Safety Dance, or What the Fxxx is Up with Nagoya?

Here's something most of you probably don't know unless you've lived in Japan: in Japan, September 1st is "celebrated" as "Disaster Prevention Day" (though we personally like to call it "Safety Day"). The yearly event was launched to commemorate the anniversary of the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake, a magnitude 7.9 earthquake that hit Tokyo and surrounding areas and sparked massive fires throughout the city that claimed the lives of at least 105,000 people (that's nearly as many people as were killed in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima). Tokyo at the time was mostly made of wood-and-paper buildings, so you can only imagine how deadly the firestorm must have been... oh wait, you don't have to imagine, we're getting Firestorm Redux all over the world now, everywhere from Maui to Athens to Alberta.

Mm... and September 1st, 1939, was the day Germany invaded Poland, starting WWII (yeah this is Cayce here sitting on our ass in Tokyo watching Barbenheimer instead of going to Nagoya. If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst at once into the sky that would be like the splendor of "Taiyou ni Korosareta." But we digress.)

In an eerie sort of time-loop effect, today, September 1st, 2023, marks the 100-year anniversary of the Kanto Earthquake disaster, which remains the deadliest natural disaster in Japan's history to date. For comparison: it is estimated that slightly fewer than 20,000 people died in the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami of March 11th, 2011. Disaster Prevention Day isn't a national holiday - people go to school and work as usual, but what's special about this day is that schools and workplaces around the country hold disaster safety workshops for students and employees, who are encouraged if not required to attend. Safety workshops include presentations on practical tips to survive a major earthquake, post-quake protocols, and hands-on training such as visiting and interacting with emergency supplies, or even obstacle courses where participants put on masks and learn how to crawl through burning buildings while avoiding smoke, etc. (Fun fact: as a young office drone in Tokyo, Cayce got to attend a very intense version of one of these trainings, complete with fake dry-ice smoke. It was a lot more fun than working in the office!)

How ironic, then, that Buck-Tick's Izora Tour Nagoya show, initially scheduled for June 3rd, 2023 (which was incidentally the night of the full moon, also known as the Strawberry Moon) was rescheduled due to heavy rains and flooding from a massive typhoon that hit central Japan on June 2nd, and not only that, it was rescheduled for September 1st, 2023 (which is incidentally the day after the last Blue Supermoon for the next decade and a bit - Supermoon element relevant in that Supermoons, or perigee full moons, are commonly associated with high seismic activity and fun fact the Great East Japan Earthquake also happened on a Supermoon known as the Death Moon because go figure Death Moon is the traditional name of the March full moon in Virgo fun fact Mr. Sakurai's birthday was also the full moon or Death Moon of March 1966, but we digress) - that is to say, the Izora tour Nagoya show was rescheduled for today, Disaster Prevention Day/Safety Day. The show was rescheduled because the trucks with all the stage sets and sound gear and such have to depart a day in advance of the show when the band are on tour, to ensure that everything can be set up in time, but there was no way any of the tour trucks could have hit the highway in that weather. So the band's management went and rescheduled the show for Safety Day. Maybe they thought it was auspicious, but...

...yesterday evening, it was announced on the Buck-Tick official website that the Izora Nagoya show was being postponed yet again. The official reason? Mr. Sakurai felt sick and tested positive for Covid-19 AGAIN. Here's where it gets weirder, though: last year, as some of you may remember, the band arrived in Nagoya on the evening of August 3rd in preparation for their Fish Tank x Love & Media Portable Members Only 2022 show at Zepp Nagoya, only for Mr. Sakurai to start feeling ill, take a Covid test, and test positive. The August 4th, 2022 show in Nagoya was postponed, along with the August 14th, 2022 show in Fukuoka, and the Fish Tanker's Only 2022 show that had been scheduled for August 11th, 2022 at Toyosu PIT in Tokyo. Mr. Sakurai later reported in FT and on the Buck-Tick official website that he felt extremely ill and had been required to quarantine at a Nagoya hotel for ten days, because due to Covid protocols at the time, he wasn't allowed to return home to convalesce. Later, at the rescheduled Fish Tanker's Only show in Toyosu (which was held on Yutaka's birthday, January 24th, 2023), Sakurai stated "I really thought I was going to die back there." 

However, we all know he's a much tougher bastard than that - in fact, less than a week out of quarantine, he took to the stage at Club Citta' Kawasaki to perform with Buck-Tick at Toll's 60th birthday extravaganza. This was a big deal for a number of reasons. First, the 60th birthday is considered a very important milestone in Japanese culture. A person turning 60 has lived through a full rotation of the Chinese Zodiac: five turns of the twelve zodiac animals (Rat, Ox, Tiger, Hare, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Boar), with one year with each animal in each of the traditional Chinese elements (air, water, fire, wood, and metal). Therefore, the 60th birthday is called 還暦 ("kanreki," or "complete rotation"), and age 60 is seen as a "return to childhood" or "second childhood" in which the person is able to start fresh with a youthful heart in older age. Historically, living to age 60 was considered a great achievement, because in pre-modern times, many people died young of disease, accidents, violence, etc. The 60th birthday is traditionally celebrated with all kinds of festive customs, including eating lucky red rice and dressing the birthday boy/girl in a bright red coat called a "chan-chanko." The color red is used widely because (as adopted from Chinese traditions) it symbolizes good luck, longevity, prosperity, and vitality. In short: there is no way Mr. Sakurai was going to miss performing on Toll's big day! Later, in FT, Mr. Sakurai confessed that he wasn't quite sure he would be up to performing, he didn't feel his performance was up to his usual standards, and he felt very exhausted after the show, but of course, he did it anyway, because he's a tough guy, with a lot of pride, and a great sense of loyalty to the other band members.

