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

 

A New Era

Anna Cei April 2017

Since I decided to write a book, there is no better way to get the writing going, but to write.
The book demands a lot of research, organizing and editing of old material.
So I felt the blog can function both as a little break every day from working with the book, as well as a tool for the writing process in itself.
I therefore decided to restart the blog.
My goal is to put something down every day, no matter how short.
Sometimes I will be posting thoughts, at other times I will publish never before published material from live gigs, events or special occasions.
This will also help me organize the book.
Sometimes there might be overlaps with this blog, my Facebook or my instagram.
I got the idea for a book already last fall, but life pulled me in all kinds of directions and there just wasn’t the mental space I needed.
In January my life came tumbling down, partially a shock,
partially a wake-up call.
Many things had been poorly managed, both by myself and others.
I needed a break from life itself. I felt cornered in, accused and I couldn’t defend my position at all.
I needed, and still need, space and time to think.
Of course I felt, and still feel, a lot of guilt, but also I had an urging sense inside me of ‘knowing’ what was going to happen, and at the same time,
I can’t be the only one to blame. Or maybe I can… I really don’t know yet.

Enough about that part, I wanted to pull my breaks. To a complete stop.
My body was hurting, My mind was hurting,
I was hurting.
I needed alone time, I needed space and I needed it immediately.
The first couple of months this year,  I was just in some kind of mental coma.
I cried. I slept. I did art work. I slept a lot. I meditated. I used all my brain power some days only to find myself waking up in the morning with an understanding, and then at night completely rejecting my own thoughts from the same morning.
But there were occasional clear moments. I started putting things down.
I created a huge mind map of sorts with people and places.
I created a time line. I wanted to understand what were the factors and happenings that led up to this very moment in January.
Then the book idea came back to me.
I often felt I had no voice. I wasn’t able to present anything from my point of view …not completely. it was like I was talking on another frequency at times.
Even though I had wonderful help from a translator, what I was saying, maybe partially due to how I was saying it, wasn’t understood. …. at all!

There is a saying in Japanese: 井の中の蛙大海を知らず
The frog in the well knows nothing of the great ocean.

Everyone has there own well, so do I. We believe that’s the extent of our universe. The well is THE universe. The social rules, how we communicate and act with others are formed by our well.

When I started digging and visualizing my own time line for the past 100 months then I saw it right in front me. There was definitely a cause and effect.
All the things I had gone through, all the people I had met, all the countries I had visited.
I had started grad. school. I had dropped out the same grad school.
I had heart problems with a cardiologist telling me I needed a pace-maker now, or I’d be gamling with my life.
I had been in a wheel chair, not knowing if I’d ever be ale to walk again due to a spine that herniated at multiple disks, and eventually also fractured.
My S/I joint was falling apart and into crumbles.
I received steroid injections.
I got a fentanyl patch, and other very strong pain medications, to help me get through the day. There were days when I vomited because of pain.
There were days when knives cut my bones.
I have gone through cancer….. twice… first a colon cancer, then a year later ovarian cancer with a complete hysterectomy.
Following that hysterectomy I got sepsis and I had to return to the hospital after only a few days in ‘freedom’.
I’d gone through a divorce.
I went to Vanuatu in the South Pacific, fascinated by their multilingual societies and tribes. Noticing how the nation was under a huge threat of exploitation by the tourism industry, and there was nothing I could do about it. The country has no natural resources. They are extremely poor.
Do you blame them? Probably not. It is a fact though, that the exploitation created new social structures and new kind of wealth.
I went to Japan…with a  Japan Rail Pass. I did it to meditate and contemplate over a very difficult situation at home. Another time in my life when I just took a time-out much like I’m doing now. Spending time with only myself.
Once in Japan, I got my call from the sky. A magic moment I have talked about many times. The moment when I decided to jump and leave my life as I knew it, and jump into the unknown.
I started a project with people in UK, but due to my cancer surgery it got put on ice.
I created a new life in Japan. In the beginning only 3 months at the time due to temporary visa rules. For almost 3 years I lived with dragging all my belongings across the globe, spending 3 months in Japan, 3 months elsewhere. that included carrying my iMac around in a suitcase.
A bit simplified chronologically but yes…
Early on in Japan I saw a place where my passion and my skills were needed and I decided to create what later became The Pink Spider Web,
I didn’t know the Japanese language at all, but I was curious why they operated the way they did in a world that somehow didn’t match up.
The music industry, the artists, the labels, the venues.
They needed change management.
Little did I know then, that putting Japan, or Japanese, in the same sentence as change, is quite difficult to do.
In Japan I went through extreme happiness, even euphoria and romance,
and I also went through a very shocking and awful break-up.
I still decided to carry on and created a project loosely based on the film project with UK some 3-4 years earlier.
I never paused, how could I?
I had a mission , a call…
Through cancer, and pains, through divorce and then later the break-up with the one man that has meant the most to me in my life …pure connection and love, or so I believed for a long time.
I kept on fighting for what I believed in.
And during the whole time I kept my face smiling and always sparkling with energy.

