It Ain’t Easy… that Peace stuff

So my reason for my first trip to Japan was to get away and think,
Think and to be alone.
I was doubting my future in grad school, and I had been doubting
my marriage for a decade, I wasn’t happy and I tried to figure out
a way out of it all. At uni I had met Japanese-American Rio,
and I had after our chats been listening to more and more of the
old Japanese music, that I used to like so much.
Mostly I listened to YMO way, way back when.

Rio introduced me to hide’s solo music and I got drawn to all of it,
and curious about Japan. The country I previously didn’t know
much about, and I HAD never really felt any interest in Japan,
or its culture.


I loved Chinese history, Chinese philosophy, Chinese everything….
but Japan in my prejudice mindset was all about robots,
manga, anime and men who have inflated plastic dolls for sex…
I basically didn’t know much!!
There were of course Japanese stuff I liked.
Japanese food for example ad always been my favorite.
And yes, X Japan and Yellow Magic Orchestra

So anyway as you know by now I took off to Japan,
first for a Japan Rail Pass, and while there experienced the magic
at Miura Reien and hide calling from the sky.
So I came over. I moved to Tokyo.
I went to live gigs, and I met Vagu*Project at the same live gig as
I went to see Swedish Seremedy.

Little did I know then, that Seike, back then Sermedy’s vocalist,
and I,  would cross paths again in Tokyo 4,5 years later when
Kerbera did a tour in Tokyo at a Live House I have been affiliated
with. Nor did I know then, that they would also participate in the
project I managed to bring Japanese artists to Sweden.
Japanese musicians collaborating with,
and getting to know Swedish bands.
Become friends!
I will return to this project… a lot more in detail at a later date.
Of course a zillion things happened in between the live gigs with
Seremedy and Kerbera in Tokyo – October 2011 and May 2016

The month after I had seen Seremedy and Vagu*Project at
Urawa Narciss in Saitama,  I went on an adventure.
Partially I followed X Japan on their
World Tour 2011 South East Asia part of it,
and partially I went on a traveling adventure and backpacked in
South East Asia.
X Japan in Bangkok was the best!!
What a feeling!!

Now when I came back in December 2011 I had this urge and
desire to really go see Vagu*Project again!
I loved them!!
I knew absolutely nothing about them, and I spoke zero Japanese.
They stood out.. they had something very unique about them.
I was totally spell bound by the stage presence and charisma
that radiated from their Vocalist Yui.
Their bassist Crazy Boy Ryo is also extremely happy and fun,
and a delight on stage.
So I set out to google and find these guys again….
There’s gotta be a live gig close to me coming up!!

Well now… if you don’t write kanji, and you don’t speak a lot of
Japanese, this can be an enormous task…bordering impossible..
to find a band in Japan.. and find out where and when they
play next, and then once you do…
find out how to hell to get tickets?
A lot HAS really changed over the past 5 years, but still it’s
usually only the better known bands that have professional, or
at least comprehensible web sites with English text,
or information on Facebook.
Back then very very few Japanese people had Facebook,
so bands didn’t really care about posting there.
I felt a rising need to do something about this!!!

February the follwing year I went to Australia for a few months,
and while there, I decided to start this site “The Pink Spider Web”
and to, at the very least be able to create some valuable help for
all people out around in the world,  who has an interest in
Japanese Rock or Visual Kei.
People who don’t necessarily read Japanese
I created the Venue index that one can find on this site and
I helped Vagu*Project and created a demo web site for them.
I showed them that one can now a days download songs directly
online (this was long before Spotify had made it to Japan).
Working with them back in 2012, I needed a translator.
I wish I also had known more about Japanese culture.
All of what I know today is by doing mistakes.
Some created terrible misunderstandings, and even conflicts.
Conflicts, often due to misunderstandings, can be solved easily,
but conflicts due to diverging ideas about reality, can be tougher
to solve.
It takes a lot of effort and stepping out of comfort zones from
all parties involved!
Vagu*Project per se went very well, and we had a good working
relationship for quite a while, and it didn’t end until they signed
up with a label demanding certain changes and commitment.
Mostly due to a big financial loans this label gave them
( I wold probably prefer the term slave-contract for what they the signed)

