The Bridge

Last blog ended with these words:

“And I believed him…
in a way I still do.
The bridge however… is another story.”

and then “To be continued…”
so now  will pick up where I left off…hopefully…

Right now I am going back in this very blog..
way back to 2011 when I first started blogging on Tumblr.
Once I started The Pink Spider Web I imported all the old
blog posts a total of 350 some pages, each containing 3-4 posts.
The migration didn’t go without technical issues though!
All titles got fucked up,
links broke, video plug-ins didn’t work and
all images got weirdly resized.
When I first started The Pink Spider Web, keeping up the
momentum was number one priority, so the old blog entries
got edited and fixed some 10 pages or so back in time…
the rest went on the back-burner.
That meant blogs about Seremedy in Japan,
Inazuma Rock Fes, concerts with TMR, MUCC, L’Arc~En~Ciel,
and many many more
… just had to wait for the day to come
and the need for it all to resurface.

It was OK, I had to focus on what I was wanting to achieve,
and the old blog wasn’t really aiding that
process.
Well now, when I’m in the process of writing this book,
all these hundreds and hundreds of posts,
the photos and videos are incredibly valuable.

When I now again read about my
dreams, hopes,
ideas, passion, 
motivation … the drive
that I had then 6 years ago,
it was very much the same as it is today:
Same dreams, hopes, aspirations, and motivation.
I want to build bridges.
Close gaps.
Help people reach outside their comfort zone.
Turn on passionate fires.
Increase Peace
Make people see their own values in all of this.
Help musicians understand and learn how to connect
with audiences they aren’t familiar with, or are even
physically far away from.
That HAS BEEN and still IS my ultimate goal!
I want people to learn from each other and
change in a good way. including myself!
Change their ways, become more open-minded to
‘the other’…
I wish to…
build bridges and show people how the can meet
at the middle of the bridge!

Rainbow Bridge

The bridge metaphor works well because it connects
two landmasses, two entities, and it is something tangible.
A bridge something we can step onto,  and walk or travel over,
from one side to the other.

When I first met Reds in April 2013, we instantly connected.
It was at a Live gig with Blade™ at Club Sensation.
The fact that we ended up meeting was quite amazing in
itself, but the blog is not the place to explain all that in detail.
I will go into more detail about that in the book.

I could feel his eagerness to wanting to reach out.
I had learned already prior to meeting him, that connecting
with Japanese people aren’t that easy in general,
and connecting with musicians maybe in particular.
Often the musicians in Japan don’t speak English,
which for our collaboration purpose at this level is
less of a problem.

Reds 04 2013

What is an issue however, is that they live on their end
of a bridge.
They are used to certain ways of doing things.
They have their ways of promoting themselves.
Their ways of reaching their fans.
Their already loyal fans, I might add, whom they wish to keep
and not scare by suddenly leaving them hanging.
Also most, like Reds, aren’t even aware of this.
Culture differences are more seen as peculiar ways.
Like we Westerners, we hug each other in public,
and we hug our friends.
The deeper differences cannot be seen, and are way
trickier to become aware of.
Because no one, is aware of them when we are around
people that are similar to us.
And keep in mind, Japan is a very homogenous society.
A society which also strives to stay homogenous.
We, as in mankind, cannot see how we communicate
within our own group,
how we socialize and hang out with each other,
as anything but .. well it’s the normal way!
that’s the way people are…
Not until we really start to get to know someone different,
from a different place, and meet with them a lot of over a
longer period of time.
So if you have few foreigners coming, and you cannot really
talk to the ones that do because you don’t speak English,
and you maintain an idea that the foreign is a bit scary,
then this bridge is seldom walked.

When I entered the music scene  in Japan, and I started
meeting with bands like:
Vagu*Project, DAZZLE! and Vorchaos to name few.
I almost immediately became aware of this.
Not soon enough maybe…. LOL
I presented for Vagu*Project some brilliant ideas,
only to later learn, that in their minds all this was good and
all, but really also very, very strange.
I had walked over the bridge and presented for them how
it looks on the other side of the bridge.
They liked it, sure they did, but added:
That only works on the other side of the bridge,
not here.
And Anna-san by the way…
What is Facebook?
We have ameblo アメブロ. (This was in 2011-2012)

I explained all this for Reds, I told him what I had learned,
and he said…Nah, I want this, my band (AURA)
and I need this:
I want to reach many people with my music.
This is wonderful and a great start!

