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inertia

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    Kiwamu's Bitch

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  1. I think the real issue with phone size is the different lifestyles in cities and suburbs. The author lives in NYC, like me. A phone that requires two hands is a phone that can’t be used on the subway. For a normal commuter, that means an hour or more per day of standing on the subway, left hand gripping the pole, right hand empty, trying not to look uncomfortably at other people, time that could have been better spent using the phone to read or play a game. My last phone died in September and I replaced it with an iPhone 8, which I can just barely use with the help of a pop socket. It was the smallest model available at the time. Drivers don’t care about using their phone with one hand, right? You can’t write on your phone during your commute anyway. But it’s a really, really big deal for those of us who rely on public transportation that’s usually so crowded we have to stand. Tokyo subways are still a sea of iPhone 5s and SEs and it’s not because Japanese consumers can’t afford the other models. My SO has massive hands and he got an 8 too; even for him the extra-large phones are too unwieldy for city use.
  2. inertia

    I lived in Tokyo and went to all their local shows and many of the away ones too during their second period in the 2000s. Something that I think isn’t fully appreciated among international fans is just how unpopular and broke Lareine was during that time, and how desperately and passionately they worked despite the obstacles. But every concert was magical. It had to be. There was no reason to do it otherwise, and a million reasons to quit. It felt like borrowed time, and I was always so happy and grateful to be able to see them despite the bittersweet feeling they would have been better off doing something else. They always looked exhausted at events, rarely had new costumes, rarely even had new goods because I think they had trouble coming up with deposits. Cheki didn’t start to become a thing until late in their history (2005-ish?) when they’d already spent years grinding away with little return. I suspect the reason why they were able to put out as many releases as they did is because back during Lareine’s Sony days Kamijo invested in buying a bunch of his own production equipment. I think normally an indie band at that level wouldn’t have had those resources. But time to write and rehearse seemed like a scarce commodity too back then. There were times when Kamijo looked half dead. And every time Lareine did a little tour we could watch Kamijo perk up day by day, at the same time as us fans with normal lives were getting more and more tired as the tour went on. It always made me wonder what on earth kind of awful schedule he normally had in Tokyo, juggling the band and probably a part-time job, that going on tour would feel like a vacation to him. (Later on when I read Versailles interviews, they mentioned that Kamijo and Hizaki first met while working at Third Stage.) Unfortunately by 2003 Lareine was already perceived as old, out of date, and uncool. A ‘90s band. If they hadn’t paused in 2000 maybe things would have been different, maybe they could have built a solid base like Dir or Pierrot. But coming back in 2003 it was too late, the trends had already changed. Lareine had few fans back then, and it seemed like all of us were fans from before. I never met any Japanese fans who said they were new. (only international fans) Young VK fans didn’t care. Lareine wrote some of the currently trendy themes into their music in ways that were interesting instead of pure copy/paste, and us old fans had fun, but nobody else cared. They did some amazing experimental stuff on stage, and nobody saw it except us few old fans. To give you an idea of how young fans perceived them, there was a big outcry when Versailles was announced because people didn’t think a pansy weak vocalist with a thin high voice like Kamijo should be playing with awesome (but unknown) guitarists like Hizaki and Teru. They really got outraged when we heard Versailles was going to have a heavy sound. I got in a lot of arguments online at that time with people who clearly thought I was a delusional fangirl for saying that Kamijo’s voice is powerful enough to sing heavier music. In February 2006 Kazumi announced that he was leaving Lareine and retiring from music. I never blamed him, I was thankful that he had done his best to help bring us great music for so long despite the hardships. But this was really the beginning of the end. Lareine put out big ads in the major VK magazines looking for a new drummer, and they even went out of their way to explicitly write that they would take applications from anybody regardless of age or sex or nationality, as long as they could play and would love the band. I think that would be shocking to see in a band’s want ad even today, and this was in 2006 before the explosion of international tours had happened. But they weren’t able to find a drummer, and then during the summer Mayu vanished again. Honestly I can’t even blame Mayu either for wanting to quit under the circumstances, but it was terrible that he vanished without communication or warning. The Club Citta live they did in October was originally supposed to be a Halloween Party event live with multiple bands, not their last live. I went to as many of Kamijo’s anniversary tour dates as I could, since it was so special. The Tokyo final with everyone was amazing. So glad I went. p.s. “Drama” was so great live that to this day I can still half-hear the performance in my memory, even though they only played it twice in Sapporo in February 2006 before Kazumi left. It was so powerful. Kazumi and Emiru were much louder than on the studio version; this song actually has a really sexy rhythm when you can hear them. Mayu took the electric part instead of the acoustic one. They came together solid and strong booming on the beat in that last chorus on the song, Kamijo singing powerfully instead of gently, and hard on the beat like the others. I regret not bringing my MD recorder to Sapporo, but I never imagined that those 2 nights would be the last times we could enjoy Lareine normally.
  3. inertia

