Tuesday, September 27, 2011

General Updates (Concerts and School Life, etc.)

Okay, time to do a much-needed update.  First up, a list of the concerts I'm planning on attending.  An (X) next to the show means I already purchased the tickets (you will notice I've already purchased many, many tickets, lol.  Thank god I make a decent salary, hahaha).

(X) Indies, 10/1, Ikebukuro Black Hole.  Bands of interest: Le-vert and VAIOS (for reasons I'll explain later).

(X) MERRY, 10/9, Shibuya CLUB QUATTRO.  Two-man with Karasu.  Truth is, I may or may not actually attend this show.  My friend bought too many tickets, so I might take one off her hands, but I'm still not sure.

(X) Lycaon x DIAURA, 10/28, Meguro Rockmaykan.  It's their BISEXUAL two-man event tour final.  Should be epic.

(X) Indies, 10/29, Ikebukuro Black Hole.  Band of interest: DEZERT (will explain why later).

DIR EN GREY, 11/7, Shinkiba STUDIO COAST.  I... don't... have... tickets...  I failed to realize when they went on sale, but it would've been hopeless even if I had known.  It's not sold out yet, but the Loppi machines have nothing.  Nothing much on the auction sites yet, but I'm gonna keep trying.  No one shuts me out of a DIR EN GREY show!!!

(X) MERRY, 11/11, Ebisu Liquid Room.  This is part of MERRY's 10th anniversary six-night concert thing.  This one will be themed after their album PEEP SHOW.

(X) MERRY, 11/13, Ebisu Liquid Room.  This one is themed after the Underworld album.

Okay, that's what I've got for concerts so far.  That should cover the next few months.

Also, information about school stuff.  One of the reasons there have been less amusing stories on my blog as of late is because I no longer teach my "lovely" third-year students.  They have high school entrance exams coming up, so now they have to spend every class sitting there doing cut-and-dry, intense English study, during which I am not needed.  I exist to help out, come up with fun ideas, and be the fun thing in class.  I'm not there for hardcore studying.  So I won't be seeing them for the rest of the semester it seems.  I'm sorry about that, cuz I know they were really amusing, but I can't really do anything about it.  But my first and second-years can be funny too, so I'm sure more will come up!  For now, I've got second-year girls who come running up to me screaming, grab my hands, clap them repeatedly, then run away screaming.

Also, random, but I've started doing this thing called Chaos Judges.  I've been doing it on Facebook and it amuses me way more than it should.  Here's one for the blog.

Chaos judges my new leopard print fedora.  He judges it FONDLY.



Also, continuing with pictures, check out what I found!  Pumpkin flavored Halloween marshmallows!  They fucking taste like joy and happiness:


Aaaaaaaaaand, last but not least in the picture department, one of the classes at my school was growing eggplants as part of a science project and they grew too many.  The teacher gave me a whole bag of eggplants to take home and I wasn't sure what to do with them.  For now, I've made curry:


Aaaaaaaaaaaand that's all for now.  See y'all next time!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Indies Four-Man, AREA, 9/17

Today I have a very interesting show to report on. It was a four-man, and the lineup included AUBE, Awoi, -OZ-, and BORN. The show wound up taking me by surprise in the best of ways, so this is going to be a fun report for me to write!

This show happened to fall on a three-day weekend for me, which was kinda awesome. MelJay and I (and a friend of hers) met up and went to a burger place we'd never tried (they had avocado burgers, yay!) and goofed off around Tokyo until it was time for the show. This event was, surprise surprise, at Takadanobaba AREA. Isn't everything? Well, especially cuz this one was a sort of borderline-super indies show. And, as usual, we had crappy ticket numbers (320 and 321). Why do we always have crappy ticket numbers? Because, generally speaking, MelJay and I don't plan for shows much more than a week in advance, so we usually buy the tickets towards the end of the sale period. But it really doesn't matter because you can always go up for something you want to see, so... no big deal. But we still had to start in the back behind the second barrier. Pretty crowded show, though. Probably had about 400 people.

So MelJay and I decided to use our “inspiration” and predict the band order. We decided it would go AUBE, Awoi, Oz, then BORN would headline (and we were right cuz we're awesome). We decided AUBE would go first because, unlike the other three bands, we'd never heard of them and they looked oshare. Oh goody. MelJay and I figured we'd hate them and planned on staying in the back and possibly even sitting down if it got too bad.

So, our first band up is AUBE (pronounced oh-beh). Picture:



Now, if you look at that picture, you can probably predict was I'm going to say, right? I'm probably going to unleash a slew of anger against cutesy bands, and I'm probably going to start swearing and using words like “crap” and “shit” a lot. You're probably waiting for me to insult the band and their families all the way back to the prehistoric era.

You would be wrong.

AUBE is rated HS for Huge Surprise.

Yeah, I'm actually about to give an oshare band a positive review. The thing is, though, I'm not sure AUBE was really oshare-kei. I don't really know what they were, to be honest. When they first came on stage, I groaned because they were just so sparkly. Every freaking thing they were wearing was sparkly, and the vocalist's microphone stand was actually encrusted with sparkles. No joke. They also pissed me off by doing that thing some bands do where they blast a super hard, death metal intro, and then come out looking like a unicorn puked a rainbow all over them. But then they started playing the first song and, like... it was some kind of jazzy thing. But, like... really good jazz. Like, super fun, makes you wanna dance, kinda jazz. I felt very confused. The audience was doing the craziest furi, though. It wasn't even furi, I think it was actually full-blown para-para. It involved hip-shaking and spinning in circles and all sorts of whacky shit. Except... the music was so fun I felt I couldn't really blame them for all the stupid dancing.

But after the jazzy first song, they went into a whole other kind of song, and that one was actually... rock music? Like, they were actually playing hard guitar riffs and there was screaming and... I don't know, I was soooo confused. But the thing that really got me was the drummer. He was the token girly member, but... holy shit could he play drums. MelJay actually turned to me partway during their performance and whispered, “their drummer is awesome!” He was a drumming powerhouse! There was one song where, every now and then, he would just explode into this frantic, chaotic seizure of drumming. It was crazy! And the vocalist did some death metal growling at one point and... he actually growls better than some of the “hard core” band that are supposed to have a lot of growling. I couldn't believe it! The thing is, though, I think the band knows they don't come across as very hard core. During the MC, the vocalist was like, “wow, we have some really strong bands here tonight. Bands with really strong names like AWOI and OZ and BORN” (he kinda growled/shouted their names). “But AUBE... what kinda name is that? It sounds like 'obi'” (an “obi” is the giant sash Japanese women wrap around their waists when they wear kimonos). So even AUBE was making fun of itself for being a contradiction.

Anyways, the point is, I actually really enjoyed an “oshare” band for once. Mostly because they weren't actually oshare and had a lot of talent and I imagine they're probably a lot of fun on CD if I was ever feeling not-lazy and actually bothered to look them up. As performers, they had a really good presence. The vocalist had a lot of energy and he seemed to genuinely enjoy himself. I didn't feel like he was faking anything. Sometimes he even danced, but he seemed to do it for fun. The members had really good charisma, but it was effortless charisma. They didn't have to force it. The audience was crazy into them. All 400 people were up and moving. Overall, just a really good time.

Next up, let's meet Awoi. Awoi, Awoi, Awoi....... Picture:



This band is rated ZDP for Zombie Dance Party.

I don't even know where to fucking begin with Awoi. Awoi is one of those bands that's actually been around quite awhile for an indies band. By “quite awhile” I mean they started in 2004. So they're seven years old, and that's a long lifetime for an indies band. Also, unless I'm mistaken, I believe they're an Osaka-based band? VKDB definitely says they're from the Kansai region and they mostly play concerts in Osaka. Anyways, they're one of those bands whose name I've been hearing here and there for years and years but never paid much attention to. I think I even watched one of their music videos years ago and then promptly forgot about them. And, since they're Osaka-based, I never saw them in concert when I studied abroad. Non-Tokyo-based bands are just generally more obscure as a rule. According to my friend Evan, Awoi is also really popular in Nagoya.

Aaaaaaaanyways, I wasn't sure if I should look forward to them or not. Part of me was looking forward to them because I'd heard the name a million times and I knew they were a “darker” band. I had a friend recommend them to me once too and I'd heard good things for the most part. But I'm also suspicious of a band that stays indies for so long without going anywhere (checking their schedule, however, I am humbled. They're waaaaay more super-indies than I thought). Plus, MelJay watched some live footage of them from V-Rock Festival and said they looked really boring. So I was maybe a little excited, but also prepared for extreme disappointment.

They were not what I expected at all.

