17.1.21

The Questions in Question, and Other Sad Trombones (Happy New Year 2021)

Happy New Year, folks! We... guess? With the pandemic raging worse than ever, and many places under lockdown, it's looking like a dark winter, especially in the midst of a "fashion" crisis of puffer jackets that look like black plastic garbage bags stuffed with toilet paper, plus the question of why the Fashion Police haven't started arresting anyone who hasn't upped their mask game from "white paper sanitary napkin wrapper" to "re-usable, matches my outfit and actually fits my face." Having to wear a mask all the time sucks enough without looking like you mummified yourself in all that toilet paper you panic-bought last spring! Look at Imai Hisashi, kids. Imai Hisashi is a role model. You should do what he does. Put on your Swarovski mask and your giant platform boots and pandemic down the street like you're the hottest virus to infect the catwalk since Agent Smith. Imai Hisashi can jump, twirl, and kick in those boots, while playing guitar. Could he also infect the Matrix and make a gazillion more copies of Imai Hisashi? No question! So what's your excuse, eh!?

Anyhow, apologies never made up for late trains, but we apologize again for not keeping up with the blogging. For those of us who were worried for us, thank you for keeping us in your thoughts. Physically, we're doing better. Emotionally, well... who the fuck is feeling happy and well-adjusted right now? Raise your hands, you chipper lying overachievers, and we'll call you a pack of chipper lying overachievers! There's no shame in admitting boldly that wish you could sleep all day because it beats being awake. Is this what Mr. Sakurai meant by "Moonlight Escape"? How did he know?

In any case, before we get back to the Abracadabra translations (and we WILL get back to them even though we've got nothing on the OFFICIAL translations sucks to be us but more on that later), we'd like to address some questions we've gotten from you readers.

First, Yemitza from Venezuela would like to know, what sorts of too-expensive-to-buy merch did Buck-Tick release in fall of 2020?

Thanks for asking, Yemitza.

First, Imai Hisashi released this pretty cool embroidered bomber jacket, in both black and white, as a collaboration with fashion designer Takeo Kikuchi, whose Meiji Street boutique you could visit, if you were allowed into Japan as a foreigner, which you're not, because all gaijin have coronavirus. Also, you don't have enough money to buy this jacket, because it's 70,000 yen and that's more than your rent. With unicorns and sparkles, fuck you, Yemitza :) Have you been feeling like your life is a meaningless slog from cradle to grave and your grave is probably very close at hand because you'll probably almost certainly die of this virus but at this point you don't even care anymore because fuck this shit? Congratulations, Yemitza. You're correct! Take 50xp, but no gold coins, because you don't have enough money to buy this jacket.


Second, Buck-Tick released these fancy earbuds, as a collaboration with Tago Studio Takasaki, a recording studio in Takasaki, Gunma, near the band's hometown of Fujioka. These hot-shot, hand-lettered bad boys are lusciously insertable into your ear canals, developed as the small, lipstick-case-vibrator versions of the big, insert-your-ears-into-their-luscious-folds studio monitor headphones used at Tago Studio. The Tago Studio T3-02 earphones feature "box in box" technology, with an inner headphone core inside an outer box, designed to silence any sound from the outside world to less than a faint whisper, so that all you hear are the slip-sliding glissandos and falsettos of Buck-Tick in your box. Perfect for amateur sound engineers and pornographers alike. Do you like that, Yemitza? Do you want those earphones inside your ears? Do you want them inside your ears right now? Welp, too bad! Those earphones are the Shinjuku hooker in this tale and you cannot afford her. She's 68,200 yen, Yemitza. Sayonara!


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Next, our long-lost Russian Lolita friend Maria Anastasia Hisashiyevna Sakuraina from St. Petersburg would like to ask, was the Fish Tank Only 2020 tour cancelled?

Yes, Maria Anastasia Hisashiyevna Sakuraina. Yes, it was. And it's never coming back. Just like the sweet hours of your life that you could have spent skipping rope and learning to speak Bahasa, only instead you spent them blacked out on your couch with the curtains closed in a sea of empty vodka bottles, because life is meaningless and soon, VERY SOON, we're all going to die, 'Rona or no 'Rona, it's only a matter of time and time was never on your side!!! But don't take it too hard. This is a new year. There's still time for you to write the next Great Russian Novel, before it's all over. Probably. пожалуйста меня, ох да.

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Third, many of our dear readers would like you ask, Cayce, did you attend the Abracadabra On Screen tour? What was it like?

Yeah, we did.

It was like a drive-in movie in a graveyard.

Kokusai Forum holds 5,000 people and we only saw a few hundred. Slumped in their seats, with their feet up.

Yes, it was on screen. It was a movie, on a very large screen. A beautiful, well-produced movie, but a movie nonetheless.

Oh, but they flashed red lights on the crowd during "Ura-Harajuku"!

Stage effects, amirite!!?

The only part that didn't feel like a movie: the sloshed, plastered, wasted-drunk voice of Sakurai Atsushi, announcing a break for intermission, between the main set and the encore. Write that Russian novel, man. We know you have it in you.

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Fourth, many of our dear readers would like to ask, Cayce, were you at the Nippon Budoukan in socially-distanced, not-sweaty, not-fleshy person on December 29th, 2020? Did you see with your own masked face and naked eyes what we only saw through a screen?

