18.2.18

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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16.2.18

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.

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紫の夜
作詞:Issay
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

紫の宵闇に酔いつぶれてしまおう
何もかも崩れてく定めだから

快楽のしぶきで この夜を濡らしてくれ
珊瑚礁の部屋の中に堕ちてゆこう

閉ざした鍵穴を バターで溶かしておくれ
腐る前の甘い薫りを味わいたい

運命がくちはてる 音がするから

紫の稲妻に貫かれてしまおう
何もかも壊れてく定めだから

運命の足音が 遠ざかってく

紫の毒薬を飲み干してしまおう
何もかも消えてゆく定めだから

運命に見放せた 紫の夜

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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
Tadayoitai

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
Ajiwaitai

Unmei ga kuchihateru
Oto ga suru kara

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

Unmei no ashioto ga
Toozakatteku

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

Unmei ni mihanaseta
Murasaki no yoru

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14.2.18

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.

HOWEVER.

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.

10.2.18

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.

6.2.18

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.


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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.)


8.1.18

Ain't No Pain on the Blue Train

By popular demand, we have written up an all-new helpful guide for visiting Japan, to accompany our previous guides, the Japanese Concert Guide, and So You Want to Visit Japan to See Buck-Tick? Our new guide concerns that very hot and important topic, TRAIN TRAVEL. We can't cover everything, but we've covered the topics we get asked about most frequently by readers. If you're thinking of traveling to Japan this year to see Buck-Tick, or for any other reason, please read this guide before you email us for advice. We guarantee it contains the answers to most of your questions.

In particular, we'd like to call your attention to the sections on the Tokyo and Osaka metropolitan areas, since a lot of you seem to be confused about how far various concert venues are from various major cities. In brief: a lot of the Tokyo-area concert venues are not located in Tokyo proper, but in satellite cities such as Yokohama and Chiba. However, that doesn't mean it isn't very easy to get to those places while still staying at a hotel in Tokyo! Check out the guide for more info.

Edit: We added further info on JR Passes and savings, to clarify things for folks who are still confused. We also added a link to a site with lots of info on other train passes that exist in addition to the JR Pass.

And again, if you have any further suggestions for things you think we should add to any of our Japan travel guides, please leave your feedback in the comments. We're not a travel website, but we're aware that people who travel to Japan for concerts have specific needs and concerns, and we'd like to address those needs and concerns as best we can.

Once you've read the guide in full, please join us in singing along to this excellent song.

6.1.18

Travel, Tickets & Thank-Yous

Happy New Year, kiddos! Just because 2016 was the worst year on record and 2017 wasn't much better doesn't mean that 2018 can't be a year of fairy dust, unicorns, miracles, and Buck-Tick "grand masterpieces." Make it so! 

Anyhow, even as we continuously greet the arrival of The Future, we'd also like to thank y'all for your continued support of NGS/Blog-Tick. We'd like to extend a big thank-you to all the Blog-Tick readers from Indonesia, Russia, Romania, the UK, the USA, Chile, Mexico, the Netherlands, and France who sent us gifts - seriously, y'all are awesome and your gifts are very well received. The rest of the internet has trolls and men's rights activists, but here in Buck-Tickistan, we've got people who love dark red wines, chili powder, chocolate, punk comics and harmonicas as much as we do! We never expected that when we started out, so we're continuously pleasantly surprised, which is not a bad way to be, especially these days.

Also thanks to you, we received an unprecedented number of shopping service commissions and ticket requests last year, and an unprecedented number of emails from readers. If we don't respond to those emails right away, we're sorry - we're always happy to hear from each one of you, it's just that we really do get a lot of email! We will always prioritize time-sensitive shopping service requests, but we are not one of those phone-handed people who are online 24-7. When we're off the grid, we're off. Therefore, if it takes a little time for us to get back to you, please don't panic. We work online, so we can't afford to stay off the net for very long. We can't summon demons to ensure that you win ticket lotteries, but we will receive your request and respond to it in time for everything to go your way if the demons are favorably disposed.

However, since we're getting more email than ever before, our time has become more limited than ever before. If you'd like us to be able to help you as quickly as possible, we need you to help us, by reading our informational guides before you email us, and providing all the info we need up front in your initial email. In fact, with Buck-Tick's new tour coming up, we've already received a number of queries about tickets, so we'd like to take this opportunity to issue a few reminders and clarifications.

