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.


Festivals, Food and Fluff

It's sunny in Tokyo, the plum blossoms are blooming, and ALL THE NEWS is pouring in from Buck-Tickistan in a great flood!

Many Festive Festivals!

First, for those of you who wondered why there were no Golden Week dates for the No. 0 tour - the answer is, because Buck-Tick are playing not one, but TWO rock festivals that weekend.

On Saturday, April 28th, Buck-Tick will be playing at the very awkwardly named festival hide 20th Memorial Super Live SPIRITS, commemorating the 20th anniversary of the death of Hideto Matsumoto, who played guitar in X Japan before launching a much more impressive solo career that was tragically cut short by his untimely death. To be perfectly clear: hide is still dead and will not be performing at this festival. Instead, Pata from X Japan will be appearing as a special guest in his place, along with the other members of hide's former band Spread Beaver. In addition to Buck-Tick and Spread Beaver, Mucc, Oblivion Dust, D'erlanger, and Zeppet Store will be performing on the same day, so if your love lies at the nexus between early 90's visual kei and hard rock, the 13000 yen ticket price for a single day pass to this festival should seem like a bargain.

Don't expect to hang out and get drunk with the B-T members afterward, though. They'll be working for their money! On Sunday, April 29th, they'll be speeding off to Miyagi to play at the Arabaki Rock Festival, alongside a legion of other artists, so many we can't even begin to name them all, so if you're curious, check the list here on the Arabaki Rock Festival official site.


Buy All The Things and Maybe Win Another Thing!

Next, whoever runs Buck-Tick's website is excessively pleased to announce that there's a lottery campaign on for Buck-Tick's new releases, whereby if you bought the Babel single and didn't throw away the special promo paper inside, you can take the proof or purchase from there and combine it with similar little tickets to be found in Moon -Sayonara wo Oshiete- and No. 0, paste them all on a postcard and send them in in hopes of winning a DVD with a "making of the Moon -Sayonara blah blah- music video" clip on it. If you're just dying to know how the made that model float through that ugly hotel furniture, this is your chance! However, if you're dying to know the name of the beautification software used to render Mr. Sakurai's face into an anime-worthy shade of "no wrinkles bc wrinkles are gross ew and old guys are also gross ewww," then we're pretty sure you'll be out of luck - Buck-Tick's management are determined to keep you believing that Mr. Sakurai is still an unnaturally smooth and shiny 25-year-old. If you actually believe this, we have a suggestion for you: switch to K-Pop and leave Buck-Tick alone. Tickets to the No. 0 tour have become as difficult to obtain as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory golden tickets, and frankly, we're too old to deal with this shit, so please, if what you're after are genetically altered vat-grown bishonen, go see yourself some plastic surgerified Korean boys instead. That's what they're there for.

Only 300 lucky fans will win this bonus DVD, but we're sure that at least one of them will rip it to the internet so we can watch it and amuse ourselves on its anti-climactic self-satisfaction. Entries into this lottery must be postmarked by March 28th.


Moon Crystal Power Makeup!

For those of you who are fans of Buck-Tick and are also sexually aroused by the gently bouncing boobies of 3D-animated female video game characters, we've got the news of a lifetime for you: "Salome," the b-side to Moon -Sayonara wo Oshiete- written by Hoshino Hidehiko, will be used as the theme song for a new smartphone game called Crystal of Reunion, featuring a lot of anime characters with multicolored hair in futuristic costumes, and probably some giant robots/monsters too. According to the promo patter, it's an RPG strategy game with fantasy and coolness and stuff. If you know how it is that a smart phone game has a theme song just like a TV show, then you know more than we do already, but for those of you who just want to hear a clip of the song, check out the concept video below. Personally, we're betting that the actual song will turn out to be a lot cooler than the clip in this video, because somehow it seems that the people who choose these clips always choose the worst bits of otherwise wonderful songs... but that's just our opinion. The game will be released April 16th.