The sad, very sad answer is that no, kids. We didn't. We could have, theoretically. But we didn't. And this probably means our Buck-Tickistani passport ought to be revoked, right about now.

Why didn't we go?

Oh, well, first there was the part about how the tickets for any seats that weren't at the nosebleed back of the house were twice as expensive as usual, you see. Because they had to sell the venue at half capacity, because the Budoukan is owned by the Japanese government, and the Japanese government demanded All the Virus Performance. Because People Need Money and Buck-Tick is like a silver cow that squirts milk we mean money into the hands of many, many hungry, thirsty people so they can't cancel the show but they MUST take the fun out of it.

How best to do so? By making a dedicated smartphone app, that can only be downloaded onto a specific kind of phone (which Cayce doesn't own), and making it so that each ticket had to be purchased individually (no buying tickets for your and your plus one), and making it so that each ticket is non-transferrable so that if the 'Rona gets you and end up not being able to go, they just get to eat your 17,000 yen whole, no possibility of selling/transferring your ticket to someone else, because, with unicorns and sparkles, fuck you, Yemitza. This is a Kafkaesque gulag. What did you think this was, a rock show?

The lucky fans who managed to get through this stage of the process were then required to upload mug shots profile pictures, taken to certain specifications, to a dedicated Ticket Pia site, several days in advance of the show. Fans whose profile pictures were deemed insufficiently similar to their ID photos ran the risk of being turned away at the door. 

Next, the fans were required to arrive at the venue in shifts, so that they could enter the venue in properly socially distanced fashion. No talking allowed? Goes without saying. No tour goods. No partying. No smiling. No happiness. And no kittens. ESPECIALLY NO KITTENS!

Having reached the door, fans were required to tromp their goth boots across disinfectant pads, because the bottom of your goth boots is where the 'Rona goes to party like it's a socially undistanced 1999. Then, the hand sanitizers. The profile picture check. And the registration on the Japanese government's contact tracing app, so that officials from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare can show up at your window in the middle of the night and say "Boo!" if they feel so moved.

Next, into the venue, into your socially distanced seat, not next to any other fans, especially not your plus one. Where you SIT in your seat, and "enjoy" the entire show in masked silence, feeling smugly superior because YOU'RE sitting there live in person, you ran that gauntlet like a true American Ninja, you charmed tickets out of the Belly of the Beast like you can cadenza on Tamino's magic flute, and that makes you so much BETTER than all those schmucks in unpronounceable countries like Tajikistan and Herzegovina and Suriname who might be gathered with their friends around a bottle of wine and a plate of canapes, laughing and enjoying the show together as if there were still love in the universe. Those people may have had a warm and loving good time watching their live streams today, but the 'Rona is sure to kill them DEAD tomorrow, whereas you, coldhearted intrepid Buck-Tick stalker true believer, YOU saw Sakurai Atsushi's thighs IN PERSON through a pair of pants and several layers of dusters and veils and one very swish goth cape. And that makes you better than everyone else, forever. Better than Cayce, for sure. Suck it, Cayce. You couldn't ride a camel if you practiced for five years, Cayce. We're better than you. Sayo-fucking-nara.

(Actually, it seems from what we could tell from watching the live stream that the crowd physically present in the Budoukan were surprisingly energetic and appreciative. Good on you, guys. But, Buck-Tick's management... if you want us to attend a show IRL, do try to make us feel like we're guests at your event, rather than prisoners of war being processed. You feel us?)

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Fifth, Lawrence of Canadia asked us, Cayce, did you have any involvement in the international edition of Abracadabra that's coming out through this record label and will include a *sad trombone* "official English lyrics booklet."

Thanks for your support as ever, Lawrence, but nope. Buck-Tick's management sure love to vacuum up your yennies and pennies, but paying Cayce for a translation??? Hell will "Kogoeru" first. Cayce is a hack and can never write such poetry as, 

"Am I dead or am I alive?
It's dark outside, dark with the dusk
I want [a] to sink, that's all I crave
Sing one last lullaby
Tell me I've been good [...in bed]
I want to sleep, that's all it is
Far away, far away in my [wet] dreams
Time to sleep."

And here's another jewel of professional translation from the JPU Records website, which Cayce could surely never equal:

"When I strummed the A chord to F#m on my guitar, tears began to well up. I kept going with that feeling and 'Eureka' was made." (said Imai).

After all, Cayce's translations tend to read more like this:

"When I put my pale pink rocket against my wife's black hole of love, a 'here is new sensation' began to well up. I kept going with that feeling and 'The Moon is Made of Green Cheese,' I mean, my daughter, Imai Hisashiko junior, was made. LOVE LOVE LOVE YEAH YEAH YEAH PEACE!!!
#imaihisashi
#bucktick
#bt
#peace
#✌
#🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈
#アブラカダブラ
#ABRACADABRA
#🔮🙏
#omamori"

In any case, we all know that passive voice is always the best way to describe your sex life, whether it's with your sex life with your guitar, or your sex life with your one and only. Passive voice: if it's good enough for scientific journal articles, it's good enough for rock-n-roll website copy.

A case in point:

Alchemical Processes of Transformation of Sonic Vibrations into Euphoria-Inducing Ether Cocktails Causing Lubrication and Arousal in Human Genitalia: Case Study on the Sexual XXXXX Effects of 'The Buck-Tick Phenomenon,' published in The Journal of Sex, Sexology and Sexuality, June 69th, 2069, Hisashi University Press, Ltd.