Not only that, but one of the many illustrious guests who performed at this show was none other than Issay, vocalist of the band Der Zibet and "very close special friend" of Mr. Sakurai since their indie days late 80's Tokyo. During his later career, Issay was a member of a regular rotating group of musicians in the Tokyo underground/goth scene who often made guest appearances at each other's shows or played jam sessions at events featuring multiple bands. Toll was another high-profile member of this group, and the two had a longstanding working relationship entirely outside of Sakurai and Issay's notorious "friendship," but nonetheless, Issay had never performed as a guest musician at one of Toll's birthday shows since Toll's much-discussed bombshell 50th birthday show (held on August 19th, 2012, also at Club Citta' Kawasaki) that featured a guest live set by Der Zibet in which Issay and Mr. Sakurai performed a reprise of their 1991 duet "Masquerade" (originally released on Der Zibet's album Shishunki II: Downer Side), involving possibly the single most sexually explicit stage routine either of them has ever performed, strip teases included (and we say this in full knowledge and direct personal experience of just how sexual those two can get on stage even when they're up there solo without the benefit of a special friend to get off play off. Also anyone who tries to claim that Mr. Sakurai hasn't ever done a proper strip tease clearly wasn't present at the November 23rd 2011 Utakata no Razzle Dazzle show at Akasaka Blitz, also incidentally a show that was rescheduled due to the Great East Japan Earthquake.) 

However, on August 19th, 2022, Issay took to the Club Citta' Stage again with Mr. Sakurai to perform guest vocals on Buck-Tick's "Itoshi no Rock Star" for the first time in... god only knows how many years. The original Six/Nine studio recording of "Itoshi no Rock Star" (released in 1995) featured Issay singing guest vocals (show of hands: how many of you didn't even realize it because Issay's voice sounds so similar to Sakurai's on this track?). Sakurai later reported that he had written the lyrics of "Itoshi no Rock Star" in Issay's image, just as Issay reported that he had written the lyrics to "Masquerade" in Sakurai's honor years earlier. Issay also appeared as a guest on several dates of the Six/Nine tour, with photographic evidence pointing to a similarly steamy and salacious pas de deux, but no videos of the tour were ever released (even though we know they exist in a secret vault somewhere), so the history of "Itoshi no Rock Star" largely fell through the cracks of the Archives of Buck-Tickistan. While by all accounts, the 2022 reprise of "Itoshi no Rock Star" was a great deal less sexual than the "Masquerade" performance of ten years earlier, it was still a unique moment in Buck-Tick's history, a shivering presentiment of tragedy hidden in the killing effulgence of the August sun: 

"If I turned into a pig, you'd laugh
If I turned into a bug, you'd laugh

If I turned into an ape, you'd laugh
If I turned into a star, you'd laugh"

It was the last time Sakurai and Issay ever performed together. August 11th, 2022 - Sakurai sick with Covid-19 in a hotel room in Nagoya, unable to perform at Toyosu PIT, turns too swiftly toward August 10th, 2023, the day Issay's death was publicly announced. The August 4th, 2022 Nagoya B-T show canceled due to Mr. Sakurai's bout with Covid turns too swiftly toward August 4th, 2023, Issay's last full day on this too blue planet with its too-bright killing sun. (He died August 5th. But he loved the blazing sun and blue ocean of summer better than any other season, and surely he wouldn't have chosen any other day to fly away. Born on July 6th, the eve of Tanabata, gone back to the sky on August 5th, the eve of Hiroshima. Life is art, my friends. All things move toward their end, but nothing is random, of that you can be sure. Die the way you lived, with an abundance of aesthetic style. There is a much greater pattern and design at work than most people allow themselves to see. Don't fear to be a part of it.) 

And now here we are, the second rescheduled Nagoya show in less than two years, and... Atsushi goes and gets Covid again? On Safety Day? Sure, Nagoya is an industrial cultural wasteland of a city, regularly voted "the most hated city in Japan" in opinion polls (not making this up, Google it)... though it has its interesting elements, from the robust South American diaspora to the flourishing doom and gloom subcultures (see: Nagoya-kei) spawned by the reflections of post-modern industrial malaise upon its disaffected youth to the Acchan Ramen Shop, a real place (if it's still in business) whose tagline is "Yappari Kyou mo Acchan" ("Let's have Acchan again tonight!") and whose sign the eponymous Acchan posed in front of during a B-T tour of yore in order to proudly display the photo in his column in FT (if anyone has this on hand, please send, we're too lazy to look it up and photograph it right now). 

But, y'all, what the efffff is UP with Nagoya? There's some kind of Doom Spiral going on down there and it needs to be stopped! We can't let the Black Hole of Nagoya suck down the magic of Buck-Tickistan! So here's my first request of y'all: say some prayers for poor old Nagoya to stop attempting to eat our boys. Nagoya is sad and traumatized but it's expressing its trauma badly and we need to get it help so take off your hats and Safety Dance for Nagoya in hopes that we can stem the spiral before it gets truly out of hand. If Acchan doesn't feel strong enough to attempt a boss battle with Nagoya's Scylla and Charybdis just yet, at least we can help weaken Nagoya's bad juju by firing our Sailor Moon crystal healing powers at the place before he has to go there again for real. All hands on deck! Open your third eyes and send some beams of Cosmic Love down there, because we, Cayce, Grand Tabloid Journalist of Buck-Tickistan, refuse to stand for any more of this behavior from a Japanese city that doesn't even have its own real castle, just a concrete reconstruction of one. Know your place, Nagoya! (Hint: it's not at the cool kids' table.) Being "most hated city" is no mean feat. Eat your karma now, Nagoya! Eat it with your stinky miso cutlets and your stinky automotive plants and your stinky Captain Hook Crocodile vendetta against our Mr. Sakurai! In the name of the Moon, consider yourself punished! (Yeah, Nagoya. I'm Aichi-shaming you. For the capital of a prefecture whose name literally means "knowledge of love" you sure seem ignorant. Sailor Moon was never above a little speechifying dress-down of her antagonists before a fight, and neither are we. Miso cutlets, really? Ewww.)