Let's see... they had a typical “hard core” type intro, but that's to be expected. The drummer came onstage (guess he's new from what I've heard). He was in all black, but I expected that too. Then the right guitarist came on stage and there was so much black around his eyes he looked like a zombie. Then the left guitarist came on stage. By then, they'd pumped so much smokescreen onto the stage that you couldn't even see the band anymore. The guitarist jumped up onto the crate and then... did an interpretive dance in the smoke.

WTF.

I mean, all you could see was his scrawny silhouette in the smoke, but he was dancing like a serpent and undulating every part of his body. And this was not a short dance. This went on for at least a minute, with the audience cheering and applauding while his arms twisted and his hips wiggled. He was actually really damn good at it – like some kinda zombie belly dancer. It was around that time that I realized all 400 people were not only up for Awoi, they were all kinda freaking out about Awoi. Huh. Now, I'll admit, I thought the guitarist was the vocalist because of the dancing, so I was more than a little shocked when he jumped down from the crate and put on a guitar. Then came the bassist with a bandana around most of his face.

And then came the vocalist.

I've been to around forty indies events in Japan in my time, and I have never seen a vocalist get a reaction like this guy did. To say the audience freaked out would be putting it mildly. It wasn't just the usual growling and shrieking that the indies girls toss out there, it was more like the Second Coming. Girls were screeeeamiiiiing. Some of them were practically seizing. People were jumping up and down and clutching their faces and shrieking. The girl in front of me was seriously going into convulsions about this guy. The audience reaction was so extreme, MelJay and I gave each other a surprised look, like “whoa.” I later told MelJay I thought some of the girls were going to rip their chests open and throw their organs at the vocalist, that's how excited they were.

My guess is that Awoi receives this reaction because they almost never come to Tokyo, so they're a rare gift. You can buy their music at any music store in Tokyo, so the indies girls have heard Awoi's stuff and seen their music videos but don't get to see them live a whole lot. So, yeah, needless to say, these girls turned into possessed demons at the sight of the vocalist.

So imagine my amusement when the vocalist took center stage and I finally got a good look at him. With that kind of screaming, you imagine some kind of god coming on stage. Instead, the vocalist was this scrawny little thing in a suit with flat, black hair, and gallons of black makeup smeared around his eyes. He was kinda... like an adorable little zombie. And he was making the silliest angry faces and scrunching up his nose at everyone. I think MelJay and I just laughed at him.

But, the truth is, once the band started playing, I realized they were actually kinda awesome. The music was really hard, but also very melancholy, and the vocalist had a very interesting voice. Well, to be honest, his voice made it sound like someone shoved a wet sock down his throat, but I don't really mean that in a bad way. And the vocalist was a crazy little thing, which kept a smile on my face.

Then you've got the guitarist on the right. He looked so normal and not-crazy when he came on stage, but then he seemed to get weirder and weirder as the show went on. I dunno if anyone remembers this, but there was a macro, like... seven years ago or something (I feel old) with various screencaps of Kaoru from Dir en grey staring up at something in the upper left of the screen. He did it on stage, in music videos, in photoshoots, etc. The macro read: "for Kaoru, there was no escape from the thing in the upper left-hand corner." That macro's been a joke amongst my friends and I for quite awhile, and never has it applied so much to something as it did to Awoi's guitarist. He just... kept... staring... at something... in the upper left-hand corner. What in the world was he staring at?! And the really scary part is sometimes he kinda... mumbled things at it. Like he was talking to something up there. Something was just really weird about him. He was super spacey. But sometimes he would suddenly break out of his trance and start singing along to the music, which was cute. But seriously, what the hell was floating in the upper left-hand corner?!

Meanwhile, the guitarist on the left was totally dancing while playing for the entire show. As if we needed more interpretive dancing over there. What a nut.

Overall, they were just really, really good. I bobbed my head to the music the entire time they played. Great riffing, bass-driven music. Interesting melodies. They played many different kinds of distinct songs. I decided to check out their music after the show and found I could actually pinpoint which songs they played live because it was distinct enough. It made me very happy. I was also amused when, instead of an MC, the vocalist decided to make weird, echo noises and sing eerie notes while bent double over the crate. MelJay and I gave each other a meaningful look and smirked. With my fingers I spelled out K-Y-O and MelJay nodded in agreement. Honestly, it sounded exactly like one of the “inward screams” Kyo does. It had the growling and the whining and the warbling. The thing is, though, Awoi's vocalist did such a good job I feel like I can't even fault him for it. I mean, it wasn't exactly original, but it sure sounded good.

Towards the end of their set, their bassist finally pulled off his bandana. Turned out he was actually pretty good-looking under that thing, lol! Also, the vocalist shoved his fingers against his eyes and smeared his make up all over his face. He sure was an energetic little bastard who made a lot of hilariously ugly faces. I can see why the audience gets such a kick out him.

So yeah, I enjoyed Awoi a lot, and it's a shame that they almost never play in Tokyo. I probably won't see them again for the rest of the year. Oh well. I'll catch 'em again some other time.

So, next act up, we have -OZ- again. Picture:



They're rated NAP for Needs a Pulse, and also the thing I wanted to do while they played.

Hmm... I dunno. I've enjoyed -OZ- these last couple shows, but I wouldn't say they blow me away or anything. They're good, but they're also... missing something. Like, enthusiasm. In fact, they were so dead on their feet at this show that MelJay whispered to me that it looked like the band didn't even want to be there. I kind of agreed. It almost seemed like the band had a fight or something, and they were all really bitter and pissed off. Then, about halfway through their set, they all suddenly forgave each other and got really into it for some reason. But it took awhile. I don't have much to say about them. MelJay and I moved down into the front area to sorta spot-save for BORN, but it was rather uninteresting down there.  -OZ- played a new song which was definitely very pretty. Also, I've decided their vocalist looks like a Final Fantasy character, so I spent the entire set trying to figure out who. It went something like this:

Me: Maybe... Cloud?

MelJay: No...

Me: Zidane?

MelJay: Um, definitely not. Maybe that guy from X?

Me: I hope not, he's ugly... Maybe he's a hybrid of several characters.

MelJay: Maybe.

Me: No, wait, I've got it. He looks like Lightning.

MelJay: [gives me a weird look]

The next day.....

[MelJay and I are standing at the Square-Enix store staring up at a poster of Lightning]

Me: See! He does look like Lightning!

MelJay: No he does'n – oh, wait, yeah, maybe... fuck you.

Yeah, like that.

But seriously, does anyone else see it?!  Seriously, check this out.

Natsuki vs. Lightning:


Freeeeeeeaky, lol.

Okay, moving on, the next band up is, once again, BORN. Every weekend we're welcomed to the 666. BORN is rated C for Consistent.  Picture:



Sorry, BORN must be getting so redundant. MAYBE IF SOME OTHER BANDS PLAYED ON THE WEEKENDS THIS WOULDN'T BE AN ISSUE, HMMMM?

Anyhoo, they were really, really good. As usual.  Blah blah blah, um... good setlist, good energy.  Ryouga was way more into it today than he even had been the past few times.  He actually came onstage headbanging, which was amusing.  He really needs to take off that stupid outfit, though.  He's always sweating balls in that thing.  It's gross, and a heat stroke hazard.  Um... not much to say here except, once again... BORN, Y U NO PLAY SIX DAMIAN?!!  But it was great other than that.  I actually remembered my BORN bandana this time, so my wrist could be wrapped in a nice cloth of happiness that reads Agitate to DOGMANISM.  Whatever the fuck that means.  I dunno, like last time, all I can say is I had a really good time during BORN and they're super fun.  A+ etc.  I highly recommend them.  They make you jump like crazy and you wind up exhausted, but it's a blast.  I even started improvising some of my own shit during their set, which is something I haven't done for a band in a long time.  You kinda have to know the songs reeeeeally well to do that.  Which I now do.  Yaaaaaaaay.

Anyways, that was the show.  After that, MelJay and I returned to Shinjuku to find her friend and eat at Saizeriya.  Yaaaaaaaaaay.  I have nothing scheduled to see this week, but I'm sure I'll find something to post about anyways.  And it'll be a lot easier now because...

I HAVE INTERNET IN MY APARTMENT AT LONG LAST!  HALLE-FUCKIN-LUJAH!!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

BORN Two-man, Ikebukuro Black Hole, 9/2

Got another live report here.  Another BORN show.  But I'm seeing BORN again this weekend (along with Oz and, for the first time, Awoi), so I'm gonna keep this report fairly short.  Seeing BORN constantly has nothing to do with me liking BORN more than any other band, it's just that they're the only goddamn band that keeps playing on the weekends.  Anyways, this show was totally awesome and way better than the one that came before it, so... I'll just explain all the good points and then try and catch up for this weekend, lol (I didn't see anything last weekend, so I'm not skipping anything).