But, all those sex jokes aside, cut the crap, Buck-Tick's management. "Kogoeru" is not a song about feeling tired and wanting to sleep. "Kogoeru" is about longing for the sweet release of death!!! Why? Because life is an endless slog of betrayal, misery, and disappointment. Of the love you gave being tossed back in your face like a drink in a bar fight. Of the light of your being, your talent and all you hoped to achieve being slowly snuffed out by the tyranny of mediocrity and the grinding juggernaut of late-stage capitalism, just like that lonely, guttering candle Mr. Sakurai's holding in the PV.

Let me quote Mr. Sakurai, from Phy Volume 17, "Probably the only time I have no sorrow in my heart is when I get drunk and fall asleep. But sometimes, when I fall asleep, the nightmares attack..."

And now it's time for Cayce to sleep, too. God kids, I want a sink. That's all I crave. Tell me I've been good, and then leave me the fuck alone.

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*blinks*

Oh, right, we can't sleep yet. We had to write a Russian novel.

And the Russian novel is this: what are Buck-Tick doing next?

Who the fuck knows what anybody is doing next, kids? Buck-Tick have announced a national hall tour for fall of 2021, and a show at the Budoukan on December 29th, 2021. But... your guess is as good as ours.

In the meantime.

Buy the Very Official International Edition of Abracadabra. Translated by Much Professionals with So Wow Credentials and Very Cold Hard Cash.

Or, if you like sex jokes, support us on Ko-Fi. We may not be able to translate Japanese worth a damn, but we are a VERY mother pheasant plucker (we pluck mother pheasants!)

And, if you feel so moved, answer us one last question... why would Mr. Sakurai want a sink? Does he need an extra one for his cats to sit in? Was everything but the kitchen sink not enough? That greedy bastard! Discuss.

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(This post has been brought to you by catsinsinks.com. Not really, but, check it out, it will make you laugh.)

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3.12.20

The Deserts of the Moon

...the Deserts of the Moon, or the Deserts of the Blog-Tick Phenomenon? Yeah, we know we've been delinquent on posting more translations, and we've been so bad at blogging for so long now that apologizing feels pointless (sorry anyway, though). Unfortunately our health is still fragile (though getting better!) But no, we do not and have not had "The 'Rona," though thanks for your concern. We hope y'all are managing to stay well, physically and mentally, during these trying times (if the virus doesn't kill you, the loneliness and boredom will, eh?)

Anyhow, enough blubbering! We are pleased to announce that the kanji, romaji, and translations for "Tsuki no Sabaku" and "Maimu Maimu" are now up over on This is NOT Greatest Site, along with copious notes. This, friends, is, as we said before, one of the big reasons why it's taking us so long to translate the new album this time around. There's a LOT to unpack. Shirts, trousers, satin knickers, lace stockings, and garters galore... plus layers upon layers of veiled references and allusions. We wanted to let it all sink in and process before we attempted to translate it, because we wanted to do justice to the depth and complexity of the songs, and we didn't want to miss anything. We probably did miss things anyway, and we'll have to go back and add them later, but that's always how it goes. 

It's been a question for us this time, whether to write separate anaylsis articles for each song, save one big analysis article for the end, or include extra analysis in the notes for each song, since based on the feedback we get from readers, it seems many of y'all have a little trouble figuring out what Buck-Tick's lyrics mean, even in translation, and would appreciate a little guided analysis. The reason we didn't include more analysis in our translation notes prior to this album was because we wanted to let y'all interpret them for yourselves, without pushing our interpretation on you. Sakurai has stated again and again in interviews over the years that he doesn't want to explain his lyrics in too much detail, because he'd rather that listeners find their own meaning... but that was also our view of art even before we got into Buck-Tick. 

There's a tendency for critics to argue about what the "correct" interpretation of a work is, but in our view, that's silly. Every work of art is a kind of dialogue between the artist and the audience. When the audience experiences the work, they add to it, with their emotional responses and individual interpretations that perhaps the artist himself never considered. In our view, that's what art is. It's malleable. It's cumulative. It gains meaning over time, and the meaning changes over time. You can't put it in a glass case and label it with a specimen tag of absolute truth, nor should you try - at least, that's our opinion. So we kept most of our analysis out of our translation notes, in order to give you the raw facts and let you decide what to do with them.

However, so many of you have written to us over the years saying that you can't make heads or tails of most of the songs, and requesting more analysis. And it's true that in our own experience, some astute critical analysis by someone deeply familiar with the artist and the work can be extremely helpful in unlocking your own personal interpretation of the work - especially one as dense as Abracadabra. So this time, we've changed our style and added a lot more in the way of critical analysis to our translation notes. We also hope to write a more in-depth article on the whole album... and that Six/Nine article y'all requested back before we got sick... so sorry to keep you waiting, we haven't forgotten (in fact, we've been thinking about what to write for several years). We hope you enjoy this new, more in-depth commentary, and please do feel free to share your thoughts on the songs in the comments, if you feel so moved.

In some cases, though, extra background info on the songs just isn't appropriate for translation notes, and "Tsuki no Sabaku" is one of those cases.

