The Hisashi Inquirer: The Genesis of No. 0

For their latest album, No. 0, the Buck-Tick creative team challenged themselves with the following challenge: "Let's fantasize about things that make our nether regions swell in sensual anticipation, and write songs about it!"

Sakurai: "If I were a cat, I'd be the hottest cat in the club."

Imai: "Acchan, I just learned about this amazing new thing where you can write a song with three beats per measure instead of four. Yeah, I know! My mind was blown! Gotta try this for myself now!"

Sakurai: "And thus the Tower of Babel, which was rock hard (because it was made of rock) grew so tall that it split Heaven wide open and thus did Heaven grow wet and gush down rain."

Imai: "What if computers had never been invented and all the technology in the future was still made of mechanical cogs and gears and the whole city was a big factory going THUMP THUMP bang bang bang BANG with lots of machine noises and there were robots and Greek letters all over the place? Wouldn't that be awesome!!!??????"

Sakurai: "If I were a cat, no one could tell me not to grow a beard."

Hide: "Last time we went to London I sneaked off by myself and danced all night on the aggrotech floor at the Slimelight club surrounded by a bunch of hot cybergoth girls with pink neon dreads and sometimes I still think about it when I touch myself."

Sakurai: "If I were a cat I would totally hit on human girls. Hot girls love cats. They would eat me up!"

Imai: "What if weapons were sentient? How does a bomb feel when it's about to explode?"

Hide: "Don't laugh, but I'm actually a big fan of Skrillex."

Sakurai: "Imai, remember that time back when we were writing Sexy Streamliner when we dropped a shitload of acid before that hanami party and I was convinced all the cherry blossoms were tiny vampires singing to me about how they wanted to suck my blood but you wouldn't listen because you were too busy going on about lizard skin girls and ranting against capitalism? Well, last night, I had this dream about this rose garden, only the roses were actually all hot girls and we got in on till the early morn', which I guess is TMI, but it made me think about that time and I felt nostalgic. Those were good times. Why don't we make another industrial album?"

Imai: "Sure, but it HAS to end with a shoegaze power ballad. No ifs, ands, or buts!"

Sakurai: "Shoegaze always makes me think fondly about uteri."

And so the album was born, and the titled it No. 0, because zero is round and therefore looks like both a uterus and the circular cogs inside a steampunk robot's mechanical brain.

Translated from the original Buck-Tickistani by Cayce. The above content was originally published in The Hisashi Inquirer and we have not altered it from its original form except to translate it. The views expressed in the passage above are solely those of The Hisashi Inquirer and do not represent the view of The Blog-Tick Phenomenon.


Exhibitionism (and other stories)

Buck-Tick's new album No. 0 was released today, and Tower Records is really excited. Just look at this doorway, then think about the sexual symbolism of doorways, then think about just how much Tower Records wants Buck-Tick inside it! Holy wow.

Buck-Tick is so big inside Tower Records!

There are displays on multiple floors!

We lined up to purchase our (and y'alls) copies of the album on the third floor, which is the home of homegrown Japanese rock and pop. There, to our surprise, there were Buck-Tick posters all over the walls, and the screens overhead announced that No. 0 was the album currently playing. Over the din of the crowds of excited music fans (Buck-Tick fans identifiable from the rest by their frilly black dresses and bad cases of resting bitch face), we heard snatches of "Nostalgia -Vita Mechanicalis-" before it was our turn at the counter. The girl at the counter counted up the copies of the album we were purchasing, then informed us that the third floor was out of copies of No. 0 and she would have to go pilfer some from other floors. We waited, watching the line of people waiting to buy CDs steadily increasing until it snaked back on itself. The entirety of "Babel" played, and then Buck-Tick was replaced by some other newly released forgettable j-pop, which was in turn replaced by THIS (holy shit! Imai, are you watching!?)

Even if (as appears to be the case based on this video) Cibo Matto did in fact produce children with MGMT, we sure as hell never expected to see the offspring playing on a video screen in Tower Records sandwiched in between idol groups and a video of Breakerz dressed like real live anime characters! Then again, we also never expected to hear Buck-Tick played over Tower's sound system, but then, isn't that why they went back to Victor? Victor may not have much to offer Buck-Tick, but they sure have promotional money. Or maybe they're just kicking themselves for losing so much money on Atom Miraiha due to not promoting it, and vowed not to make the same mistake twice. In which case, good job, suits. Put that PCDA cycle to work, and horizontally facilitate some capacity building for the holistic management of more innovative parallelograms.

