rinlin: (Default)

So much has been going on that time just flew by. Today is my last day in Japan. Tonight, I'm flying back to America. I'm in a complete mix of emotions, both happy and sad. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for when I go back to America.

I'm trying not to be too sad about leaving Japan because I know it's the right thing for me to do right now. And I know it won't be the last time I'm here because I'll definitely be back to visit. It's just hard leaving one home for another.

So until we meet again, Japan. またね!

rinlin: (Tokyo Tower)
I went to Signal's final live on Saturday. I hadn't gotten to see them that many times, so I was sad that my second time seeing them would be my last.

Crossing fate )

I guess that bands breaking up is a fact of being an indies v-kei fan, but that doesn't make it any less sad when it happens to a good band. Signal was the first indies band that I started getting into (even though they were soon eclipsed by my love of Mejibray), and I'm sad to see them go. The poor things deserved much better than their stupid fans. I hope that they'll stay in the scene and that the members will at least try to make a comeback with new bands. I hope this won't be the last we'll see of them.
rinlin: (Tokyo Tower)
Been meaning to finish this entry for a couple days now. Last Sunday I went to Black Gene for the Next Scene's signing at Brand X! I actually kind of unintentionally got the ticket because I picked up a copy of their new album a couple days after the release and was surprised to find that there were still event tickets left. Since there were tickets left, of course I took the opportunity to go.

Glow Test Kraken )

It was a fun event and a good distraction from other things. I was glad that went! I do hope that I'll get the chance to see Black Gene again. I'd definitely like to go to one of their oneman shows on their next tour.
rinlin: (Tokyo Tower)
One more entry to go to catch up with things this month. On July 15th, I went to Zepp Tokyo to see alice nine live for the first time. I had debated on it for a bit because I haven't been so into their latest stuff, but I decided to go for it. They used to be one of my favorite J-rock bands and I really wanted the chance to see them at some point.

空へ描いてゆく キミへ届くように )

Even though I'm not as big a fan of alice nine's current music, I'm still glad that I got a chance to go to their live! It was definitely a lot of fun.
rinlin: (Omi & Miko)
Here's another entry to catch up with stuff that happened earlier this month. I'm going to write about Tanabata, which was lovely. :3

I had stayed over at April's apartment the night before. Leslie and Anna came over and joined us in the morning, and we all helped each other put on our yukatas for the Tanabata matsuri in Kappabashi. Yukatas are pretty, but they can be a lot of effort to wear properly.

We took some pics and did purikura and then headed over to the festival.

七夕 )

We didn't stay at the matsuri for a really long time because the heat was gross, and April and I also had plans for the evening. We left the matsuri and headed over to the Shinjuku Tower Records for exist+trace's in-store event! We decided to head straight there in our yukata.

モノクロの世界 )

Tanabata was really great this year. It's a holiday for wishes and star-crossed lovers, and things just seemed especially fitting for April and I this year. The festival and the in-store were a lot of fun, but what made it the best was that I got to spend it with my darling. <3
rinlin: (Tokyo Tower)
Yesterday was my two year Japanniversary (the anniversary of the day I moved to Japan). It's a little hard to believe that I've lived there for two years now. It feels both longer and shorter than that at the same time. I've got one more year to go, so here's to hoping for more good things.
rinlin: (Tokyo Tower)
I still can't sleep, so I'm going to start playing catch up with my concert reports. First one on the list is Gackt!

ボクはキミのVanilla )

Even if I'm not as big of a Gackt fan as I used to be, it was definitely a fun experience! I'm glad that I've gotten to see him at least once during my stay in Japan, since he was really my introduction to J-rock back in the day. And he does put on a very good show. :)
rinlin: (Omi & Miko)
Another late entry, so I can catch up with everything. On June 14th, exist+trace hosted another 'Crazy Fighters' live at Shinjuku Loft. Of course, April and I had to go check it out, and this time Aki joined us!