The original "Tsuki no Sabaku," translated as "Moon Desert," is a work by Japanese poet and artist Katou Masawo. Katoh Masawo was just the sort of gender-role-bending multi-talented artist the Buck-Tick members seem to be drawn to - born in 1897, his claim to fame was poetry and illustrations for children, especially girls, among whom he had an ardent fan following. It's hard to find much information about him, but according to Japanese Wikipedia, he often interacted with his fans (presumably through correspondence, since it was the 1920's), and he was well-versed in all the things the kids were doing in those days - clothes, hair, and so forth - and they loved him all the more for it. Reportedly he also played violin and cultivated roses. One wonders whether if he'd been born in a later era, he'd have worn red lipstick and garters, too.


Katou Masawo, tuning a violin

Looking at Katou's illustrations, it's easy to see why he was such a hit with young girls. His adorable flower fairies and lyrical images of young women daydreaming, reading, or playing music call to mind a gentler, more watercolored version of Brian Froud mixed with John William Waterhouse - he captures both the dreamy enchantment and the sadness of being a girl with a purity and sensitivity devoid of objectification or gimmicks. Like Sakurai, it seems that he wished he could live in a more beautiful world.


"Heart of the Flower"

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"Flower Fairy"

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"Letter - Spring Night's Dream"

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"Feelings 2" (this is probably Orpheus)

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"Moon and Girl"

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”In the Shade"

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"Night Melodies"

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The poem "Tsuki no Sabaku," which became his most famous work, was first published in the March 1923 issue of the girls' magazine Shojo Club, accompanied by an illustration, which Katou also drew. 


"Tsuki no Sabaku" illustration on the poster for a Katou Masawo exhibit


"Tsuki no Sabaku" commemorative postage stamp

Katou Masawo's "Tsuki no Sabaku"
(translated from Japanese by Cayce)

Across the Desert of the Moon, far, far away
Traveling camels journeyed on
Bearing saddles of gold and silver
Two in a line, they journeyed on

In the saddle of gold, a urn of silver
In the saddle of silver, a urn of gold
The two urns each
Bound up in twine

In the first saddle sat a prince
In the second saddle sat a princess
The pair of them together
Dressed up in white robes

Across the wide desert, in single file
The two of them went - where will they go?
Through the misty haze of the moonlit night
The pair of camels trudge along

Across the sand dunes, they journeyed
Silently crossing, they journeyed on

Young composer Sasaki Suguru then set the poem to music. The song version of "Tsuki no Sabaku" was used by Sasaki in his music lessons for children, and the sheet music was released as part of his Bluebird Songbook for children's musical education. The song became popular enough that it was aired on the radio in 1927, then released as a record featuring singer Matsushima Utako (credited on that release as Yanagii Harumi) on vocals. Since then, the song has become a standard, and many other artists have recorded it over the years.


"Tsuki no Sabaku" original Yanagii Harumi recording

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"Tsuki no Sabaku," Baishou Chieko version

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Katou said that his song was inspired by his fantasy of a prince and princess traveling through an Arabian desert with gold and silver treasures. Wikipedia points out that he got a number of technical details wrong, since he was relying purely on his own imagination, having never visited a real desert.

Katou's "Tsuki no Sabaku" became so famous that a museum, the Moon Desert Museum, was erected in its honor next to Onjuku Beach in Chiba prefecture, where Katou spent summers recovering from tuberculosis. Katou mentioned later in his life that the sand dunes of Onjuku were part of his inspiration to write "Tsuki no Sabaku." The Moon Desert Museum at Onjuku is surrounded by a park featuring statues of the prince and princess on their camels walking across the beach as if it were a desert, as pictured in Katou's illustration. The museum itself features vaguely Middle Eastern architecture and whimsical art installations of traditional fabric handicrafts.


Moon Desert Museum camel statues


Moon Desert Museum camel statues with crescent moon monument


Moon Desert Museum camel statues with the museum building in the background



Daytime view of the Moon Desert Museum


Moon Desert Museum installation exhibits (cute, eh?)



Sakurai stated in Rock & Read 91 that his inspiration for Buck-Tick's "Tsuki no Sabaku" came when he heard a kerosene vendor truck playing "Tsuki no Sabaku" as it drove by. Kerosene vendor trucks playing tunes advertising their wares are commonly seen in the winter in Japan, because many Japanese homes lack central heating, and people often rely on kerosene heaters for warmth in the winter. Usually the songs played by these trucks are advertising jingles. Sakurai said that hearing "Tsuki no Sabaku" as a choice of song made him think "This town is beyond surreal," and continued, "If I ever run into it again, I'll go ask them why [they chose that song]." 

Sakurai borrowed a number of phrases from the original "Tsuki no Sabaku" for the lyrics to his own "Tsuki no Sabaku" - the opening phrase, "harubaru to yuku," and the image of the prince, princess, and camels. However, in Sakurai's version, the prince becomes a lonely, nameless king - clearly a stand-in for Sakurai himself, and the journey through the desert is transformed from lyrical fantasy to a not-so-subtle metaphor for the loneliness, difficulty, and uncertainty of existence - the search for meaning, or a destination, amid a life that feels like a lonely journey from nowhere to nowhere. The moonlight can also be seen as a metaphor, like the Moon card in the tarot - a journey into the subconscious and the shadowed parts of the soul, through one's own doubts, fears, and repressed or unprocessed emotions. The beautiful princess appears to be separated from the king, otherwise, why would the king be so lonely? Though draped in gold and silver, she's sunburned and weary, with a scorpion - yet another metaphor. Scorpio is the zodiac sign which represents digging under the surface into the dark depths, in search of the deepest, rawest emotions. It's the sign that deals with death, hidden desire, and possessive need. In modern astrology, Scorpio is ruled by the planet Pluto (still a planet you fucking pedants) - Pluto, king of the Underworld, god of death, secrets, and buried treasures.