Tower Buck-Tick Cafe Returns!

Last but not least, by popular demand, the Tower Records Buck-Tick Cafe has returned again, for a longer stint than ever before! The cafe will open on Tuesday, February 20th (that's two days from now!!!) and stay open until March 18th. Like last time, the opening period will be divided into two stints with different menus and bonus postcards. The first stint will run from February 20th till March 5th, and the second stint will run from March 6th to March 18th. The cafe is located on Omotesando and will open daily from 11AM till 10PM, with last orders at 9PM. As before, there will be special Tower Records x Buck-Tick goods for sale, but the details have yet to be announced. The menu also has yet to be announced, but we'll post about it when it is, so stay tuned.



Purple Prose

Only a few days on Ko-Fi and we've already been treated to so many cups we'll probably have the caffeine jitters for the next year! Thanks a lot folks. You're the best! And feel free to keep it coming. Our appetite for coffee is bottomless.

Anyhow, by request of some of our coffee-buyers: a translation of "Murasaki no Yoru," from Yottsu no Yoru ("Four Nights"), the one and only record ever released by Issay Meets Dolly. We don't own a copy of this record, so we can't be sure of which kanji and what sort of line spacing Issay used for the original lyrics, but we are certain that we were able to describe the entire thing accurately without mondegreens, otherwise we wouldn't have done this translation at all.

If any of you re-post this elsewhere, we will personally hunt you down and murder you. If you want to share it, share a link to this post.

Purple Night
Lyrics: Issay
Music: Mari Fukuhara

Turn off the light in this room, and show me everything
Toy with sin and shyness, sink with me

Pour liquor like fire from your chilly lips
Forget today and lose tomorrow
I would float intoxicated (1)

For I hear the sobbing of Fate

Let us drink ourselves into a stupor on the purple twilight
For everything is destined to crumble away

Soak this night in a spray of pleasure
Sinking into a room reefed of coral (2)

Melt the closed-up keyhole with butter (3)
I long to taste the sweet scent presaging rot

For I hear the decay of Fate

Let us be shot through with purple lightning
For everything is destined to break down

The footsteps of Fate are fading far away

Let us drink dry the purple poison
For everything is destined to disappear

The purple night
When we could abandon Fate

1) The word here, "tadayou," means "to drift," but its homophone, "tada you," means "to just get drunk." Sakurai used the same word play in the lyrics to Buck-Tick's "Cain."

2) For those of you who doubt that the "coral reef room" is a vagina, watch the live video.

3) *Rings bell* congratulations, this line, you've won the "Dirtiest Lyric Ever" prize!!!!! If you, dear innocent reader, don't get this reference, watch the film Last Tango in Paris. No trigger warning because fuck that shit, the world isn't a safe space. Watch it when your kids and grandparents are in the room with you, it's a family film. It's also worth noting that the singer of this song is very definitely on the receiving end of the butter.


作曲:Mari Fukuhara

部屋の明かり消して 何もかも見せておくれ
罪と恥じらい弄んで 沈んでゆこう

冷たい唇から 火の酒を注いでくれ
昨日忘れ 明日をなくし 漂いたい

運命のすすり泣き 聴こえるから


快楽のしぶきで この夜を濡らしてくれ

閉ざした鍵穴を バターで溶かしておくれ

運命がくちはてる 音がするから


運命の足音が 遠ざかってく


運命に見放せた 紫の夜


Murasaki no Yoru
Lyrics: Issay
Music: Mari Fukuhara

Heya no akari keshite
Nani mo ka mo misete okure
Tsumi to hajirai moteasonde
Shizunde yukou

Tsumetai kuchibiru kara
Hi no sake wo sosoide kure
Kinou wasure ashita wo nakushi

Unmei no susurinaki
Kikoeru kara

Murasaki no yoiyami ni
Yoitsuburete shimaou
Nani mo ka mo kuzureteku
Sadame dakara

Kairaku no shibuki de
Kono yoru wo nurashite kure
Sangoshou no heya no nakani
Ochite yukou