    To me it sounds like 乱される. Corrupted / thrown into confusion by the scent of roses
  4. inertia

    Yes, I frequently find it’s easy to “hear” the basic furitsuke. IMO this is a characteristic shared by all kinds of dances and their matching danceable music. Waltz, Charleston, twist, twerk. You can identify them by the rhythm. Furitsuke is just the same. I imagine most (all?) bands write song arrangements while thinking about this — if you want a song that’s going to raise the crowd energy by being easy to dance to, it has to have a structure and rhythms that are easy for fans to match to popular dance moves.
  5. So it was deleted because someone reported his account over the name. But he thinks it might be convenient after all. Was there anything to verify if that Instagram is really him?
  6. I'm not surprised. It really looked like he had retired from public life and just wanted to live quietly hanging out with his old friends, and it's awkward using the same account for fans/promo and friends. In one of the Facebook posts, he said something about how 90% of the people who had friended him on FB were foreign, and he regretted not having studied English. But he was happy because he had already found 7 of his former classmates, and that was half of his class. I think now that he successfully got in touch with that many of his old friends, it makes sense to start over with a new account just for them.
  7. His introduction in the corner says he no longer had a reason to be in Tokyo since he wasn’t singing any more, so he moved back home. He started using Facebook in hopes of finding his old hometown friends, but he doesn’t really know how to use it. Be careful of fake accounts, this is the real Juka. (he says)
  8. inertia

    Versailles is one of the bands that does male-only lives. At first it seemed like the main reason was to promote a welcoming atmosphere for male fans too, so they didn’t feel excluded. It worked, and I think their fandom may have ended up being at least 30 to 40% male. They continued the tradition of male- and female-only lives each year, and I think part of it is like emmy said, because of the atmosphere. Some of the male fans at Versailles lives were pretty rough, and when they got heated up during the concert it was scary for us female fans. It’s not fun when a guy that weighs 50% more than you takes a running flying dive right into you. You’d think it would be common sense to go easy when you’re jumping against someone who’s a lot smaller, but it took repeated blog posts from Hizaki asking the male fans to be gentle to the girls before it became less bad. Anyway, from what I’ve heard, the male-only lives are pretty rough, and it sounds like a lot of guys are happy to have the opportunity to roughhouse and go wild on a level playing field with teammates who can take it. And when it’s a girls-only live, it’s really nice to be able to see easily and feel physically safe.
  9. inertia

    I strongly recommend using the cloak room or a coin locker, whatever the venue has. (Unless you intend to stand in the very back of the venue) I’ve been to a lot of Versailles concerts and they almost always ended up really crowded in the front and middle areas. It’s hard to predict how it will be in Toronto since it’s their first time there, plus we’re all 5 years older now so a lot of fans are likely to be less energetic/crazy than before the hiatus. But it used to be that we would routinely be absolutely crushed in the crowd, dripping in sweat, walking out with injuries. And Versailles themselves are going to be encouraging the crowd to squeeze forward and get rowdy, and throwing out picks and drumsticks which always turns that part of the audience into a shark feeding frenzy. So just in case, I recommend putting everything you can into the cloak room, and taking no more into the audience than a tiny, sturdy bag with the essentials. (cross-body or waist, so your hands are free) To people who aren’t attending this concert: The VIP tickets come with some kind of merch set. I have a feeling we're not going to be able to choose when we get it, we'll just have to take it when it's given.
  10. I think it's an umiyuri. It's a type of sea creature called "crinoid" or "sea lily" in English. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crinoid
  11. inertia