April and I weren't sure if we'd be arriving exactly when the live started (since there'd be three bands playing before exist+trace), but we ended up arriving about a minute before the first band took the stage. It was a good thing that we did because exist+trace surprised us by opening the show as their cover band, Muse! April and I totally weren't expecting it at all, so we were super excited. The girls were all dressed in simple black outfits and Naoto and Mally had their hair pulled back cutely. They then launched into Queen's "We Will Rock You"! After the initial surprise, I realized that Jyou's English was actually pretty decent, so I was proud of her. The girls then played a rock version of "Bad Romance" and I almost died of squee! It was so awesome. They kept the amazingness coming by playing "20th Century Boy" and finishing with hide's "Pink Spider! I was so pleased with all of their song choices. :3

Not going to recount the rest of the bands at the live because they weren't particularly special or notable. They weren't bad, but weren't great either.

At the end of the night, it was finally time for exist+trace to take the stage. They played a mix of slightly older and new songs this time around. The girls played "Resonance" for the first time in a long time and I almost lost it. I nearly knocked myself over headbanging in excitement. ^_^; Lol.

The band also announced something special that they were doing for this live, which was the MVP contest. It was our job as the audience to vote for the MVP after the live, to choose the member who had the most energy that night. Jyou announced it on stage and then tried to intimidate Omi, saying that she definitely wouldn't lose and staring her down. Omi tried, but she couldn't keep a straight face and ended up laughing. She tried to pull it together, but couldn't stay serious and ended up giving Jyou a chop to the head. I love it when Jyou pokes at Omi, haha!

"Signal" was a lot of fun too because the Signal whistles were finally back in stock at the goods table! I hadn't remembered to buy one the previous time they were on sale, so April and I both bought them. It was my first time actually having one of the whistles while the girls played "Signal", so that was fun. It was the last song of the night

After the live was over, we got MVP voting forms from Asako. I voted for Jyou because she had so much awesome energy on stage. When we turned in the voting forms, we got stickers that had been signed by the band members.

Aki had to leave early, but April and I then headed over to the goods table because Mally and Miko were helping sell goods! I probably wouldn't have bought anything else, but I really wanted to talk with the girls, so I ended up buying a postcard set (which I'm planning to use to send April postcards later). Mally and Miko were super nice, as always. They thanked us for coming to the live and  we told them how fun it was. They also liked April's whistle, which she had attached to the choker that she was wearing.

April and I then noticed that Jyou was out of the floor handing out flyers. We went up to her and had a really nice little conversation! She thanked us for coming to the live and then said (in Japanese, of course), "You live in Japan, right? I often see you at the lives." It made me really happy that she noticed (of course, it'd be kind of hard not to notice us almost always up near the front of the crowd, but still). I told her that I love the band, so I enjoy getting to go to their lives. At this point, one of the other bands came up to greet Jyou and tell her they were leaving, and she got this adorably conflicted look on her face. You could tell that she wanted to talk to them, but she didn't want to turn away from us, so she briefly talked with them and then continued her conversation with us. She's such a sweetie. We told her that were looking forward to "Diamond" and that we were definitely going to buy it. She also noticed April's whistle and mentioned that she liked it. After that, we didn't want to keep her for too long (because I swear Jyou would just keep talking), so we said our goodbyes. She told us to come again and to be careful going home. Aww.

It was a good end to a fun live! Going to these event lives definitely pays off. :)
rinlin: (Tokyo Tower)
This is pretty late by now, but I still want to write about it. (It's a good distraction from other things.) On June 9th, April and I went to Mejbray's tour final at Akasaka Blitz! I was pretty excited because I'd been looking forward to the live for a while and it was the perfect thing for me to vent my frustrations after a shitty weekend.

God laughs because suffering is a human thing )

This live was a lot of fun, though I'd say the last tour final at Liquidroom was better. I felt that the encore songs were better, the band was more playful, and the crowd had more freedom to be wild because the stupid bars weren't in the way in the middle of the floor. This live was definitely still good though and it had some really awesome parts. I can always count on Mejibray to put on a great show. Definitely can't wait until their new tour this fall, which I already have tickets for!
rinlin: (Tieria)
Had another wonderful weekend with April. We went to another exist+trace live (which I'll write about later) and then we spent the next night out on the town in Ni-chome. We went to GF, one of the monthly lesbian events, and spent the night drinking and dancing. It was a great time, but we were so tired after being out all night. There was also a matsuri happening literally right outside April's apartment all weekend, so we would periodically pop down to get food from the booths, or check out the mikoshi. Definitely one of the cool parts about living in Japan (except for the fact that it was super noisy outside when we were trying to sleep in after our night out).