But, more to the point. Despite having released numerous collaborations, touring together, and doing numerous joint interviews over the years, Sakurai and Issay consistently downplayed their relationship in the media. They were the subject of reams of fan fiction and doujinshi (apropos, considering that Issay actually more or less started his career as a "professional bishounen," entering beauty contests and posing nude for boys' love magazines before he ever really launched as a musician - yes this is true, cross my heart, I'm not making it up for humor value, see JUNE magazine, pronounced Ju-nay, for Jean Genet, notorious queer provocateur author of the seminal gay aesthetic murder suicide novel Our Lady of the Flowers, if you can find barely-legal Issay's nude shoot in this one pat yourself on the back for not only having done better than 99.9% of the aging yaoi fangirls in Japan but also for being twisted enough to f** to possibly underage photos of a dead guy, congrats 2 you U sick fuck, but I digress.) In addition to being chased and stalked by Japanese nutcase fangirls aplenty, the diabolical duo were also the target of a series of frightening stalker fangirls from the Gaijin Internet (yeah, we know who you are. A&I knew it too and guess what, they weren't impressed, fancy that. Crimea cry me a river.) And yet... it seems that the true nature of their relationship remained compartmentalized in fangirl minds as the stuff of early 80's boys' love manga, all subtext and no substance. Which just goes to show how puzzlingly out of touch with sexual reality their fanbase was, despite the fact that both men made their careers out of publicly, unashamedly plumbing the depths of sexuality and sexual psychology, and it was precisely this sexuality that their fans claimed to be drawn to. The longer it went on, the more brazen the joke became. Each one kissing a mask of the other at his show, baring just a little more cleavage here or thigh there, laughing through their teeth at the screaming women attempting to wrestle them bodily off the stage, as if daring them, "What would you have even planned on doing to me, if you actually had me? Do you even know?"

But, real talk here. Because it's 2023 and we can finally real-talk. At this late date, do y'all really still believe that Tokyo's most famous long-haired boys in lipstick and eyeliner, the ones who sang harmony together on "Koi no Hallelujah" and kissed unashamedly in public, even in the eye of the media, were merely playing dress-up in their stepmothers' clothing? Do y'all really think that? Do y'all really think that the guys who wrote songs like "Dance Tengoku" and "Upper Queen" spent all their days in Goldengai without ever stepping a toe into Nichome? (Districts in Shinjuku. Look it up. I can't give everything away.) These are the guys who penned "Masquerade" and "MasQue" respectively, and call me old but I'm pretty sure that back then, Q didn't stand for QAnon. If you don't know what I'm trying to say, go back and listen to Episode 6 of "The Music of Note with Atsushi Sakurai," the part where he talks about going to see Bohemian Rhapsody multiple times in the movie theater and then plays "Don't Stop Me Now" by Queen.

If, as you read this, you feel tempted to say, "Cayce, don't be a B," then all I have to say to you friends is, B is the first letter in B-T, and the universe in which Mr. Sakurai and Issay so sensually resided was a "B Universe." Men, women, what does it matter? In a B Universe, it doesn't. L for the Lucy, G for the G-Spot, B for Japanese babies... Q for all the QT B-T fans...

So what's my point here? 

It's this. Just like "special friend" in Everything Everywhere All At Once was for one Chinese laundress to introduce her multiversial hellion of a daughter to the father she feared could never be pleased, "I have Covid-19" is the most ironclad excuse in a wide world of Japanese excuses for a hugely successful professional musician with a slightly punishing sense of personal responsibility to use when he knows that the words "Good night, sweet Prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest" will fall on deaf ears with the Victor brass because he knows that those guys have definitely never read "Hamlet" and probably never even heard of it (Ophelia who?) The great thing about living in 2023 is that the lockdowns are over and the masks are off and the fans are allowed to cheer at concerts again, but the moment you come down with Covid-19, you're an invincible hikikomori by legal sanction, free to stay in your house with the drapes closed, eat takeout, and grieve in peace because Covid is the Unassailable Bugbear, and therefore Covid is your best friend (not special friend) when you know, despite your continuing tendency towards guilt and self-blame, that you just couldn't possibly get up on a stage in a concrete box in a concrete jungular armpit like Nagoya and sing "Hizumi," much less "Die," much less "Na mo Naki Watashi" before an adoring crowd. So, y'know, god bless Covid-19. Whether Mr. Sakurai actually has it or not at this moment is almost beside the point. It's finally useful for something, after all. Because professional rock stars don't generally get to take mental health days.