Anyhow, ten minutes later, we were still waiting for our cashier to return with our stack of CDs, when another Buck-Tick fan (complete with black frilly dress and bitchy expression) walked up to the register next to ours, and also asked for No. 0. The cashier at her register, not having realized that someone else was already on the case, spent a good five minutes checking and re-checking the shelf behind the counter to see if there were any stray Buck-Tick albums available (there were not) while her male co-worker ran off in search of MOAR Buck-Tick, then came back to report that someone was on the case and she should please kindly wait a few minutes. 

By the time our cashier returned with the bounty, we'd been waiting nearly twenty minutes, and there were at least 30 people in line behind us. Good job, Tower. Promote the shit out of an album and then don't keep any copies on hand and flail about wildly when someone wants to actually buy it. Business management capacity building at its finest!

At last, armed with our albums, we climbed up the stairs to the eighth floor to check out the Buck-Tick costume and paraphernalia exhibit. The posters declared that entry to the exhibit would cost 700 yen, but nobody demanded money when we entered, so we got in scot-free, and promptly proceeded to photograph the entire exhibit for y'all, despite the multitudes of "NO PHOTOS ALLOWED" signs. Sorry, Tower. But no one stopped us. And now y'all get to benefit from our piracy!

The highlight of the exhibit was the multiple sets of band member costumes which were on display without cases, making it easy to view the details, and even (shhhh!) touch the fabrics to test their quality. Verdict: high quality and we're pretty sure we saw some of those buttons at Okadaya the last time we went.

The Day in Question 2017 costumes for December 28th at the Nippon Budoukan.

Detail of Sakurai's and Imai's costumes. Sakurai's outer layer of sheer georgette spangled with tiny sparkles, while the inner layer is sheer black lace embroidered with a fine filigree of silver paisleys. It's beautiful fabric up close, which unfortunately did not succeed at the transition to being viewed from far away, and made dear Mr. Sakurai look like a Russian grandmother with a big butt. However, seen up close, it's easy to see why he didn't realize his mistake until it was too late. Imai's jacket is leopard print velvet. A classic!

Big Butt Babushka in action!

More Day in Question 2017 costumes. That's Sakurai's perpetual favorite silk top hat and expensive feather boa. If we were him, we'd feel exceedingly nervous about having our precious hat on display so close to the filthy fingers of fangirls, but maybe he doesn't know that they put it in the exhibition. (We'd like to note that we washed our hands first...)

It was pretty obvious even from the audience that Imai's jacket had some metallic threads in it, but satisfying to see it up close. The pants are, of course, a bit sheer, because Imai just had to get in on some of that sexy leg action.

Sexy leg action in action!

Toll is so whimsical he looks like he's just about ready to join Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. 

Look at this lovely silver ring keeping Hide's tie in place! It's hard to tell in the photo, but it was definitely real silver. If the costume thieves hit this exhibit they could make a killing.

Parade 30th Anniversary Festival costumes!

Please can someone steal us this goth coat for Christmas please please please please please the fabric felt so nice... or rather, we imagine that it felt nice, it's not like we actually felt it... oh yeah and for those of you who were still wondering, there is a flesh-toned under layer under the black lace.

Dig Imai's blue jacket! We're pretty sure that's the same blue fabric he used on the 25th anniversary Parade tour, but hey, if it's good, might as well re-use it. We were really hoping the shirt inside the jacket was printed with a rainbow colored Mandelbrot fractal, because that's what it looked like on the video, but it's not a Mandelbrot, just regular ol' paisleys. However, it IS velvet.

Sakurai's Big Red Flower and Yutaka's Fancy Pants.

Some people apparently didn't like the red flower on stage, but boy does this costume ever look great on that mannequin! Meanwhile, Imai dares us to criticize his choice to pair red and grey with rainbow.

Closeup on the snazzy Imai pants. Kids, this is what liquid drugs look like if you smear them on the eyepiece of a kaleidoscope.

Toll's Sex Pistols Coverall No. 2!