Tozashita kagiana wo
Bataa de tokashite okure
Kusaru mae no amai kaori wo

Unmei ga kuchihateru
Oto ga suru kara

Murasaki no inazuma ni
Tsuranukarete shimaou
Nani mo ka mo kowareteku
Sadame dakara

Unmei no ashioto ga

Murasaki no dokuyaku wo
Nomihoshite shimaou
Nani mo ka mo kiete yuku
Sadame dakara

Unmei ni mihanaseta
Murasaki no yoru



Pour Us the Coffee

"You pouring the coffee, with those blood red lips
Kiss me please
Don't say anything at all
Death will soon come calling
Please, because I'm begging..."

...that's what Mr. Sakurai said. We're going to say it more directly: BUY US COFFEE. That is to say, we have set up an account with Ko-Fi, which enables you to pay money to our pain.

What is this Ko-Fi, you ask? It's a "tip jar" platform, which allows fans to support creators whose work they enjoy. Click the "Buy Me a Coffee" button in the right-hand corner of the page, and it will automatically send you to our Ko-Fi page, where you can send us a donation that is roughly equivalent to the price of a coffee, or you can even buy us multiple coffees, if you so choose. No, it's not real coffee. The "coffee" is just a stand-in for support, to make the whole money thing less awkward. Every time you buy us a coffee, you are contributing to our ability to pay our living expenses, which means that we don't have to spend as much time working at "real work" tasks to earn money, and can in turn spend more time writing translations, blog posts, and whatnot for y'all.

We have started this because you readers suggested it, so if you don't buy us coffee after all, we might feel the teensiest bit let down. Not to be passive-aggressive or anything. Just sayin'.

Perhaps you're wondering why we've opted for Ko-Fi at this point, rather than Patreon, as we discussed in the previous post. The reasons are manifold:

- Patreon's website is a maximally confusing nightmare largely devoid of helpful info and stuffed to the gills with irrelevant videos we don't want to watch (Patreon people, if you're reading this, consider this a suggestion to improve the usability of your site!)

- Patreon's model encourages creators to produce exclusive content for patrons (people who donate). We find exclusive content to be too neoliberal capitalist for our tastes, at least in the context of this blog. We know that plenty of you probably can't afford to donate even if you wanted to, but we still want you to be able to read our content, since once upon a time we were a broke young thing reading free articles online just like you.

- Patreon's model encourages serialized content on a monthly basis, but that model doesn't work as well for NGS/Blog-Tick, given that the goings-on in Buck-Tickistan are sporadic, and our personal and work commitments outside of NGS/Blog-Tick fluctuate wildly from week to week.

- Patreon takes a 5% cut out of donations, and Ko-Fi takes nothing. Everything you donate to us reaches us, except for the bit that gets eaten up as PayPal fees, but, y'know.

- Ko-Fi lets you support our work in general, rather than paying for any sort of specific perks, which works better for us, because... what would those perks be, anyway? We'd offer to Photoshop your face onto the body of a Buck-Tick member of your choice, but realistically, that would take so much time it wouldn't be worth it.


We'd like to offer something special to generous supporters, so if there's a project you want us to do, and you buy us a bunch of coffees, we'll make that project a priority  (assuming it's relevant to the mission of the site, yadda yadda). Whether there's a song you want us to analyze, an album you want us to review, and interview you want us to translate, or an aspect of Japanese culture you want us to cover, the more coffees you buy us, the more likely we are to do it, and sooner. If the amount of coffees you bought us isn't quite enough for the scale of the project, we can make it a goal and invite others to contribute. In the free spirit of the open internet of the 90's, we're going to leave the exact number of coffees up to you for the moment - just bear in mind that obviously, larger, longer projects require more coffee to finish (including literal coffee). 

Also, y'all have been asking for short interpretations/explications of individual Buck-Tick songs. As a tangible reward for your support, if you buy us 3-4 coffees, we'll interpret a song of your choice, as soon as we have time (within a week or so, unless all Hell breaks loose).