What exactly have I learned?
Well it is a lot, and this is one of my reasons for writing the book.
I have learned a lot not only about Japanese people and their
ways. I have also learned a lot about humans in general,
and about artists, bands, and the music industry in particular.
My ideals of bringing musicians together, for having them being
stronger together and learn from one another is plainly put:
Very naïve!
but it is also still a dream and my mission,
that the rest of the world get to see  more from Japan,
and that the Japanese learn more about the rest of the world!

AUTO-MOD Genet 目黒鹿鳴館 5-18 2014

A lot has changed over these 5-6 years that I have been
working, but a lot has also not changed, and might not ever change.
I am heart-broken that many Japanese artists often cannot see
beyond what they know and are comfortable with, but this might
only a matter of patience, on our part.. as audience.

What hurts me more is all the non-care about others that is going on!
It is one thing to be selfish, as an artist that is very obvious,
and many artists do everything they can for any attention.
This is not just Japanese… it’s global!
Personally though I’m getting a bit fed up with insta feeds
filled 
with selfies and nothing much more…

Not only musicians, many people in the industry also do everything
they can to grab a slice of the pie…
even if it’s on behalf of a friendship.
What happened to talk? and especially what happened to
team-work? 1+1= 3 or 4 or 5 or 6… or even more!
I will certainly be more clear and exemplify in the book,
especially I will use examples from last year’s project with
Reds  from Japan and Kerbera from
Sweden, to name a few.

Luckily I have also learned to kick back and enjoy the fun!
Enjoy the amazing music!
Below for example one of my absolute favorite bands:
ザ・ビールス – The Beers

What I think though, is that there are sooooo many people
involved behind the scenes,
and on the floor and the market with the $ ¥ £ . The people who
pay for concerts, for merch, and (sometimes) the music:
The audience!
Audiences, who deserve the truth, more genuin care about them!
For example if you have international fans, you should care to
provide the information for them as much as you can.
Even if it means working outside your comfort zone,
even if it is less glamorous part of the job.
Learn English at a basic level, collaborate with people, the admin
end of it all….
Tell them about your concert schedule, about your music and
and you should in my opinion stick to the truth.
Not telling your audience that you live part-time in Tokyo and
part-time in Sweden, when in fact that is a straight out lie.
Why? Why inflate?
Are we the audience that dumb?

The closing of Reds Facebook page is just the latest example
of this non-genuine-care-syndrom.
Only work for, and with your own people. Only work within the
ways one is comfortable with, reaping harvests of feeling good
about oneself from the many ‘likes’ that comes as a big
ego-boost after each selfie posted.
Is it really sustainable though? To write that you love your fans,
but never really be brave enough to build that bridge?

As I mentioned in the last blog, Reds and I couldn’t talk to
one another when we first met.
We actually communicated with Japanese ascii smileys on
twitter messages even though we sat next to each other.
(*^o^*)   (-_-)zzz     ♪( ´θ`)ノ    (T . T)      (=´∀`)人(´∀`=)
And of course also a lot via google translate… which more often
than not, gives you totally the wrong words ha ha ha
but it worked in the very beginning.

Over the years he has picked up quite a lot of English.  Not so
much as he is anywhere near fluent, but he can socially chat.
And well, I too picked up some Japanese over time.
What he hasn’t changed though is habits from the past.
And he is not alone in this by any means.
It goes all over the board… and you can probably exchange the
word ‘Japanese’ in the sentence below and put it in your own
nationality.
This is the way we do things… we Japanese.

Never really saying it out loud but that is sadly the notion.
It is the message.
Because why else don’t you want to learn new ways,
and learn from others enough to be able to reach a lot more
people?
I still love my Japanese friends.
I love a lot about Japan.