Look at these buttons! Too bad you can't see the back, because the back is the best part of this outfit.

Buck-Tick is not Dead! (He had the same back patch both days).

Exciting as the costumes were, they weren't the only part of the exhibit. There was also a hefty helping of paraphernalia, including many items which were featured in the 30th anniversary Ultimate Fangirl Bedroom photoshoot. Note here the bath towels from the 25th anniversary festival goods, the flags which were used for the cover of Arui wa Anarchy, one of the cardboard Imai cutouts from Picture Product II, and Cayce's favorite poster: CDioss, a sexy sound's best friend. These same posters were on display in the Tower Records Buck-Tick cafe last fall.

Here's another one of the Picture Product Imai cardboard cutouts, plus some big prints of photos from the Aku no Hana pamphlet.

Look! It's the skull sculpture that was used for The Mortal! Also pictured: ugly chandeliers made from the chandeliers which hung in Yokohama Arena for Climax Together 3rd. Sheesh, they are ugly. They were even uglier in person. We're so glad we didn't buy any.

There's the mask that Sakurai used on the Mona Lisa Overdrive tour, and the candelabrum he used during the 13th Floor with Diana and The Mortal tours! Poor Mr. Sakurai, he had to do without his favorite candelabrum on his birthday... bet he can't wait to get it back! Tell us, kids: would YOU put a beloved item of personal home decor and sensual waxy pleasure on display in a museum? Is that exciting, like exposing yourself in public, or is it creepy, like having fangirls invade your bedroom?

Look, they made some small 45 records of various Buck-Tick songs, just to use in the 30th anniversary photoshoot! No word on whether these are real records or just jackets, but we're just about ready to kill for that Cuba Libre/Ai no Souretsu single. Note that the Constructivist artwork is actually the jacket for "Machine." Why don't Buck-Tick make some more REAL records already? We want our limited edition 180-gram transparent blue sparkly Sexy Streamliner NOW.

Concept art for the cover of Moon - Sayonara wo Oshiete.

Concept art for the 30th Anniversary Parade tour goods.

Making of shots from the Moon music video.

Nerds rejoice: here are some very technical stage design diagrams! Here's the venue for the 30th anniversary festival...

And the stage for the DIQ 2017 tour.

And at the end, just to make absolutely sure you feel ashamed of yourself if you didn't have an ecstatic sensual experience at this exhibition, there hung the following life-sized banner. It's heartwarming to see just how much B-T worship female pleasure.

Last but not least: the Buck-Tick purikura machines are back. If you're in town, don't miss your chance to take photos with the Buck-Tick members one-on-one. Also, there are some silly t-shirts for sale at the Tower exhibit with photos of Buck-Tick on the front and "Buck-Tick" written on the back in the Tower Records font. There's a black version and a white version. There are also some commemorative badges, a poster, and a Rozen Kreuzer tour towel which is apparently not being sold anywhere else. If any of y'all want to order any of this stuff through us, email us as soon as humanly possible.




Tsutaya Buck-Tick Fair

Anyhow, that was it for Tower for today. So we moved on to Tsutaya, where down in the basement, we had heard tell that there were some Buck-Tick goods for sale... and it was very definitely an anti-climax together. As you can see, there are posters, which are not as cool as the posters from Tower, which feature a very glazed and Photoshopped looking set of band members. There are also clear file folders, and a Rozen Kreuzer t-shirt. If any of y'all want to order any of this stuff through us, email us asap.





In other news, Buck-Tick have announced that they are tacking one more show onto the No. 0 tour, because the tickets sold so well that no one was able to buy them. The additional tour final will take place on July 26th at Tokyo Kokusai Forum, an extremely well-regarded venue known for hosting such acclaimed international acts as New Order and Sigur Ros. We've never been there ourselves, but we hear that the sound there is better than the sound at NHK Hall by a large margin. Tickets go on sale to Fish Tankers starting in early April, with the details to be announced in the forthcoming issue of the Fish Tank newsletter. If you'd like to order tickets through us, even if you're not in the fan club, please contact us right away. 

More Other News: GIANT TOWELS!

