7.12.16

San Francisco Graffiti

This, courtesy of Kame in San Francisco (shot from a moving bus by Kame). No, it's not quite what you think it is, but that doesn't matter.


3.12.16

Tower Records Kinshicho

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Last week, we found occasion to visit Tower Records Kinshicho, right under the Tokyo Sky Tree. Since Kinshicho is a bit of an out-of-the-way location (except for people who live in the nuclear fallout zones west Chiba and east Saitama, and who wants to live there?) we had not hitherto paid a visit to this particular location of Tower Records, especially since the 9-storey Shibuya location is far closer to our usual digs and haunting grounds. But certain sources had informed us that the manager of Tower Records Kinshicho is a massive fanboy of the same sort of underground Japanese rock covered here on The Blog-Tick Phenomenon, so we felt that a visit might be worth our while, and we were not wrong.

Even before we entered the store, we were greeted by this light-up billboard:


And once inside, we quickly discovered the very large Buck-Tick shrine, right next to the only slightly smaller shrine to Ken Morioka! Note the inclusion of old albums and side projects, including Schaft and The Mortal (for Buck-Tick) and Ka.F.Ka (for Ken Morioka).


At the bottom right in this picture, you can see that someone, presumably the fanboy manager, had made loving zine-style black-and-white photocopies of the promo flyers for the Atom Miraiha No. 9 tour, for interested customers to take home with them for free.


And here's his long, handwritten birthday tribute to Imai Hisashi:


A close-up on the Ken Morioka tribute boards. Fans were invited to write memorial messages of their own, and as you can see, both boards are already full.


The word is that this manager is an even bigger fan of My Way My Love than he is of Buck-Tick, which would certainly explain the effort that went into crafting this My Way My Love shrine, right around the corner from the Buck-Tick shrine. Note the miniature handwritten album review for Nothing is difficult to those who have the will, an album which came out ten whole years ago. At the left side of the photo is another set of black and white photocopied flyers that were handmade by the manager, including his very own handwritten live report of "Seiten no My Way," a concert performed by The Mortal members Miyo Ken (with his band Seiten no Hekireki) and Murata Yukio (with his band My Way My Love) back in May.


Friends, this is what record stores used to be like. Though this kind of record store is growing fewer every year, let's do our best to keep a few of them open. Next time you visit Japan, I encourage all of you to check out Tower Records Kinshicho - it's imbued with the sort of DIY spirit rarely found in this corporate era, and maybe if you're lucky, the manager will be on the floor and you'll have a chance to say hi and fanboy over Buck-Tick together for a few minutes. We're sure he'd be delighted.

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24.11.16

The Ticket Fairy

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Since we started This is NOT Greatest Shopping Service in summer of 2013, we've been pleased to help you readers and newcomers to this blog locate rare Japanese items, coveted new releases, and of course, the humdinger: Japanese concert tickets. Without a Japanese address and knowledge of the Japanese language, it can be next to impossible to purchase tickets to concerts in Japan without help...but have no fear, we are pleased to offer that help to you! This year in particular, we've received more requests for help ticket purchases than ever before, and to those of you who purchased tickets through us, we sincerely hope we were able to satisfy you.

At the same time, we know that for new customers, requesting this kind of service over the internet without a guarantee or reference from a trusted source can cause a certain amount of trepidation. It is our solemn pledge never to cheat, defraud, or otherwise do anything untoward toward our customers, but even though we say that, we understand that you don't necessarily have any way of knowing whether we're telling the truth.

Therefore, we have a favor to ask: if you have purchased concert tickets (or other items) through This is NOT Greatest Shopping Service and liked what you got, please write a comment with a few sentences about your experience, as a reassurance to future customers that we are who we say we are and we'll do what we say we'll do and we're not some kind of sketchy catfish scheme. If possible, please also include your name (handle is fine), the concert you purchased tickets for, and the name of your country. Thank you in advance for your help!

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In other news, your fellow Blog-Tick readers have brought it to my intention that the following three concert tickets are in search of good homes. If you would like to adopt either or both, please contact us at themadaristocrat at gmail.

Buck-Tick
Atom Miraiha 2016 Tour @ Kyoto Rome Theater
December 8th


One ticket is available. A dear reader of ours was caught by difficult work circumstances and became unable to attend this show...help her out by snapping up this ticket for yourself!