In conclusion: I'm calling on all of y'all to please send your best vibes to our Acchan-chan, as loudly and often as you can. He's a very strong person, and deep down, he knows that. He knows his job isn't finished. But he's experiencing choking, overpowering grief, and all the sense of futility and mortal fear it brings. "Why shouldn't I be next?" "My life is almost over anyway" "I'm too old" "Too old to lose it, yet too young to choose it" "Why are there a zillion criminals and abusers out there living as billionaires and yet you're the one who's gone?" "What even is the point anymore?" "What did I actually accomplish in all this time?" "Why..." (and a thousand other bargaining/anger/denial questions). And the "Why can't you just suck it up and move on?" And the "You could have/should have..." (continue with second-guessing here). And the "I'm letting everyone down" (continue with the self-flagellation here). And the "I shouldn't even be here anymore" (continue with the survivor's guilt here). And the (insert all the beautiful, sensual, dizzyingly real memories here).

So please, y'all. Send him your love. Send him your encouragement. Tell him he's enough. That he's loved. That it's not his fault. That there are more tomorrows. The Mothership is waiting patiently, but this field trip is not over. And he doesn't have to eat miso cutlets if he doesn't bloody well want to.

And this... (February, 2021)

Are there any foreign artists you would like to collaborate with ?
ISSAY: All of the artists I would have loved to collaborate with passed away, unfortunately... (laughs). You know what, recently I had a dream, which is a bit embarrassing to share but, the world was coming as one. The borders disappeared. All the countries around the world unified and merged to form one and only country. In order to celebrate this union, an anthem was needed. I don’t know why but David Bowie and myself were chosen to create the song. Isn’t that amazing (laughs) ?!

Who's going to sing the anthem, eh, Acchan? If not you, then who?

There's no remedy for memory, so we won't say "get well soon." But help us say "You can do it. Mada da yo. Izanae, tabidatou." It ain't over till the fat lady sings and she ain't singing yet and more to the point, you ain't no fat lady!




  1. I didn’t want to say anything, I didn’t want to vocalize it, but I wondered the same thing.

    I sent him a card last time (first time in my multiple decades of existence on this earth that I sent fanmail to a celebrity), but I don’t think I can now. I wouldn’t know what to say.

    Disease is painful, but loss is unspeakable. I’ll light a candle for both of them.

    1. Write him a card if and when you feel you can. Certainly right now what he needs is rest and relaxation, whatever his diagnosis. The candle is the best thing you can do :) And if your lights flicker just assume it's Mr. Immortal Bastard at your service and please lovingly give him the finger from me, he will definitely know I was the one who told you to do it.

    2. It wouldn’t be intrusive? I just… the idea of overstepping any boundaries would absolutely end me. I am genuinely terrible at expressing myself through text too.

      But if you think it would be positive, I’ll do it. I know so many people say certain people saved their life through their art, and I never really got it, but this band has been part of my life for so long, I can’t bring myself to imagine a world without “BUCK-TICK” in it.

    3. We're way, way past the "overstepping boundaries" line. If you don't feel confident in expressing yourself through text, keep it very simple. Just tell him how much B-T means to you and how much you want to support him and send him love and hear the next album. Be honest. He's a smart cookie and he will get it.

    4. Thank you so much. I’ll do my best to convey my sympathies.

  2. Cayce, what you've written is very warm and powerful and sends through a lot of strength, and hope (and it personally resonates in so many more ways, as we all have our stories - but that is the power of writing/ narrative journalism/ stories, and art after all, and bucktistan tabloids count too) For me, there's good music and then music of the heart, the one that settles deep in one's core. BT is that and much more, and it would have not been so without your work. If there's one thing Covid brought good, that was seeing them online live. I guess we're all (still) here because we have still a role to fulfill and some magic to share with someone near. Thank you, for seeing all of this through and for sharing your thoughts with the wider community. You are our satellite. It's been a privilege to be part of the ride so far and I am sure there is still much to come, to honor the past and inspire a bit of a bowie future if for nothing else (God knows we need this at this point). Sending all good thoughts and immortal artsy vibes (I'm from the country which inspired vampires after all, if that is any credential). Also, the sailor moon references feel completely spot on for some reason.

  3. Hi Cayce, thanks for sharing some thoughts on this. Definitely, I've been wondering the same.
    Now that you approached the topic of fangirls a bit, there has been a huge amount of new fan fiction lately on social media. Idk if you are familiar with the stories shared by twins through instagram, but I'd like to know your thoughts. Let's say that it's concerning and overwhelming at times encountering such stuff.

    1. Hm, this is a tough topic. Twins? (Please don't tell me this is what I think is.) Can you perhaps summarize, maybe message me directly if it's not appropriate for posting as a public comment? I will be happy to address things on Blog-Tick to the extent that I can do so without violating people's privacy and respect for the departed. In principle I don't post information that hasn't been publicly release, and it's not my general policy to discuss any of the people I may or may not know in my personal life but I'm finding in my old age that the disrespecting of fallen comrades is where I want to draw the line and I realized I simply cannot continue with the Blog-Tick project if I'm going to try to pretend that I didn't know a certain person and that his death isn't affecting me in a big way. Pandemic, aging, over it, insert your preferred excuse here. Still want to do right by y'all. Continuously unimpressed with malicious fanfic lies and cyberbullying (don't get me started).

      (To be clear, the relationship between Atsushi and Issay was never a secret or I would not have discussed it on this blog. It just seems that it passed under the bridge for people for a long time so I wanted to explain the full import and why Mr. "My Guts are Bleeding by I'm Singing Guernica" felt the need to cancel Nagoya AGAIN. He didn't do it lightly. This is precisely why I'm called on all of y'all to send your good vibes at this time because grief is fucking terrible.)

