and fan-girly blog-post by me. After all, it concerns my very first concert with my number one band: The GazettE. ^^ Love
Finally it was time for the GazettE concert.
If I only had one day left to live, I would choose to relive this day.
I’ve been nervous sick about this and just getting my hands on a ticket via PS Company had been quite a struggle.
I still didn’t have a ticket in my hand, just a booking code. I prayed to all Goddesses and Gods possible that everything would turn out as I hoped without any further problems.
This was a big deal to me. GazettE has since start been the number one band for me. This would also be my first concert in Japan.
My nervousness made me feel a bit sick. I was in cold sweat, shaking and felt dizzy, so it took a long time before I managed to get up from bed. But eventually I had to, so I made myself ready and headed to the Meiji-jingumae station from which it would be a short walk to the NHK hall.
I walked towards NHK while listening to the DIVISION album. I looked around at other people who seemed to head to the same direction and searched for land marks that could ensure me of that I wasn’t lost.
When “Required Malfunction” started to play I got all teary by overwhelming emotions. I still couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe that I was going to hear these tunes live. This voice. That I was going to see them in the same hall, breathe the same air.
Finally at the entrance of NHK area I noticed a big truck outside.
The GazettE was all over it and I died a little. Other fans photographed themselves next to the truck.
Just this stupid sight – of a truck with the GazettE pictures – seemed unreal to me.
But this meant that I was close to the arena and that I was closer than ever to get my ticket.
I entered the gates and continued to all these buildings. There were people everywhere waiting. Probably fans. A lot of them were remarkably dressed up for this event and their styling must have been taking hours of hard works.
Incredible hairstyles in the most fantastic colors. Incredible makeup and clothes…
I got confused when I saw Ruki, Reita and Uruha popping up here and there. But it wasn’t them of course. It was cosplayers, dressed up and styled as them. They had done a fantastic job and were so so beautiful.
I wasn’t sure of where to get my ticket so I asked one of the guards. He couldn’t speak or understand English but pointed at the merchandise hall, so I went there and asked the staff. It turned out that one of them could speak English and she took care of my booking.
Finally. FINALLY, I had the ticket in my hand. My first ticket to a Japanese concert. My first ticket to a The GazettE concert. My hands were shaking even more and I just waited for a harsh wind to grab it from me and throw it away among the treetops where I could never find it.
I don’t think I’ve ever been holding onto something as desperately as I did with this ticket… ^_-
With the ticket I got this note.
I believe we should have these rules at Swedish concerts as well… but then I guess there would almost not be any audience at all…
Well, since I already had entered the merchandize hall, I decided to do all my purchases at this point. These areas usually get quite crowded after concerts.
I picked a photo book for this tour including albums with artistic photos of each member in the GazettE, a pink and white mobile shell with the words: Black moral, a poster and the tour t-shirt.
This is probably the biggest t-shirt I have ever seen. I asked for another size but apparently it was “one sized” shirts.
It looked like people who chose to wear it directly were running around in nightgowns. ^^
I walked out from the building and took a seat on the wall that surrounded the area. The doors wouldn’t open for about an hour and I had plenty of time to just chill down and take a look at other people.
So many of them looked like stars themselves. It was a delight to see. But everybody didn’t look like super jrockers from head to toe or was cosplaying. There were a lot of ordinary people as well. Mostly young people though.
When the doors finally opened we were all lined up and I found it amazing that there was so little pushing. There was actually space between us all, even though the line was two meter wide and we were 4000 fans.
Remarkable. This must be an indication of Japanese respect.
While stepping in, we were handed even more advertisement. To me it was treasures. ^^
I did my best to interpret the characters of my ticket and find my seat in the hall. The hall wasn’t as big as I first thought; it only gave room for 4000 people. I don’t know exactly how the booking of seats works at Japanese concerts, but I think they are all drawn somehow. At first I thought that I had made a bad draw, since my seat was at the very back of the top floor. But later I would realize how amazing it was, being able to watch the band AND the entire audience at the same time. I will explain this later.
I felt secured though, since I had brought small and handy binoculars with me. It was Jessica Ö who gave me that tip at home, and while watching the stage through these lenses, I could see every detail perfectly. I would get great close-ups of all members if I wanted to. And even though I was standing in the back of the row, I wasn’t that far away from the stage. After all, there were three floors. I’ve been too much bigger concerts with at least 10 000 people in the audience.
This is how far away I was. Without binocular, I couldn’t not see their faces, but I could easily see what they were doing on stage.
The pictures of the band in this post are not taken by me, since photographing was strongly prohibited during the concert.
When the intro music started and the hall went black, my heart was pounding like crazy. People started to scream. We didn’t have to wait long before the GazetteE entered the stage and I remembered that I gasped some very bad words… well, they were an expression for how overwhelming it all was.