    I recommend not taking the train to Sapporo unless you’re already going to be near there. I’ve made the trip from Tokyo to Sapporo by Shinkansen with a JR pass and it was around 9 hours one way. The Shinkansen train on the northern route isn’t as fast as the Tokyo~Osaka segment, and IIRC somewhere north of Sendai you have to transfer to a regular slow train for the rest of the way. If you’ll be commuting between Kyoto and Tokyo it’s worth getting a JR pass for that. But for Sapporo, it’s best to fly if you can manage it. I’d only take the train to Sapporo if that segment of the trip is falling during a time when you would have a JR pass anyway for other reasons. If you would have to buy a longer JR pass in order to fit in Sapporo, it might better to get a short one and do Sapporo separately as a plane trip on a discount airline. It's better to buy in advance. Lower prices, better ticket numbers. For my favorite band I asked my friends who are also hardcore fans to help me get tickets to see them, but for the other bands I want to see (that my friends don't like) I asked a shopping service. One of the lives I want to see is almost certain to sell out before I arrive. I used White Rabbit Express. They entered the preorder lottery on e-plus for me, shipped the tickets, and I received them safely already. p.s. My trip is in late July, so I will miss you.
  12. inertia

    I used to live in Tokyo and when I go back for visits I try to stay near Shinjuku station, in that area around Shin-Okubo, Okubo, Nishi-Shinjuku. I think there are a couple of business hotels near Like an Edison for around 7,000 yen per night. Since I like to go for 2 to 3 weeks and stay in Tokyo the whole time, I’ve been getting places on Airbnb so I can have a kitchen. For my next trip I got a studio apartment near Shin-Okubo for about $800 (USD) for 2 weeks. It’s a lot more than normal rent, but cheaper than a business hotel in the area. Airbnb also has some guesthouse-style places with private bedrooms and shared kitchens and bathrooms which are much cheaper. As a resident of Japan I was usually stuck on Willer Bus when I traveled to other cities, but as a tourist I get the JR pass and travel in luxury on the Shinkansen. Worth it. If you’re getting on the Shinkansen in Tokyo and going west/south, try to use Shinagawa station instead of Tokyo station. Shinagawa has a nicer layout and is much easier for transfers, and it has better bentos for sale. Those of you coming to Tokyo from other cities might want to get off in Shinagawa instead of Tokyo too. Outside Tokyo I normally get business hotels on Rakuten, but In Osaka I’ve usually stayed at Hotel Chuo in the Dobutsuen-mae area. That neighborhood is sketchy by Japanese standards, but it’s clean and safe compared to Western cities. This is one of the better hotels in that area. It has private guest rooms and shared bathrooms, and advance bookings are 2600 yen/night for a single. Every time I’ve been there the clientele seems to be a mix of bangya and foreign backpackers. http://www.chuogroup.jp/chuo/english/index.html
  13. inertia

    I just ordered it on Amazon JP. It seemed like it would be super difficult to get because it's so indie, but it turned out to be easy. Amazon's international shipping is cheap too. I'm hoping my CD arrives in one piece with such cheap shipping, but if this turns out to be a good way to buy from Japan I will be really happy. Link for anyone else who wants to try: https://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/B01N7YPY6M/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_asp_maQrM.XP48SVN
  14. inertia

    Thanks for catching that! I edited the post above to add it.
  15. inertia

    I scanned the lyrics and put them on my Tumblr. I scanned them at 300 dpi so you can see things that are normally too small to read, like the ruby for 音楽/アナタ in La Musique. (will edit that now) http://romancekakumei.tumblr.com/post/157973409154/lineage-lyrics-scans
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