And here we get to the thing Sakurai left unstated in his quip about the oil truck playing "Tsuki no Sabaku" - an oil truck playing a song about a Middle Eastern romance is driving around with some pretty heavy baggage other than oil. Oil - the Middle East's own Plutonic buried treasure. Oil - the main reason why places like California and Australia are drying up and burning into desert. When the silver and golden treasures become oil money, they don't seem quite so romantic anymore. Sakurai made a lot of remarks about watching the news and being angry about events and issues in the world as part of his inspiration for Abracadrabra ("Villain" tackles cyberbullying, "Urahara-juku" tackles sexual assault). He also mentioned spending most of the spring lockdown period revising and re-revising his lyrics. There's no way all these various levels of meaning aren't deliberately intentional. In fact, war and strife in the Middle East are a long-running theme of his - he's written a lot of anti-war songs over the years (see "Rakuen," "Muchi no Namida," "Revolver," and "Guernica no Yoru"), and while only "Rakuen" directly touches on the Middle East as a location of the war (through its use of an Arabian-style melody and verses from the Qu'ran), Buck-Tick have pulled out their repertoire of anti-war songs again and again to make comments on specific events related to that region of the world - the set list for Mona Lisa Overdrive Xanadu was partly a comment on the Iraq war, while the set list for Devil & Freud Climax Together was in part a memorial to the 9-11 bombings of the Twin Towers. 

Considered from this angle, "Tsuki no Sabaku" becomes not only a song about personal struggle against a sense of futility or meaninglessness, but also a pointed question to society - how long can we go on like this, desertifying our world for the sake of money? Even the camel reference develops a double meaning. In Japanese, the word for camel is "rakuda," but the phrase "raku da" means "it's easy," with the implication of convenience. In the parts of the world that run on oil and oil money, "convenience" has become one of the major excuses for not taking action on the environmental and economic problems that require urgent action. People haven't wanted to give up their cushy lifestyles or make an effort to make a change - but maybe things are finally changing now. 

It's just a coincidence that the moon is also a symbol of Islam, but it sure adds to the mood, when you think about how all the unrest in the Middle East and the havoc wreaked by ISIS led to the destruction of so many precious ancient treasures in a region that for many thousands of years was one of the main epicenters of human civilization. Sakurai's invoked ancient Babylon in a number of songs, mostly in the context of the Tower of Babel ("Lady Skeleton," "Babel") - which has now become a symbol of human hubris and the origin of "us vs. them" divisions among human groups, and the name Babylon itself has come to represent both unsustainable hedonism and moral corruption, and also (in the Rastafarian tradition), the white male capitalist patriarchy currently hard at work digging up the oil and destroying the planet (and, of course, a major instigator of all those Middle East wars, ISIS included).

It's also interesting that this is the only song in which Sakurai has explicitly noted that the heroine as having a brown skin tone. In every other song he's ever written about a woman that mentions her skin tone, she's pale. Maybe we're reading too much in, but we know he chooses every word for a reason and it seems to us like there might be a very slight hint in here to solidarity with the struggles of brown women. In any case, it's an interesting touch.

Whew! From flower fairies and children's songs to peak oil and ISIS, all in one article! That sure was a big trunk full of garters! Please feel free to respond with your own thoughts in the comments. If you enjoy these translations and articles, please also consider supporting us on Ko-fi. It really helps!

Disclaimer: All images used in this article were shamelessly stolen off the internet. We don't own any of them.

31.10.20

Kamijo Atsushi x Sakurai Atsushi

At long last, after many delays, Buck-Tick have finally announced the details of their collaboration with famed rock-n-roll manga artist Kamijo Atsushi, author of the manga To-Y, Sex, and other titles. If you ever wondered what it would look like if Kamijo Atsushi drew illustrations of Buck-Tick, wonder no more!






Kamijo's illustration of the five band members, and his special separate illustration of a long-haired Mr. Sakurai, will be released as t-shirts through Kamijo's new clothing label, GAIN (check the site for more photos of the shirts). The shirts are available in in either black or white, because adding insult to the injuries of 2020, oversized block printed ultra-white t-shirts are currently the height of "fashion" in Tokyo these days, if fashion is what you can call it. White to match your mask? Oh, wait, it's been seven months now! Why are we still wearing white masks? What happened to crisis being the mother of creativity? But we digress. The shirts are available in sizes S through XL, and cost 8580 yen apiece, which is an awful lot for a t-shirt, but the laws of the universe state that if it's possible to extort fan love into the spending whopping sums, then it must be done. And the illustrations are very cool, it's true. The t-shirts are available for pre-order from today until November 15th. If you'd like our help pre-ordering them, please send us an email.

As to why Mr. Sakurai alone got his own special illustration - that was because Kamijo Atsushi declared he was just dying to draw his Buck-Tick namesake. Why? Probably because having the same name as a national sexual XXXXX symbol made him feel aroused. Though we can't say for certain.

Happy Halloween, folks. Enjoy the Blue Moon, but don't give in to lunacy! More Abracadabra translations coming soon.