Unrelated fun fact: "pandemonium" literally means "ALL the demons."

We look forward to drinking all our coffee on you from now on.


Mr. Sakurai on Gender, Cayce on Translation

Happy Friday! We really shouldn't be doing this, because we're almost certainly too busy with other commitments, but we just couldn't resist. Over on Not Greatest Site, we're pleased to present our first addition to the Translated Articles section in quite a while: Ongaku to Hito's interview with Sakurai Atsushi on Buck-Tick's forthcoming album, No. 0

The honest truth: since becoming a professional translator, we haven't often had the time to translate long interviews like this for fun (time is money!), but we made an exception for this one because it's such a good one, delving into such meaty topics as gender fluidity, the creative process, and the role of the artist. If you're the kind of person who just looooooves to talk about your gender on the internet, this one's for you! Russian fangirl fans of Macho Man Acchan, take careful notes, please! In fact, if one of our Russian readers wants to take a stab at translating this one into Russian, please do so, by all means. If we can help to bust a few delusional fangirl misconceptions in favor of a nuanced talk about artistic expression and the challenge of being yourself, we'll consider it a three hours well wasted.

As for well wasted, just for reference, if we'd done this one for a client at our usual rates instead of for free for y'all because we love you, we'd have sent that client a bill for something in the neighborhood of 37,000 yen (Yikes! Does that surprise you?) Perhaps it's unsavory to talk about money, but we thought we'd mention it this time, for several reasons. 

First, there seems to be a pervasive twin notion that 1) translation doesn't cost much and 2) translation is not a viable career path. In fact, since translation requires highly specialized skills that take years of practice to hone, there's often more work out there than there are translators, and this is especially true for a language pair like Japanese and English, where there are comparatively few people who are bilingual in both and each is hard for native speakers of the other to learn. When there's more work than people who can do that work, rates go up, and believe me, this is a good thing. Nowhere in the world does the axiom "garbage in, garbage out" apply so well as it does to translation! Companies that try to save money on translation invariably end up saddled with poorly proofread ungrammatical gobbledygook, which definitely does not reflect well on the company's business. If you, as a business person, want a good translation, it is in your best interest to hire a qualified translator and pay them what they are worth. If you, as a reader of this blog, are considering pursuing a career in translation, we're here to tell you that it can be quite lucrative if you develop yourself to a sufficient skill level, especially if you work in an unusual language pair. If you're a translator of Japanese and you think the rate quoted above looks high, you're working for chump change and you should raise your rates. Don't work for chump change. By doing so, you devalue the work of everyone in our industry.

Second, since translation is our livelihood and time is money, we have to prioritize the time we spend working for paying clients, but recently some readers have suggested that we set up a Patreon, whereby readers can donate to get more content. NGS/Blog-Tick will always be a project for love, not money, but if y'all actually want to donate to us to keep us going, who are we to refuse? So please, let us know in the comments if you think it's a good idea or if you definitely won't donate to us because we're a gang of snarky, elitist bitches, in which case we will continue to work for your ungrateful little asses for free in our spare time as we have been for the past 12 years :)

Third, we've received a number of questions over the years about how to pursue a career as a translator, and we're well aware that there is little reliable information out there about translation as a career, having beaten the translator's career path in the dark for ourselves for many a year now. Therefore, we've been toying with the idea of writing a "So You Want to be a Translator" overview article for aspiring translators - who's interested? Let us know in the comments! The translation industry is highly international and very much internet-based, so most advice regarding Japanese-English translation applies to other language pairs, as well. We know that Blog-Tick counts a number of professional translators among its readers, and we invite you to contribute your opinions.