Tonight, I Skyped with my Aunt Judy. She wanted to make sure that I was okay after everything with my parents and she wanted me to know that she still loves and supports me. That was good to hear. She wants to meet April. Aunt Judy also told me that she's sure my grandma would have supported me, too. She said that even though Grandma didn't share her opinions too much, that she was actually surprisingly liberal. That really made me feel good, too. Even though things are still hard with my parents, talking to other supportive family members helps me feel better.
rinlin: (Omi & Miko)
Another late entry because I've been lazy about typing this stuff up recently. Here's the last of the concerts that I've been to recently.

On May 19th, April and I went to exist+trace's Vanguard live in Shimokitazawa. This Vanguard live was produced by Miko and the theme was 'Dress Code: Red', which is exactly what it sounds like. April and I had fun putting together our red outfits for the show before heading out.

心の火 )

Can't wait until the next Vanguard live! Naoto and Omi are the only ones who haven't produced a live yet and I can't wait to see what both of them will come up with. :3
rinlin: (Omi & Miko)
On 5/10, April and I went to see exist+trace at Shinjuku Loft. The band was holding a live event called 'Crazy Fighters'. Including exist+trace, four bands played.

April and I opted to get food before the live and arrive a bit after the start, since exist+trace would be the last act hitting the stage. It took us a little bit of wandering through Kabukicho (Shinjuku's red light district) to actually find the live house. It ended up being in the basement floor of a giant building of host clubs lol. April and I scurried past all the hosts waiting around the building to get inside.

When we arrived, the first band was already a good portion of the way through their set. I caught a glimpse of Mally enthusiastically watching them perform from behind the goods table. She's such a cutie. :3

The second band, Where's Andy?, was a group of three youngish girls, who performed what I'll call 'chipmunk rock" (hard rock songs with a really squeaky, cutesy vocalist). Not quite my thing. The third band, 快進のICHIGEKI, was a group of guys who performed more typical hard rock, with some traditional Japanese elements thrown in. They were good though because they got the audience really pumped up. The vocalist actually started singling people out in the crowd who weren't participating and got them to come closer to the stage. April and I weren't close enough to the crowd, so he decided to single us out until we participated to his liking lol. It did end up being a fun set though.

While we were waiting for exist+trace to take the stage, April and I ended up next to the vocalist for Where's Andy?. She noticed us from the crowd earlier (which I felt slightly bad about because we weren't that enthusiastic about their music) and struck up a conversation with us, asking if we spoke Japanese. We talked with her for a minute about learning English and Japanese and then about exist+trace. She was cute and it was clear that she admired the band.

Soon it was finally time for exist+trace to perform! April and I were close to the front, between Jyou and Omi, as usual. Jyou cut her hair and it's now a cute chin length bob. The girls played a great fast paced set that was a mix of songs from 'Virgin' and their brand new songs. The new songs are really growing on me the more I hear them! They started with "Diamond", their newest single, which is a lot of fun. The coolest part of the night was when they performed "RAZE". Shinjuku Loft has recording equipment, so they recorded the audio of the song and then burned it to CDs that they gave to everyone at the end of the live!

We had to wait around for a little bit after the live ended because not only did we get a CD with the recording of "RAZE", but the band personally gave the CD to everyone! The girls lined up behind a table near the door and shook everyone's hands on our way out. It was April's first time getting to meet the band! She was in front of me in line, so I got to watch her talk with Jyou. We were close to the front of the line and the pace for the handshaking hadn't really been set yet. Jyou commented on the necklace April was wearing, which was from the previous week's Sixh show. I could see Asako (the band's manager) behind April trying to coax Jyou to get the line moving along lol.

