GACKT April Fool’s Gags Explained

I was late in seeing that GACKT had celebrated April Fool’s this year. Does he always do it? I haven’t really been paying too much attention these days.

Anyway, I saw “GAKUTON” (written in kanji with the ateji 我苦豚 which would be like…obstinate difficult pig, or Me the Bitter Pig maybe) first on Twitter and while I wasn’t terribly amused at the whole “Let’s laugh at the thought of GACKT being a slightly chubby man and call him a pig OINK OINK” bit (to say nothing of the hashtags…seriously, エコ反対? Not environmentally friendly? Says the guy with multiple cars, multiple homes, and a habit of flying all over the world constantly? Pretty sure my fat ass has a smaller carbon footprint but ok sure) the puns on the homepage made me laugh. So I’ll forgive his skinny butt and munch on a snack like YOSHIKI and sip my tea like KERMIT.

If you’re not in the mood for a bunch of fat jokes, you’re better off skipping this post.

By the time I saw the homepage, it was already April 2nd in Japan, so the images in the slider have been covered up somewhat. But here’s what the text within the images says!

Fat Gackt "Gakton" Home Page

The red stamp reads “Name change cancelled.”

The fan club name was changed to 動物性 G & BUTTERS. The word 動物性(doubutsusei) can refer to the characteristics animals have, or to things derived from animals that humans consume. For example, “animal fat” is 動物性脂肪 (doubutsusei shibou).

An ad for soft serve. The catch copy says “This is all there is.”

What’s this making fun of? I remember GACKT selling wine…oh, was it the fancy mushrooms?

I think the text right next to him is the same as it was in the hair treatment ad, but the text underneath now says, “For the approximately 12 million people concerned about obesity. The option of [going to the] doctor.”

Gakton World Tour “Night of Wet Dreams” Red stamp: “Performances cancelled indefinitely”

Now THIS is the pièce de résistance!

World Tour Schedule

April 1, 2038 France, in front of the Arc de Triomphe
April 1, 2042 Italy, in front of the Colosseum
April 1, 2046 England, in front of Buckingham Palace
April 1, 2050 Egypt, in front of the Pyramid of Khufu
April 1, 2054 Peru, next to the Nazca Lines
April 1, 2058 United States, in front of Times Square
April 1, 2062 The Korean Peninsula, around the 38th parallel
April 1, 2064 China, around Tiananmen Square
April 1, 2068 North Korea, somewhere within Pyongyang
April 1, 2072 Japan, Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, 42nd Floor, Meeting Room A

All on sale March 31, 2038

The fifth thing in the sliders was the Angel Gakucchi’s, but they just blurred everything out and wrote “cancelled” on top. Then we have:

Instead of “Karanukan” we have “Tontoroton”

Gold text: Expected to be nominated in seven Academy Award categories

Red text (not the stamp): I caught a sea bream.

(Hey, maybe he really was saying “I sell fish” during his live “Fragrance” performance…? Bwahaha!)

I’m not sure if the title Tontoroton would be interpreted as anything specifically other than “something with ‘pig’ in it that sounds vaguely Okinawan” but…I thought “pig melty pig” first then “pig fatty tuna pig”…^_^;

“Simultaneous release of the first 3 titles since Gakuton’s name change!”

The red stamps says “Sale cancelled.” Instead of 罪の継承 (Tsumi no Keishou, “Inheritance of Sin” to translate literally), we have:

富の散財 Tomi no Sanzai “Squandering of Wealth” (or, “Conspicuous Consumption” is what I would say of GACKT ^o^; but that doesn’t match the pattern)

民の反乱 Tami no Hanran “Insurrection of the People”

耳の乾燥 Mimi no Kansou “Dryness of the Ear” (He’s holding a mimikaki, or ear cleaning stick)

“Weight gain guaranteed!!”

Special product on sale in commemoration of name change

New Enzyme Drink

① Mixed with 95% cola, the highest in the industry!

② Uses the most carefully chosen sugar

On sale April 1, 2068

“11 years after [the events of] the legendary Taiga drama Fuurin Kazan…”

OH THE PUNS!