Of Moons, Jackets and Baseballs

Hello, Blog-Tickers! How is this winter treating you so far? Enjoy your polar vortex? We've heard tell of frozen iguanas dropping from trees down in Florida, which is admittedly impressive, but please, kids, CHECK OUT OUR TOKYO SNOW. We've had record-breaking low temperatures in Tokyo, to the tune of a bone-freezing -4 degrees Celsius. Shiver and shake! Y'all Russians may laugh, but Tokyo hasn't been this cold since the 80's, and in lots of places, pipes actually burst due to not being build to withstand such chilling weather. People who weren't born in cold places are funny to laugh at as they flail in the face of winter like kittens encountering snow for the first time... that is, until you catch the cold they spread to you and end up stuck on your couch for a week... not like such a thing could ever happen to Cayce, non-corporeal as we are. Now let's hope that, as in the 80's, this cold snap spurs a new surge in edgy, dark, sexy music, in addition to its already proven track record of enabling the construction of Totoro snowmen.

Snow aside, January in Buck-Tickistan was fairly quiet, but with the release of Moon -Sayonara wo Oshiete- looming closer and closer, all of a sudden, we've been inundated with a blizzard of news!


Yutaka Loves Baseball, What Else is New?

First, completely unrelated to anything, Higuchi Yutaka will take part in his third round of "Musicians Who Just Fucking Love Baseball" live talk shows sponsored by Ongaku to Hito at Shinjuku Loft Plus One. The event will take place on March 8th, just ahead of this year's baseball season, perfect timing for fans to enjoy some mutual fanning time. As before, the event will be emceed by Kanemitsu Hirofumi, the Ongaku to Hito journalist who has covered Buck-Tick more lovingly and extensively over the years than just about anyone else. A bunch of other guys in addition to Yutaka will be participating, including Ueno Koji from The Hiatus and Ka.F.Ka, Satou Shin'ichiro from The Pillows, and a gang of other musicians who just fucking love baseball (like it says). As before, there will be no live performance of music, nor discussion of music. This is entirely a baseball-centric event. If you attend just to see Yutaka live in the sweaty fanboying flesh, be aware of what you're getting yourself into. Tickets go on sale on February 10th at 10AM. If you want our help getting them, contact us.


Yutaka is a Rock Star For Real, but Not Too Much

In other Higuchi Yutaka-related news, Higuchi Yutaka will be interviewed for the forthcoming issue of Rock & Read magazine, to be released on February 28th. This makes him the third Buck-Tick member to be featured in the magazine. For those of you who don't already know, Rock & Read is basically the Playboy of the visual kei world, featuring lots of luscious close-up pictures of male visual kei stars (and occasionally vk-adjacent real people, such as B-T members) to sucker fangirls into believing that they're spending 1200 yen an issue on something that's like porn, but better (because there are absolutely no shots of the fangirl-terrifying phenomenon that is male nudity), when in fact, most of Rock & Read is actually made up of really excellent in-depth interviews. A lot of famous writers and journalists got started writing for Playboy because they'd take chances on stuff that stuffier magazines wouldn't, and by the same token, Rock & Read consistently offers a level of depth in their interviews that most magazines don't, though it all depends on who's talking.

Anyhow, despite the fact that Rock & Read is primarily a visual kei magazine, Mr. Sakurai has been on the cover a total of four times, which is possibly more than any other artist (though we couldn't manage to find a complete list of back issues to check). Mr. Imai has also been on the cover once, too. So why doesn't Yutaka deserve a cover? Isn't he cuter (and more serious!) than those weirdos from The Gazette? Plus, who doesn't love a man who loves (base)balls? You tell us. For us, the real question is why #SexyBeastHide hasn't yet been featured in the magazine at all. Maybe, just as he's too sexy for your party (no way he's disco dancing!), he's also too sexy for your magazine.


Ongaku to Hito Still Love Buck-Tick, Which is a Good Thing

In other magazine and Ongaku to Hito-related news, Buck-Tick will be appearing on the cover of the March issue of Ongaku to Hito, which was released today. Kind of silly to have March at the beginning of February, but y'know - No. 0 is (or rather will be) a March album, and they have to shoot the shit about that shit in the March issue. SO. Who's jacket would you steal this time? We'd go for Imai's, only it's still so cold that Mr. Sakurai's is looking appealingly warm. Fight us for it.