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Buck-Tick
Atom Miraiha 2016 Tour Final @ Nippon Budoukan
December 29th

One stage side ticket is available. The seat is on the second level, east side (Hide's side of the stage). Tickets to this show are mostly sold out so if you want to attend but don't have a ticket, this is your chance!

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Nocturnal Bloodlust
New Year Countdown Live at Harajuku Astro Hall
December 31st

One of our readers was going to attend this show and then became unable to make it. If you're a fan of dark dramatic metal and you'd like to go in her stead, let us know. Then again we suppose all metal is dark and dramatic. But there's always room for more darkness and drama.

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We look forward to hearing from you.

15.11.16

Cayce Does Luxuria

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Of the deadly sins going around this year, we've certainly seen our fill of Superbia (an anthropomorphic orange kitchen sponge who has THE BEST WORDS is going to make America win so much it'll get tired of winning!), Ira (the way anyone with a brain feels about the former situation), and Gura (the Grim Reaper had already taken too many musical souls for one year even before he got to Leonard Cohen). However, Luxuria has been markedly thin on the ground.

If you're feeling frustrated about this and searching for a solution, well, we're pleased to say that we've got just the thing you may be looking for.

Those of you who've been reading NGS/Blog-Tick for any length of time are probably aware that in addition to being the English-language internet's foremost Buck-Tick Blogger (What a stupendous claim to fame! We're almost tired of being famous already!), Cayce is a professional freelance translator based in Tokyo, which everyone knows is a magical land full of Pocky and Pikachu and Godzilla and lots and lots of anime. In fact, it's a known fact that anyone who visits Tokyo immediately transforms into an anime character upon arrival in Narita airport, and I know that every Blog-Ticker who's made the trip over here to see B-T will back us up on this one.


(This artist is wrong. The reality is actually much closer to the image on the left.)

And though we're a very private person, we're now pleased to share that not only have we been living as an anime character since our own arrival in Narita in aeons past, but we are now actively employed in the anime business, or more correctly, the manga business. That's right, folks: since spring of this year, the services of your very own Cayce have been engaged for the translation of manga. Specifically, your very favorite kind of manga: smutty manga.

Publishing takes a while, and most of the titles we've translated so far are still in production, but in celebration of this new development in our career, we're pleased to announce the release of our very first officially authorized manga translation: The Rose-Cutter and His Love Slave. The platform, Renta! Comics, allows readers all over the world to purchase or rent digital manga that you can read on your phone or tablet, and as you can see, it's Luxuria galore. Though we take zero responsibility for the inconsistent quality of the art and writing on these stories in general, if this kind of thing tickles your pickle, we encourage you to check out the whole site, as they have oodles of titles available. Most are written by female authors and aimed at female readers, and we believe the content can be best summed up by this lyric from Buck-Tick's "Black Cherry":

You’re the honey, honey spilling over 
I’m kneeling, eating it like a dog 
Weeping in ecstasy

Oh, yes, kids. Don't stop, kids! Let there be pr0n!

For those interested, we will happily keep you updated on the titles we've translated as they are released.

For the fujoshi among you: there is yaoi coming soon.

And last but not least, for all you teen weeaboos who dream of translating manga smut for a living: yes, this is a real job that pays real money. It was our dream once, and look at us now! Like we said, Tokyo is basically a real-time anime in city form.

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P.S. Fun fact: Cayce has actually slept with Godzilla in the Hotel Gracery Shinjuku (but it wasn't like that.)


10.11.16

Chandelier Lottery

Hi, folks.

As you may have noticed, everything is terrible. However, there should still be no reason why we can't have nice things.