    2. Maybe I’m an old stick in the mud kinkshaming boomer, but I find fanfiction about real people kinda… icky.

    3. I felt the same way, until I was at a party with a number of vk musicians who were laughing uproariously over slashfic some of their fangirls had written about them. I don't think anyone who's actually serious about "real person fic" takes it the least bit seriously. Please, Polish high school girls who've never visited Japan, do tell me what it was like to be a gay rock star in Tokyo in the Bubble 80s. Inquiring minds would like to know.

    4. Okay, now that makes me feel better. A lot better, in fact, lol.

    5. My morbid curiosity still really wants to hear the dirt. Care to share the funny bits? I'm damned if I'm going to check social media myself, don't want to inadvertently run across nasty stuff that's going to put me in a funk for the next three weeks.

    6. Oh I wasn’t the OP, I just (possibly rudely) inserted my opinion into the discussion haha.

  4. Thank you for a beautiful post, even as I can't imagine the pain and grief (and a healthy dose of anger) that went into writing it.

    In a roundabout way, you managed to answer several questions I earlier tried to pose to you. (I sent you an email about a month ago, but I'm sure you are very busy, and my email was naive and ignorant and almost certainly annoying.)

    I have since been learned a bit more about the nature of Japanese pronouns, and also how Queerly it is possible to play with the language (and also that I'm not imagining things that Mr Sakurai's "I"s are all over the shop, clearly deliberately) https://www.tofugu.com/japanese/queer-japanese/

    Sometimes the easiest place to hide things is in plain sight!

    As an international fan, I wouldn't have a clue how to contact the band to tell them how much they mean to me - but all I can say is that the excitement and joy and wave-of-fellow-feeling (no seriously, how have I not been listening to them my entire life?!?) in exploring their music and their world over the past year has been nothing short of liberating. I thank them from the bottom of my shrivelled heart for existing (and I thank you for explaining their depths of untranslatable nuance). I hope Atsushi finds the physical and emotional healing that he needs.

    I will remain silent on the fanfic issue (I haven't published BT fic yet, though I do suffer from the vice) apart from to say - I'm glad that the actual musicians see the fun and the playfulness in it. Most writers are well aware it's *fiction*, and of how mediated our views of the humans involved are.

    1. Site didn't eat your comment, I just reserve the right to moderate all comments so they don't get posted till I approve them. E-mail definitely not annoying, I love to hear from readers. Will write to you soon. I wish I had the time to respond to everyone more quickly, as I did in the past, but, well, time goes on and old bones begin to ache...

      As for pronouns, I should probably write an article on this, but to keep it very simple: pronouns are not a Thing in Japanese as they are in European languages. There's also a much more fluid relationship between pronouns and gender in Japanese, which ties in with the longstanding tradition of gender-bending and queerness in Japanese culture (see, Kabuki, Takarazuka, gay samurai). Japanese constructions of gender are not like Western ones and tbh I think the West could stand to learn a whole lot from Japan in its anxious petulant flailing on the subject. Start with "Dance Tengoku" or if you want Der Zibet, try "Plastic Girl" and "Upper Queen" and "Shounen no Katai Pocket" and take it from there.

  5. This is Branwell - not sure if the site ate my comment or not? (Please feel free to delete this if the comment does turn up)

  6. Not just Bohemian Rhapsody, didn’t Sakurai pose with a poster from that LGBTQ movie Old Narcissus?

    I don’t know how “coming out” works in Japanese society, but it seems that he’s done everything short of draping himself in a rainbow flag and lip synching Diana Ross’ “I’m Coming Out” during a concert.

    1. Yeah he did promo "Old Narcissus," he said it was his friend who was promoting it and he went to see it.

      The dude has done everything short of saying in so many words that he's bisexual and genderfluid. I don't think he would say it in so many words because that's not his style but lately he said he's got PTSD and is an HSP so I guess he's seeing a therapist who knows acronyms which is great who don't love an ARCNM 4 a SX4U. In any case if y'all didn't know by now about Mr. Acchan... um... welcome to Buck-Tickistan. The King is a Man. A man in very lacy tights. He likes Kimi no Vanilla and also your Trigger. If you can't handle that and it took you this long to figure it out I (we) really don't know why you are still here.

    2. Have to admit, the "HSP" thing threw me for a loop the first time I read it?

      I've been standing here flapping my hands wanting someone to mention the "HSP" for nearly as long as I've been wanting someone to draw a big diagramme saying "BI the way..." but it's like everyone is just ignoring it because it doesn't fit in with the image of the Dark Lord Gothick Prince or whatever.

      But the comment I wrote about it just isn't going through so I guess I'll just have to email you back haha

    3. Now this is crazy. He's actually stated he's an HSP? Where and when was that?
      As a nonbinary, bisexual femme who's HSP with ADHD and autism I'm so excited to hear that!

      This is really serendipitous. I happened to attend a Lolita party in Finland where I lead a group discussion about the connection between EGL fashion and neurodivergence yesterday. At the 18+ afterparty, out of all the songs they could have played, and I mean the many, many songs they could have played... they played "Dress" as the last song. This was, ironically, the song that got me into the band 12 years ago.
      Mind you, not many people are hardcore fans of the band in Europe and it's not exactly a Lolita band, is it?

      It was absolutely surreal. It felt like something in my life has come full circle and it felt extremely crucial.
      It's hard to believe in coincidence when stuff like this happens....

    4. In the 2023 May issue of Ongaku to Hito magazine, Sakurai stated in his back-cover interview with Ishii Eriko (a long-time Sakurai-interviewing journalist, which makes a lot of difference, with him):

      OtH: ...what are you struggling with these days, Mr. Sakurai?