So, this was on a Friday, meaning I took off some paid leave for the show again.  I'm such a bad person...  But I should emphasize that I'll never miss a class.  I only take paid leave when I don't have classes or anything to do.  Honest.  Anyways, the show was at good ol' Ikebukuro Black Hole, which I hadn't been to in forever.  Hey, the drummer from Re:dis isn't bar-tending there anymore!  So sad!  There's some new guy now.  Aaaaanyhoo, the show was a two-man.  The other band was called FEST VAINQUEUR (seriously, how the fuck do you even pronounce that?!).  MelJay and I had shitty tickets as usual, but we also had a feeling FEST VAINQCKWEIHOBHJ111 would be playing first, so I, for one, didn't worry too much.  Without much choice, we took our spots at the back of the extraordinarily crowded shoe box known as Black Hole,

And, sure enough FEST VAINQ346709-732++ did wind up going first.  Here's a photo:


They were........ just not my thing.  I'm not even sure why, though.  The music was intense and rough and the instrumentals were good, but... something just didn't hit me right.  I think it was mostly the vocalist.  You know, everyone's got a thing that kills a band for them.  MelJay can't listen to a band with a bad drummer, and I can't listen to a band unless I like their vocalist.  It's a taste thing.  I just found his voice really grating and whiney.  Also, having seen the DIAURA one-man just one week before this show made me appreciate the incredible talent it takes to be a good front-man.  It's an art.  When yo-ka's on stage, the entire venue is suddenly sizzling with raw energy and the audience is fired up enough to stage a drive-by.  This guy, though... just didn't have that kinda skill.  Luckily, they only played for an hour (it could've been sooo much worse).

So let's move on.  Once FEST VAINQ^&#$)(*&#^* was done, the whole audience made the switch.  All the FEST etc.etc.etc.etc. fans moved to the back, and the BORN fans took their place.  MelJay and I took advantage and managed to get more than halfway up to the front.  Ticket numbers be damned.
 
While standing there, MelJay and I actually wound up making friends with some BORN fans.  Normally, the other girls assume we don't speak Japanese and don't say anything to us, but these girls just kinda went for it for some reason.  Once they realized we spoke Japanese, a whole conversation started.  It was pretty funny.  They were soooo happy to meet foreigners who love BORN.  This seemed to make them truly happy.  Taking advantage of the situation, MelJay and I decided to ask these girls a very important question: how the hell do they know the order the bands go in?  Venues used to sometimes put up a sign that listed the order, but now we don't even see that.  The girl's explanation?  In English she said: inspiration.

Huh?

Realizing we were very confused, the BORN fan explained herself.  Based on her explanation, I think what she meant was "intuition" not "inspiration."  According to her, you just think really, really hard about the bands playing, and you feel around deep inside your "kokoro" (like, your heart or soul or spirit or mental being... something like that), and you decide the order based on that.

Uuuum... but that's what we've been doing.  And it's been failing.  How does that explain the show where Para:noir and Oz went first and L&DS went fourth?!  No amount of intuition could've told me that!  I'm starting to think these indies girls are psychic...

Well, whatever, they were super nice and it was nice to have a good fifteen minute conversation in Japanese.  I wonder if we'll see those girls again on Saturday...

Anyways, on with the show!  Time for our final act of the night, BORN:

  
It was well worth the wait.  The BORN that made me so nervous at the last show was ready to totally change my mind at this show.  Here's our setlist:

COBRA
Dust pain
【beauty;beast】
Rotten cherry
-MC-
white harmony
New Song
Psycho Diva
-MC-
DIRTY STACKER
DEMONS
Kuroari
Ranshi ℃
RADICAL HYSTERIA
shrive

Encore:
Dammit!!!!!!
more Deep
Chemical Romance


BORN, y u no play SIX DAMIAN?!!  Two shows now and I still haven't heard it!  Anyways, other than that, it was a fuckin' bitchin' setlist.  Almost perfect, I'd say.  I was soooo happy.  When they came on stage to the "welcome to the 666" intro and then went straight into COBRA, I think I shat a brick.  Happiness!


So, rather than a play by play, I'll give a basic overview of the show.  The basic overview being that it was awesome.


Unlike the last show where the band was really solemn and low-energy, they were totally on fire this time.  They rocked out like crazy for the whole hour and a half.  Ryouga was back to his old self, too, which I was really glad to see.  Rather than standing there all pensive and melancholy, he was back to jumping around, headbanging like crazy, and that really stupid dancing that he does.  At this show he decided to spend a lot of time hopping backwards across the front of the stage on one foot with his other leg out in front of him.  So stupid.  So great.


Honestly, I'm not even sure what to say about the show.  It was so perfect and fun and flawless that there's nothing to say, hahaha.  The audience was also great.  The side-to-side jumping was fun because the audience was able to do it without killing each other.  Very much appreciated.  It got insanely hot and sweaty in that little shoe box, though.  We were all jumping up and down so much and getting so into it that most of us wound up completely drenched in sweat.  It's gross, but... I had to spend a lot of time peeling off the hair of the people around me because it was plastered to my arms.  Ugh.......


Wow... I'm actually out of words about something for once... It's not that I forgot how the show went, I just had such a good time that it was an hour and a half blur of happiness and headbanging, and that's all there is to it.  It was just a really, really good show, lol.  I love to spend a lot of time complaining, but I can't even do that, hahaha.  I hope people can just accept that my live report is: it was really good, lol.  Plain and simple.


Unfortunately for MelJay, she was in the same situation I was in for the DIAURA one-man and had to catch a bus home that very night because she had to be at school on Saturday for sports festival duty.  We had time to wait in line and get a drink and say goodbye to our new BORN friends, and then she had to bolt.  So then I, all alone, went to KFC.


Pathetic, hahaha.


But seriously, I had a major chicken craving and I had just jumped up and down for an hour and a half.  I deserved some KFC!


I wound up in Tokyo alone the next day and used that time to try and find the free volume of Cure V-Splash with yo-ka and Yuuki from Lycaon on the cover.  I was eventually successful.  You guys seen it?  It's hawt:



I mean, seriously hawt.  I'm not into fanservice, but dayum...
Oh, and then I wound up meeting up with some friends to go clubbing.  And then I went clubbing all night.  And drank Chu-Hi outside a Family Mart because I'm a classy motherfucker.

God I hope the school never finds out about my double life, hahaha.

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Word to the Wise

Never let your bike get into a battle with the curb.  There can be no winners.  Only losers.  And you might lose a lot of your calf to the pavement.

Friday, September 9, 2011

DIAURA's First One-Man 9/6

DIAURA's first one-man! At last!  W00t! And boy, that was one hell of an adventure. Just getting there and back was insane.

I had my first day of classes the same day as DIAURA's one-man. Because of that, I initially put my foot down and said I absolutely wouldn't go. But, while MelJay and I were in Tokyo over the weekend sitting in a cafe near Like an Edison, MelJay wound up talking me into it. We decided if we bought the tickets and it turned out I couldn't go, we'd only be out 3,000 yen. Compare that to the 10,000 yen I'd wind up paying to actually go and, suddenly, 3,000 doesn't seem like a very big deal (it's like $30).

However, there were a lot of problems that were standing in the way of me going.

Problem #1: I had five periods of class that day, and the last one ended at 2:35. That meant I would miss the train I needed to make it to the show on time. I'd have to take the next one an hour later. With that one, I could do a bunch of messy train transfers and make it to the show just in time for the intro music... if I ran.

Problem #2: Even to catch that train, I'd still have to request paid leave from my teacher. But I couldn't tell her why I wanted to leave, obviously!

Problem #3: Getting home. I can't stay overnight in Tokyo. If I leave the next morning, even with clever train transfers, I'd be at least ten minutes late to school, and that's a big no-no. I would have to leave the same night as the show, but trains stop very early heading towards Gunma. I might have to leave the show early, even. And if I mess up the trains somehow... STRANDED.

As you can see, going to this one-man was turning into a big hassle, and I wasn't even looking forward to it. I felt guilty about how irresponsible I was being on my first day of classes, and I was mad at myself for my complete inability to grow up, act my age, and behave myself enough to hold a full-time job. Part of me just wanted to quit and not go.

So, along comes Tuesday. I started off the day by coming up with a small, harmless lie. I asked my teacher if I could take paid leave after class. She said that would be fine. Wanting to be convincing, I told her it was because I'd become tired lately. That small lie made me feel pretty bad about what I was doing, but I just thanked the heavens for paid leave and signed myself up for two hours off.