There wasn't much time to talk with the girls this time because they had to keep the line moving at a pretty quick pace. It was still great to meet them again though! I could tell that they recognize me from all the lives I've been to. First in line was Jyou, then Naoto, Omi, Mally and Miko. I didn't have much time to do anything other then thank them and tell them that the live was fun. I feel like the experience kind of went by in a blur, but I didn't lose my cool around Omi this time. I remember Mally enthusiastically taking my hand in both of hers as she shook it. Since Miko was at the end of the line, she was the one who gave everyone the CD. She told me to please come to another live as she gave me the CD. :)

It was definitely a good night! April and I left the live house giggling and breezed by all the hosts waiting around outside. One of them tried to hand April his card, but he fumbled and dropped it. Very smooth, sir. Another host tried to get our attention too, so he said "good morning" in English, before realizing his mistake and saying "good night" instead. It was an amusing end to the evening. XD
rinlin: (Omi & Miko)
I've got quite a bit to catch up on again, but I'll start with going to the exist+trace x Sixh fashion show/live. It was on 5/3, a good way to start the second half of Golden Week. It was at Ikebukuro Black Hole, so April and I met up in the afternoon and then went to the live.

The first thing we did after getting inside was get in line for goods. Of course, Sixh was selling special items for the live. The shirts were cute, but I didn't get any because I already have so many black shirts. Instead, April and I ended up buying happy packs which contained a few different shirts, a pretty scarf, and a necklace. We also got cheki of exist+trace for buying a happy pack (mine was a pic of Miko and Jyou).

After buying our things, April and I found Aki and went up to the front of the stage. We ended up close to the front on Omi's side (as per usual). The stage was slightly different this time because a walkway area was roped off in front of the center. We had a really nice view of both the stage and the runway, since the venue was small.

The show started with an Ibi voice over and some images from the Galaxy Emperor comic. Then the first runway walk began. The models were all of the members of exist+trace, Ibi, and that one cute boyish staff girl from h.NAOTO's Harajuku store. Everyone was looking really good! Mally's cute boyish walk was especially adorable and I loved Omi's look. Miko and Ibi surprised everyone by switching roles! Miko walked on stage wearing boyish clothes and make-up. Her usual look suits her quite well, but I've got to say that I really enjoyed boyish Miko. Next, Ibi came onstage in one of the Sixh dresses that Miko usually models and a long curly brown wig. He looked really good too! He's got some nice legs. XD After Ibi walked the stage, he went to the mic to sing while Naoto and Mally played. Then the rest of the runway show continued.

After they finished walking, exist+trace came on stage and did the first half of their performance. The first half was made up of some older songs, which made me happy! They even played "Ambivalence", which I feel like I haven't heard in forever. The girls performed about five songs, then it was time to continue with the show.

Ibi came on stage in his usual clothes and performed one song. He tries, bless him, but the boy just isn't meant to be a singer. He tried to get the audience pumped, but I feel like the only people who were excited were his fangirls. I really wanted to be excited, but his performance was only okay. Ibi, hon, you seem like a sweetie. Just stick to things you're good at, like designing awesome clothes.

Next was part two of the fashion show. Miko and Ibi, both in their usual outfits, performed a slow song together while the rest of the models walked the stage. As Omi walked, I swear she purposely brushed Miko's waist as she walked past her. X3

Then, it was time for part two of the band's performance! The girls came on stage and performed five more songs, including some new stuff, like "RAZE". At one point Jyou accidentally bumped the mic stand and the mic slid down. She made the most adorable surprised face. At the end of their set, Ibi came on stage with the band to sing one of the Sixh Opera songs together. The show ended with an encore, where Ibi performed "Signal" with the band.

After the live was over, April and I hopped over to the other side of Ikebukuro to have a late dinner at 80+1. All in all, it was definitely a fun night! I loved getting to see exist+trace model Ibi's clothes and I got some cool new clothes, too. :)
rinlin: (Tokyo Tower)
On Wednesday night, I went to the first live of Mejibray's new oneman tour, Blitz of Messiah! The live was at Star Lounge in Shibuya. It was a sold out show. I'm honestly not sure how they managed to fit all of us in the venue because it was pretty small. The crowd literally stretched back past the merch tables, to the back of the live house.