The real drama was 風林火山 (fuurin kazan), literally meaning “wind woods fire mountain” but figuratively meaning “Swift as the Wind, Silent as a Forest, Fierce as Fire and Immovable as a Mountain,” note the long vowel in fuurin).

The two “sequels” are 不倫母さん (Furin Kaa-san) “Adulterous Mother” and 乳輪婆さん (Nyuurin Baa-san) “Areola Grandmother.”

豚の化身 Buta no Keshin, “The Embodiment of Pig”

Gakton’s first nude photo compilation, “The Embodiment of Pig”…or “Pigness” might be a better word to use with “embodiment.” For 2,980,000 yen plus tax (about 30,000 USD), you get 260,000 pages of fully nude Gakton captured by photographer Kasei Houkei (a name which, taken phonetically, could mean “help [for] phimosis”…or rather, I’m willing to bet that’s what GACKT intended even though there are other possibilities because when it comes to GACKT, if there’s a penis reference to be made that’s probably what he’ll go for). On the detail page it said that this photographer was “a friend of Maestro Kanou’s apprentice.” This “maestro” apparently refers to Tenmei Kanou, a “somewhat infamous photographer of nudes.

That’s pretty much it. I don’t feel like going through all the detail pages but the world tour schedule and Tsumi no Keishou parodies sure cracked me up!

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Yes I Too Have Osaekirezu ni Aishitsuzuketad

Was thinking about this question of why GACKT used kanji+katakana instead of kanji+hiragana and since I’d seen the video relatively recently it occurred to me that since this arc of the MOON SAGA takes place in Europe, it could be that he did that to show that the character singing isn’t one of the Japanese originators of vampires but rather a European one. Because the other use for katakana besides emphasis or historical uses is to show that a) a non-Japanese character in a work of fiction is speaking Japanese for the benefit of the Japanese audience but within the story line should be understood to actually be speaking whatever language would be appropriate; or b) to show that a non-Japanese person is speaking Japanese (regardless of whether they’re speaking it well or not—kinda the same way that sometimes American TV shows put captions on people speaking English if they have an accent even if it’s not heavy). In these cases it is more common to write everything in katakana, but mixing in kanji isn’t unheard of either. Sasazuka Elise comes to mind.

Personally I prefer to think he did it for emphasis because unrequited or otherwise unfulfilled love is a particularly strong and sucky emotion, and because I find the practice of writing what non-Japanese say in katakana discriminatory (though I can cut Usage A some slack). But given that GACKT’s always talking about how each song portrays a character, I think the possibility that he meant for this to be a non-Japanese character’s song is also possible.

There’s one other thing I’ve wondered about this song, and that’s the weird beep at 3:40, right behind GACKT’s vocals as he’s singing “kimi no na wo.” I hear it on the CD and on MP3 and AAC rips of this track. It sounds very similar to one of the beeping noises the old iMac G3 had. It was one of the sounds you could use as an alert. There’s at least one other instance of a Mac sound in GACKT songs in weird places, namely at 2:37 of “Kimi ga Matteiru Kara.” I had that chime noise set to announce the quarter hour on the old family iMac. I’m pretty sure there was one more song with one of these sounds, but alas, I’d written these observations into the comments section of iTunes on my now-dead MacBook Pro. I’ll try to remind myself to write things down next time I hear these beeps & chimes.

Neener Neener, My Culture’s Older Therefore More Valider Than Yours

I can’t sleep. I think it’s because I didn’t drink enough caffeine today. Whatever the cause of this insomnia, rather than toss and turn, I picked up GACKTIONARY. To be honest I’ve never read the whole thing. When I pick it up, I usually read the headings and let that determine if I’ll read the rest. There’s some good stuff in there, but there are also things I don’t agree with. And usually, I leave it at that. But it really annoys me when GACKT asserts as facts things that he has no qualifications to say. Take this passage from entry #32:

「日本人は態度がすごく消極的で、欧米人はすごくジェスチャーが大きいって、よく言われるよね?何で欧米人はジェスチャーが大きいか?って、簡単な理由だよ。何でアメリカに住んでいる連中はジェスチャーが大きいか?簡単だよ。要は英語には僕らの言語に比べて、男言葉も女言葉も文法的な細かい表現が少ないから。彼らは身振りや仕草でそれを表すしかない。だから、女らしさを体で表現する。彼らは、体と共に語ってる。言葉じゃ足りないからボディーランゲージが必要になってくる。でも僕らは、もともとすべてを言葉だけで補えるだけのものがあったから、手の動きがなくても、言葉の美しさだけで伝えることができたんだ。」