Then I had my five classes. I'll write a full post about that later. I taught the third years, which isn't really teaching. It's more like zoo-keeping. After fifth period ended, I looked at my watch.

What the hell, it's only 2:10?!!

I don't know what the hell schedule I was looking at originally, but 5th period actually ended at 2:10, not 2:35! I humored some of the demons – er, I mean, children – for a couple minutes, then ran back to the staff room, abandoned my laptop (it's too heavy to lug around Tokyo), and ran for my life.

And I caught the train! Success! I was able to get to Shibuya the way I usually do, and I wouldn't have to worry about missing any of the show! I met up with MelJay at Hachiko at about 5:35. Doors opened at 5:30, but our ticket numbers sucked so much we knew it wouldn't matter (we were around 250). We got to the venue at around 5:45, and the show was set to start at 6:30.

So today's venue is, once again, Shibuya BOXX. The venue I'd never been to until this year is suddenly seeing a lot of me! Outside the venue, some friends of the band left flowers for DIAURA! They were probably from other bands, but they were using fake name like Yocchan and Tetchan and stuff. It's weird cuz you don't normally see that for indies! There were huge wreaths out there. Aaaaaw! MelJay and I walked into the door and, as expected, met a wall of humans. Valluna used to have really crowded one-mans, so it stands to reason that DIAURA would too, especially considering the band is doing really well. MelJay seemed grumpy that we were stuck at the back of the venue, but I knew we'd move up eventually and told her not to worry about it. I was an expert at Valluna one-mans, and I was pretty sure DIAURA wouldn't be much different. Many of the same fans are there, and yo-ka's style is unmistakable no matter what band he fronts. Yo-ka always demands that we push up at some point. Or many points.

So we stood around, waiting for the show to start. To my dismay, I found that standing for five hours teaching 175 spawns of Satan had left me pretty tired. But I needed energy! I needed to be hyper for the show! I stood pretty still, then, attempting to recharge in time for 6:30. Glancing around, I felt a little disappointed by the stage. In the past, Valluna used to do stuff with the set for their one-mans. They'd put bloody toilet paper all over the drum set, or put mannequin heads around the stage... They'd take advantage of all the free space. But, when I looked at the stage, it was just a large drum set and some microphone stands. Hmm... Also, there were tons of cameras, so they were obviously filming. There were about four cameras in the balcony, two up front, and two camera people running around with them. Looks like a DVD is on the way!

As for the audience, there were sooooo many guys! It used to be like that for Valluna too. I think it's because yo-ka causes the shows to get pretty violent and wild, so the boys feel justified in going. It's not a cutesy little visual-kei show, so the guys aren't embarrassed to attend. Also, yo-ka put a message on his blog the day before telling people to dress appropriately in order to not cause accidents (like with high heels and stuff). I'm happy to say, the girls obeyed. Almost everyone was dressed in normal-ish clothing that they could move comfortably in. Way to go, guys!

Blah blah blah, eventually smoke started filtering around the stage and the lights went out. The World End intro music began to play, and everyone started getting giddy with excitement. People were kinda dancing in place. The bored looking support drummer I mentioned last time slunk quietly onto the stage and took his place, and I muttered to MelJay that I do not envy him his unforgiving job lately. Next out was bassist Shoya. Good lord is he cute! I can't get over it! I realized it's because he reminds me of how Toshiya from Dir en grey was back when he was a little baby in the visual-kei days. Shoya's just like that! He's got the funny teeth and the cute smile and the adorable crescent-moon eyes and he's kinda shy but not really. Soooo cute! Then came Kei. Good ol' Kei. The reliable rock of the band.

Aaaaand then yo-ka appeared. He was wearing one of DIAURA's early outfits – the ones that were kinda Valluna-like with the big thingie around the neck. I was excited because I knew yo-ka was excited. All he'd been talking about on his blog for weeks was the one-man. He mentioned it in every post, sometimes several times, and he had constant status updates about how he could only think about the one-man. As MelJay put it, he's like a dog tugging at the end of a leash. At midnight on the 30th, he wrote, “it's finally the 30th!” Around 8:00 am he wrote, “it's finally morning!” So I knew yo-ka was super excited for the show. One-mans are when he truly shines.

Yo-ka started off by riling everyone up like he usually does with lots of screaming and yelling and making weird faces at the audience. Shoya was doing his best to get everyone to clap and throw their fists and stuff. The band went straight into an intense song with lots of headbanging and jumping and rocking out. Even from the back of the venue, it was really fun. Yo-ka knew that some people were at the show who hadn't had the chance to see DIAURA live yet (MelJay said one of the girls from the show took the bus all the way back to Chiba with her), so he was really good at yelling things like, “atama!” when he wanted the audience to headbang and, “tobe!” when he wanted the audience to jump. That kinda thing. Shibuya BOXX surprised me by being able to shoot huge plumes of smoke up into the air from the front of the stage. Who would've thought from a little live house?

However, to everyone's confusion, the moment the first song ended, the stage went dark and the curtain went back down. Um... what? We all figured the band was planning something, but several minutes passed and it was still dead silent. Even the lights behind the curtain had gone out. Some of the Japanese girls behind us were jokingly saying, “kaette koi!” (“everyone go home!”). I was kinda thinking it too, lol. Was the band mad at us or something? Did one of them get hurt and we didn't notice? I turned to MelJay and told her yo-ka finally had a hernia up there. The audience decided the band was waiting for dead silence, so everyone shushed each other and everything became as quiet as a cemetery. In the silence, a girl behind me suddenly exploded into the most high-pitched, squeaky sneeze I've ever heard. There was giggling and one girl went, “ah, kawaii!” (“cute!”). Several more minutes passed before, finally, the curtain began to rise.

The stage had changed! Behind the drum set, the entire backdrop was replaced by a floor-to-ceiling movie screen. Techno music began to play and the movie screen flashed the kanji for “BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!” In all the craziness of trying to get to the show, I forgot that the pamphlet for the show said there was going to be a really important announcement! Then the screen flashed the words, “4th member!” As usual, the entire audience went, “eeeeeeeeh?!” The movie said, “official drummer! Yuu!” The audience spazzed. The “bored looking support drummer” I keep mentioning has been upgraded to official drummer! Then the screen flashed a picture of Yuu wearing his new DIAURA costume. Now, for anyone reading this who followed Valluna from the beginning, you might be thinking, “Yuu? It couldn't be the same Yuu!” Well, it is. Yuu was the drummer in a band with yo-ka right before Valluna, and he was also the original drummer of Valluna, before he stepped down and KANADE replaced him. Strange, isn't it? I suppose he was a good choice because yo-ka and Kei have both worked with him before, so they knew they'd get along. Now, I get the feeling Yuu told DIAURA not to make a big deal out of his official upgrade, but they did anyways, because he came out on stage, jumped up onto the crate in his new costume, and stood there with his hands in his pockets looking really embarrassed and awkward. He's really good looking, though, so a lot of the audience was like, “wah, kakkoii!” meaning, “he's hot!” or “he's cool!” But I do think he was embarrassed.

Eventually, the rest of the band came out and allowed Yuu to slink back behind the drum set and into his safety zone. They'd all changed out of their costumes into the more current “costumes” that are basically just regular clothing made to look kinda stylish. They sort of look like marching band uniforms. Yo-ka came out and did a brief MC about the announcement. According to him, with Yuu becoming official, the band is now “kampeki” (“perfect” and “complete”). So DIAURA is officially a complete band now and they're not looking for another guitarist or anything. Yo-ka did some talking about how, when he and Kei first started DIAURA, he never knew they'd come this far and blah blah blah. Stuff like that.

Here's a picture of the complete band (Yuu is the one all the way on the right).  Sorry it's so small - there aren't really too many promo pics of the full band yet:
Then we jumped straight back into music with DICTATOR! Damn that song is fun. A lot of the song doesn't have any furi, the audience just dances. As it should be. Not wanting to slow down the pace, the next few songs were also really intense and crazy. To my surprise, yo-ka demanded a push up right there during the first few songs. The whole audience started rushing towards the front of the stage. The girls in front of me hesitated, however, so I just shoved them. If yo-ka wants us to move up, you move up, goddamnit! However, it was too early for any dog-piles, so all the girls went rushing back to their old spots every time the move-up was over. MelJay looked annoyed, but I knew the real move-up would be coming later.