Where I think I failed early on was to explain, truly convey,
is that this requires you to change.
This failure however, went on under the surface….
the whole time… and still is there ..unfortunately!
What I failed to make him understand is:
YOU must walk on that bridge and adopt to other ways,
at least 50%… HALF WAY.
You must do a lot of the work, and the change.
I haven’t been able to make this happen!
Also you have to change and you must be brave, 
and go against what people around you want you to do!
Being brave… hmm that is very difficult for anyone to be,
also for Reds.
For any artist, also for Reds, being liked, is so so important.
Being liked by others kind of clashes with the idea of
being brave, and doing things against those around you,
or as in Japan in particular, above you!

Thing is Japan … well..Japan is very demanding society
also for the Japanese themselves.
They are proud of their harmony,
proud of their low crime rates,
proud of having a stable society.
Which is great!
Great …but not yielding change.
You can’t go against the people above you!
You can never stir anything similar to conflict,
never oppose, instead instill group harmony.
So that doesn’t help any kind of change.

Neither negative change,
nor positive…
In a way it kind of muffles and even hinders creativity at times.
Not that Japanese might agree with me here,
but that’s OK. Because if everyone around you
.. on the same side of the bridge as you are…
agrees with you, and knows this to be true,
then it is.

This is of course true on both sides of the bridge!
I just happen to be writing about my experiences in Japan.
I need to adjust and take in to account the social rules
in Japan, and listen to how they do things and what they
desire and wish.
Also one cannot behave in a Western way and assume
people will listen to you or even like your
ideas. Often though they really do listen!
They just won’t act upon it.

This is why I was delighted to meet Reds though,
because he intuitively felt like it fit in with his own
ideas about the future, AND maybe more importantly
he smiled and was very positive.
We did have some problems communicating this evening,
because Reds did not speak any English,
and I still did not speak Japanese.

How did we communicate?
Very creative way actually…
and I will tell you in the next blog!

 

 

 

hide Interview Part 2 Subtitles

日本語 英語字幕  In Japanese with English Subtitles

♡ hide ♡

The interview from May 1, 1998 Part II
with English subtitles
ڿڰۣ(̆̃̃  ♡ (̆̃̃ڿڰۣ

 

 

 

Really Japan… It’s 2011

Japanese Gender packaging –

Teasing in a short mini skirt or all wrapped up in tons of fabric…

The world is going global, at least when it comes to consumption
and pollution of the planet.
Entertainment and music is global, I mean people here in Japan
listen to Lady Gaga as do people in Europe, Africa, Australia…
well you get the idea!

BUT is Japan really included here?
In the same world I live in…. surely.
In the same decade? Not so sure….

I have been visiting and eating with people in rural villages
in the outer Islands of Vanuatu.
I have been sitting meditating with monks, nuns and laypeople in Taiwan.
I have worked in a Lutheran Congregation in Southern Germany.
I have hitchhiked in Sicily and the Eolic Islands.
I have gone to Art school and College in New jersey, as well as
grad school in New Mexico.
I have partied in Pereira, Colombia, South America,
and so on ….
You get the idea here….
…and yes,there are different social rules around the globe,
but,
for the most part the human species seems to follow the social principle that skin and touching and hugging and sex is fun
and something we long to do.
Here in Japan, I’m not so sure what is going on?!
I have read many articles online and in academic literature,
as well as I AM HERE in the middle of it all!;
and they might be on to something in these texts, but no one really
gives  any insights as to why it is so persistent ..
it is ongoing NOW…and when the world is going one direction…
Japan to a certain degree at least does not follow.