This blog can at times now seem a little negative, but it is part
of the process. We must all see and understand the bigger scope.
It is not only the Japanese who need to change.
We all do!
We all need to listen! We all need to actively support those
around us that are different, that come from somewhere else,
that don’t work or talk or love in ways that we do…

Peace as I wrote on my insta (@The_PSW)  the other day…

Peace is not just a beautiful word,
it is action!
Peace is not only action,
it is to be brave and step out of self-love,
it is to support others,
it is to speak up and  defend others,
even when they are very
different from you!
It is easy to be at home,
it is easy to surround yourself
with friends who love you,
but
it is honorable and brave
to stand up and support
Others!

Peace and Sparkles!

and by the way
the same goes for Love and Friendship…
We have to WORK IT!

To be continued…..

 

 

I can feel the kiss

I recorded this video clip in Vanuatu 2010.
The true beginning…as every day is a beginning.
I just wasn’t aware of it then, that the trip to Vanuatu
was going to set-off a chain reaction of events,
that lead from this moment in Vanuatu,
to my ‘new life’ in Japan just a year later.

The amount of accumulated special moments since then
until this present moment, is huge!
So what I am doing, is to spread them out on my
enormous time line.
I have divided the time-line spanning from little before this
video in Vanuatu until today, and on it I add photos.
To each photo I add a note with event name,
for example “Live gig at Meguro Live Station with xxx band”.

Under the line I also add notes like departure times for
flights, visits from abroad, and everything else.
Just to keep track of all the places I’ve been…
is a task in itself
During the years I cover (about 6-7 years), besides my life in Japan,
I lived in or visited (not in order and many I visited several times):
USA: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico,  Texas,
Utah, and Washington
UK including London and Wales, Sweden, Germany, Laos, Ukraine,
Azerbaijan, India, Nepal, Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan
Vanuatu, Mexico, Canada, Singapore
…. and more
and in Japan, I traveled a total of 6 weeks with Japan Rail Pass.
From northern Tohoku to Kyushu and a lot of it in between.

The program I use for this purpose is called ‘Scapple’
and it’s really invaluable to my book writing project.

In the photo below I combined two screen shots.
In the upper half,
one can see one year (of approximately 7 years total)
In the lower half one can see
how it looks closer up.
I still need to add more notes about each event,
for example names of band members at a live,
or who was with me at a certain bar and so on.

scapple

It is however time-consuming!
Often I find my mind wandering off.
A photo generate an intense feeling of
actually being there.
I can smell the flowers.
I can hear the music.
I can feel the kiss on my lips.
I can hear arguments and conflicts.
I can sense the love
It’s all embedded in this time line.
And the questions arise.
Why?  Why did we meet?
Why did I choose this or that?
It is also time consuming by the whole
metod in itself,
but in the end, I’m sure this is the best way!

Memories, but also a future.
My future.
Our future.
I have no doubt that even if I’m writing my book
about the past, it is not finished.
My story is not finished.
Friendship, and relationships,
continue in to the future.
My book is a snippet of this
continuum!
It really has no true beginning,
nor is it by any means
over yet!

Anna

 

MATSURI – the first video peak preview

パーティー!フィエスタ!スマイル!みんなは手を上げてる・・・
MATSURIの雰囲気を感じさせるグランドファイナル
すべての他のバンドと一緒にステージに立ち、
HeavensDustがこのイベントを抜群に終えるんです!

PARTY, FIESTA, SMILES, Hands in the air….
The Grand Finale and
The real MATSURI feeling
Everyone on stage when
HeavensDust wraps it all up!

[‘Matsuri’ actually means exactly that in Japanese – festival, holiday]

 

 

MATSURI – Let’s ROCK! [part 2]

MATSURIブログの続編です…
The MATSURI blog continued….