In more other news, a selection of No. 0 tour goods are now available for purchase via the Buck-Tick Web Shop. To view them, click here. Yes, the final item is indeed a giant beach towel printed with a photo of Buck-Tick. Now you can have sex on the beach on Buck-Tick! And if that isn't Buck-Tickistani style, we don't know what is. If you'd like to order any of these items through us, send us an email right away.

Coffee News: Thanks to You, We Reached Somewhere Nowhere

Thanks to all of you who donated on Ko-Fi to help us reach our goal for a Six/Nine analysis article. We never expected to hit the goal so quickly. Your enthusiasm is encouraging and invigorating! However, we're going to prioritize writing translations and notes on No. 0 before we delve into Six/Nine, so please sit tight for a bit. Thanks for your patience and understanding!


52 Suits You

Now that he's as many years old as there are cards in the deck, Mr. Sakurai's no longer afraid to express his true feelings to the world.

And they are thus.

"Kurumi-chan is my lover."

The Hisashi Inquirer reports that the band members reacted to this statement as follows:

Anyhow, Happy Birthday, Mr. Sakurai.

And sorry, fans.

Give up hope.

He's no longer single.


Moon the Femme Fatale

If mooning femmes fatale is your kink, props to you for originality! Anyhow, sorry for the wait. We have just posted the kanji lyrics, romaji and translations for "Moon Sayonara wo Oshiete" and "Salome" over on This is NOT Greatest Site, so by all means, go and read them, posthaste!

Lyrics-wise, both songs offer some interesting ambiguity in terms of who's doing the talking. To me, it seems that it's the narrator who's doing the weeping in the first line of "Moon," but since there's no subject, it might be either "was I weeping?" or "were you weeping?" There's no definitive answer to be found. Also, who's doing the departing? Is it the singer, or the "you" to which the song is addressed? That, too, is ambiguous. The word "nagareru," which appears in the chorus, and which I translated as "flowing," can refer to the flowing of water, the passage of time, or the playing of music. If anyone tries to tell you there's a set meaning behind these lyrics, tell them I told you to tell them they're wrong. All in all, this is one of the most cryptic songs sets of lyrics Sakurai has written.

"Salome" sounds on first listen like orthodox anime metal, complete with liberal (one might even say overused) orchestra hits courtesy of Yow-Row, and a much more obvious and less seductive melody than Hoshino's work for Atom Miraiha - surprising, given the subject matter of the song, but in Buck-Tick's creative process, tunes come before lyrics, so apparently, something about anime metal tunes makes Mr. Sakurai think about hot girls in diaphanous veils. There's something deliberately over the top about these lyrics, especially given the way Sakurai sings them, as if he's tripping all over himself, chasing this woman in a desperate frenzy. (There's also something about both the lyrics and the music that heavily reminds us of Der Zibet's "Jigoku no Kisetsu" and "Dark Sapphire," but let's ignore that for now). Sakurai has used a lot of similar phrasing in his lyrics before, to the point that "Salome" almost seems like a bit of self-referential humor. "Salome" also builds off the same Biblical themes established in "Babel," which makes me think that both songs may make more sense in the context of the full album than they do on their own.

Perhaps the most ambiguous line in "Salome" is "the curtain falls." If the man's lips are red with femme fatale's blood, that suggests another vampire murder ballad along the lines of "Fantomas" - or does it? The femme fatale is so named because she lures men to their deaths, so it would make sense to assume the lady comes out on top here.

For those of you who don't know who Salome is but are too lazy to read my translation notes, here's some background info.

Salome was a Biblical figure, the daughter of a noblewoman, Herodias. Herodias flouted the laws of the time to divorce her first husband and marry Herod II, son of Herod the Great. Salome was not the daughter of Herod II, but the daughter of Herodias' first husband, so Herod II was not her father - which is perhaps why the Bible story about her became so sexualized (though familial bonds never seemed to stop sexuality in the Bible, as we can see in the case of Lot's daughters which I discussed in the article on Babel).

Anyhow, divorce violated the laws of the time, so John the Baptist, a popular religious leader, condemned Herodias as a sinner, much to her ire. Herod II had John locked up for insulting his wife, but he hesitated to have John killed because John was very popular among the people. Herodias, however, wanted John dead. She saw her chance when Herod had a feast and invited many illustrious guests. She ordered her daughter Salome to dance before the king and his guests, and Salome's dance so pleased Herod that he offered to grant her anything she wished for. Salome, being young, asked her mother Herodias for advice on what to ask for, so of course, Herodias said "ask for John the Baptist's head on a platter." As you do! Herod deeply regretted his promise to Salome, but couldn't betray his word, so reluctantly, he had John beheaded and the head brought to Salome. 