After yo-ka had thoroughly exhausted us with intense music (one of the songs, he made the audience jump for pretty much four minutes straight. Some of the audience looked like they wanted to die), DIAURA brought down the pace and played one of their slower, prettier songs. I forget the name... Something Something no Hana. Anyways, the song is really beautiful, and yo-ka sang it incredibly well. The way he sings “still I die, still I die...” I dunno, it's really pretty. Now that DIAURA had the entire audience in a sad, woeful mood, they decided to try something new. The stage went dark and Shoya and Kei moved off to the side. A spotlight came down on yo-ka and he sang Todokanu Tegami with nothing but a piano track to back him up.

Damn.

It was stunning. One of the things that's great about yo-ka is that, unlike a lot of other indies vocalists, he can actually sing. In fact, he can sing really, really well, but people don't always realize it because he spends a lot of time screaming. Yo-ka sang so passionately that some of the audience members started crying. The background music wound up being a piano and excessive sniffling. Yo-ka himself got so worked up he had to step away from the microphone at one point and go bow his head by the drum set to compose himself. Damn does that boy know how to perform.

When the song was over, yo-ka did another little MC. He was trying to explain to the audience how much he loves us, but he was having a hard time getting it across. I guess that kinda thing is hard for boys to say. He was saying stuff like, “I will protect all of you. That is my promise to you. Because I... I love you all...” He was trying so hard to convey this “love” to the audience that it looked like he was going to pop a blood vessel. He was staring at the audience with wide eyes like, “do you get it? Do you get it? I love you! I. Love. You.” Finally, he explained that their song Infinity is a love song. More specifically, it's DIAURA's love song to their fans. Oho. I don't care much for that song, but yo-ka's insistence that he's pretty much exploding with puppies and kittens and love towards his fans was a sweet gesture and I played along.

Aaaaaaaaaaaand then they left the stage after Infinity, with yo-ka thanking us over and over like the ship was going down. Geez, man, I get it. You love us. I get it. Boy, somebody was on his period.

It was obviously too early for the show to be over – and probably too early for it even to be considered encore, but we called for the band to come back anyways. When the lights came on again, only Yuu came on stage. He was trying a little harder to have a pulse, so he held up his fist to make us shout for him. He still did everything he could to not look at the audience, though, lol. Then he went behind the drum set and started up a drum solo! It was definitely an interesting drum solo. I don't know much about drums, so I conferred with MelJay about it later (she plays drums). According to her, Yuu's drum solo was perhaps a tad messy (the rhythm was all over the place) but she wouldn't say it was bad. He was definitely trying something new. After a few minutes of drum solo, Shoya came on stage to a chorus of screaming. Considering he's only been in the band about six months, the fans are absolutely wild about him. It's kinda hard not to be in love with Shoya. Anyways, he came on stage throwing his fist, then jumped up onto the crate and joined Yuu in a bass-and-drums-only song. It actually sounded really cool. According to MelJay, Shoya and Yuu have a great rhythm together, so Yuu was definitely a good choice for DIAURA. Drums and bass are all Greek to me, but MelJay seems to know her shit.

After some fun bass and drums playing, with the audience clapping along, Kei came onto the stage and started to do a guitar solo. Sometimes... I just feel sorry for him. He played a really cool solo, then he paused and gestured for the audience to clap. They all just sorta stared at him for a moment, so he gestured again. Then everyone was like, “oooooooooh” and started clapping. Kei....... seriously, man... I wanted to face-palm right there in the audience. I mean, it's not his fault, really. The art of performance is extremely difficult. Many people can play an instrument, but not many people can get on a stage and work a crowd. That's a talent all on its own. I wouldn't say Kei can't perform, because I've seen him work the crowd before. But sometimes........... so awkward.... Anyways, he continued to do a guitar solo for the next few minutes, and I thought it sounded really cool. Yuu and Shoya joined in and they all did a big instrumental piece together. Then yo-ka came back and it was time to get into the music!

They decided to go straight into hardcore songs at that point, and there was a lot of jumping and headbanging and stuff. Shibuya BOXX wound up being a surprisingly awesome venue for a one-man, regardless of how I feel about it for events. Not only could they shoot plumes of smoke into the air, but the lighting was really cool. Sometimes the stage would glow this deep, subterranean red, and it made the band look sooooo evil. Especially because yo-ka's contact lenses are really creepy, so the red light looked cool. Yo-ka has a white-out contact in one eye and a red contact in the other, so the red light made him look totally deranged. The next few songs were pretty crazy, but some of the big hits were missing, and I was getting nervous because I had a very specific series of trains I had to catch.

Anyways, after the next few songs were done, the music came to a halt and yo-ka did a brief MC. But it was really just another attempt at getting us to go crazy. From Valluna one-mans I knew what this meant: yo-ka was preparing us for the end-of-show chaos. It was time for shit to get serious. Yo-ka jumped up onto the crate and started yelling, “omae no masutaa wa dare desu ka?!!” (“who is your master?!!”) and everyone would scream, “YO-KA!!!” Then he would repeat, “omae no masutaa wa DARE desu ka?!!” (“WHO is your master?!!”) “YO-KA!!!” Yo-ka turned to Shoya at that point and was like, “wow, this is really easy” and Shoya was just like, “hehe, yeah...” So, if yo-ka is yelling, “who is your master?!” there can only be one possible song they're about to play:

MASTER. I really love this song. Other than Infinity, DIAURA's new mini-CD, Dictator, is kinda awesome. The audience started getting really feisty and everyone started inching their way up towards the front of the stage. Furi became almost impossible because everyone was getting so cramped. Lots of mass headbanging. The next few songs, yo-ka continued to stir the pot. He kept slipping his upper half into the audience to see what would happen. He was definitely testing the waters. The roadies were hovering around the edges of the stage looking nervous. Normally, bands that have a crowd-surfing vocalist have a roadie prepared for rescue missions, and sometimes they have two if they're known to really get out into the crowd. Yo-ka had THREE hovering around the stage. Add that to the camera people and it was getting pretty crowded up there. Anyways, yo-ka did eventually fling himself into the crowd, but it was nowhere near me. I suddenly realized he was gone, glanced over, and saw his legs flailing in the audience. Lol. But I was too busy being entertained by Shoya, who kept reaching out and high-fiving audience members. I kept reaching out for a high-five and Shoya always seemed to get up to me and then stop. He must've noticed my frustration however. He started high-fiving the crowd again and, when he got to me, he slapped me on the back of the hand about ten times as if to apologize for all the times he missed me, lol. Thanks, Shoya!

By the time we got to the song Beautiful Creature, things became insane. Yo-ka kept yelling for us to push up, and it happened so many times that people stopped going back to their spots and the dog-piling began. Now was yo-ka's chance. He started crowd-surfing like crazy, to the horror of the roadies. It seemed every minute or so yo-ka was flying back into the crowd with the roadies scrambling after him. The audience was ravenous for some reason, and they practically ate him alive every time he jumped in. A few times, the roadies had to grab him by the back of his belt and drag him out of the audience like an owner grabbing a misbehaving dog by the collar.

Basically, Beautiful Creature turned into a complete meltdown. I've seen Valluna shows get out of hand, but this was a whole new level of crazy. I didn't notice it, but MelJay said that, at one point, when the roadies pulled yo-ka out of the crowd, there was a huge cut down his forearm. That's how wild it got. Yo-ka kept leaping onto the barrier to growl and get all demon-like on us, although he kinda lost his balance at one point and landed back on the stage. Rather than getting mad or embarrassed, he wound up laughing at himself, which was funny. Kei laughed too. The roadies were flying around the stage, trying to keep everything together, but it was impossible. Shoya got too excited watching yo-ka and wound up throwing off his bass and leaping into the crowd too. The audience consumed him whole and he vanished. Thank god for the roadies. At one point, yo-ka handed off his mic to Kei and took his guitar, and yo-ka stood up on the crate playing guitar while Kei went around reaching into the crowd to grab hands with people. A few times yo-ka tried to get Kei to scream into the microphone, but Kei was too embarrassed and gave yo-ka the “please save me!” face, lol. For the most part, however, Beautiful Creature involved the audience leaping onto each other into a giant pile while yo-ka flung himself repeatedly into the crowd.

Okay, so here's the crazy thing that happened. I am not making any of this up.

As the dog-pile mess became even bigger and crazier, yo-ka's stage diving got even more intense. At one point, he climbed onto the barrier and then bellyflopped about six feet out into the audience. The roadies looked like they were going to have a heart attack. However, flinging yourself six feet into the audience is kind of a bad idea and it didn't really work. The audience caught him... kinda. For a moment. Enough to keep him from getting hurt. But he was feet-first on the floor pretty fast.

This is where it got insane. Yo-ka decided to improvise. I mean, I'm pretty sure yo-ka knows the whole point of stage-diving is that all the girls want to cop a feel. He's not stupid. He knows he's a sex object and he knows he's good at selling it. He crowd surfs so all the girls get to touch him. So... if he fails at crowd surfing but he's still in the audience, what should he do?

