Friday, February 17, 2012

Labels are Complete; This Blog in Retrospect

Labels/tags are done, I'm happy to say. Now, if you want to find anything on this blog, just click on the tags, which are alphabetical along the right-hand side, and it'll show you how many related posts there are, and take you straight to them. Most of the tags are band names (surprise, surprise), but there's other stuff, like food posts, posts about places I've traveled to, posts about Gunma, cat cafes, and other silly things. The label “Kita” usually refers to more personal posts, “Life” is like my miscellaneous label for things that just happen in my life, and “Rant” is for posts where I'm letting off steam. Not as many of those as you'd think.  I mostly did the label thing to organize the horrifying amount of bands that have been mentioned on this blog.  Some of them might be disappointing.  You might think, "OMG, Kita saw __________ two years ago and wrote about them!" and click on the tag, only to find a single sentence about that band.  And maybe not a positive sentence.  But I really did all of this for organizational purposes.  Especially if, for example, someone is interested in DIAURA and wants to see stories I used to tell about Valluna, now that person has easy access to any posts involving Valluna.  Etc., etc.

For me, this labeling process has turned up some very interesting information I never would've found otherwise (which is why I labeled bands I barely mentioned).  For example, at the first indies show I ever went to (about three years ago), I saw a band called Dizly.  Obviously, if I hadn't gone back and labelled that post, I never would've remembered something so obscure.  Especially because the band wasn't very good, and I didn't have much to say about them.  However, I'm glad I labelled it, because it turns out that, without knowing it, I saw Shoya from DIAURA that day, in his previous band.  Who knew.  Sometimes I see a band "for the first time" and then find out I saw that band before and didn't remember it (like MoNoLith, who I had no recollection of seeing before the New Years show).  In another case, the labels helped me notice that I saw the vocalist of Signal in his previous band, dizSOLID, which would have escaped me completely if I hadn't gone back to check.  I only realize I've seen certain bands because I can see the name listed among my labels.  So even the most seemingly pointless of labels ultimately serves a purpose.

The other thing I want to mention is that labeling took as long as it did because I read through every single post. All 200 of them. Not many people have the ability to go back and read three years of their life in detail, but I was able to do just that. The result was disheartening, at best, and prompted me to make changes to some of the old posts, even though I swore I'd never do that. MelJay doesn't agree with my decision and has had no problem lecturing me about this. But I agree with her - it goes against my “true beliefs” to change old posts. I've always believed in facing forward and allowing the past to remain as it is. Changing the past is to deny it.  But, deep down, I felt I couldn't let the blog fester in its own bog the way it was.

There's good and bad to this, I suppose. On the one hand, I've been told my blog is a much nicer place now, and more fun to read (the cleanup actually started before the labeling did, so I've had time to gather some opinions from people). On the other hand, people who know me personally don't believe the blog reflects my true self anymore. Which wouldn't really be a problem (after all, I'm free to reveal or withhold as much as I desire around here), except that it changed me in real life. The more I read, the more I crawled away from the things I saw.  Once upon a time, before this blog, I considered the words I put on paper to be poison.  To this day, on my computer, there are literally hundreds of stories, essays, and thoughts that I've written with no intention of showing them to anyone.  In the past, whenever people read my writing, I wanted to curl up in a ball and die.  This blog was the first time I ever put aside my disgust and put my words online somewhere where they could be read and attributed to me (because I have written a few stories anonymously on the internet).

In the beginning, I blogged very freely.  I was surprised by my own openness, because it wasn't like me at all.  At the time, however, this blog was created as a way for me to talk about what I was doing in Japan in a place where my friends and family could easily see what I was up to.  It was never meant to become what it is now, which is essentially a weirdly-styled concert blog.  The more readers I got, the more amazed I was by my continuing openness.  Normally, I would've clammed up and lost the will to keep writing.  The truth is, unfamiliar people reading my writing sometimes scares me, for some reason.  As time passes, I grow more comfortable with it, but it was nerve-wracking at the beginning.  Unfortunately, a few months into Twisted in Tokyo's life, I did feel threatened by my own writing and put a "ban" on the blog.  The ban meant I wouldn't talk about myself in a personal way anymore, and that ban remained in affect for a very long time.  It's debatable whether it ever fizzled out at all.

Now, re-reading 200 posts worth of material, I once again have to fight the instinctive urge to slash the words from existence.  There was even a point, a few months ago, in which I vowed to delete the blog forever.  Thankfully, a few people talked me out of it before it was too late.  Now I've found a happy medium by going back and editing some posts and writing current posts in a way that doesn't make me shudder.  But there was a tradeoff.......

MelJay's grown increasingly frustrated by my overall indifference to concerts, indifference to performers, and indifference to music. By cleaning the mud off Kita's face, I wiped away her features too. At first, I vowed to open my mind and expand my horizons. Then I let in so much that I felt overwhelmed. Then I deflated, and all that remained was apathy.

I guess I addressed this issue a little in my last indies post where I talked about NEGA. Once upon a time, I would have judged Jin harshly for mimicking Kyo on stage. Instead, I decided not to judge, because I'm in no place to speak about a man I don't know. In theory, it sounds like a great idea. After all, I've made an effort to mature and be an open-minded, accepting person. Except that it resulted in an inability to have any opinion about Jin at all. He was neither something to be mad at, nor something to praise, and, in the end, he became nothing to me at all.

The result is that I perpetually walk across thin ice on my own blog.  Again, it wouldn't matter, but the blog and I have become intricately fused at this point.  Of course, I can have an opinion about something and just not say it, but the blog's current runs backwards. By denying opinions, I stop having them.  By spreading them out, they lose meaning.