メサイア )

I was so excited to see Mejibray again and they definitely didn't disappoint! The boys are doing a good job of cementing their spot as one of my favorite bands. More on Mejibray to come in another entry because this was not the only time I ended up seeing them during Golden Week.:3
rinlin: (Family)
This weekend was a three day weekend and the first part of Golden Week. I basically spent almost the entire weekend with April, which was lovely! We started with shopping on Saturday. We bought a number of things we'd been looking for (like I finally bought a new purse), so it was a pretty productive day.

Sunday was Tokyo Rainbow Pride, which was a lot of fun!  I went with April, Leslie, and Kaille. While still small in comparison to Chicago Pride, the event was definitely bigger than last year. I'm glad that it appears to be growing each year. There was a small parade and some cool performances. Kaille and Leslie got adorable wedding pictures taken (even though they're not a couple). And after the day was over, we all took purikura together.

Purikura 59

After purikura and dinner, April, Kaille, and I did some karaoke (Leslie couldn't come with because she had work the next day). Then, April and I headed out to Ni-chome for a little bit of post-Pride celebrating. I ran into Ali for a bit (it had been forever since I'd seen her!) and then we met up with April's friend Christophe. April and I were tempted to stay out all night, but we decided not to because we were tired.

On Monday, April and I relaxed for a bit in the morning. In the evening we headed out to Ikebukuro to see Iron Man 3. It was an awesome movie! I won't say much more because I know everyone hasn't seen it yet, but it was definitely worth seeing!

Just have to get through a couple more days of work and then there's a four day weekend. But before all that, I'm seeing Mejibray tomorrow night! They're kicking off their new tour in Shibuya tomorrow and I'm super excited to see them again~
rinlin: (GD&TOP)
On Saturday, Kaille and I went to G-Dragon's concert at the Seibu Dome! Despite the crummy weather, it was such a fun show to see!

Get your crayon! )

I'm glad that I got to see GD's solo show. (These days, he gives T.O.P a run for his money as my favorite Big Bang member.) Even though it was cold, the concert was definitely worth it. And after all this time, I was finally able to get my cray~on!
rinlin: (Omi & Miko)

One more live report to write! On Sunday night, April and I went to see exist+trace again. The live was at Shibuya Milkyway. This was another multi-artist show, and exist+trace was one of five bands that played that night. This report will be a shorter one, since the setlist was smaller.

April and I were unsure what order the bands were playing in, so we impatiently waited around and tried to guess if our girls would be next on stage. Before the show and between sets, the venue was playing the live action Dragonball movie (which up until this point, I had forgot even existed) on a screen in front of the stage. April and I tried to amuse ourselves by talking about how bad the movie was as we waited. It was a small live, so we were quite close to the front of the stage again. We moved up to the second row by the time exist+trace took the stage.

There were three bands that played before exist +trace. All of them were male bands with female vocalists. Unfortunately, none of them were particularly interesting. They weren't bad, they were just lacking a certain something (and I'm not just saying that because I was impatient for exist+trace to hit the stage). That made waiting around less enjoyable than it could have been. It was all worth it when the girls finally took the stage though!

They played a six song set this time. A new intro played, and the girls took the stage. They started off with "Diamond" (the supposed title of one of their new songs). I noticed right away that though her hair is still black, Omi has gone back to her usual spiky hairstyle! This made me happy because I feel like it suits her the best.

"Honey" was the second song of the set. I adore this song every time and I always sing and dance along. This time I had a moment with Jyou! I was standing right in front of her and she must have seen me singing along because all the sudden she made eye contact with me and sang part of the second verse to me! *fans self* That was definitely the highlight of the night.

Jyou and Miko did MCs about the upcoming lives and then the band played two more of the brand new songs. Still not sure about their official names. I feel like the fans are still trying to decide on the best furi for the new songs because it seems to change up a little each time.

The last two songs were "RAZE" and "Signal". I was a bit surprised that most of the set was made-up of the brand new songs, but I feel like playing all high energy songs it was a good choice for this live.

I don't have a lot else to say about this show, other than it was awesome as usual. It can be fun to go to these smaller shows because it's a good opportunity to get close to the stage, but it always makes me wish the setlist was longer!

rinlin: (Tokyo Tower)
Time to play a bit more LJ catch-up again. I'll start with my mini spring vacation.