It’s often said that Japanese people’s mannerisms are very passive, and Westerners’ gestures are very big, right? If you ask, “why is it that Westerners use such large gestures?”, the reason is simple. Why do those people living in America use such large gestures? It’s simple. It’s because, in short, compared to our language, English has few expressions which are grammatically specific as masculine speech or feminine speech. They can do nothing but express that through gestures and mannerisms. So, they express femininity through their bodies. Their bodies speak with them. Body language is necessary because their words are lacking. But from the start, we’ve had something that could be sufficient for everything through words alone, which is why we could express things through just the beauty of our words without the need to move our hands.

Perhaps I should’ve started off by saying that this entry is about how he likes for women to speak “properly” or “beautifully,” which to him means “like a woman should.” Ignoring the issues of restrictive gender roles and the fact that no one ever said the sole purpose of gestures was to constantly be slapping people over the head with gender expression (since you can’t see my gestures, let me tell you since apparently it’s crucial that you constantly be reminded of this, but I’M A WOMAN! </sarcasm>), what bothered me about this was the Japanese Exceptionalism (better known as Nihonjinron). Whereas I as a biased Westerner would say that gestures enrich our communication, perhaps GACKT as a biased Japanese sees this feature of English through a lens of deficiency stemming from Nihonjinron: English has X. But Japanese doesn’t have X. There’s no way any language can have something over Japanese, so there must be something wrong with English that requires the use of X.

GACKT has never (as far as I know) lived in a Western country. If he had, he would know that what most Japanese people are taught in schools about gestures is exaggerated; furthermore he would be aware that despite the fact that he can communicate to some extent in English, he is nowhere near fluent, thus he would kindly refrain from educating people about a topic he can’t really instruct them on. How could someone who doesn’t know the difference between calling your S.O. “baby” and calling a mass of people “babies,” or the huge semantic difference between a sentence-final “anyway” and the same word at the beginning of a sentence, think that he knows the nuances of what makes gendered speech in English, or even how much of it exists? GACKT has come a long way in his English expression ability, but realistically it doesn’t take that much to communicate. Babies do it without using words at all. Let’s see newborns get Holier Than Thou about that!

As for the gestures, I think Western gestures aren’t as big as most Japanese people apparently imagine them to be. As a Westerner who had the privilege of judging middle school English recitation contests in Fukuoka, I saw that children were trained to gesture through speeches to the point it went from oratory to mime. Nobody delivers a speech like that! Watch J.K. Rowling’s Harvard speech, which was used for the prefectural high school speech contest in 2011, and you’ll notice that she doesn’t even use her hands; she speaks with her eyes. When comedians do impressions of Obama or Bill Clinton or other modern politicians, they do that thumb pointing thing, and we can immediately recognize it as a politician’s gesture because most people don’t move their hands that way when talking. The mime thing isn’t as bad at the high school level (at least, it wasn’t in my experience), but the tendency for Japanese Teachers of English to tell students that they have to gesture is still there, but they don’t offer concrete examples of how to go about doing that in a way that’s natural for them and appropriate to the setting. Even in more casual social settings, which are likely more what GACKT was thinking of when he wrote this, you don’t have people turning to mime to express themselves, though some people certainly get more animated than others.