It was bound to collapse. I was bound to collapse, but I never showed anyone. Already in June last year, I got so sick and my body was a wreck,
but I decided to keep on going … I had made promises to so many people,
I wanted them to connect, I want the frogs to unite and see the ocean!

The book will be my way of dealing with all this… finally… it’s about time.
The book will also hopefully help foreigners outside of Japan, who are interested in Japan and Japanese culture in general, and more specifically to get a glimpse ‘back stage’, what it is like to be on a mission as a ‘gaijin’ (foreigner) in Japan in the music field.
Not everyone can afford te luxury to take a vacation in Japan, and fewer yet can take a year or more to explore Japan.
I also want the book to tell my story for the Japanese. The many people that have met me, some deeper, some more briefly. But also for all those Japanese who always wondered what a foreigner thinks about their culture, their society, their ways of socializing.
Someone who has been here a while.
I also want my Japanese friends, my closer ones, who never quite understood what the hell happened, I want to tell them in my own words,
how I think and feel, and why I have been acting the way I have.
It’s huge project to write this book. I need to go through material and revisit times that at times are very emotional.
Failures,
Misunderstandings.
Shortcomings.
Stuff I must deal with one way or another.
But also my moments of shared success.
Feelings of really connecting with another person, across language barriers,
So stay with me.
I will put something in here every day.
A video
A photo
A text.
Sometimes related to the book, sometimes not at all.
And I’m sorry due to time constraints, I wont translate these blog posts in to Japanese. Maybe at a later date someone wants to do that, but for now they will be in English only.
The book on the other hand will definitely be translated in to Japanese, and who knows maybe other languages as well.
I will do this while remaining in my cave, on my own, being in contact with almost no one on a daily basis.
My writing cave.

 

 

 

 

Eisuke Grace Period

eisuke vocalist in “Grace Period”
at Black Hole Ikebukuro, Dec 28, 2011

Eisuke Grace Period

 

grace period’s rock is pretty straight forward rock.
If it wasn’t for the lyrics in Japanese, it would be hard to detect any
J-Rock content or sound. The JRock sounds are there… but
subtle, and it’s actually hard for me to really pinpoint exactly what
makes the difference in the soundscape.
It is not at all as salient as it is with many other Japanese bands,
especially Visual Kei bands.

I mean as I noticed when listening to ‘fade’ , that J-Rock and
Western style Rock is very hard to actually and truly blend, it is really
an “either or situation”, and not both or blended.
‘fade’s’ idea is to mix the two styles, just like a California roll is
an American way of adapting sushi to people in USA.
However, when I listen to fade,
most songs are either American sounding or Japanese sounding!
At least that’s how I feel about fade’s music.  Some songs are
resembling what I call the Green Day kind of Rock, others sound
more like classic Nirvana, and yet others had a distinct J-Rock sound.
It just doesn’t happen in my opinion that the soundscapes totally
merge and blend.
In the case of grace period maybe the sound styles did blend
at times, but with very, very hard to detect “Japanese-ness”
aside from the vocals and words ….
or maybe it’s just the fact that I’ve been so much around Visual Kei
bands lately, that when guys actually look!!! like rockers I get tricked?!

My issue is that I cannot really say much about non-Japanese rock,
because I really lack knowledge, insight and listening hours.
But someone close to me stated:
J-Rock always sounds so happy. (In her world meaning she
was comparing Japanese rock with bands like Perfect Circle,
Avenged Sevenfold or Disturbed)

Why? Why does Japanese rock sound happy?
Probably because of the tunes themselves.
So not sounding happy would make a more Western sound?
Not that grace period  sounds depressive… not at all,
but no they definitely don’t sound like another GazettE wannabes.
What also makes Japanese sound is the bass.
In Japanese rock the bass is often more melodic.
Often times when I hear American rock it feels like the bass is
another percussion instrument. This makes Japanese Rock often
more melodic, and might be a reason as to why it sounds happier.
The reason by the way for the American bass percussion sound idea,
is the American rock history from Negro spirituals, to blues, to rock.
Slaves’ music was often beat heavy.
Will return to this topic in the future, I’m sure.

 

 

 

 

A little later, a little shakier…

Sakura House International FRIENDSHIP Party !
a little later, a little shakier…
but you get an idea of the vast amount of nations represented ….

 

 

Happy Party People

Sakura House Friendship Party December 19 , 2011

People and happy faces!!
Photos of a few guests but also a photo of Sakura House sweet
staff Lim-san.
She was actually trying to be as customer friendly as always, and
worked while we all were enjoying ourselves!
and… yeah…
….this was….later… after sake and beer …so photo quality is
accordingly ha ha ha

 

 


Above: Lim-san, staff at Sakura House, Shinjuku office