During the last week of March I took three days off of work to go to Kyoto with Greta and Leslie. We took the shinkansen to Kyoto on Monday night and spent next three days staying with Lilith at her dorm. Lilith was nice enough to let us invade her small living space for a few days, which made our trip cheaper than it would've otherwise been.

Day 1 - None of us had been to Fushimi Inari before and we all really wanted to go, so that was the first stop of our trip. The four of us met up with Kiri and her parents because they happened to be in Kyoto at the same time as us. We all of hiked up Fushimi Inari together. It took up a good part of the afternoon, but it was completely worth it. Climbing up the mountain under all those red torii was beautiful.

010
Fushimi Inari's famous torii.

There were also so many shrines, big and small, scattered over the whole mountain. Certain places on the mountain felt like they had some serious spiritual energy, too. We made it all the way to the top of the mountain. Then, when we got back down to the bottom, we had delicious taiyaki parfaits as a reward for all that climbing. We then parted ways with Kiri and her parents to go to Sanjusangendo. It was so cool! Inside the building are hundreds of amazingly carved wooden statues of Kannon and other Buddhist gods. I only wish that they allowed you to take pictures inside. It was definitely worth seeing.

Day 2 - We started off by going to Heian Shrine, which was pretty big. It seemed like it had a Four Gods motif going, which was neat. The shrine itself wasn't too exciting though. After Heian Shrine we met up with Kate. She came up from Osaka for the afternoon to visit with us. We then went to Yasaka Jinja, which is quite nice. I'd actually been there before with my parents on my last trip to Kyoto. While we were at Yasaka it started raining, so we decided to go in search of food instead for more shrines. After we had dinner, a few of us had ninja crepes. They were black crepes and mine had black sesame and custard in it. It was quite good.

Day 3 - By the last day of the trip, we were so tired from walking but we still had more to do. We walked a lot to get to a bunch of different smaller shrines. (Greta and I may have complained a lot about being tired.) This first shrine was Seimei Shrine, dedicated to Abe no Seimei. I thought it was a cool little shrine. The thing that made my day was finding an ema signed by D'espairs Ray among all the celebrity signed ema the shrine had on display. (I miss you D'espa. Come back!) Then, we walked to Kenkun Shrine, which is dedicated to the warlord himself, Oda Nobunaga. We had to do a little bit of climbing to get to this shrine. It was actually a pretty little shrine. The last shrine of the trip was Hirano, which was quite lovely. There were many cherry blossoms there too, which made it extra pretty. After Hirano, we went back to Lilith's dorm to pick up our bags and then to the station to catch our shinkansen back to Tokyo.

All in all, the trip was quite nice, but very tiring. The trains aren't as convenient in Kyoto so it requires a lot of riding the bus (which kind of sucks) or walking. I was actually pretty happy to go home because by the end of the trip I felt like I needed a vacation from my vacation. Kyoto is beautiful, but I prefer Tokyo. Coming back to Tokyo is a bit like coming home.
rinlin: (GazettE)
On Sunday, my two week concert extravaganza came to an end with GazettE's tour final (and 11th anniversary) at Saitama Super Arena! It was the perfect way to end everything, saving the best for last.

040

仲間と笑う輝く僕がいる~ )

That concert was the best possible way to end this round of lives. I really couldn't have asked for a better show. I tweeted this the night of the concert and I'll say it again here. I'm pretty sure that going to GazettE concerts is the closest I get to a religious experience. Happy 11th Anniversary to my favorite boys! I'm so glad I could be there this time. <3
rinlin: (Tokyo Tower)
Just got home from te first show of Miyavi's Ahead of the Light tour! I'll write a short entry about it now because I have a GazettE live tomorrow.

Pass the supersonic, everything's gone behind me )

It felt like the live ended to soon, even though it went on for almost two hours. I wished that there would've been enough time for Miyavi to come back for a second encore. Despite that, it was still a great evening! Myv lives are always fantastic.

Now to get some rest before tomorrow's GazettE live! I'm almost at the end of my two week concert extravaganza.

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