As far as traditional binary gender expressions go, I think most Americans are able to tell whether a person is a man or a woman from things like voice pitch, consistency of said pitch, number of words used, and certain vocabulary choices. In the traditional gender binary, I wouldn’t expect a man to walk into a room and greet his male friends with “Hey Guys!♪” in a singsongy voice; he might say it in an excited voice, but there wouldn’t be as much variation in the pitch within those two words as there would be were a woman saying the same thing to the same people. Grammatically, written Japanese can be vague about gender because it’s unnecessary to state the subject of a sentence in many occasions. (Side note: I wouldn’t want to leave out that saying that Japanese “omits” the subject is, potentially, viewing Japanese through a lens of deficiency. Maybe subjects don’t exist in Japanese!) So sure, “atashi” is the feminine “I” while “ore” is the masculine “I” in informal speech, sentence-final “wa” is a marker of feminine speech outside of certain dialects, and women are in general expected to be more polite. So let’s look at English. Sure, “I” is unisex, but in situations where Japanese would make no gender nor marital status distinctions by addressing people as Last Name-san, in English there’s Mr., Mrs., and Ms. Last Name. Women’s greater vocal pitch variation or the fact that they get associated with vocal fry despite the fact that men do it too is sort of like a “wa” at the end of a sentence. And in the Western world as well, women traditionally weren’t “ladylike” if they cussed or otherwise spoke rudely.

Those are just some examples, but if we put more on the scales, I think they’ll still even out. I don’t say “Such language has to do X because it’s deficient.” I say “X is a feature of such language because it is.”

I tend to refrain from saying “Japanese is such and such” and “Japan is this and that” because I know that four years in Japan is a very short time in terms of truly mastering a language and culture at the level a native speaker would. I know more than someone who’s never lived there, but I still tend to present my experiences with that caveat, because I think it’s important to say. Also, the suburbs of Fukuoka City are culturally not the same as Tokyo. Many non-Japanese in the blogosphere and vlogosphere talk about “In Japan” when really they should be saying “In the Tokyo metropolitan area.” Then there’s the issue of being in the global eye. I remember how that video was making the rounds during the World Cup (IIRC) of Japanese fans picking up after themselves in the stadium in Brazil even though they’d lost the game. “Japanese are so clean and respectful!” was the message. And they were in that instance, most definitely. But do all Japanese act like that at home, which is the implied message? I went to several baseball games in Fukuoka, where one of the features is that fans buy long balloons to blow up then release during the 7th inning stretch, and again at the end of the game if the home team wins. The balloons aren’t tied; the point is to have them fly around as they deflate, then they fall down unto the stands. Nobody picks them up. There would be spilled food and drinks on the stadium floor too. It was what you’d expect to see in a stadium. While there I thought, “See, Japanese are regular people too. They’re not these perfect stoic Zen drones, they make and leave messes.” Then that video was going around, and Japanese people who’d I gone to baseball games with were posting it on Facebook like “See how wonderful we Japanese are! ♡” and I was like “…So we’re just gonna act like Yahoo Dome isn’t always a filthy mess at the end of SoftBank Hawks games? Okay cool gotcha.”

Hahh, let’s see if I can sleep now. ^_^;

Videos in which GACKT…

Sits in a chair:

Mizerable
Vanilla
Secret Garden
Kimi no Tame ni Dekiru Koto
Juuni-gatsu no Love Song
Kimi ni Aitakute
No ni Saku Hana no You ni
Flower
PS I Love U

Sits in a chair and dies:

Metamorphoze
Setsugekka
Hakuro
Akatsukizukuyo

Dies outside of a  chair:

Kimi ga Oikaketa Yume
Redemption
Episode.0
Returner ~Yami no Shuuen~
Seki-Ray

Dies outside of a chair but in a sitting position:

Tsuki no Uta
Until the Last Day
ARROW

Dies la petite mort or pretends to do so:

Vanilla
Black Stone

Does not die but appears very hungry:

Mizerable

Goes down to Georgia:

Mizerable

Is an inspiration to little kids:

The Next Decade
EVER

Has red Kool-Aid raining on this blonde chick:

Claymore

Wears a burlap sack:

Oasis

Sits in an ear canal:

Arittake no Ai de

Gets you every time:

Love Letter

———————–

I could be wrong about some of these as I didn’t actually go through and watch them all again but I had a dadaistic compulsion to make this list.

Unagi no Gotoku

Message from GLEARS just came in like “The Kugustu ga Gotoku video is finally out!” and I’m sitting here watching it grinning from ear to ear because GACKT is robot dancing in an eboshi while an eel flies around on fire for no good reason.

Unagi no Gotoku

Granted if I actually look at the eel and not at all the almost popping and locking I can see that it’s a dragon. With like legs and stuff. But the association has already been made. It’s too late for me to go back. I’m reminded of all the times Gackt has joked about his grandfather saying that x animal looks delicious.