MAKE-OUT ORGY! Basically, yo-ka started pulling girls into himself and let them grope him while he moaned and rubbed himself all over everybody. And these girls did not hold back! In the Valluna days, girls would restrain themselves a little. They might reach for his arm, brush their fingers across it, then pull back fast. They might touch his hair for a moment, but not grab it. But no, these girls just jumped in and were all fucking over him.

But wait, this gets crazier! It took me several seconds to realize yo-ka was behind me and that about fifteen girls were having a dry orgy with him. I turned around and, when I realized what was going on behind me, I froze in surprise. But little miss MelJay wanted a piece of that action and I was in her way, so she pushed me towards the circle. She didn't push me hard, but it took me by surprise, and I wound up stumbling into the dry orgy. Suddenly, girls' arms and hands were all over me, and yo-ka was right in my face making... very sexual faces and sounds. I once again blanked and froze and stood there, unmoving. There were hands aaaall oooover meeeee. Suddenly realizing, hey, I want a piece of this too, I kinda made the reaching gesture towards yo-ka and let my hand go over his shoulder. But that was all. I just couldn't justify becoming a part of this little sex party. It was too embarrassing and... I mean, yeah, I'm female, I have hormones, but I'm not one of those fangirls who goes to a show just to stare at pretty boys and cop a feel. I just go to have a good time.

But then...

Suddenly, yo-ka threw his arm over my arm, pushed it down as hard as he could, wrapped his arm around my neck, and pulled me against his body as hard as he could. For a moment, I froze against him, unable to believe what was happening. The girls were all pushing up against me and groping at us and I had no idea what to do. Then yo-ka took his other hand, pressed it against my back, and pushed me into him as hard as he could. And then I realized... FUCK IT. THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN. In a burst of happiness, I threw my arm around his back and buried my face in his neck. I just stayed like that, wrapped in a bubble of pure bliss for about five seconds. Yo-ka smelled really good. Like leather. Seeing what was going on, the dry-orgy went crazy. With all the pushing going on, yo-ka couldn't really stay up and he started to fall. As I realized he was going down, I let go of his back, thinking he would release me.

He did not.

He clutched me as hard as he could with both arms and dragged me down to the floor.

On top of him.

I actually shrieked as we fell because I was so shocked and surprised. And then, suddenly, I was lying on top of yo-ka. On the ground. And he wouldn't let go of me. He held me in a python death grip. Pretty much the next four seconds of my life involved me having an internal seizure as I laid on top of him, and my brain just went “oh my god, oh my god, oh my god” over and over. I don't even remember what happened next. When yo-ka fell, it brought the whole dry orgy down and everyone collapsed to the ground in a giant pile of flailing arms and legs. The next minute or so was a mess of girls helping yo-ka, myself, and the fallen girls up off the floor. I couldn't get up in the chaos, so I didn't even see what happened. I struggled to get up, but it was too crazy and I kept falling down or getting pushed off my feet. One girl tried to help me up but got pushed, so she fell down as well. Eventually, MelJay and another girl managed to haul me to my feet, and I thanked the Japanese girl profusely. By then, yo-ka was back on the stage and the roadies were staring at him in horror, prepared to grab him if he tried that shit again.

But oh my god.

I cannot fucking believe what happened to me. That was, like... the closest I'll ever get to making out with a seriously hot guy. Frankly, yo-ka's the closest I'll ever get to being in the same room as a guy as hot as that. So, thank you, yo-ka. You're like a good host boy. You didn't discriminate, and you made a fat foreign girl happy for about a minute. You are awesome.

Yo-ka didn't stop the crowd-surfing, though, and the camera people were loving it. They kept prowling around in front of the barriers and the edge of the stage trying to film everything. At one point a camera person had to help yo-ka back onto the stage, hahaha. But yo-ka missed his landing and wound up rolling across the stage, and he didn't get up. A roadie went rushing over to him with a panicked look on his face, but it turned out yo-ka was just being a big drama queen and rolling around on the stage, flailing. The camera person decided to get down on her knees and film yo-ka doing this, so yo-ka decided to become a full attention whore and put his microphone between his legs and rolled around moaning and touching himself while staring right at the camera. It was pretty funny. The camera person probably thought, “jackpot!” lol.

By the time yo-ka got up, DIAURA was pretty much wrapping up the insanity and leaving the stage. The roadies looked like they wanted to die, hahaha. Yo-ka turned to one of them and clapped his hands together and bowed in thanks, lol. The audience was screaming and freaking out and it was awesome. The second the band members were gone, encore calling began. I was glancing worriedly at my watch. I had time for an encore, but only one, so I hoped this would be the end of it.

They did come back for a few more songs, but I don't even remember much of it at that point. I was too busy being in Happy Land over what happened, or worrying about the time. But it was fun, I do remember that. Another dog-pile happened, though without the crowd-surfing. As the dog-pile continued to push up, I actually wound up half on the barrier. Half of me was on the barrier and half of me was pushed up against the saizen girl. Then I just stayed there and let Japanese girls fling themselves against me for about five minutes, lol. Oh, indies! However, by the time the next few songs were over, I realized the house lights still weren't going up.

Damnit.

They were planning another encore after all. Well now I had a problem. I couldn't possibly stay. I was staying too long as it was. After dancing around a bit, I finally told MelJay I absolutely had to go, and to make sure to tell me what I missed. Then I began the incredibly difficult task of squeezing back through the crowd, finding my stuff that I'd left against the wall, and squeezing my way back to the door. This took about five minutes, and people were laughing in disbelief at my attempt at leaving early. By the time I got outside I felt like I'd been squeezed through a spaghetti strainer. Then I ran to Shibuya station as fast as I could.

It was quite a journey getting home, since my usual trains weren't running far enough that late at night. My first train wound up having electric trouble and stalled for fifteen minutes, which made me pretty sure I'd miss all my transfers – many of which were the last transfers of the night. But I managed to catch the next two transfers with mere seconds to spare. By the time I got to Gunma, I wound up leaping on a train so fast I didn't actually buy a ticket and had to beg my way out of the gate when I got home, lol. I also needed to get a taxi for the rest of the way, but I managed to find one just sitting around so, again, I got really lucky.

And no one at school will ever have to know! Ta da!

Anyways, MelJay filled me in on what I missed. The setlist said I missed two songs, but MelJay swears I only missed one. Also, I guess yo-ka was, once again, trying to explain to the audience how much he loves us. He got so worked up about this overwhelming love that he has that he wound up crying. When Shoya saw yo-ka crying, he started crying too.

Geeeeeez. I swear yo-ka was on his period. It's okay, man! We love you too! You don't have to cry! We get it!

Also, yo-ka gave a ton of announcements. They have a single coming out soon, and they're going to release a full album! Yaaay! And I think another one-man?

So yeah, that's my report. Phew. That was a lot, lol.

Next up, BORN two-man! Stay tuned!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

One More Post About Demon Children

Okay, I'm sorry, this is probably getting old, but I have one more story to tell about my third years.

But this is a nice story!  It turns out my little Hellspawns have souls after all!

It all started when I was on my way home from school.  As I was approaching my building, I suddenly heard a voice calling out for me as loudly as possible.

Damnit.  Perv again.  Turned out Perv, VK Kid, and Brute (who would've thought they were friends with Brute too!) were sitting in the parking lot outside my building.  Although they didn't appear to be up to anything (they live in the building behind mine, so it's their parking lot too), I just thought "goddamnit, why me?!" when I spotted them.  I smiled and waved and, to my amusement, they all two-hand waved back at me.  Even VK Kid.  Still, they were sitting right outside my damn window, and I was not in the mood for any fiendish stalking and tomfoolery.  Especially not with Brute there too.  I reeeeally didn't want them to bother me.  After waving, I opened the door to my apartment and went upstairs.

For the next few hours, I almost forgot the kids were out there.  Every now and then I'd hear someone shout, and I think a girl came by at one point because there was a high-pitched something out there.  I just ignored them and watched TV.  Eventually I got up to make curry.  I turned on iTunes and started playing disc 2 of Dir en grey's DUM SPIRO SPERO for the first time.  Yes, the first time.  I have been seriously lazy.  Anyways, just as the water was boiling and the curry was melting, the doorbell rang.  Annoyed, I turned off the flame and went to look at the little screen that all delightfully modern Japanese homes have.  But I didn't see anyone out there.  I figured someone left a package and ignored it and went back to my curry.  As I was stirring, however, the doorbell rang again.  I kept ignoring it, because now I thought it was the NHK guy at my door to take some unnecessary money from me for a channel I don't even watch (seriously, you never actually have to pay him, just ignore him).  After another minute, the doorbell rang once, twice, three times... four times...  Now I was convinced it was the pesky NHK guy, so I turned off the flame yet again, ran over to turn off Dir en grey (how dare anyone interrupt Dir en grey!!!), and rushed downstairs.  I open the door and what do I see...?