21.10.20

Sophia Dreams of Harajuku

Once again, sorry for keeping y'all waiting. The kanji, romaji, and singable English translations of "Sophia Dream" and "Urahara-juku" are now up over at Not Greatest Site, along with a truly epic slew of notes. Actually, we posted the translation of "Sophia Dream" on NGS last week (did any of y'all notice?) but we didn't post about on here because we were so plum tuckered out after writing all those translation notes that we fell asleep before we could write a blog post about them, too. And in fact, we're now feeling much the same way after tackling "Urahara-juku." All the juicy stuff is in the notes, so we'll keep this post short and sweet, but please do share your thoughts on these songs in the comments.

Anyhow, in case you were in any doubt: it's official. Imai is high on acid. He's high on acid, right this minute. And he wants you to know about it, in no uncertain terms. In fact... if we didn't know any better... we'd almost think he's encouraging Buck-Tick fans to do acid, too... almost like he's suggesting that doing drugs is fun... almost like he's suggesting that the full power of Buck-Tick's music can be better unlocked under the enhancements of Lady Lucy... or like he's suggesting that if you do acid then you, too, will get to hang out with Imai's anima and watch Abracadabra sunbursts twirling through the sky and maybe even find a really huge rainbow diamond, to boot!

Imai says he was inspired to write "Sophia Dream" after a person at the DIQ 2019 after party suggested to him that he write a song like Pink Floyd's "Julia Dream." If you're curious, watch a beautifully animated video for that song below.


Another thing, in case you were in any doubt: it's official. Buck-Tick have not only spent more or less their entire careers performing under stylized images of giant vaginas, they are also feminists. While Lady Lucy helps Imai celebrate the Divine Feminine as the hope of the future, Mr. Sakurai rages at street harassers.

It's true. Over and over again in the interviews the band gave about this album, Mr. Sakurai kept saying that one of the emotions that inspired him was rage. Rage. RAGE! Where are you, LiveJournal fangirls from 2009? How does that make you feel, to know that your precious Gothique Prince is so full of rage, at capitalism, idol marketing, gentrification, and most of all at sleazy guys who sexually harass cute goth girls on the streets of Harajuku, that he would take the fall for any girl tough enough to defend herself from street harassment by pushing the harasser into the street so that he gets hit by a car and dies! Does that turn you on as much as it turns us on? Or does it horrify your dainty selves out of your white china teacups and clean out of Buck-Tickistan? Or did you already leave Buck-Tickistan ages ago because you realized that "Gustave" is about a cat having sex and you simply cannot deal with such bestial themes?

Sorry, fans, but Acchan-chan knows that what's really beastly is how tough it is, being a woman in a situation where you're being physically threatened by someone bigger and stronger than you are. Not only is it scary, the world is full of victim blamers who would be quick to blame you if you used violence to defend yourself, even in situations where violence in self-defense is your only option. Not only that, but Japan is full of old-fashioned sexists who don't think girls should use language like "fuck off," like the girl in this song does. But what does Atsushi "Rage" Sakurai think? He thinks, if you're threatened, girl, put the fear of god into the guy for daring to try to mess with you! Girls, if you've ever told a guy to go to hell or punched him for harassing you, Atsushi "Rage" Sakurai is on your side. Atsushi "Rage" Sakurai will punch that guy too. Atsushi "Rage" Sakurai knows that bitches had it coming.

...and is angry about the gentrification of Harajuku...

...and is giving the finger to idol culture, but not the good kind of finger...

...and did we mention he wrote a whole song about how if anyone tries to say it's the girl's fault, they can blame him, Atsushi "Rage" Sakurai, instead...

Boys, listen up, and listen good. You want to get all the ladies? This is how you do it: by being an angry feminist. Atsushi Sakurai: raging angry feminist and national sexual XXXXX symbol, since 1966.

Rage, Acchan, rage. Rage at us all night long.

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(Oh, the sweet taste of validation. It tastes almost as good as lysergic acid diethylamide. Buck-Tick, if we weren't already married to you, we'd track you down and marry y'all again.)

If you enjoyed these translations and the notes, please consider supporting us on Ko-Fi. It is much appreciated!

14.10.20

Who's Your Daddy? or, Here Comes the Son! (Report by The Hisashi Inquirer)

You! Buck-Tick fans, we're talking to you! You're the REAL fans. You're the ones who write emails to Cayce of The Blog-Tick Phenomenon, asking for the dirt. No, not the dirt from under Hisashi Imai's fingernails. The REAL dirt. That is to say, WHO is having please me oh yes sexual tacos with Gothique Prince Acchan right now? WHO are the fruits of Gothique Prince Acchan's garter-clad loins, where are they, and what are they doing, right now? And most importantly, are they as juicily deadly sexily luscious as Gothique Prince Acchan, and even more most importantly, are they single????? Because if you can't have the dad's nads, the next best thing is having what came out of them, amirite ladeez?

Oh, but you thought you didn't have to ask, did you? You thought you knew the truth already, even though Cayce never stopped denying it? I know, you know, I know, it's been well known on the fangirl internet for many a year now: Leoneil Vaniru is the son of Atsushi Sakurai. Just look at the family resemblance! Leoneil is much younger, shorter, and less talented than our dear Gothique Prince Acchan! Smaller = clearly a miniature version of the original! And he has a beaky nose like Acchan, a trait not a single other man in Japan possesses, aside from the two of them! And what son of noble filial piety wouldn't want to cosplay his dad's ambiguously gay lover!!!!? I spring, you spring, we all spring for offspring!