As such, the wheels of capitalist opportunism turn apace, and this time, those wheels are grinding on the chandeliers used to decorate Yokohama Arena during Climax Together 3rd. As a part of Pia's Remember Project, various memorabilia items impregnated with bits and pieces of those chandeliers could be yours as keepsakes! Previously, the Remember Project has made memorial goods out of bits of the now-demolished Nihon Seinenkan, where Buck-Tick held their Great East Japan Earthquake charity concert in 2013. They have also made memorial goods out of the scrapped old seats from Yokohama Arena, bits of the now-demolished Hotel Okura, and bits of the soon-to-be-demolished Tokyo National Gymnasium. All they're missing are pieces of the now-demolished Shibuya Kokaido, may the dreamy cosmos have mercy on its soul. Why are all these buildings being demolished, you ask? Well, better to demolish them in advance than to wait for an earthquake to come along, right? Also, the International Olympic Committee demanded their destruction as blood payment for the sacred right to hold the Olympics in Tokyo. Wanton destruction is all the rage right now, so it's no wonder that Buck-Tick's management have partnered with Pia to demolish some of the Climax Together 3rd chandeliers in order to create limited quantities of the following eight select items, including miniature chandeliers and more. The items will be available through a lottery which opens on November 21st. All proceeds will be donated to post-quake reconstruction efforts in Kumamoto.

The items are as follows:


It's hard to see how this necklace includes a piece of a chandelier, but if you liked the Climax Together 3rd astral globe symbol design, maybe this is the necklace for you, if you have 11,000 yen to burn. Quantities of this item are limited to 1,000 only. For the price, you'd better hope the metal bit is real silver, but they don't say anything about that on the site, so it might very well not be.


Then again, if you have Ears of Steel, why not go for these chandelier earrings instead? After all, once you put them on, you'll look like a walking chandelier yourself, so maybe if you're lucky, Acchan-chan will decide to hang you from his living room ceiling. At 12,000 yen, the earrings are even more expensive than the necklace, but they have a more Climactic feel, in our opinion, so money well spent! Quantities are limited to 1,000 only.


Here's an item for fanlings of more modest means: a keyholder with a leather strap and one of the smaller chandelier crystals. These are quite affordable, at only 3000 yen each, but quantities are limited to 1,000 only, so if you win one, you're a lucky ducky.


If the above keyholder wasn't opulent enough for you, here's another fancier one. Look...the Climax Together symbol is cut into the glass itself! This one's a little more expensive at 3500 yen, and also limited to 1,000 only. On the plus side, if you win it, you could definitely take it apart and make it into a better necklace than the one pictured above.

And now for the mini-chandeliers! Honestly, we're not sure if these things quite count as "chandeliers," seeing as none of them could be hung from Acchan-chan's living room ceiling. However, if you're one of those Goth Lite people who never read Interview With the Vampire but liked the movie, proudly hangs your Edward Gorey calendar on the wall next to your coat rack hung with a rainbow of North Face anoraks in different colors, thinks Lorde's purple lipstick is really edgy, and found out about Buck-Tick through Trinity Blood, these are probably just about the right speed of chandelier for you.

Mini Chandelier A


Wouldn't this make a darling desk lamp? At 50 cm tall by 20 cm wide, it's just big enough to illuminate your smutty Toll fanarts and nothing else. At only 20,000 yen, this is a steal! Plus, it's engraved with the Climax Together logo and its own serial number. There are only 150 of them available. Fight for it, kids.

Mini Chandelier B


On the other hand, if you're the type who always wanted to try having a Beauty and the Beast-style candlelit dinner but is mortally afraid of real fire, this one might be the perfect choice. At 23 cm high by 11 cm wide, it's teeny tiny enough to fit on your dinner table. It's a little bit pricier at 24,500 yen, but there are only 19 of them available so if you win one you're a special snowflake.

Mini Chandelier C


If you liked the chandelier above but felt that it didn't really spread the crystals wide enough to make optimum cat toys, then this is the chandelier for you. Its side brackets are reminiscent of lily petal or jellyfish arms, and they spread those dangling crystals out so they're irresistible to cats! Bonus points if you shine a laser pointer through the faceted glass! Bengal kitties in particular are known for their need to investigate/play with/destroy absolutely everything in your house, so this chandelier might be your ticket to Acchan-chan's heart if you give it to him as a peace offering to replace all the chandeliers he has already lost to the wild and ebullient passions of Young Miss Kurumi. This one is also 24,500 yen, but more special, because there are only nine of them.