First, if you're interested in purchasing something through our shopping service, in addition to reading this post, please check the newly updated Shopping Service section of NGS carefully before placing your order. And remember, we're willing to hunt for stuff on your behalf! Always wanted a copy of Mr. Sakurai's Secrifice photobook, or the Climax Together Collector's Box, or that issue of Rockin' on Japan from November 1991? Just let us know. With only a very few exceptions, if you have the money, we can get you the item.

Second, if you're thinking of visiting Japan to see Buck-Tick or another band, before you email us about it, please read our Japanese Concert Guide and So You Want to Visit Japan to See Buck-Tick?, especially Section III, the Going to Japan FAQ. If you still have questions after you read these guides, please feel free to email and ask us. If there's anything you think we should add to the guides, please post a comment on this thread. We want the guides to be as useful as possible, so your input helps a lot.

If you'd like travel advice, start by checking out the very helpful website Japan Guide. It has all the basic info you'll need to get started planning a trip to Japan, and we've used it plenty of times ourselves, so we can vouch for its veracity.

If you're thinking you'd like to go to Japan but you don't know anything about Japanese geography, by all means, LOOK AT A MAP. Japan is way, way, WAY more than just Tokyo. Honestly, Tokyo isn't necessarily the best place to visit if you're a tourist, and it's also not necessarily the best place to see a live show. We cover Tokyo because we live in Tokyo, and we live in Tokyo because we're in the music industry, but the rest of the country is great and worth exploring. Check out different possibilities before you decide where to go.



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And now for some brass tacks.

TICKET PURCHASES

When you write to us to place an order for TICKETS, do us a favor and send us ALL the following information up front in your initial message!

1. What artist(s) do you want to see?

2. What are the dates of the concert(s) you wish to attend?

3. What is the name of the venue?

4. Link to the artist/ticket sales website (not required but very helpful!)

5. How many tickets do you want per show? Please, this is important! Most people who contact us want more than one ticket. If you only want one, you need to specify that.

6. What country are you located in? (USA kids, we're looking at you. Don't assume we know you're located in the States. Most of our customers are not.)

7. Would you like us to send you a PayPal invoice, and if so, to which email address should we send it?

8. How would you like to receive your tickets?

Oh yeah, about receiving tickets...

In most cases, we will hold the tickets for you until you arrive in Japan, then send the tickets through the Japanese domestic post to your hotel, hostel, dorm, AirBnB, etc. We do it this way because it's cheaper and safer. The Japanese postal service is extremely safe and reliable. Usually we send tickets via express post, because they are guaranteed to arrive the next day. Don't fret about this! We have lots of experience. Not once has a ticket ever failed to reach a customer on time. However, if you really want the ticket in your hand before you get on the plane to Japan, we can send the tickets to your country via EMS document mail (2000-2400 yen, depending on your location). For some tickets, this may not be possible due to time constraints, but if this is your preference, please let us know in your initial email, and send us the international address to which you'd like us to mail the tickets.

We understand that at the time you contact us about ticket purchases, many of you have not yet booked your accommodations in Japan. This is fine - just let us know once you've booked. However, make sure that you send us ALL of the following info regarding your booking:

- Complete address of accommodations in Japanese kanji

- The dates for which you will be staying at this address

- The FULL NAME under which you made your reservation - if you completed your ticket purchase with us under the pseudonym Darth Acchan, but the hotel is booked under your friend's legal passport name Robert Smith, addressing the tickets to Darth Acchan isn't going to do any good, because the hotel won't know who the hell Darth Acchan is supposed to be. For the tickets to reach you at your hotel, they need to be addressed to the name on the reservation, Robert Smith. We NEED the name on your reservation, or we cannot send you the tickets. End of story. We promise we won't share your real name with third parties. We are not in the business of doxxing. But if you don't send us the name on your reservation, there is nothing we can do to help you.

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OTHER PURCHASES

For orders not related to tickets, such as orders for items from web shops, please include the following info in your initial email:

1. What specific item do you want? (Including color, size, model, etc. - without this info we cannot place the order!)

2. How many items do you want?

3. What country are you located in, and what is your address? (USA kids, we're looking at you. Don't assume we know you're located in the States. Most of our customers are not. Without knowing which country you're in, we can't calculate shipping rates.)