Cool Jacket is Cool

Jackets, you say? What about jackets? Oh, right, the jacket art for No. 0 has also been released, and boy is this one a beauty! Even more Delvaux-style than the cover of Arui wa Anarchy, this one takes us back to the same surrealist, dreamy nightscape, and if wasn't designed by Akita Kazvnori (we're sure it was) then it was designed by a mighty good forger of his work. The pantograph of a trolley car crackles with lightning in the distance, a shooting star falls from the sky, and a dark figure (looks like Mr. Sakurai's bandy legs under that bat cloak, but he's not necessarily playing himself in this scene, if you know what we mean) prowls in silhouette down a French-looking back alley with a crescent moon tucked under his arm, hot on the trail of another shooting star which has just bounced out the open door of an establishment with a sign over the door reading "No. O," only the zero is rendered as a planet with rings around it. In the foreground, the same planet sits on the empty street, just chillin'. 

We've seen this planet before, on the goods designs for the Cosmic Dreamer tour, but bringing it back on this cover highlights the fact that zero, in addition to representing nothingness, also represents completion: the circle, the cycle, the sphere, the most fundamental shape in both cosmology and the practice of the occult. Further up the street, the sign of another establishment bears an equilateral triangle, another shape ripe with possible meanings - the Illuminati pyramid, the Trinity, the Triple Goddess, the meaningless mark of the hipster goth movement, the easiest instrument in the orchestra, and, perhaps most interesting, contemporary Japanese symbol-speak for "not quite," "not yet," "almost," "maybe," or "pending." 

If the fact that No. 9 is followed by No. 0 is really about numerology and the completion of a cycle (and we have every reason to believe that it is), then this cover bears out that meaning. The flaneur on this cover has left that "almost/maybe" space behind and is nearing the completion or climax of his journey - and remember, completion is also a new beginning. Once you finish one thing, the clock resets to zero and you have to start something new. In numerology, 2016 was a Number 9 year, while 2017 was a Number 1 year (reduced from 10) - the completion of one cycle and the beginning of another. The roundness of zero, the solitude of one, and the fact that the trauma of birth is probably worse than the trauma of death are all big themes for Buck-Tick, so it will be very interesting to see where they go in this forthcoming "I don't mean to brag, but this is a grand masterpiece" of a new album. The moon's still a sickle, so something definitely isn't finished yet. What kinds of stars does a star like Mr. Sakurai chase after?


Virtual Reality Is Hip, Therefore We are Hipsters!

If you'd like to find out the answer to the above question by ordering the limited edition of No. 0, you've probably made a wise choice, because the extras for the limited edition have now been announced, and here's something exciting we never thought we'd have the pleasure of announcing - Buck-Tick have made not one, not two, but THREE new music videos for the album tracks "Bishuu Love," "IGNITER," and "Ophelia." Wow! "Ophelia" is a Hide song! The last time a Hide song got made into a PV was "Gensou no Hana" - and despite the fact that "Gensou no Hana" was one of the stupider videos Buck-Tick have made over the years (although "Dokudanjou Beauty" is still the absolute worst, don't argue), most of the time, when Hide songs get made into PVs, Mr. Sakurai ends up either tied up on/in the floor/ceiling/Goth Bondage Jesus cross/diabolical camera (select all that apply) or stepping through the looking glass to meet his queer-ass gender-swapped self, so if he doesn't end up soaking wet and playing dead in a flowery dress this time around, we fully expect him to delivery just as fully in a comparably dramatically kinktastic fashion.