Not the kind of feast he was singing about. XD

Not the kind of feast he was singing about. Someone please go to Yoshizuka Unagi in Nakasu and eat this for me so I can live vicariously through your stomach.

 

Air Moon Update & The Night I Scanned All of the Things

Just a little update on my progress translating The Air Moon ~MOON PROJECT Document Book~: I have translated up to page 158 of 278, meaning I’m 57% done. Whew! I hope to get at least a couple more stops done while I’m on summer vacation, but once classes start back up and/or once I (hopefully) have to go in for training for a new job, the progress will go back to being erratic.

Anyway, you can find the Table of Contents for the translation here on my other blog.

In other news, recently my beloved 8-year old all-silver MacBook Pro died almost completely. It turns on but won’t boot up, I can’t even get it to start in safe mode. 😦 It wasn’t my main machine anymore and hadn’t been for the past 3 years, but it still made me sad. Perhaps that’s what prompted my Scan Party.

I have an old HP printer/scanner/copier that played nice with my laptops as far as printing, but the scanning software wasn’t compatible with the late MBP, much less the new(er) one. That’s why I’ve kept my 10-year old iMac around despite the fact that it’s practically useless on the internet and the screen has been dying a slow death for the past 5 years.

Still, the fact that this computer can still think after 10 years is impressive, isn't it?

Still, the fact that this computer can think after 10 years is impressive, isn’t it?

With my MBP brain dead I saw the writing on the wall more clearly than it has been. I figured I had to scan everything I wanted to scan NOW. For the most part, the Things I Wanted to Scan consisted of my extensive clear file collection. (Yes, I am a dork.) But as I was going through boxes to get at some of those, I came across several other amusing things. Such as:

I meant to send this to GACKT but never did.

Unfortunately, the artist did not write their name on the post card, so I have no way to credit them.

I don’t know if they’re still doing it, but when I lived in Fukuoka, there was an annual postcard exhibit and sale inside of the store InCube in Fukuoka Tenjin Station. All of the postcards featured were done by local artists from Fukuoka Prefecture. I found this one in either YFC’s first or second year, I don’t remember when exactly. The chicken’s speech bubble was empty and I knew I had to write in this line from the YFC “press conference.” I bought two so I could keep one and send the other to GACKT, but I never quite had the balls to do it, thinking he wouldn’t be as amused as I was.

Another thing I came across:

The CLAMP collab would have been so beautiful if it happened.

The CLAMP collab would have been so beautiful if it happened.

And this isn’t directly related to GACKT save for the fact that I went to Japan for the VISUALIVE, but since it pleases my inner train geek I’ll post it here anyway:

Peep the triple 7's yo!

Peep the triple 7’s yo!

When I exited JR Futsukaichi Station, I noticed that the balance on my IC card was 777. I wanted some way to commemorate this, and went to the card machine thinking I had seen the option 「履歴」(rireki “[personal] history”). I didn’t know you could print it out like this though, that was a nice surprise. This was actually the same IC card I’d had years ago, but now that you can use one region’s card all over the country, I figured it would be convenient to have so I took it along. 懐かしかった〜

Everything, Or, What Happens When My MP’s Approaching Zero

For the past few days I’ve had Kimi Dake no Boku de Iru Kara stuck in my head but now that’s been replaced by the 15 seconds of Hips Don’t Lie that Shark-ira dances to.

¡Si! ¡Si! This brings me so much joy. LMAO


A few weeks ago I was watching Initial D on Hulu. By the Fourth Stage the show gets so technical that I space out during the parts where they start talking about driving aspects beyond my understanding. Or I start cleaning the area around my desk during these parts. But then all of a sudden the show’s signature Eurobeat soundtrack was replaced by enka of all things and I started paying attention to this Magic Moment in Translation Awesomeness:

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CUPCAKE

I don’t know if Japanese cars today have this feature, but in Initial D when the main character goes at or above 100 kilometers per hour, the car makes this beeping noise in warning. I thought to myself, “How fast is 100 kph? Is it really so fast that you have to be warned about it?” And as I had bought a car that was originally intended for sale in Canada, the big numbers on the dash are in kph with mph in smaller numbers underneath.

km:hr

But it wasn’t enough to just look at that and see that 100 kph is a little over 60 miles per hour, no. I thought, “Sixty mph isn’t really that fast, is it?” So I planned to see how just how fast it was the next time I got on an empty freeway.