      Sakurai: ...Well, I always say this, but I have PTSD. And I'm an HSP. I've very sensitive, so I feel and pick up on a lot of stuff, and then I feel more and more pressured. Other people might look at me and think, "why is that such a big deal?" I don't know. Maybe this is too personal, but... I often have nightmares. I always drink alcohol, but on the days when I think, I'm too tired, I won't bother drinking, I'll just go to sleep, I have at least two or three nightmares per night.

      Oth: If it's not too much, can I ask what the nightmares are about?

      Sakurai: People's dreams are that interesting, you know? But, for me... it's like, some guy coming at me with scissors, and I'm holding my breath, hiding from him. That kind of nightmare.

      OtH: Hee hee! Sorry, I shouldn't laugh.

      Sakurai: It's the sort of dream a middle school kid would have, right? It's fine if you laugh. I always shake awake panting, covered in sweat. But when I spell it out in one sentence, it sounds silly. (laughs)

      OtH: So, you can't escape yourself.

      Sakurai: Well... all I can really say is, it's trauma. Most of my nightmares take place in my childhood home, or nearby. I'm now in my late fifties, but nothing has changed in that regard.


      [Cayce here again] I know ADHD and autism are attracting a lot of attention these days, along with a lot of other labels and diagnoses, and I know it's helping people to understand their inner workings and help them separate from the traps society has set for us. But to be clear: Mr. Sakurai has never identified as nonbinary, and I'm no certified therapist, but if anyone is trying to remote-diagnose that guy as ADHD or autistic I suspect that they either don't know the meaning of those terms or they just don't know the man in question very well (Imai, well, that's a story for another day).

      Being HSP means being hypersensitive to stimuli, having a hyper-aware nervous system. According to current research I've read, HSPs account for about 30% of the population, and it's seen as an adaptive trait for tribal hunter-gatherers - you want some tribe members to be hyper-vigilant, to find the good food, watch for danger, track the animals, etc. but if everyone were like that nobody would be there to chill the fuck out and do the hard labor without having panic attacks. So you need both. Therefore, considering "HSP" as "neurodivergent" is highly questionable... I think I'm going to write a whole article on this, so I'll stop here for now. However if you've been in Buck-Tickistan for twelve years you'll remember that back in 2011 when the people on the internet wanted Acchan in their Venn diagram they would just say "OMG I want Acchan in my Venn diagram!!!!!" no acronyms or labels needed. So.

      Anyway, as far as the HSP thing goes, I'm glad Mr. Sakurai's found his way to this term because it describes him to a tee. I do hope that it means he's getting some quality therapy (mental health care in Japan is notoriously shite). But let's take it easy with the pasting-on of diagnoses and labels in the meantime.

      Based on the correspondence I've had with Blog-Tickers over the years, "Dress" is probably the most well-known B-T song among European fans, and the song that attracted the most foreign fans to the band initially, because of Trinity Blood, but from what you say, I guess it's getting close to time for me to finally write that article about "Dress" and the androgyny of the soul... :) If you want the article on "there are no coincidences" and "time is not linear," please start by buying me a Ko-fi.

      If you want the article on "Acchan is an INFJ" sorry gotta peace (love love yeah PEACE!).

    5. HOLD UP NOW, POLLARD, did you just say “don’t call Sakurai neurodivergent, he’s just...” and then provide practically a dictionary definition of neurodivergence?

      We’re not armchair diagnosing Acchan here, he picked that word for himself. It’s clearly useful to him!

      Might I suggest, that perhaps you may need to update your understanding of some terms here? Because this is what I mean by placing Sakurai under the “neurodivergent” umbrella because he identifies as having HSP:

      It’s actually a really outdated view of autism/ADHD to say that it only includes the classic “strong feelings about planes, trains and videogames” presentation as demonstrated to almost comical extremes onstage and in interviews by Mr. Imai. Folks recognise the classic Aspergers ND in Imai because he’s 100% BOY, and neurosexism means that the ways that boys diverge from the norm are considered normative and standard-setting, when ND is much bigger than that one form.

      The more modern way of thinking is that ND manifests in different ways. Classic ASD and ADHD “symptoms” were historically described by parents or clinicians based on children acting out. Does your kid have difficulties reading social cues, obsessive interests and meltdowns? Autistic! Does your kid have executive function difficulties, won’t concentrate on anything but videogames or guitar-playing, can’t get out of bed, struggles to climb out of the 今の井 Well of Now? ADHD! But adults who actually ARE autistic tend to describe our experiences far more in terms of intensity of sensory experience, emotional overwhelm, depths of interest – all the things that get bundled into “HSP”.

      The modern way of conceiving of big-tent ND is that these experiences are all different manifestations of a common thing. ND folks are not broken; we are just running a different operating system than NTs. I do think it’s helpful to conceive of Sakurai as “running the ND operating system” since he uses a term under the ND umbrella

    6. My personal opinion (as someone who matches 26/27 of the criteria for HSP and 99/100 of the criteria for Classic Aspergers) is that HSP isn’t really distinct from other forms of ND. It sits at the intersection of Sparkly Pink Girl Autism (now usually called Internally Presenting Autism because it’s understood that lots of folks who aren’t girls also experience it that way) and PTSD, which also manifests in hypervigilance and emotional volatility. It’s a horrible fact of life that ND kids (especially in cultures that highly value conformity such as Japan and the US) often ARE abused and traumatised at much higher rates than NT kids. (Again, hello, Acchan’s whole childhood!)

      The Venn Diagramme of HSP and ~Sparkling Girl Autism~ is basically a circle. If you read this list, how many of these apply to the (highly-mediated and projected image of) Sakurai that you’ve described so often?