Mini Chandelier D


Aaand...last but not least! The Phallic Symbol Chandelier! This is Buck-Tick's Climax, after all, so you knew that was coming (no pun intended!) Its elegant, spidery legs call to mine the image of a lover up on tiptoe, trembling with anticipation, while its long festoons of silver crystals evoke a myriad of Buck-Tick imagery, from the Irregular Crystals of Love in "PINOA ICCHIO," to "Heroin -Angel Dust Mix-" to whatever those "countless crystals" were that Mr. Sakurai swallowed in "Glamorous" to that "sea spray" Mr. Sakurai was swimming in in "IN". This one's the winner. This one is going to make Buck-Tickistan great again. If, that is, you have the money: all 60,000 yen of it. And there are only nine of them. One for each of your nine new worlds. One for each of the nine lives you lost last night as you tried to kill yourself repeatedly.


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But please, my American Blog-Ticker friends. Don't despair. As of last night, Buck-Tickistan have announced they will begin reviewing asylum applications from refugees fleeing the chaotic ravages of terror in the United States of America. Application forms can be downloaded from the website of the Embassy of the Anarchic Republic of Buck-Tickistan. If you need any help filling them out, feel free to ask us for assistance.

And if you like the look of the above items and you want a piece of Climax Together climaxing in your house forevermore, but you need help entering the lottery, let us know before November 21st. Like we said. Wherever you are in the world, we're always happy to help you climax.

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18.10.16

Your Complete Atomic Future

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With the translation of "Ai no Souretsu," at last, we have completed translations for all the songs on Atom Miraiha No. 9. You can go check them out over at This is NOT Greatest Site. For the first time in our history, not only have we written extensive translation notes for each and every song on the album, but each set of English lyrics is also singable with the original melody. If I do say so myself I think a lot of them came out very well in that regard, so I encourage you all to try singing them.

I probably wouldn't have written so many translation notes, but for the fact that I keep hearing from you readers about how much you love the notes and how much you wish there were more of them. Thus, I endeavored to deliver. This was all for you, folks. So if you enjoyed the notes and the translations, please leave us a comment on this post to let us know. We spent far more time translating this album than any other and we'd love to hear your reactions.

And when you need a break from Atom Miraiha, go ahead and listen to this tribal ambient deep house DJ set "SOL," by DJ Nu. Cum uh Sol Nu indeed.

Also, check out this video of Auto-Mod performing their song "Toki no Souretsu" at the most recent edition of the Toki no Souretsu concert series, held on March 21st, 2015 at Koenji High. For those of you who don't already know, the backing vocalist is counter-tenor drag queen Selia, who also did backing vocals on Buck-Tick's album Tenshi no Revolver, on the tracks "Mr. Darkness and Mrs. Moonlight" and "Revolver."


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Also, if you liked Buck-Tick's "Ai no Souretsu," check out London After Midnight's "Sacrifice"...



...and Sawada Kenji's "Toki no Sugiyuku Mama ni." This guy was one of Sakurai's favorites growing up, and a clear influence. He's old now, but have a look at him when he was young and beautiful, and dig that leather mesh costume!


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Oh yeah, and here's "Quiereme Mucho."


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14.10.16

A Walk in the Suicide Forest

Ladies and gentlemen, we present you with the singable English translation of "Jukai." It took us a few days to work up to this one due to its heavy themes, but we hope you won't be disappointed.

Sakurai almost certainly got the title of this song from the Aokigahara Jukai, the forest at the base of Mt. Fuji near the Five Lakes region in Yamanashi Prefecture. Jukai, which literally means "Sea of Trees," was chosen as the name of this forest because the forest stays green all year round, and when viewed from atop the surrounding mountains, it looks like green waves lapping at the base of Mount Fuji. Not only this, but the the forest is notoriously dense and maze-like. The trees grow directly on lava floes dating from Mr. Fuji's latest eruption, in the 9th century A.D., meaning that the forest floor is unusually uneven and riddled with potholes and lava caves. Tree roots crawl snakelike over the boulders, and iron ore in the underlying rock has a tendency to scramble GPSs and compasses alike. In addition, the unusual topography prevents the wind from blowing straight through the forest, blanketing it in eerie silence and stillness. Mr. Fuji is an important sacred site in Japanese Shinto/Buddhist tradition, and you can practically feel the power radiating out of the ground here. 

A miniature shrine in a lava cave in the Aokigahara Jukai [Photo: Cayce] For reference: this cave is at least 8 meters wide and it goes down to the center of the earth, for all I know.