東京ではライブがたくさんあります。年中毎週毎晩ライブが多すぎて選ぶのに困るときもあります。
しかし、MATSURIは色んなバンドがステージに立つような一般的なライブではありませんでした…
まず、11組のバンド(!)が参加してくれた。しかし、MATSURIのユニークなところはそれだけに留まりません…
MATSURIを永遠の思い出にしてくれたのは、イベントの中心となった企画者でMATSURIというアイデアを思いついたAURAの最高のボーカリスト: Reds☆

There are MANY live gigs in Tokyo. Every night of the week, year around there is so much to choose from that it can even be difficult to choose.
MATSURI was however not just another Live gig with some bands on stage…
First of alll at MATSURI 11 !  bands performed, but still this was not what made MATSURI unique…
The ingredient that made MATSURI a memory for life was the fact that in the center of it all, as organizer and creative brain behind it all, was the talented vocalist from Aura:
Reds☆

Reds

Reds☆はカリスマ性がありステージ上で最高のアーティストでいるだけでなく、オーディエンスに対しての配慮もあり、ライブで期待される以上のことをいつもやってくれます。根っからのエンターテイナーでさらに…
いつもみんなが楽しめることを大事にしています。
だからこそ彼の昔のステージ名は「みんなのReds」(「Everyone’s Reds」)でした。
またミュージシャンたちのことも同様に気にかけています。Reds☆にとってこれは競争ではなく、音楽やロックライフに対してのパッションです。
このメッセージが彼から伝わってくるのです:「一緒に楽しもうぜ!」
MATSURIの狙いはまさに「いっしょにROCK」「いっしょにSMILE」「いっしょにFUN」
企画やプロデュースをする人がこういう姿勢でいると、本当にインスピレーションがもらえます。
彼の基準が周りの人の新しい基準となるのです!
Reds☆のアイディアはバッチリでした…ライブミュージックのあるパーティー!

He is not only charismatic and an amazing performer on stage; he also cares about his audience and goes beyond what is normally done at a live gig. He is a natural born entertainer but there is more to it….
He makes sure that everyone feels they are PART of the FUN.
Hence his stage name from way back when is みんなのReds / Everyone’s Reds
He also cares for other musicians. For him this is not a competition, but a passion for music and rock life.
He radiates the message: “Come on, join the fun!”
This is what MATSURI was all about –
ROCK together , SMILE together, FUN together
and when an organizer and producer has this attitude, it certainly is contagious
It sets the emotional bar for everyone present!
and the recipe certainly worked… it felt like a Party with Live music on stage!

 

Jack and Taka

ザ・ビールスJackBLADE™(MATSURIに出ないバンド)のTakaです。
BLADE™は1月31日にClub Sensationでライブ予定です。ライブの詳細や今後のライブスケジュールはこちら:

Jack from  ザ・ビールス & Taka , Dr. BLADE™ (a band not performing at MATSURI)
BLADE™ has a live gig at the Club Sensation January 31. For more information about that live gig and other intersting upcoming gigs and music news check in at https://www.facebook.com/ThePinkSpiderWeb

MC MATSURIThe evening’s entertaining MC: 喜国雅彦 and Reds☆

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

次のバンド(この夜の4番目)はJESSY
Next band up (4th this evening) was JESSY
Their setlist
1.Broken wall
2.DICE
3.Cold turky
4.CHERISHED MEMORIES

 

Kyassy and Junn in action
JESSYのギタリストKyassyはすごくかっこいいです。PSWからは、MiyaviDregen
(スウェーデンのBackyard Babies/Hellacopters)を合わせたようなルックスに見えます。

Jessy’s guitarist Kyassy has a very cool look. He reminds PSW visually of some cross-over between Miyavi and Dregen (Back Yard Babies/hellacopters, Sweden)

しかし彼には彼自身の才能が備わってす!JESSY以外にはKoREDS (AURA、HeavensDustのドラム)とアコギを弾いて共演したりもします。

but he certainly has his own talent! Besides JESSY he also performs on acoustic guitar with KoREDS (Drummer in AURA and HeavensDust)