I’ve mentioned before that I didn’t get my license until recently out of fear, but I didn’t mention that another thing I was afraid of was the speed demon that lives inside me. I imagine it must be a cute demon, kinda like the demon representing toe nail fungus in those old Lamisil commercials. (Don’t Google that if you don’t already know. Toe nail fungus is gross. It’s only the mascot that’s cute in an ugly way. Or ugly in a cute way.) Anyway the speed demon makes me want to go fast in all things. Especially if there’s music playing. So after seeing that 100 kph isn’t really that fast, and developing the habit of pushing it just a little more each time, one day I found myself feeling like my car was getting away from me. I looked down at the dashboard and realized I was doing 90. (That’s 140 kph for all the metric folks out there.) And this song was playing:

I took my foot off the accelerator like WHOA. But then what I was most surprised by was that it had been this song. It’s a good song, but it’s not even my favorite among the Initial D theme songs. (That honor goes to Blazin’ Beat.) I suppose it does have this nervous tension kinda like GACKT’s Birdcage to it, that may be what made me keep going. Well, it was also that everyone speeds on that section of that freeway. No one was in the left-most lanes, but the people in the right lanes were going pretty fast. In the left lane you have to go faster than them, right? Heh heh…


Black Sesame Soy Milk

I’m thinking of sending this photo to GACKT for OGYD’s birthday project. It’s not my first choice but in case that doesn’t work out it’ll be this one. It’s the only photo I took in Japan specifically with the LAST VISUALIVE merchandise. (I wasn’t gonna buy those cat paws & ears again, I took my set from Best of the Best with me!) I’m holding a box of black sesame soy milk, one of the things I was looking forward to having again. For some reason everywhere I looked in Tokyo and Fukuoka, it was nowhere to be found. Finally, I found it in the Sunkus next to my hotel in Sapporo as I was walking back from the Nitori Bunka Hall. Whew! Thank goodness.


While I was in Japan I was supposed to be working. That’s the beauty of being a freelancer, right? I had hours upon hours of sitting on planes and trains, so I figured I’d get lots done in all those vehicles and in the hotel in Sapporo (since I know nobody in Hokkaido). But I hadn’t taken into account that some trains *coff coff Hokkaido Shinkansen coff* wouldn’t have convenient big luggage compartments. At least, I didn’t see one neither in my car nor in the next one. So from Sapporo to Shin-Hakodate on the Hokuto Limited Express, with no one in the seat next to me, I got so much work done. But then on the shinkansen from Shin-Hakodate down to Tokyo, there was nowhere I could put my big international-travel suitcase but in the space between my knees and the seat in front of me. It was a very uncomfortable ride. No working in that situation. Then on some plane rides people kept reclining their friggin’ seat. So I could only open my laptop to about a 70-degree angle, which meant I could only see a small portion of the screen, significantly slowing me down. Slowness is death to a translator. All of this was double plus ungood. Normally I translate at an average rate of 1200 moji per hour when the source is digital, but considering how late I turned that one in, the client would probably never imagine it. Wump wump. No more mixing pleasure with business for me.


I can’t wait for this term to be over! At my university, Spring term is 8-weeks instead of 16 weeks like Fall and Winter. But the workload is the same. Which is fine in every discipline except ceramics. We’ve all decided to let the uni know that ceramics in Spring Term is so not good. Or at least, not with a Fall/Winter workload. Too much depends on things beyond our control. It’s not up to me to fire up the kiln. And they wanna do raku firings, which require good weather since it has to be done outdoors? Even more variables. This class has felt like a marathon.


And when I topple over the finish line, maybe I’ll get back to this:

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♪ Call me a tease? Brother please. You’re just having bad memories. ♪


♪ ¿Como se llama? ¡Si!

Bonita ¡Si!

Mi casa, su casa ♪

I don’t even care that ¡Si! isn’t a logical answer to the question “What’s your name?” XDD