The thing is, Salome is never actually named in this Bible story, except as "the daughter of Herodias." Later scholars connected her with the name Salome based on non-Biblical genealogies of the noble families of the period. The different gospels give different accounts of John the Baptist's execution, but they all pretty much agree that Salome was a pawn in the game. And yet somehow, over the centuries, the interpretation of the story of Salome became twisted into quite a different tale - one in which Salome was the archetypal femme fatale, bewitching men with her eroticism and leading them to their doom. Salome was the subject of art works by notable artists such as Gustave Moreau and Aubrey Beardsley. Most famously, she was the inspiration for Oscar Wilde's 1893 play "Salome," which was deemed so racy by British authorities that, in order to get it performed in England, Wilde had to write the script in French, then have it translated into English and re-imported. In Wilde's play, Herod is infatuated with Salome, while Salome is infatuated with John the Baptist. John spurns Salome, so she demands his head as revenge for his rejection of her. 

In Wilde's play, Salome's dance is described as "The Dance of the Seven Veils," with a heavy implication of some sort of striptease. Belly-dance inspired "veil dances" were popular in Europe in the late 1800's, and this is probably where Wilde got his inspiration. Richard Strauss took Wilde's play and turned it into an opera in which the Dance of the Seven Veils took up seven minutes of stage action, and while Strauss claimed that he intended the dance to be thoroughly G-rated, most directors couldn't pass up the chance to eroticize it, and so the Dance of the Seven Veils has equaled "sexylicious Orientalist stripper dance" in the public consciousness ever since - but it's important to note that no mention of the Dance of the Seven Veils ever appeared in the Bible.

The Thousand and One Nights is another name for the Tales From the Arabian Nights. Though the Biblical Salome was not an Arab, the mention of the Arabian Nights fits with the Orientalist associations that were pasted on the Dance of the Seven Veils after the fact. Ancient Sumer and Babylonia were also located in what is now Iraq, and some scholars have linked the "seven veils" idea to the ancient Sumerian tale of the Descent of Inanna. Inanna was the goddess of love, sex, beauty, fertility, war, and power, and she was also worshiped by the ancient Babylonians as Ishtar. Before embarking on her descent into the Underworld, Ishtar clothes herself in seven magical items which represent aspects of her power, only to have each taken away in turn as she passes through the seven gates to the land of the dead. Ishtar was also portrayed as powerfully sexual, violent, lustful and capricious, and as such may have had a far greater influence on modern renderings of Salome than Biblical Salome ever did.

Either way, Salome has been represented in art enough times to make an entire Buck-Tick art history album on her own! As you can see, Salome was particularly popular as an artistic subject during the Renaissance and then again in the late 1800's to early 1900's, around the time of the popularity of Wilde's play and Strauss's opera. And a lot of the artists were liberally borrowing each other's ideas, which just goes to show yet again that there's nothing new under the sun.

Andrea Solaria, 1509

Bernardino Luini, 1525

Caravaggio, 1610

Henri Regnault, 1870

Gustave Moreau, 1876

Gustave Moreau, 1886

Pierre Bonnaud, 1900

Leopold Schmutzler, 1905

Aubrey Beardsley, 1906 (ish) - "Stomach Dance" (Dance of the Seven Veils)

Aubrey Beardsley, 1906 (ish)

Armand Point, 1925

Axel Linus, 1930

And yet, out of all these depictions of Salome, the one who brings her to life the most is probably Theda Bara, the original goth-vamp of silent film. Sadly, like most all of Bara's films, Salome is probably lost, but Theda Bara's amazing style will remain as long as the internet shall endure. "To be good is to be forgotten," she once said. "I'm going to be so bad I'll always be remembered."

Theda Bara as Salome


 Theda Bara being goth. She could be the poster child for this song, but she's got brown eyes. Oh, well.


That's it for now. If you liked this post and/or our new lyric translations, please be generous and buy us some coffee using the button up top. We're falling asleep and need some caffeine.