AND if you're the kind of early adopter who just loves to masturbate over technology, any technology, no matter how silly, you can invest in Limited Edition C of No. 0, which instead of giving you these new PVs on a bonus disc which you can watch on a screen in your house while sitting on a couch like a normal human, gives you the three PVs in "virtual reality" format, which you can watch once you download the VR app onto your stupid phone/electronic sanitary napkin and watch through the complementary pair of googly-eyes  VR viewer included with the album. The Fish Tanker's Only 2017 DVD came with one of these viewers, too, and they basically look like a pop-up birthday card that you put together yourself, and then stick your head inside and look through the googly eyes. Apparently these googly eyes will not protect your eyes while viewing a solar eclipse, but how they distort the experience of watching Buck-Tick videos on your teeny-tiny phone screen is something we can't tell you, because we don't have a phone.

Maybe we're getting old, but seriously, what's the point of VR? If Buck-Tick were releasing a Virtual Tour of Buck-Tickistan for Oculus Rift, maybe that would be cool, we don't know (the only video games we know how to play are Minesweeper, Tetris, and Pac-Man). But how is staring at a phone through a pair of googly-eyes anything like reality? What does the VR allow you to do that's so special? After all, you can't poke Yutaka's butt, because Yutaka isn't really there, and even if you scream at Hide that you want to have his babies, all you'll succeed in doing is annoying your neighbors or freaking out passersby, so the lady we heard scream those exact words in the face of the real flesh-and-blood Hoshino Hidehiko back in 2007 would still have you beat. If any of y'all readers have checked out that VR thing on the FTO 2017, please satisfy our curiosity by leaving a comment about the experience. Is it cool, or is it a complete waste of time?

Anyway, if y'all want to order the album through us, just shoot us an email.


That PV Sure Went Swimmingly!

One of our readers recently wrote us a letter stating the following: "Cayce, I find I'm now unable to enjoy any new Buck-Tick PV without laughing at it first. I blame this on your pawky sense of humor."

Dear reader, rest assured: the PV for "Moon -Sayonara wo Oshiete-" would be worth laughing at, even if yours truly had never made a single joke. Everyone's expressionless, but really dramatic! Imai full-out stole the Orange amp head from Miyo Ken's Mortal gear, and all that orange looks so very silly next to all that goth! There is a model swimming around in an aquarium full of ugly hotel furniture! And last but certainly not least, there is a COSMIC FETUS, which couldn't be better fodder for Buck-Tick parody if it gyrated in leather pants through a crowd of genetically engineered monsters and drug-addled anthropomorphic kitty cats wearing a jacket covered with a print of the kanji for "yume" in lurid colors! (Sounds like a really cool jacket, actually...) Anyway. Laugh away, children. This can never have been intended to be serious, and it's quite charming, even if it does look suspiciously like it ought to be a commercial for ultra-hydrating rejuvenating anti-aging moisturizing mist that retails for 10000 yen a bottle, or something similarly intimate, embarrassing, and marketed to rich old ladies... (The fantasies of Buck-Tick's rich old fangirls are surely intimate and embarrassing in the extreme... dear god, is this what Buck-Tick have become?)

Also, if you find a version of the full one ripped from the LINE Live broadcast that aired earlier tonight, please send it our way. We are not members of LINE because we do not have a phone.

Update: Thanks to the reader who sent us the full PV less than 12 hours after we requested it! For those of you who haven't seen the full thing yet, a spoiler: the trailer includes all the silly Shiseido commercial parts, and the parts that aren't in the trailer are a lot darker and more mature, so if you enjoy laughing at Buck-Tick videos as much as we do, laugh your ass off at the trailer while you till can! Also, we're going to vote on the mondegreen at the end - "Under the moonlight / Good morning darling and goodbye." Damn, we really wanted them (Sakurai and Imai singing in harmony!) to be saying "you go to town every night." Too bad. Next time we'll make sure they go to town with us.


More news and fun stuff coming soon. If you'd like another melancholy song about moons while you're waiting for Buck-Tick's single, join us in getting this one stuck in your head. (the video has nothing to do with the song, but it's probably a decent representation of some things Imai's brain has seen in its lifetime.)