Perv.  And VK Kid.  And Brute.  They were walking away, thinking I wasn't going to answer the door.  I called out, "hello!" to them rather tentatively and they turned around.  They trotted back over, waving.  Now I was mad, though.  How dare those little brats stalk me to the point of ringing my bell!  Annoyed, I shouted, "nani yatteno?!" ("what the hell are you doing?!").  Perv laughed and asked me what I was doing.  I told them I was making curry.  He asked if I knew how to cook, and I said I couldn't make much more than curry.  Perv was like, "oh, gonna have it for breakfast too?"  I shrugged.  I needed to humor them to get them to go away.  Perv pointed at Brute.  "Do you know him?"  I was like, "of course I know him!  He's my student!"  Brute nodded sheepishly.  He thought I'd never noticed him before!  Then Perv asked me if I have any friends in town.  Well... I don't.  I have friends in the city, but I have to take a train to get there.  I'm one of only two foreign English teachers in the town and I've never met the other.  I told them I didn't have any friends in town and they all suddenly looked really sad.  "Sabishii deshou?" ("you must be lonely, right?") said Perv.  "Kawaisou!" ("you poor thing!") said VK Kid.  I stared at them, unable to believe what they were saying.  "We figured you were lonely..." said Perv with a shrug.

And then I died.  My black, gothy, decaying, hateful soul melted into a puddle of eyeliner on the road.

We wound up talking for 45 minutes.  The boys seemed lonely and restless and bored, and I can't blame them in such a small, crappy town.  They asked if I thought they were a gang, and I laughed and pointed at each of them and said, "gang" "gang" "gang."  Perv asked if I thought they were a bunch of Yankees, hahaha.  So now I call them The Gang.  They wanted to know all about America and asked me tons of questions, and they wanted to know all about what I knew about Japan.  They made sure to explain any Japanese I didn't seem to understand.  Perv did ask if I had a boyfriend, but it was the loneliness issue again.  When I said no, he was like, "you must be so lonely!"  Despite his repeated jokes about us being boyfriend and girlfriend, Perv wound up getting a phone call... from his actual girlfriend, lol.  They asked me if I would tell on them if they smoke, and I said I wouldn't tell.  I mean, they're fourteen and fifteen years old - they can figure out their own shit.  Perv was like, "wah, yasashii sensei!" ("ooh, you're a nice teacher!") and shook hands with me.  Brute shook hands with me too, lol.  But not VK Kid.  He's too cool for that, lol.  But VK Kid actually wound up talking a lot.  More than I've ever heard him speak.  I was impressed.

At one point, while they were sitting in the street, a couple walked by with a shiba inu and it tackled Perv.  VK Kid and Brute laughed while Perv flailed on the ground screaming, "Matte!  Matte!" ("Wait!  Wait!") while the dog licked him all over.  It was pretty funny.

After about 45 minutes of sitting around in the street chatting, the kids realized it was getting late.  I felt bad because they looked reluctant to go home.  But I can't do anything about that, obviously.  As they were standing up, I noticed a frog and pointed at it and said, "how do you say that in Japanese?"  They told me it's "kaeru" which is also how you say, "go home."  Perv was like, "well, I'm starving.  Kaeru (I'm going home)."  I went "eh?!" and pointed at the frog.  Perv was like, "I'm not going to eat the frog!!!" and then congratulated me on making a joke in Japanese, lol.

So, basically, my little monsters are horribly misunderstood.  They're just lonely and bored and looking for someone to talk to who isn't really a teacher.  It was nice to be able to talk to them and actually get to know some of the kids.  They're so different outside of school!  They're actually willing to show their nice side a little!

The next day, while I was in the staff room, Perv walked by.  He giggled and looked embarrassed, lol.  Stupid kid...

Okay, DIAURA's next, I swear!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

More on my Demon Children

The saga of my third years continues.  I figured I'd slip this one in before I finish the DIAURA post.

I think I failed to mention in my last update that my wild-girl Kabocha and my wild-boy VK Kid happen to be in the same class.  However, she sits all the way in the front and he sits all the way in the back, so I thought nothing of it.  Yesterday, however, I walked into class to discover Kabocha flailing in her seat while VK Kid sprawled himself on top of her.  Kabocha was screaming, "sexual harassment!" in English.

What... a thing... to walk in on...

I didn't even know they ever spoke to each other.  WORLDS ARE COLLIDING.  Horrible, terrible worlds!

Once the English teacher showed up, VK Kid slunk back to his desk and refused to speak or even blink for the next forty-five minutes.  Typical.  Kabocha, however, was up to her usual crap.  During a practice test, I walked by her desk and she reached out and grabbed the gray, swirly-patterned skirt I was wearing.  "It's like glass!" she exclaimed.  Then she started waving it up and down.  "Sexual harassment!" I screamed.  The whole class burst out laughing.  I know it was in the middle of a practice test, but I have no regrets.  Thankfully, Kabocha refused to continue the test and fell asleep for the rest of the hour.

Now, you'd think that would be as bad as it could get, but no... there's more.  Perv is in one of my other classes.  I thought he was being unusually quiet that day, but I decided it was because of the practice test.  Although he's really wild, Perv is actually very bright and I think he actually cares a little bit about English class, even though he pretends he doesn't.  At the end of class, however, my teacher asked if there were any questions.  Perv's hand shot up.  His question was for me.  He asked me, "what's that red and white outfit that's always hanging in your window?"  I think this was my face in response to that questions: O______O  The English teacher explained to me that Perv knows where I live and saw my window.  Then the teacher screamed, "stop looking into her window!" at him.

The.  Horror.

But I thought it would be okay.  I figured maybe he just glimpsed my window in passing one day.

Until I got home.

Here I was, in front of my doorway, turning the key in the lock, when I hear a familiar voice screaming my name from a distance.  I recognize that voice.  It's Perv.  I whip around, ready scold him for following me home, only to realize it's not just Perv.  It's VK Kid on a bike, with Perv standing on the wheel behind him.

F.  My.  Life.

I didn't even know those two were friends!  They're not even in the same class!  WORLDS CONTINUE COLLIDING!!!  Ugh, it just figures!  VK Kid pulled up in front of my door, trying very hard not to grin at me.  As usual, he wouldn't even look at me, but that grin was still there.  Not surprisingly, VK Kid had a bunch of piercings in his left ear that he doesn't wear at school.  Perv, who isn't too cool to smile or talk, was attempting some crap English with me.  I asked if he lived near there, but he didn't seem to understand so well.  He was just like, "you live here."  I dunno, we babbled some shit English for a moment.  Then, while I was in the middle of trying to say something, Perv just went, "okay, bye bye!" and nudged VK Kid and they rode away.

Um..... kay.

Damn these kids.  Mini-stalkers they are.  I think they live a couple apartments down from me, though, so it's not like they intentionally followed me home.  Still... they're little monsters.

I also have a new nicknamed beast of a third year.  His name is Gorilla.  Truth be told, he doesn't look at all like a gorilla.  He's tall and thin and his face would actually be considered very pretty.  However, he likes to act like a gorilla for some reason.  He works out and has pretty solid muscles, so he likes to show them off by flexing in the faces of the other students, putting his leg on their desks and making them feel his calves, and he also likes beating himself in the chest and hitting himself in the head with his textbook.  For some reason.  At one point he started hitting himself in the chest and made a song out of it.  So yeah... he's Gorilla.  He doesn't like to listen or pay attention.  He just likes hitting himself.

By the way, for the first time, I finally have internet at my desk at school, so blog updating may not have to be so sporadic now.  I won't have to grasp for a few minutes of internet at a time anymore.  I also received a letter saying my real estate agent has given the go-ahead to sign up for internet at the apartment, so I'm going to apply in the next day or so.  And then... I can post... whenever.

Awesome.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Concerning the Teaching of Demon Children


Okay, so a little bit about teaching at my school.  For purposes of privacy, I won't say which school I teach at or where, but my school is in an area we call “inaka” in Japanese.  “Inaka” roughly translates to “bum fuck nowhere.”  While I technically am contracted by a city, I actually live in a town near the city that the city sort of... ate a few years ago.  For economic reasons.  So I live in this “city” but I actually live in a sad little town near it (thankfully it's just a twenty minute train ride for me to get into the downtown part of the city – otherwise I'd go psychotic).  So, because this is a sad little town, the kids who live here are... well... they're not very high achieving.  I mean, what reason do they really have to study?  They'll either wind up working on a farm, working in a convenience store, a hardware store, or something else local.  At best, they'll move downtown and have a more steady job in a small office or company.  That's all they really have to look forward to.  So they don't care.  They're very reminiscent of inner-city school children in America.