Leoneil Vaniru:


Not Leoneil Vaniru but verifiedly made out with Gothique Prince Acchan:


Leoneil Vaniru:


Not Leoneil Vaniru but verifiedly made out with Gothique Prince Acchan (omg is he Leoneil's mom!??!):


Then again... others of you also knew the truth. There's no way anyone who writes as many Buck-Tick / Der Zibet /Soft Ballet madlib mashups is the fruit of Gothique Prince Acchan's loins. Leoneil Vaniru is a homosexually inclined Gothique Prince Acchan fanboy. His mother was Billie Jean. Billie Jean was not Acchan's lover, she was just a girl who thought that he was the one. But the kid, Gothique Prince Acchan's real son, is this guy. Shotaro Mama Mia! Whoops, we meant Shotaru Mamiya. Just look at the way he scowls at that camera! It's is if he's already pulled the sword from the Stone of Buck-Tickistan, revealing himself as the one and only true heir!!! Internet fangirls sure know their stuff.



Practically indistinguishable, huh?



But then! The scandal broke!! The son of Atsushi Sakurai is, in fact, this lil' lipstick-loving bishonen by the name of Ten Yoshii, formerly presumed to be the son of The Yellow Monkey's Kazuya Yoshii. The photographic evidence leaves little doubt!

Kazuya Yoshii:


Atsushi Sakurai:


Ten "Yoshii":


Who's your daddy, eh, Ten? Who could he possibly be but Atsushi Sakurai!?!?! 

...so why are we still in doubt? If we knew all along which bishonen were/are the product(s) of Gothique Prince Acchan's reproductive processes... what is left for The Hisashi Inquirer to Report?

A SCOOP, that's what! A big scoop of Cream Soda I Scream!!!

As a matter of strictly rigorously ethical journalistic fact, major reputable news media outlets such as The Snobby Literary Press, Kyodo News, NHK, Hipster Novelists' Quarterly, and Troubled Children of Divorced Rock Stars Who Went to Law School and Were Going to Be Civil Servants But Found Themselves Instead and Became Award-Winning Novelists' Weekly, have all unearthed the Truth: the fruit of the loins of Gothique Prince Acchan (yeek! we said "loins" again!!) is none other than hipster hairdo model and 2020 winner of the acclaimed Akutagawa Prize for best literary story of the year, Haruka Tono! The Akutagawa Prize is one of Japan's top literary awards, and 29-year-old Haruka Tono (not his real name), born August 22nd, 1991 as the proud instigator of the less-than-yearlong shotgun marriage of his youthfully indiscretional parents, Buck-Tick frontman Atsushi Sakurai and former Buck-Tick stylist and seamstress of giant shoulder pads Sayuri Watanabe, is the first winner to have been born in the Heisei era (post-1988). Tono, who attended the prestigious Keio University law school, wears much more serious suits than his louche father, and previously won the Bungei literary prize for his work Kairyou ("Reform"). He was awarded the Akutagawa Prize for his work Hakyoku ("Breakup"), which, contrary to fangirl belief, is not about the oh-so-predictable end of his parents' ill-advised marriage, but, according to Japanese internet literature nerds, follows the life of a Japanese university student, Yousuke, a douchey, pompous tryhard overachiever who works on his macho muscles day and night, coaches high school rugby, thinks he's the smartest guy in town and his skillz with the ladeez can't be beat. He's studying to be a civil servant and dating a girl who plans to be a politician... but then he meets another girl, and cue disaster. Guess being macho and mansplainy wasn't the answer to everything after all. Jeez, Tono. You could have learned that one from your dad! (The Hisashi Inquirer cannot verify the accuracy of this synopsis, but since The Hisashi Inquirer rarely fact-checks anything, this is not unusual).

To unveil this highly unlikely combination of loins and fruit thereof, both father and son gave a joint interview to the literary magazine Bungei, with photographic evidence of their utter lack of familial resemblance, and Gothique Prince Acchan's subtle and slightly-embarrassed look of pride in his decorated offspring, who achieved fame purely on his own merits, because nobody in the literary awards scene has ever heard of Buck-Tick. Bravo, son! Live no longer in the shadow of your garter-clad dad!


Could this baby in Gothique Prince Acchan's arms possibly be the hipster haircut pictured above? If the baby's hipster haircut and the father's slightly embarrassed pride are anything to go on, then yes.



Meanwhile, as literature fangirls titter about the handsomeness of the newest Akutagawa awardee, we at The Hisashi Inquirer are wondering just exactly how Kazuya Yoshii fits into this puzzle after all.

Kazuya Yoshii:


Haruka Tono:


Who's son is the real son!!!? Could there be MORE scoops to come!? Stay tuned and find out!!!