Some of this male gender packaging of women, objectification rather,
was part of Europe too, ….about 40 years or so ago.
Yes, yes, I know it still exists! However, there are huge differences.
Something has happened, feminism and what not
and change is constant…. everywhere
BUT  here…
Did Japan miss the 60s and 70s all together.. ?
Were they too busy producing stuff for their huge  financial
come-back post WW2?
Why, why, why, is this rule following behavior so persevering,
when it seems to break away sooner and later everywhere else
(including in China).
If only 50% of the population enjoys a system how can it survive?
This is just a very shallow observation I have noticed over my time
here, and I certainly haven’t been here long enough … yet!
But this theme will definitely be worth digging in to some more

When across the world everyone makes their own local version
‘Idol’ or ‘America’s Top Model’,
Japanese men read manga and watches anime,
but most are super shy and scared approaching real women.
No pleasure for the sake of pleasure without commitment,
unless it is with certain women (or men) for that specific purpose.
A mistress on the side is common…
They have a big sex industry yet the are in the very bottom,
when it comes to having sex within relationships.
All these MUSTs and PRESSURES must be so difficult to carry
and yet stoically they do it even when their own women leave
them for more freedom and pleasures with foreign men!

Please take a note here that I do NOT EVALUATE either path…
I’m definitely NOT saying this is better or worse or crazy…at least
not the no-sex part, the objectification of women is a bit
harder to digest.
No I’m just saying that Japan seems to be of a very different kind.
Somehow CHANGE and DANGER must have been mixed up
in their vocabulary.
and yet they are such eager adopters of products and STUFF…
just not behavior.
Or are they really? The longer I’m here the more I come to notice
that this was a pre-conceived notion I had about the Japanese.
Most of the Japanese that has come closer to me, become friends,
are not at all early adopters, partially because there is
not much to adopt… cash is king, and automatization is not
the Japanese way for the general population.

It is not because they are Asian. China has gone from very few
English speakers to plenty, but Japan does NOT have a young
generation of English speakers. As a matter of fact, if I try to find
an English speaker here, I usually try with an older woman first!
There seems to be a huge bump with people under 35-40 years old
being the ones who speak the least English.
There must be something political motivation here.
A population who don’t speak English, won’t question, won’t know,
won’t learn, won’t understand….. the world today.
Hence, they are way easier to control in a world that has
Facebook, twitter, instagram… all things social media…
it’s danger for anyone in power… who wants to remain in power,
until life is over.

Just sayin’ – No evaluation!
Just curious…Haven’t been here long enough…
Now, I think I need to return to this topic, because it is very interesting,
but also very sensitive.
I have been thinking that it is difficult to be a Gaijin Woman here,
but oh my at least I do NOT have the pressure to live up to an ideal
like Japanese women and men do…
IDEALS NO ONE QUESTIONS…..ever…
Question Authority must be equal to death penalty in Japan.

and here maybe we are getting closer to the true core…
Question Authority is not something you just go ahead and do if
Confucius’ principles are ingrained in your blood, and socialized
since your diaperhood

Japan…. Will you Stay unique and preserve your own values,
or change and go with the flow… In the end it is a lot more complex
than these few lines!

  ڿڰۣ(̆̃̃  to be continued … … for sure!!…..(̆̃̃ڿڰۣ

Toshiyaさん

So how shall explain this meeting?
It was one of the most fascinating and rewarding meetings I had in a long time. First of all it was also a very straight forward and open discussion.
Two worlds, or actually more than two considering I’m not really all that American…
or wait… the opposite… ONE world!
I really felt like no matter how we ate, talked, greeted each other, communicated, drank, socialized – we were able to cross a lot of hurdles this evening, and meet each other as two world citizens with an online presence as well as a REAL world presence!
Toshiya Kobayashi and Mr.Koyama You guys ROCK!!
What a fun night out!
Unfortunately the photo I took of the nice and very intuitive and intelligent Mr.Koyama, didn’t come out good enough to post here on the blog.
YES, honestly, it was a problem that I don’t speak Japanese,
and my deepest apologies to these two men for my lack thereof,
and to all Japanese who so kindly helped me over the 3 weeks I was in Japan!
Toshiya-san on the photo has excellent command of English, and I know I’m not easy to follow, as my ways of speaking and vocabulary, sometimes is overly verbose, and I am not humble enough to remember to slow down the speed when I speak.
We talked about Japan. We talked about religion and kind of funny as
Toshiya is Christian and I, who live in the US, I am a Buddhist.
We talked about business and world economy.
We talked about design and work and…. TONS of everything and all in between.
These guys were also so kind and treated me the whole evening.
A BIG thank you for your generosity and laughter and fun….
Now I also want to add, that since I came back to USA, Toshiya has continued to support me and help me with my new project:
Going back to Japan!
I cannot Thank this guy enough!!