      Labels don’t have to constrict. They can open up new worlds of self-understanding. When you start seeing ND traits as being things like “intense connection with animals; may collect cats”; “escapes into relationships, often obsessive-fantasy relationships”; “Chronic Irritable bowel and/or intestinal issues”; “repeatedly circling back to the same obsessive topics and interests” (how many more songs about angels, clowns or The Moon do you think Sakurai will write?); “obsession with masks and masking”; “confused by arbitrary social norms such as gender expression, and may apply a pick-n-mix approach to gender and sexuality” – this is a framework for understanding Sakurai-world.

      I think of Sakurai using “HSP” the same way I think of it when people tell me their blood type or their astrological sign or that they are "INFP". They are providing useful information to help you understand them. Understanding Neurodivergence, like Queerness, as a kind of gift, a different way of being to accept and understand. I truly hope that Sakurai experiences his acronyms that way! They’ve certainly provided me a deeper understanding of where he’s coming from.

    7. All right, to clarify: I never said Mr. Sakurai isn't neurodivergent, I said he's not ADHD/autistic, and also that calling HSP "neurodivergent" doesn't really make sense because HSP describes such a high percentage of people. My reasons for saying the stuff about Acchan not being a Tumblr Autist go far beyond mere conjecture but suffice to say I have reasons and leave it there.

      However, again without going into too much personal detail, I am indeed quite well informed about the terms and the diagnosis as it currently stands. I have a great number of very close friends, long-term friends in my life who are 100% ADHD/autistic, diagnosed, and not presenting with the traditional male, well-studied characteristics (because they are women). I've discussed these issues at length with many of these people over the past decades, as we've watched mental health diagnoses evolve. (If you think this genderless non-corporeal entity doesn't have issues of its own, well... I mean... please just keep reading the blog...)

      The thing about mental health diagnoses is that they're malleable and still evolving. Views become outdated every five seconds but your own soul remains itself. This is why I hate labels so much. It's great if labels help you understand yourself in the world. It's not great if your label becomes an ego attachment in the Jungian sense, or if it becomes something you slap onto other people. I resist mental health as a social media trend.

      You're correct that the umbrella of so-called "neurodivergence" is a circle, but there are people who are outside the specific diagnostic criteria of ADHD/autism, and yet still markedly "neurodivergent" by the current definition. All the characteristics you mentioned that apply to Sakurai are indeed characteristics that often are true of ADHD/autistic people, but these characteristics alone don't make somebody ADHD or autistic. Honestly, I believe that probably sooner rather than later, the current labels are going to be thrown out again, as people realize that these characteristics are so common in the population as to actually fall within the spectrum of normal, and that a lot of the responses that so-called "ND" people exhibit are completely rational and logical responses to the craziness of our world.

      In a word, us (the "ND's, god I despise labeling myself but hey I've been blogging about B-T for 17 years so I guess I've earned it, and damn, what would it be like to live a life where you *don*t bond with cats or have chronic digestion issues? I have no clue. You tell me.) to the world:

      "It's not us, it's YOU."

      As I said, HSP isn't really a neurodivergent condition. It's a thing that applies to a subset of the general population, like how some people have brown eyes and some people have blue eyes. Please look at the work of Elaine Aron to learn more. The day HSP is recognized as a normal part of the human spectrum ought to be celebrated just as much as same-sex marriage, imho.

      But, Venn diagram, all autistic people are HSPs, not all HSPs are autistic. All autistic people are neurodivergent, not all ND people are autistic. All ADHD people are ND, too, but not all ADHD people are autistic and vice/versa. Some so-called ND people are something else. And we don't all have to have the exact same views on what mental health diagnoses mean, because it's an evolving science, not a dogma, and personal experience is personal.

      Or, alternatively, let people be people and aliens be aliens, and let alien humans be alien humans. It's not like human life or the Buck-Tick members originated on this silly planet, anyway. (I mean, did you? Not like Imai's even been secretive about it, look at the lyrics to "Bolero" where he flat-out tells everyone he's from Andromeda.) Look at the covers of "Go Go B-T Train," "Yumemiru Uchuu," and "No. 0" to learn more. New White Wolf RPG: Alien: The Masquerade. Coming January 24th, 2024.

    8. Also, to clarify again: I don't want people getting all upset on here over definitions of conditions. Like I said in the above post, everyone's experience is unique. Quibbling over labels is such a waste of time that could be better spent enjoying tracking down each and every outer space reference in each and every Buck-Tick song and triangulating the exact coordinates of Imai's home planet (best viewing of the Andromeda Galaxy is September-November in the Northern Hemisphere.)

    9. I really appreciate that you took the time to learn so much about those conditions.

      However, I noticed you said you'll celebrate the day where being HSP will be considered just another part of the human spectrum.

      And that's exactly it- I, as an ADHDer and autistic person (level 1 as they call it nowadays. Because making us sound like Pokemon sounds better than calling us Asperger's. Cause... he was a Nazi and stuff) want nothing more than that. I want to raise awareness of those conditions to make people see those two might be disabilities, yes, but not illnesses. And disabilities they are mostly, and I mean to like 80%, because society treats us like shit for our shortcomings and fails to support our strengths.

      I love my labels because they've given me an explanation for all the suffering I've faced over the last years and they've allowed me to heal from my depression better than medication. I didn't know myself at all because nothing made sense in this world for me.
      However, the labels have given me hope that I'm not alone and made me realise that if I just find my niche, my tribe, I'll be OK in this world.