The rest of the concert had become a little bit of a blur since I was so much INTO it. I dropped all my analyzing and thinking and just acted and enjoyed to the fullest. Afterwards I have been able to recall some stuff, but not everything.
On the wall behind them there were beautiful films and scenery especially made for this tour. The GazettE is definitely artists in many aspects.
They started with three very rough songs and the entire audience rocked like I’ve never seen an audience do before.
Not a single one sat down or stood still!
Everybody – and I mean EVERYBODY – danced and rocked synchronously. It was absolutely incredible to see and I was so amazed. It was like we all shared the same mind and knew exactly what to do next.
I think I was able to follow the choreography thanks to all my GazettE-live-DVD-watching. ^^ For the rest, it was like they’ve been born to do this, like it was as natural as walking and talking.
During fast parts of the songs, we all leaned forward close to seat in front of us, grabbed it and shook our heads like crazy – but still to the rhythm. My guess is that we all leaned forward as much as we did because:
1. The more you lean forward, the more respect and admiration you show the band? Like bowing.
2. The more you lean forward, the less chance that you hit someone’s face with your hair – in case they don’t head-bang themselves.
This is just guesses of mine.
During heavy parts with distinct rhythm, we did what I enjoyed the most. We all grabbed the chair in front of us and made slow but steady head-bangs, from standing up right to leaning forward 90 degrees.
Doing this all together – and with the band – was such a great feeling.
The music grew stronger and filled our bodies. When I think about it afterwards like this, it’s like I’ve been tripping on some wonderful drug. Like making love to the music, feeling the heat from everyone else, the rhythm is in your veins, pounding, you feel the united expression for the music, like we were all one worshiping being, feeling the hair swaying back and forth in harmony with everyone else.
It was… magical.
Sometimes I fell out of the “global consciousness”… like when the rough songs ended and I automatically started to clap my hands. I soon learned though, that at Japanese metal concerts (at least concerning the GazettE):
1. After heavy and rough songs, you do NOT clap your hands. But you shout and scream and cheer.
2. After slow songs you do NOT shout and scream and sheer. You only clap your hands.
I learned to follow these rules pretty quick. ;-p
They started with three very rough songs and I think the audience got pretty relieved when they followed up with three slow songs. We were all already soaking in sweat and exhausted. But our spirits were high.
I noticed that a lot of people had DIVISION towels to dry off the sweat and I got very disappointed that I had missed that good at the merchandise table. It would have been very handy right now.
Most of the songs they played were new pieces from the DIVISION album.
I was in seventh heaven when they played my absolute favorite “REQUIRED MALFUNCTION” and favorites like “HEDERO”, IBITSU” and “DERANGEMENT”.
They were all wearing pretty dark clothes. Uruha did NOT wear stay ups.
Ruki had this beautiful costume in dark blue velvet.
I noted that:
1. During rough and fast songs you rock like a Duracell rabbit on speed.
2. During slow songs, you stand still and do nothing (maybe you stretch out your arms).
During slow songs I sometimes took the opportunity to inspect the band through my binoculars and I got shivers when I realized how good I could see them. They were all so beautiful. I must confess that I mostly looked at Ruki…
I can’t remember last time I got this high at a concert. During the rough songs, we all rocked so hard and so fantastic synchronized with each other.
That’s a reason why I felt happy to have a seat in the back, ‘cause I could see all this. When people made the slow version of head bangs, it created a wave of hair in the entire hall. It must have been amazing to see from the bands view as well.
In other words, it was not only the band itself that granted me this wonderful experience – it was the audience as well. A Swedish – or European – audience would never act like this. It was all crazy and wild, but still organized. No one tried to elbow themselves closer to the stage, no one pushed or bumped into another – and if it happened by mistake, it was given to apologize. We all stood perfectly at our seats and used our personal space for the dance.
Except head-banging there was a set of different movements that we used during the concert.
You could tell by the sound of a specific part of a song, which choreography to chose – so we all did the same thing.
It’s a little bit hard to explain movements like this, but a lot of them are used by Ruki himself sometimes, on stage. Like stretching forward your arm and pretend to grab something – or the opposite – pretend to set something loose, like sprinkle something into the air.
During fast “happy” parts, we jumped and grasped the air with our hands, like cats (according to me ^^). Left hand up and right hand down, right hand up and left hand down. Sometimes we put the arms close to the body and then stretched them out to one side. Pulled them back in, and stretched them into the other direction.
I believe it was during “HEDERO” that everybody suddenly did these movements but at the very same time began to jump to the side. This actually made me a bit confused and this was actually a part when we all had to bump into each other.