I've told MelJay that I "don't know how to care again."  She thinks I have to "want" to care, before I can truly care.  But I don't think it's for lack of wanting.  And yet, even if I love DIAURA, I can't bring myself to read their blogs without being forced to.  I can't bring myself to buy their merch.  I didn't even bother pre-ordering their new CD.  It's the same reason I got in line and then simply walked away from Signal's merch booth recently, even though I knew I wanted their music.  Going up to the booth was literally too much "caring" for me.  I don't even look for shows to go to anymore.  MelJay does all that now.

My current theory is this: after UnsraW broke up, I became afraid of getting hurt again.  All the bands I used to see broke up, and then major bands like D'espairsRay broke up.  Then there were all those deaths in JRock last year.  Eventually, I felt like it wasn't worth getting emotionally involved anymore.  Of course, that's stupid, because it robs me of the chance to fully enjoy the bands before their inevitable demise.  But my thought process is very pessimistic at this point. 

The point is, I don't know at what point the changes to the blog were mature, and at what point they were defensive.  I'll admit, there are some old posts that are simply gone; I just removed them (none of them were concerts posts, I promise).  Some posts were harmlessly edited.  For example, my punctuation usage used to be abysmal, so I fixed a lot of commas, and everything reads smoother now.  Some stuff I removed for personal reasons, especially if it revealed too much about myself.  Some stuff I changed because I simply couldn't stand it anymore.

However, no matter what happens, there are no lies on this blog.  I never went back to a post and changed it so something awesome happened to me when it really happened to someone else.  Instead, I just took things away.  Of course, you could argue that withholding the full truth is a form of lying, but I don't think I've done anything extreme enough for that.  If I see a band and think "that guy's really hot" but don't say it, I'm not lying, I'm just not bothering to mention it.  If I said the performer was ugly when I thought he was hot, then I'd be lying.  But I don't know why I'd say that.  Intentionally lying just seems ridiculous to me.

Basically what I'm saying is, if you notice that some posts look different from how you remember, or there are comments that don't make sense anymore, it's because I did some editing.  Nothing too extreme, but enough to appease myself.  The blog, as it was, was a mangy creature I started to hate.  But I gave the beast a bath, combed its hair, and now I just feel relieved, even if I shouldn't.  It wasn't honorable, what I did, but it felt right.  If I ever need to use this blog in a writing portfolio for a professional job, I won't be embarrassed to show it to the higher-ups (because, deep down, the only job I want to have is a writing job).  And, despite MelJay's fears, no post was changed enough to sound like someone other than myself.  I might have removed a sentence or two in some posts, or changed a little wording in a sentence, but I never went back and changed a post's content.  I just cleared away some old tracks and got rid of redundant nonsense, etc.  Honestly, if I never mentioned the changes here right now, I don't think anyone would ever notice them.  But I'm writing this to show that, no matter what, I still value being honest.

Maybe what I've written above is confusing.  I still care about going to shows, and I still care about certain bands, but I've lost that extra, emotional spark.  I think it'll come back, but it'll be at a random moment, when I least expect it.  I felt love at the last DIAURA show, and that was surprising to me.  I'm hoping the love will return soon, so I'll enjoy the shows more, and this blog won't be so dry.  Maybe I shouldn't have re-read the old blog posts while in such a loveless state, but that's just the way it is.  MelJay thinks if I had waited until I was myself again before re-reading and editing everything, I wouldn't have torn pages out of the diary of my past.  I don't know if that's true or not, but I'll keep it in mind, I suppose.

So the blog has been altered, but probably for the best.  And not in a huge way.  And maybe not in a permanent way.  I've never been one to talk about myself much on the blog, and I keep a lot to myself, so maybe the changes weren't even noticeable.  But they're there.  I just wanted to mention them, since the changes wormed their way into this blog's history, and will probably spread into its future for a little while.  In fact, given how personal this post is, and my mood lately, it's possible even this post will get deleted eventually.

For now, I'm just going to keep doing what I've been doing, and wait for my old spark to return.  I want this blog to continue to flourish, and I have no plans to stop writing it.  But Twisted in Tokyo has a more solid foundation now, and I'm working on finding my "love" again.  I'm hoping this blog will have a positive future in general.

And thanks to all my readers for helping this blog continue to thrive!  The people who read this blog have shown me that strangers reading my words won't cause me to spontaneously explode, and that I can't get a disease from writing on the internet.  Sure, there have been some rocky posts, and there have been times when commenters have lashed out at me.  And I know I've made an enemy of plenty of people on the internet.  But it's a good growing experience for me, and it all helps me get over my terrible writing stage-fright.  Thank you, all!  You're all awesome!  ^_______^

And now back to our regularly scheduled posting.............

4 comments:

  1. Its understandable that it would be difficult to be so open on the internet. A good chunk of people who will come across the blog are faceless and you may never meet them.

    I hope you find your "love" again. I know that feeling of feeling nothing. It's mature in some sense, but it reflects nothing at the end of the day.

    I'll always be a happy reader regardles of what happens down the road :)

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  2. I don't think that you need to justify yourself for any re-editing on your old blog posts,it's your blog after all. I personally felt a change on your blog posts too,though I don't what a person you are. In the past your posts were somehow "moody",and that was the reason why I loved them so much,nonethless I really like your new blog posts too.I really hope you that you'll find your old "love" for Jrock again.

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  3. I really like your blog so I`m happy you`re keeping it up~~ I recently started a blog but I`ve been going back on forth on changing the privacy settings lol so I understand what you mean.

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  4. Oh those loveless periods happen, I think they're quite frightening actually, but I dont think we can do much other than wait for the trigger that snaps us out of it.
    But still, you haven't struck me as someone who read blogs a lot and do a lot of research about bands, so thats not so much of a problem I guess? x)

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