      But besides, these labels make sense not only because of that. The label ADHD for example, means that a brain is wired in a way that makes it likely to react in a paradoxical manner to many substances, most notably stimulants. So, for example, Speed would just make me... well, not slow but I honestly didn't feel anything besides an increased heart rate.
      My stimulant medication, in low doses, also makes falling asleep easier for me.

      Autism on the other hand...it's so ironic you said Imai is not from this planet. Because Asperger's autism also gets called "Wrong planet syndrome".
      I've basically felt like caught before a shopping window, standing in the cold, looking inside and seeing people having fun and wondering why they won't let me in or even acknowledge me in the first place. It's really fucking isolating. It can eat away at your soul if you don't find people who have the same brain operating system.

      And it's nothing better or worse than that- we operate on Linux, but the majority operates on Windows. So what?
      I wish people would see differences this way, but they don't.  They just don't, trust me.

      One reason why a label might be useful in this sense is because it can prevent mental illness from developing and other stuff you don't want in life.

      For example, ADHDers often have impulse control issues. We also crave dopamine. I read the other day that about 50% of teenage mothers have ADHD (general population has an estimated 2,5~5). A lot of ADHDers suffer from binge eating disorder and many are addicted to shit that gives them dopamine hits. A lot of guys especially end up in prison. So yeah, there is a huge number of untreated ADHDers who are "addicts", "sluts", "lazy", "worthless", etc.
      If you don't label yourself, society will do it for you.
      And society is not nice to those who are different.

      This, precisely, is what makes many HSPs mentally ill. Instead of giving us the TLC we need we get just a pile of discouraging shit thrown at us every day. Really fun when you internalise that from a young age. Now put on top an environment like our dearest Acchan had when he was young and I seriously wonder how an alcohol addiction and nightmares are the only problems he has.

      I hope you're starting to see the dimensions those latest scientific findings allow us to tap into.
      If only we started at the very root of the problems many mentally ill people have we could finally treat more than just their symptoms. And as I said, neurodivergence is not an illness per se, but if left undiagnosed, becomes a huge risk factor for mental illness.
      I get the feeling that mankind has lost many, many beautiful artsy souls due to undiagnosed ADHD or autism.

    10. Sorry I can't let this rest (LOL, OCD in my Autism? Never!) but I don't think we're actually quibbling over "Labels" - what we're quibbling over is this:

      > calling HSP "neurodivergent"
      > doesn't really make sense
      > because HSP describes such
      > a high percentage of people.
      > As I said, HSP isn't really a
      > neurodivergent condition. It's
      > a thing that applies to a subset
      > of the general population, like
      > how some people have brown eyes
      > and some people have blue eyes.

      See, this is the heart of the matter - labelling "autism" and "adhd" as weird, rare, 9-year-old-boy *disorders*? That's an outdated way of looking at us.

      Neurodivergence isn't rare, it's *common* - I would estimate somewhere between 10%-30% of the population is neurodivergent... "having blue eyes" is close to how I'd express it, but I'd use a metaphor more like "running a different operating system"

      70% of the world is running Windows, up to 30% of humanity are Macs. Depending on what you're trying to do on that operating system (play games, program databases, design webpages) you will see different results from what Windows users would expect in each usage (hence the proliferation of Diagnoses and labels like ASD, ADHD, HSP) but they're not disorders, or an illness (though it can lead to illness if you keep trying to force a brain to do something wrong for it) - it's that there is more than one operating system for the human brain, and the umbrella term for the operating system that our 30% of the population uses is "neurodivergent"

    11. It´s so funny how we both described the "issue" using such similar words haha

    12. Oh, and by the way, I just realised I didn´t mention neurodivergence is also connected to magick and witchiness.

      That, of course, is more sth I can tell you from personal experience, but neurodivergent people are often very in tune with nature and people´s energies and stuff.

      My boyfriend is a witch and I suspect autistic (he has been "coping" with alcohol and cigarettes) and his daughter is too (definitely autistic- it´s clear as day but as of now undiagnosed) and so is his niece who is ADHD. Funnily enough, they all love cats and mushrooms, lol

      I also know someone else who´s a witch and also suspects both autism ("Asperger´s") and ADHD in herself. Poor girl had spent years of her life in and out of psychiatric wards where she was given meds that didn´t help anything...

  7. 😹 I always knew that Acchan and Issay would have found themselves in Nichome at one point!!! 🥹 it’s so great to have you guys back. Thank you so much for your hard work with these blogs!

  8. I am almost the exact same age as Mr. Sakurai and am also a musician. I also suffer from PTSD and am an HSP (a term I only learned from him in interview bc I labels aren't much on my radar). I am NOT autistic. Like him, all this is a result of early childhood trauma. Also like him, I am not very good at "normal" life and spend far too much time in the room in my mind. It seems there are crossovers with autism, but I would say the biggest difference I have read about is the Empathy factor. He (and I) might have too MUCH empathy! The feels of the whole world, as Cayce has described...Yes, Mr. Sakurai feels like my soul brother, the successful twin on the other side of the globe. Still, being a suck-sess may not make up for the pain. I wouldn't know. But I do like Vorka. Drinking now. Cheers to all of us!

    1. I’m sorry, but autistic people can have too much empathy too… That’s not a good way to put a divide in. A lot of autistic people even seem to have a lot of empathy for non-human, non-animal objects.

    2. “While cognitive empathy can be lower in autistic people, affective empathy—which is based on instincts and involuntary responses to the emotions of others—can be strong and overwhelming. In fact, newer research suggests that some autistic people may actually feel other people's emotions more intensely.”


      Not a prestigious source, but this seems to fit my anecdotal experiences.


How have you been heart feeling?