I laughed all the time, ‘cause it was crazy to see an entire hall of 4000 people skipping to the sides like bunnies on crack. I wondered how everybody – except me – knew this was about to happen. ^_-
Except DIVISION songs, I got to hear some of my absolute favorites among the golden oldies…
I can’t explain how euphoric I got when I heard the intro to “Akai One Piece”. I love that song, and actually, when I listen to it on my iPod, I usually chose to hear the LIVE-version. It’s so much greater to hear live than from a studio.
Wow, Uruha started it with his wonderful riffs. We all got crazy.
Take a look at this earlier Akai One Piece-performance. It’s quite hard to resist dancing, am I right?
Some of my favorite movements is integrated to this song. This was actually something I’ve been dreaming of to do… Like the “hand-circles” (3:18) and the “arm-crossing ala Ruki” (4:08) *lol* This is my own names for it. I don’t know what others call them. ^^
Reita must have some killer ears ’cause he sure know how to keep balance even though he swirls and swirls and swirls so many times on stage that I get all dizzy and wonder “How the Heck is he able to swirl that mush without falling?”
Well, that’s a mystery.
Ruki head-banged a lot and Aoi and Uruha made dramatic gestures while playing.
Other “golden oldies” (well at least songs not from DIVISION) I got to hear was “Cockroach”, “Suicide Circus” and “Psychopath”.
When it was time for encore, everybody in the audience clapped and shouted “Encore!” this was not a lazy audience – everybody kept calling the band back even though we had to do it for a pretty long time.
Finally the band reentered the stage – this time wearing their tour t-shirt.
First Kai and Reita came in. Kai made us shout and Reita made his famous solo part on the bass. We all screamed and jumped on his command until we got all sweaty again.
Then they got accompanied by Aoi and Uruha who impressed us with their guitar skills and made us shout even more.
Shortly after, Ruki skipped in. He is so tiny so the big shirt looked like a dress on him. It suited him perfectly. Over it, he had a long black shirt with a piece of red and black patterned fabric in the edge.
This time they lightened the entire arena so the band could see us as clear as we saw them. That was a wonderful feeling. They looked at us, with their flat hands shielding their eyes.
Ruki talked more to the audience, and gosh, I wish I could understand Japanese. I did notice though, that he joked a lot – and the audience laughed.
During the first encore, they played “DISCHARGED” – and believe me… THIS ONE IS CRAZY LIVE!!! There was almost no time for rest, we just worked it so hard and head banged fast and furious like our lives were on stake.
The band rocked with us and I kind of lost track of time here. I just remember that I was physically tired but my spirit filled with explosive energy and it was like rocking in heaven.
Discharge totally worn us out. In the end, we all gasped for air and I couldn’t feel anything in my arms. Our heads were dizzy by all head-banging and I believe we all smiled like morons.
Listen to this masterpiece: DISCHARGE!
This one MUST be experience LIVE!
And if it doesn’t kill you… it makes you stronger. ^_-
The last song they played during encore one, and which made me really glad, was “BEST FRIENDS”. It such a joyful song and it always makes me so happy to hear. I realized that this all soon would be over and I got tears in my eyes.
The band thanked us and left stage again. Time for another encore, so the audience kept clapping and shouting. This time we had to wait pretty long before the band reentered.
This time there was a long sequence of drums and shouting. It was like they wanted to do a final rock session with us – totally worn us out. And so they did.
The band thanks us another time and left the stage. We tried to get a third encore, but this time it was over for real.
We packed our belongings, and left the hall. I was a bit overwhelmed – of course – and kind of stumbled out. I watched the huge queue next to the merchandize booth and was glad I made my purchases earlier.
At the bottom floor we saw loads of beautiful flowers. I believe this might have been gifts to the band from different companies and artists.
Walking home was a bit odd and I don’t remember it at all. But obviously I did reach my hotel. (And note, I hadn’t been drinking at all this evening.)
This is something I never will forget. I thought I would feel relief… That I couldn’t die now without any remorse. I’ve seen GazettE!
But it actually turned to the opposite. Now I feel that I must see them again before I die. I MUST!
So my current plans is to get back to Japan at “Groan of Diplosomia 2″. I really hope I’ll be able to.
GazettE’s performance was full of metal, energy and love. And something else that amazed me was the audience! I’ve never experienced an audience like this. If all Japanese jrock gigs is like this, then I want all my concerts to be located in Japan. I’ve never been to such an interactive concert as this one.
Everybody danced like crazy – perfectly synchronized – and I mean EVERYBODY! I didn’t see a single lazy fan!!!
I cheered, danced and head-banged more than I’ve ever done at a concert. My chest and ribs hurt so much but I was in such ecstasy that I didn’t care.
Whatever happens – this night will always have a very much special place in my heart.