下はプロのフォトグラファYasuhiro Watanabeさんが撮影した、MATSURIで演奏してるJESSYの写真です。Watanabeさんの写真の掲載許可をいただけて、
The Pink Spider WebとMATSURIのプロデューサーは心から感謝しています
PSWと一緒に、Watanabeさんのフェイスブックページをフォローしてぜひ応援してください。Watanabeさんの今後の情報はフェイスブックページにて:
The Pink Spider WebだけがMATSURIの公式ブログとなります。

Below are photos of JESSY at the MATSURI by professional photographer
Yasuhiro Watanabe.
The Pink Spider Web and MATSURI producers are very grateful for his kindness of letting us publish his photos on our site.
Please support him and follow his facebook page for more information as well as join us in thanking him.
https://www.facebook.com/gibsonthev
The Pink Spider Web is the only official site for MATSURI

JESSY - photo by Y.Watanabe

Kyassy (Vo./Gu)  Photo by Y.Watanabe

KAZZ (Ba.) JESSY - Photo by Y.Watanabe

Junn (Dr.) JESSY - Photo by Y.Watanabe

Kyassy the Sexy - JESSY's Vocalist/Guitarist - Photo by Y.Watanabe

JESSY online:
Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/JESSY69official
twitter:
https://twitter.com/JESSY69official

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

次のバンドはとても特別なバンドです…

GROWING’S
Fumisato (ギター)とYukichika (ドラム)とJunpei (ベース)
ギターのFumisatoは10歳で、ドラムのYukichikaは13歳です。
しかし、子供だからと言って特別扱いはなし。この夜参加した他の人たちと同様に彼らは立派なアーティストです
Fumisatoはステージ上で素晴らしいオーラとカリスマを持ち、完全にプロの風格を漂わせています。ギターを弾き、オーディエンスと一体となり、さすがアーティストといった様子です!
ベテランのアーティストたちがGROWING’Sの面倒を見ているのを見ると、心が温まります–

Now next band up is a very special band…
GROWING’S
Fumisato gu. , Yukichika Dr. and Junpei Ba.
Fumisato on guitar is10 years old and Yukichika on drums 13 years old
However they are not specially treated for being kids,
they ARE artists just like the rest tonight
Fumisato has an amazing stage presence and charisma and he acts and behaves totally professional on stage. He plays the guitar, he interacts with the audience like the real rocker he is!
When he is on stage he has total contact with the audience and he OWNS the stage!
Of course it is also really heart warming to see the older rockers care for these guys …

Reds, Fumisato and MatsubaraTheir setlist:

1.Livewire
2.Time’s Start
3.Superstition
4.愛 オーランド

Fumisato the Prodigy

Junpei on Bass with Fumisato Guitar and Yukichika on Drums

 

Yukichika Drums Growing's

 

Fumisato in action

 

Fumisato

 

 

Fumisato - Growing's

twitter:
Yukichika
https://www.facebook.com/yukichika2000
Fumisato
https://twitter.com/guitarfumisato

下はプロのフォトグラファーYasuhiro Watanabeさんが撮影したGROWING’Sの写真です

Below are photos of GROWING’s by the professional photographer Yasuhiro Watanabe. https://www.facebook.com/gibsonthev

 

Junpei on Bass Photo by Y.WatanabeYukichika Drums Photo by Y.Watanabe GROWING's Photo by Y.Watanabe Fumisato Photo by Y.Watanabe

 

Shintaro Vo in QUORUM guest performing with GROWING'S - Photo by Y.Watanabe

 

 

Shintaro (QUORUMのボーカル) がGROWING’Sと共演。
“Superstition”の最高のカバー。心からありがとう

Shintaro vocalist in QUORUM guest performing with GROWING’S.
Great cover of “Superstition”. Heartfelt thanks!