4. Would you like us to send you a PayPal invoice, and if so, to which email address should we send it?

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Finally, if you send a request to us, please please please CHECK YOUR EMAIL REGULARLY. If you never respond to us when we send you the details of costs, dates, etc., we cannot help you get the items you desire. If you decide at any point before money has changed hands/orders placed that you don't want the items after all, please do the favor of sending us an email and letting us know you want to cancel your order, so we can cross you off our list of pending transactions. We can't allow cancellations once money has changed hands or orders have been placed, so please don't confirm your order till you're absolutely sure about the purchase. If you'd like to ask us questions about prices, ask as many as you like. But keeping up with your email will make everything happen a lot faster.

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Also, a lot of people have been asking about ticket lotteries, and how they work, so here's a brief explanation:

TICKET LOTTERIES

In Japan, the best way to get tickets to shows by popular artists is to enter one of the presale ticket lotteries which take place before the tickets go on general sale. These lotteries are conducted by ticket agencies like Ticket Pia, eplus, Lawson Ticket, and Yahoo! Tickets. The lotteries work as follows:

1. The lottery opens for applications.

2. Fans send in applications, specifying the number of tickets they wish to purchase for each date.

3. The lottery closes. No more applications may be submitted.

4. The ticket agent runs the numbers to decide who wins. Usually (but not always) the results are announced on Friday or Saturday night at 6PM about a week after the lottery closes.

5. If there are fewer applications than there are tickets, every fan who entered wins a ticket. If there are more applications than there are tickets, some people win, and others lose. The rate at which people win depends on the number of applications vs. the number of tickets available. For Buck-Tick and Japanese indie artists, most fans win most of the tickets they want, most of the time. For major-label j-pop acts who can fill stadiums, the ratio may be a bit lower. For idol groups such as Arashi, many more fans lose than win. 

There is no such thing as winning halfway. If you requested 3 tickets for the Moi Dix Mois show on the 18th of March, you'll either win all three, or lose all three. However, lotteries for each date are conducted separately. If you requested 4 tickets for the show on March 17th and 3 tickets for the show on March 18th, you might win the the four for the 17th but not the three for the 18th, or you might win both, or you might lose both. But there is no possibility that you would win two tickets when you requested four. It's all or nothing.

There is also no possibility that you will be able to choose your seat or line number. Japan is a democratic country, and seat numbers/line numbers are assigned randomly. The only way to ensure you get a good seat/line number is to spend extra money to buy a ticket from a resale site such as Ticket Camp after the fact, but this is far from a guarantee, so we don't recommend it.

6. Fans who win tickets must pay for the tickets before the payment period closes. Usually the cutoff for payment is three days after the announcement of the lottery results. If payment is not made before the deadline, the tickets are forfeit.

7. Fans who don't win tickets don't have to pay a single yen, but will have to try their luck again in the next round of lotteries, or in the general admission sales.

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A number of you needed to cancel orders, or became unable to attend a concert to which you purchased tickets. To that end, here is a reminder of our cancellation policy.

CANCELLATIONS

We are happy to respond to inquiries free of charge, and there is no charge if you ask us to enter you in a ticket lottery, but you don't win the tickets. However, we do not accept cancellations once you confirm your order. Once we place an order with a web shop, or enter you in a ticket lottery, you are responsible for paying for the item you ordered, no exceptions.

If you purchased tickets through us and then become unable to attend the show, you may contact us to request that we re-home your tickets. We cannot promise anything, but we will try our best. In the event that we manage to find another buyer for the ticket, we can offer you a refund up to the cost of the ticket itself (though if we couldn't manage to re-home the ticket for full price, the refund may be less). However, please understand that we cannot refund any transaction fees.

We are not responsible for items lost in the international post. If you're concerned about the safety of your country's postal service, it is your responsibility to pay for a traceable shipping option such as EMS or Registered Air Mail. That said, we've only ever had one item get lost once in four years of operation.

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Anyway, that's it for reminders for now... but if this applies to you, please read everything carefully. You'll save both of us plenty of time and headaches :)