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…..

 

 

My Vagu*Project Anniversary

Vagu*Project  ANNIVERSARY !!!

A year ago October 28, 2011 I went to Urawa Narciss. It was the first time in my life I saw Vagu*Project on stage! I still remember it so very very well and in detail.
How I immediately took them right into my heart; How they had that early X Japan vibe.. not necessarily in style but something about their charisma…. the way they sparkled of passion on stage.  How taken I was by YuI-san’s escapades out in the audience….    Ryo-san’s jokes on stage and heartwarming laughs and smiles; Shinya-san’s guitar playing that had (and still has) that hide-vibe….
Tomorrow,10-31 Halloween, it’s time to see them again and I’m still in LOVE!!!
♡ ♡ in LOVE with them, with their music and with their charisma on stage! 
This is what I wrote about them after my first encounter with them October 28, 2011

♡ ♡ 

Vagu*Project 
These guys were pros on stage! 
They worked it, they knew their stuff, they had skills 
and they used all of it to GIVE a splendid SHOW!

This is what I LOVE so much with many of the Japanese bands, if not all; 
they are there for the AUDIENCE , not for their own sake! 
They are there to take out their HEART and GIVE it to the audience!! 
Visual Kei all the way for the FUN
for the SPECTACLE , for the mutual JOY!!
and WOW did these guys know HOW!! 
Vagu*Project YOU ROCKED!

Forward thru Rewinding

Looking forward thru some rewinding……….

 

It is September…. finally!!

 

This summer has been as slow as the last one when it comes to the blog. Looking at it from the bright side, that (the slowness that is) should then change pretty soon.  

A FUN filled fall is planned and will soon be here
My concert and gig calendar is filled, and even over-saturated. There are many times this fall when I will have to choose between several gigs going on at the same time at different places.
Unfortunately cloning is, as of yet, not a possibility
🙁

People often talk about different super powers such as: teleporting and time travel. My biggest wish would be a temporary cloning. So I could go see two (or more) gigs at different locations, at the same time. That power seems however, even more remote than teleporting  à la“beam me down the Star Trek way”.

OK So what’s coming up?

Well first of all I’m still in Europe. In Sweden as a matter of fact. There hasn’t been tons of Live music over the summer either. As a matter of fact I have only been to two gigs these past two months. Once for Seremedy Live at Fryshuset and their release of their debut album:
“Welcome to our MADNESS”.
More about them on their website – http://www.seremedy.com/
or their facebook: https://www.facebook.com/seremedy

 

Then under the blue moon, the very last night in August I went to KGB bar in Stockholm to see INORAN.

 

So the header said let’s rewind….

let’s go back a year… this is what met me then a year ago!
Welcome to Japan….

First time I had great help from my friend Shingo-san
He showed me everything there is to see in Tokyo as well as taught me a lot about Japanese culture and the Japanese mindset, primarily from his own perspective.
He also tagged along to a special night… anight that came to be a turning point for my time in Japan in many ways: the Live at Urawa Narciss with Seremedy
http://pinkspiderweb.tumblr.com/page/40

 

It was of course a wonderful thing to see Swedish guys being so brave as to perform here in Japan, but what really turned my personal path around that night was the band that performed right after Seremedy….
Vagu*Project

….. to be continued in a moment….

 

 

Friday the 13th at 浦和ナルシス

Friday the 13th at 浦和ナルシス

so I’m back in Tokyo, and it’s time to kick’start this blog a little again.
I arrived Sunday April 8th after a loooong flight from Sydney and Singapore.
I must say I was nervous re-entering Japan, and I had prepared a lot of documents in case they wanted to hear more about my purpose for staying in Japan.

One of these documents is my Business License … yeah you heard it right..

There will be some changes around here and this blog will continue as a little
“travel and rock blog”, but most of the core music stuff will move to the new site/portal that I’m working on.
Besides the Pink Spider Web site (the name of my business) I will do web sites for bands and also continue to free lance write about the Rock Scene in Japan.
Morever will I reconnect with my prior life and hold presentations and talks about web presence on an international stage.
There are many hurdles to overcome, and I wil try to muster up as much patience, and understanding as I can.
After all I’m a foreigner here… and need to understand and respect the fact that I cannot just push my way in, but need to listen and take it with a huge portion of patience.
BUT my goal, my dream, and my business has started and it is time to CELEBRATE!!
That’s also why I think this Photo of YuI blowing fire is such a suitable headline picture!
Celebration, Fire, Energy, Passion, rock….. m/
Btw maybe shouldn’t point this out for you… but I think it’s amazing symbolism with the dragon and YuI blowing this fire together….

Coming schedule include DIE-san tomorrow night at Club Sensation in Yokohama.
http://www.die1964.com/info/
Then Vagu*Project again already on Thursday at 新宿RUIDO K4
http://www.ruido.org/k4/
and
Sunday 4-21 Kiss the World
http://die1964.com/schedule/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/ktw-kokuchi.jpg

so the coming week is pretty much DIE and Vagu*Project taking turns LOL
Now the sad news are that I lost my camera in the US. And I need to get a new one… the vids from last night are totally unacceptable in sound quality, so hopefully beginning next week I can get a new one with my limited budget.

Oh and I have moved… I am no longer in Sangubashi (T.T) I miss it and think I will reconsider moving back there this fall.
I am now up in the more Northern parts of Tokyo. For those of you who like to pin me down.. put in Nishinippori, Tokyo, Japan in the google map search bar and I’m about 15 minutes of walking away from the JR station.
Actually in about an hour I will move again, but this time only up in the same building from 2nd floor to 8th. The traffic noise down here is unbearable….
Good thing with being up here is that I’m closer to Phoe-Lo, actually very close ha ha ha and close to Nishi-Nippori station which is on Yamanote so it’s fairly easy to get around.
Let’s FIRE away…..

 

z-o-s-drummer-in-focus-jan

Z.O.’s Drummer ゆーぃち in focus Jan 22 2012 at 浦和ナルシス 

NO this is not the BEST video ever, it’s rather lousy actually sorry

but I wanted to catch the drummer for a reason that goes beyond this blog so sorry people – DEAL l with it ha ha ha 

If anyone knows more about this drummer or his earlier band TOON FACTORY please let me know.
I actually like the bassist a lot too.
AND YES I hate when people pick out one or two people in a band, but here it is a fact. The two of them were at least one level above the rest of the band,
with the sad consequence that the band didn’t sound very homogenous.
The singer was decent and well there was just something that wasn’t really convincing.

Probably their biggest issue for them, was not THEM  at all, but the fact that they played right AFTER 3 very good bands this evening  »>
lix, Vagu*Project and Rubik