Though the forest is also extremely beautiful, and the trees are fairly short, meaning that sunlight readily filters down to the forest floor. Nonetheless, a feeling of gloom and foreboding suffuses the place even in the daytime - perhaps this is how the Aokigahara Jukai came to be "The Suicide Forest". Not only is it the top spot for suicide in Japan, reportedly it's the second-most popular suicide spot in the whole world, after the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. The fame of the forest as a suicide spot probably began with Matsumoto Seichi 's 1960 novel Kuroi Jukai ("Black Sea of Trees"), which features a love suicide in the forest. Following this, Tsurumi Wataru featured the forest in his Complete Manual of Suicide. Reportedly, copies of the latter book are regularly found in the forest, often near bodies. During the early 2000's, as many as 100 people per year would make a suicide pilgrimage to the forest. Though that number has apparently decreased in recent years, the perimeter of the forest is still posted with signs advising potential suicides to consider their loved ones and call the advertised suicide counseling hotline. Also posted are phone numbers for bankruptcy lawyers and other services. "Your life is a precious gift from your parents. Take a moment to reconsider" is a common refrain.


A sign in the Aokigahara Jukai advertising a suicide hotline.
[Photo: Cayce]

The culture of suicide in Japan goes back to the days of the samurai, when seppuku ("hara-kiri") was codified into cultural tradition as a way of taking responsibility for one's failure. Because of this and the lack of religious stigma, suicide is still more accepted in Japan than in many other countries. Combine this with a shitty economy, a masochistic work culture, and a persistent stigma against receiving mental health care, and you have a recipe for a high suicide rate. The government is trying to change things, and advertisements for suicide hotlines are now all over the train stations, but unless society changes in a fundamental way, it's unlikely that much progress will be made.

The authorities do a yearly sweep of the forest, but this is mainly to look for remains and clean up abandoned items - and there are many. Shoes, tents, and the suicide manual mentioned above are the most archetypal, along with the plastic ribbon or rope commonly used by wanderers in the forest as a guide for how to find their way out if they decide not to die after all (or if they were just in there to do a gothy photoshoot and had no intention of dying before their time). Due to the uneven terrain and the lack of paths, the forest is only navigable by this ribbon method, Minotaur's labyrinth style - unroll the ribbon behind you as you go in, then roll it back up as you come out. Go into the forest without rope at your peril. Everyone gets lost in here, as we can attest from having been there - this is not hyperbole! Some parts of the forest are even crisscrossed with ribbon left behind by the departed. 

Though the authorities may not attempt to rescue anyone, some volunteer groups and individuals do try. For obvious reasons, hanging is the most common suicide method in the forest, and those fully determined to die typically get to it quickly - but others who are not so sure may camp in the forest for days or weeks at a time. Geologist Hayano Asuza makes regular sweeps of the area and reaches out to people he meets in the forest, encouraging them to choose life over death. For more info about Hayano and for beautiful film images of the forest, watch this video - but be warned, there are some human bones in here.


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And now, the lyrics to the song:

Sea of Trees
Lyrics: Sakurai Atsushi
Music: Hoshino Hidehiko

I'm all alone tonight again baby
Dream of a dream of a memory
Losing my way in the dark
I'm sinking down

Right now - a dream of you maddening soaking in me
Your fingertips pulling ribbons
Ah upon your lips crawling all over my skin
Lapping the sap, try and taste it

Drag you through the dirt again
And you drag me, that's how we love
Till the shift of the seasons buries us under

I'm all alone tonight again baby
Dream of a dream of a memory
Losing my way in the dark
I'm sinking down
Feels like I might forget you baby
Everything, even your face, all of it
Deeper and deeper it slides
I'm sinking down

Here before my eyes
The night staring at me
I'll melt into the night
Into the sea of trees

Drag you through the dirt again
And you drag me, that's how we love
Till the shift of the seasons buries us under

I'm all alone tonight again baby
Dream of a dream of a memory
Losing my way in the dark
I'm sinking down
Feels like I might forget you baby
Everything, even your face, all of it
Deeper and deeper it slides

I'm sinking down ah

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For translation notes, read this translation on This is NOT Greatest Site. Feel free to add you comments below. Also, for those of you who hadn't noticed, the translations for "The Seaside Story" and "Manjusaka" are also now up complete with notes, so feel free to add your comments on those songs, too.


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