So let's discuss the students.  Again, for privacy reasons, no names will be used.  I'll use nicknames for everything like I usually do on the blog.

At my school, first year children are around eleven and twelve years old, and some are even thirteen.  Some of them are very tiny still, and they're generally very cute and friendly, but also a bit... dull.  And they don't hate learning English yet.  By the second year, the kids are twelve and thirteen years old, and some are even fourteen (middle school in Japan is a little later than it is in America).  They're getting bigger and their attitude is beginning to appear.  They're starting to realize school is futile and possibly irrelevant.  High school isn't required in Japan, so some of them might even think or know they won't go anywhere past middle school.  For the most part, they're still fairly calm and not too rude, though they don't like learning English anymore.  However, some of the second years are showing signs of Third Yearism.  The students who will become the major problem children of third year are already beginning to bare their teeth.  Some students are beginning to talk back, yell, get rowdy, and act like, um........ assholes.

Then there's the third years.  My Hellspawn.  They're out of control monsters.  I get the feeling even their regular teachers have given up on them.  One of my classes is actually known for children escaping and fleeing the classroom.  Most of the kids talk back in the middle of class and only use casual and derogatory language with the teachers.

Let's meet some of the students, shall we?

Let's start with Kabocha.  Kabocha is a small Japanese squash like a pumpkin.  I call this girl Kabocha because “kabocha” seems to be the code word for when she gets out of hand.  She's at least thirteen but still very tiny – probably under five feet tall.  During class, she will shout and yell things at the teacher, but her favorite pastime is jumping up during class and running around.  At one point, she jumped up and started pulling her shorts off, at which point the teacher yelled, “kabocha!”  Oddly enough, though she acts like a little bitch to me during class, she's really nice to me outside of class, which I don't really understand.  The first encounter I had with her, I was walking to class and she was standing outside the door.  As I went by, in English she continually shouted, “Pretty!  Pretty!” at me.  To be honest, I thought she was being sarcastic, but she's actually nice to me outside of class, so I guess she was serious.  In class, however... she's like that little girl from the Exorcist.

Let's meet Thing 1 and Thing 2.  These two boys are best friends.  They're about fourteen and it shows.  They're both around six feet tall and very gangly.  They're like a team.  If one of them starts yelling, the other one is guaranteed to follow suit.  Perhaps y'all remember Thing 1 and Thing 2 from a previous post I had?  They're the boys who were acting out during the opening ceremony.  Even after getting physically punished, Thing 2 couldn't give a shit, and Thing 1 curled up in a ball on the floor when a teacher came by and pretended to be scared.  They're monsters, the two of them.  After class, my teacher apologized for the fact that we have two “urusai” boys in that class (“urusai” meaning “noisy” and “obnoxious.”  When yelled at someone, it also means, “shut up!”).

Next up, let's meet Perv – another student approaching six feet tall, with hair that sticks straight up.  I call him Perv because the only thing he ever thinks about is me and the possibility of me having a boyfriend.  Unfortunately for me, he sits in the front row (this is fixed.  In Japan, school kids stay in the same class all year and sit in fixed seats).  When I asked if students had any questions, he immediately asked if I had a boyfriend.  Just to be funny, I said no and acted all offended.  He got very excited and started exclaiming that I am now his boyfriend.  I just shrugged, because I'd been warned that Japanese middle school boys love to tell White, female English teachers they're now boyfriend and girlfriend.  But then he decided I must be dating the male teacher and started demanding to know if I was hot for teacher.  I acted horrified and adamantly refused, which got a lot of laughs, at least.  He asked what I think of the teacher and I just said, “I think he's a great teacher.”  The teacher said, “of course she loves me.”  Siiiiiiiiiigh.  After class, Perv followed me down the hall exclaiming over and over that I'm now his girlfriend.  Whatever, kid. 

Now let's meet Tommy Boy.  This is the fat, trouble-making student at the back of one of my classes.  I think he might have severe ADD because he seems to be in the back, off to the side, away from the other students.  When we went on a field trip, he seemed to get special treatment.  Anyways, he's another one who shouts continuously and makes a habit of scooting his desk and chair all over the classroom while we're trying to teach.  My teacher has found that whacking him on the head is the only affective way of dealing with him, but the kid always winds up about twenty feet across the room by the end of class.

My least favorite student is one I like to call Brute.  He's an angry looking kid with a buzz-cut.  His eyebrows are always furrowed into an angry scowl and he never talks, only yells.  He sits by the door and stares outside instead of listening.  Even when he yells something out of turn, he's still staring out the door.  The moment class ends, he rushes to the doorway and just stands there, scowling.  I'm assuming he's one of the kids who likes to escape.  He makes me uncomfortable.  I'm guessing he beats up other kids behind the school.

However, the all-time champion troublemaker so far is a student I like to call VK Kid.  Yes, I mean VK as in Visual-Kei.  I call him VK Kid because he appears to be going for the Visual-Kei look as much as humanly possible (and as much as the school will let him get away with).  He styles his hair in the VK style with the back sticking up and the bangs plastered down over one eye.  He also has these sneaky highlights that are almost invisible to the eye unless he turns his head a certain way.  What's more, I do believe he's plucking his eyebrows.  He's really tiny – he's fourteen but puberty hasn't hit so he's only about five feet tall.  Still, the arched, plucked eyebrows make him look strangely menacing.  Well, maybe not menacing... more like sinister and cunning, lol.  My first encounter with him was... shocking, to say the least.  This is how it went down:

VK Kid: [walks up to me in the hallway]

Me: Hello!

VK Kid: [mumbles something]

Me: Huh?

VK Kid: [glances at the floor] [mumbles something]

Me: What? [bends down to hear better]

VK Kid: [looks furious] [suddenly starts shouting] EI-GO WA SHA-BE-RE-MA-SEN! (Translaion: I DO NOT SPEAK EN-GLISH!) [storms away]

Me: O________O

During class, however, VK Kid seemed to be one of the better students.  He wasn't shouting and making a ruckus like some of the others (one of his classmates threw a table during class, and another one suddenly lashed out and started strangling the student in front of him).  Instead, VK Kid just sat there playing with his hair and gazing out the window.  I figured he was just a troubled but quiet student.

How wrong I was.

Our school took a field trip to a Noh play.  All the students were supposed to be properly dressed in their uniforms to make a good impression.  VK Kid didn't give a shit.  Before he entered the building, a teacher had to chase him down and force his shirt back into his pants.  For some reason, as I passed the bus VK Kid was on, he flung open a window and screamed, “HI!” at me as loud as he could.  Huh?!!  During the play, he kept reaching behind his seat and stealing stuff off the lap of the girl behind him.  Eventually, he fell asleep on his friend and stayed asleep for most of the play.  He woke up in time to punch his friend.  During intermission, he strode over to the teachers' section where I was sitting.  The teacher I was sitting next to had gotten up to take a break.  VK Kid stood next to me and started demanding over and over to know who was sitting next to me.  I just stared back at him in confusion until a teacher rushed over and shooed him away.  Also, unbeknownst to the teachers, VK Kid was carrying around his favorite towel.  He brings it everywhere with him.  It's a black towel with pink skulls all over it (for the record, VK Kid is convinced the skulls are red, not pink.  I'm not going to be the one to break it to him, lol).  After the play, in the parking lot, a teacher finally noticed the towel.  She reached out and grabbed it from him, but VK Kid didn't let go.  He whipped around and started screaming and pulling the towel back from her.  From there, VK Kid and the teacher had a two-minute tug-of-war match in the parking lot.  VK Kid won.  He yanked the towel away and stormed off with the teacher yelling at him.  Then she had to chase him down because she noticed he'd rolled his pants up.

So that's VK Kid.  He's the champion so far, though Thing 1 and Thing 2 are definitely competing for the top spot.

And those are my students.  Sounds like a pleasure, doesn't it?  I'm torn because, on the one hand, the first years are nice, but... they're also kinda, um.......... boring.  The third years are like a pack of hyenas on steroids but... they're also really funny and interesting.  Which is worse, I wonder?

To my misery, the staff room also happens to be on the floor of the third years, so even just going to the bathroom is like approaching a dragon's den.

Lucky me.

Next update, DIAURA one-man!  This one's gonna be goooood.