Shintaro performing Superstition - Photo by Y.Watanabe

Reds with GROWING'S - Photo by Y.Watanabe

_DSC8384

 

 

そしておまけの写真。これはMATSURIの写真ではなく、去年のAURAのライブの写真です。
YukichikaとFumisatoはゲストとして演奏しました>

And a special treat, NOT from MATSURI but from  AURA live last year,
with Yukichika and Fumisato  as guest performers >

 

 

 

 

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

MATSURIブログパート2で最後に紹介したいのは…
The Pink Spider Webが何回もライブで見た、最高のバンド…いつも全力尽くして、ステージ上にいるのが楽しんでいること間違いなし。

ザ・ビールス – The Beers

and last but not least band out on this second blog from MATSURI …
A band the Pink Spider Web has seen Live many times and
they are great… They give it all and there is no doubt they enjoy being on stage
They ROCK….

ザ・ビールスThe Beers

 

ザ・ビールスは本当にいいライブバンドです。ビジュアル的にもすごいし、エネルギーにあふれ、独特なスタイルを持っています…パンクっぽさの中に、日本らしさを持ち合わせています。
このバンドはもちろんPSWのお気に入りのバンドの一つです…しかしMATSURIには他にも私たちのお気に入りのバンドがいくつも参加してくれました。
ザ・ビールスのステージネーム (オフィシャルのフェイスブックページより):
Heine Kenpa Vo./Gu.
SUPER JACK DRY Gu./Vo.
チョチラガー  [Chochirow] Ba./Vo.
YUNAweizer Dr./Vo.

The Beers is a really good live band. They are visually interesting, they are energetic,
they have their own style… somewhat punkish..but definitely with a Japanese twist
This band is a PSW favorite for sure… then again we were fortunate to see several favorites at MATSURI
Their stage names as they state them on their Facebook page:

Heine Kenpa Vo./Gu.
SUPER JACK DRY Gu./Vo.
チョチラガー  [Chochirow] Ba./Vo.
YUNAweizer Dr./Vo.

Their facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/kanpaishiyouze

また、PSWはThe Beersの今後のライブ情報とライブスケジュールをこちらで頻繁にアップしています:  https://www.facebook.com/ThePinkSpiderWeb

Also PSW often post about their schedule and upcoming Live gigs at
https://www.facebook.com/ThePinkSpiderWeb

 

The Beers

 

 

 

Kenpa Vo. Gu

 

 

 

The showgirl Chochirow on Ba

 

 

CHochirow interacting with the audience

 

 

Chillin' on stage

 

この勇敢な女性ファイターはすごい人です。
ChochirowというThe Beersのベーシストです。ジャンプに失敗して足を骨折してしまったのですが、見てくださいこの笑顔!
早く治るようにPSWは願っています。お大事に!
すぐにステージに戻れるといいですね!

 

This brave fighting girl is amazing. The Beer’s bassist Chochirow; on stage she made an unfortunate jump and broke her leg, but look at this smile!
She is always in our thoughts and we wish her a fast recovery!
We certainly wish her back on stage soon!

The fighter

そしてYasuhiro Watanabeさんが撮影した写真:

盛り上がってるJACK!

and a photo by Yasuhiro Watanabe  https://www.facebook.com/gibsonthev
JACK giving it all!

JACK - photo by Y.Watanabe

 

The Beersもオーディエンスに常に笑顔で、みんなを楽しませました…

下はThe Pink Spider Webが撮った写真:

The Beers were also active in the audience and always ready to give a smile or entertain….
Photos below by The Pink Spider Web

Chochirow and Jack

 

JACK chilling

 

Kenpa mingling and partying

 

近日中にまたMATSURIの情報をアップしますので楽しみにしててくださいね!

今度はReds(ボーカル)とRyuichi Nishida(最高のドラマー)のセッションバンド

QUODRUMのYuta KitagawaとShintaraのセッションバンド

そしてYOU DIE!!! & ザ・リーゼンツとAURAとHeavensDust
We will soon be back with more from MATSURI so stay tuned!
Coming up is a session band with Reds on vocals and the talented drummer Ryuichi Nishida
Yuta Kitagawa and Shintaro from QUORUM in a session band,
YOU-DIE!!! & ザ・リーゼンツ, AURA and HeavensDust