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Note from Cayce: The above article was translated from the original Buck-Tickistani by yours truly. The content represents solely the views of The Hisashi Inquirer, and not of Cayce or the Blog-Tick Phenomenon. For those of you who are understandably confused by this strange turn of events, some facts: yes, Mr. Sakurai publicly acknowledged Akutagawa Prize winner Tono Haruka as his biological son. While there has been no mention of who Tono's mother is, Sakurai and Buck-Tick's former stylist Watanabe Sayuri were married in 1991. She was already pregnant when they married, and gave birth to a son shortly thereafter. The two divorced less than a year later after some tabloids broke that Mr. Sakurai was having extramarital affairs (le shock). Watanabe quit being Buck-Tick's stylist and the band hired Yagi Tomoharu to replace her. Yagi has been the band's stylist ever since. No further information about Watanabe or the child was publicly confirmed. Tono Haruka was born on August 22nd, 1991, so if he isn't Watanabe's son, then Mr. Sakurai sure was getting around the town like a yowling tomcat. However, the logical assumption is that Tono is the biological son of Sakurai and Watanabe. Whether Tono Haruka is his real name or a pen name is unclear. Haruka did, indeed attend Keio University Law School. We haven't read his award-winning story, so we can't verify that the synposes are accurate, but from what we skimmed on book review sites, the general gist is correct. Serious reporting from The Hisashi Inquirer? We're frankly amazed. And yes, Yoshii Ten is the confirmed biological son of Yoshii Kazuya.

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And thanks for the Ko-Fi, y'all. Keep it coming so we have enough caffeine to write award-winning novel-length notes on the remainder of Abracadabra.

9.10.20

Que Sera Sera

Hi, folks! How are y'all enjoying Abracadabra? Did y'all watch the live stream? What about that acoustic "Living on the Net," eh? Did you see that one coming?

We realize we've taken more time this go-around to start posting translations of the lyrics to the new album. Thanks for your patience in waiting for our translations - there's a lot, a lot, to unpack in this album, and we wanted to let the songs sink in for a while before we took a crack at translating them - also, we wanted to take the time to read through the copious interviews with the band members to check on their intended meanings of the lyrics, and to pinpoint the source of some of the references which might have slipped under our radar otherwise. In other words, we've been off the grid, doing our Buck-Tick homework for y'all (Buck-Tick homework: the best kind of homework ever.) And, you know, work, and IRL life, and less-than-perfect health. All that fa fa fa fa and la la la la. Que sera sera!

The good news: we are done with the preliminary research and now we are cracking! We are pleased to bring to you the singable English translation of "Que Sera Sera Elegy," complete with copious notes, because we know how much y'all love notes. Please feel free to leave your comments on the song on this post. Also, please feel free to join us in imagining Imai in his basement home studio, practicing his high kick dance in his giant platform heel stompy boots, as his daughter chases him around, shrieking and laughing hysterically. The inspiration for this song? Very possibly. Who's your daddy? Imai Hisashi, that's who.



Thanks again to everyone who has supported us on Ko-Fi. If you enjoy this translation and would like to continue supporting our work, please don't hesitate to buy us some more Ko-Fi, as we are currently severely under-caffeinated.

16.9.20

Six O'Clock Radio at Nine O'Clock

Just especially for Buck-Tick, the program "Six O'Clock Radio" is doing an Abracadabra special, to be aired at 9 PM tomorrow, Japan time. See what they did there? Six/Nine's not dead!

The program will be streamed on YouTube here. It will include advertisements for the ultra-deluxe limited editions of the album, including the contents of the limited edition CD, analog LP, and cassette tape. It will also contain "never before aired comments from the band members," and kids, please join us in hoping that these are socially distanced filmed-from-home comments, so that we can vicariously spy on the band members' houses! By now we've all seen a number of views of Imai's crazy black-and-white wallpaper, art collection, and large articulated metal celestial globe (not to mention a reprise of his Schaft plague doctor mask)... but what have we seen of Hide's place except that record-store wall (is it fake? is it real? does it matter?), and that gargoyle. Is it true that Hide lives in a scrubbed-wood hipster coffee shop with navy blue and beige horizontal stripes and small potted olive trees dotting the ultra minimalist coffee bar? Or does he live in his very own Bali-themed spa full of miniature fountains, faux frangipani flowers, carven statues of Ganesha and sexy ladies, with a soundtrack of surf rock mixed with gamelan music, sipping banana martinis as he dreams longingly of his next trip to the Southern Islands?

And what about the others? Is it true that Yutaka lives in a swanky penthouse full of baseball jerseys and gay theater actor "roommates"? Is it true that Toll has a water-cooler-style dispenser for his box wine? Is it true that Mr. Sakurai devoted an entire room to a custom-built kitty jungle gym the likes of which the world has never seen? Would he be willing to give us a tour of the inside of his closet, including the 15 identical Alexander McQueen t-shirts (but most definitely NOT including underwear?) Boy oh boy (septem peccata mortalia), we can't wait for tomorrow!

But that's not all! By far the most exciting part of this program is sure to be the part where they play all the tracks from the new album! It doesn't say whether they'll play them in their entirety, or only play clips, but it kind of sounds like they'll be playing the whole album. Better make sure you connect up your good speaker system before tuning in to this one.

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A special site has also been launched for Tour Abracadabra On Screen, including miniature thumbnails of some of the new tour goods. Goods won't be sold at the venues on this tour, they'll only be sold through the web site. If you'd like to order any, shoot us an email. But we'll wait to review the goods until there are photos which actually show what the goods look like. Let's hope they put those photos up before 6PM Friday, September 18th, which is when the goods go on sale, and doubtless also when they will sell out.

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When the YouTube program airs tomorrow, feel free to leave comments about it on this post. It may not be as much fun as shouting emoji into the YouTube void, but it's a lot more enduring.