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〜

First Fukuoka LAST VISUALIVE

Yesterday I had the pleasure of going to the first VISUALIVE in Fukuoka. (The next one won’t be until June.) So here’s a brief report with spoilers, spoilers, and did I mention:

SPOILERS

……

………

Okay, I figure everyone who doesn’t want spoilers is gone by now. Anywho…

I was in the 22nd row on the first floor which gave me a good view of the stage. I couldn’t see much detail to people’s faces but my eyes aren’t that great even with glasses on, maybe. Before the show starts we’re warned of the possibility of there being an earthquake during the show, and that should that happen, we’re to be careful and follow instructions.

The show started only about five minutes late, which I’ll say counts as on time. The wall at  the front of the stage is divided into two parts with semicircular openings in the center so that when closed they form a circle, inside of which is projected a red moon. When the show starts the doors separate, revealing a screen divided into long vertical sections. When the narration is projected onto it, it looks like a letter (the vertical writing in the vertical spaces).

The opening scene of people getting stabbed and shot with arrows and Yoshitsune twitching felt too long. I was like JUST START PLAYING THE MUSIC ALREADY I DON’T CARE ABOUT YOUR HEIKE FANFIC. When it finally does start I’m so surprised by the music switch that “ARROW” hits me like a cannonball. Once the video ended people with light sticks turned them to “white pink” as we’d been instructed to do for the first part of the show. GACKT is in his Maro/Sephiroth clone outfit and throughout the songs does a lot of posing and moving his hands around above his face as if he had spiderwebs caught in them and was trying to look at them and remove them very slowly. The band seemed rooted to their individual spots on stage. It felt a bit too static but I liked the music.

There was another video, so we turned off the light sticks. This one showed Yoshitsune in the outfit from “Sakura, Chiru” going to visit some dude. There’s some dramatic looks exchanged and Yoshitsune gets up and walks past him right as he decides to kneel before him(?). We see Yoshitsune walking away in profile with jump cuts. Thus begins the second part of the show. The light sticks say to turn them to green but everyone turns them red so I follow suit. Here we have “ZAN” (it was funny seeing GACKT trying to headbang in that outfit, especially because of the eboshi [the tall black hat]; he couldn’t go down all the way [I suppose because of the hat] so it looked more like upper body twitching than head banging) and the awesome “Kugutsu ga Gotoku”.

After this point my memory’s a bit iffy as far as what came when. I think it was at this point that Yuki Kimisawa appeared onstage in blue jeans and a jacket with no shirt underneath. He introduces himself and jokes that he could tell he wasn’t the one we wanted to see, but that that’s okay because he could tell how much love we have for his big brother. He goes on to talk about how GACKT had been ranked #1 in a survey of “Artists who seem like they’re fictional characters but are actually real.” Then he listed the top three reasons why he seems that way according to the survey. The first one was “He seems like he would live in a castle.” Yuki read it and immediately followed with “But he DOES! He’s got this crazy house with waterfalls and stuff!” The second one was “He seems like he would go around riding a white horse”, and Yuki energetically says “But he DOES ride a white horse! He owns a horse even though it’s not necessary to ride a horse!!” The third one was “He doesn’t seem human,” and Yuki shouts, “He’s not! He’s not human! He doesn’t sleep, he doesn’t eat, he doesn’t poop! He’s a robot! 100% robot!”

After this part he gives us instructions for the choreography for…I think it’s “Koi no Friday”. He says “Women who have light sticks, take one in each hand and do these motions. For those women who don’t have them, you can just use your hands. Men who have light sticks can use them, and men who don’t can just use their own stick.” Which gets a laugh out of the audience.  He then tells us that when GACKT says some particular thing that we’re gonna repeat a word three times. The first one is “Koi,” which we’re to say by making a “come here” gesture with the light stick so I’m thinking it’s just the imperative form of “to come.” The second word is “yoi,” said with a gesture like drinking from a cup so I assume it’s the “yoi” for “drunk”. The third one is “pai”, said while thrusting the light sticks away from one’s chest, so I figure it’s from “oppai” which means “boobs.” Then he tells us that we won’t need to use this until (the third song from now?)…I didn’t catch it. He tells us to set our sticks to rainbow mode for the third part (it says the third part is meant to be blue on the sticks…oh, it just now occurs to me that maybe they changed it after they had the light sticks made) and walks offstage.

I think next was the part with the dancers in just their jeans and jackets, and GACKT shirtless. I was concentrating so hard on the drum game during “WooHa Baby!” that I forgot to ogle the dancers properly. I couldn’t keep up with the game anyway so gave up for the last verse.

I think that next “Mirror” started. There’s the usual call & response section of “yeeow!” and the “tadaima/okaeri” game (during which he scolded the people on the second floor for not mirroring his direction, I guess; we on the first floor “nailed it” mwahaha) before going into his talk portion (“MC”)…

Okay, wait, I really don’t know what order things happened in at this point. So let me just make bullet points of everything. This is NOT a chronological list.

  • There was a video from Yoshitsune Hiden where GACKT and (the woman playing a male character???) kiss, but then a bright green “PAUSE” comes onscreen and we see that it’s Seito Kaicho showing the Camui Gakuen students a video. He says a bunch of stuff I don’t remember, and it turns into them “training” to be ikemen by going on this obstacle course thingy. GACKT takes two tries to do the thing and in the end gives himself 24,000,000 points for his efforts (in contrast Val ended up with -2600).
  • GACKT came out to throw water into the audience. He threw the last pair of bottles super far (the one on the right side—the Chacha side—he threw up to second floor balcony but they couldn’t catch it and it  fell to a woman on the first floor, I couldn’t tell where the one on the left side went. There was also someone in the front row that was apparently trying to get too close when begging for one of GACKT’s straws so he playfully stepped away and quickly handed them the straw instead of letting them take it from his mouth.
  • He made the usual joke about being too old to do this stuff. He said, “I’m not good at acting cool,” to which some people responded with a sarcastically surprised “Ehhhh?” and GACKT pretended to beat them up with his microphone. He went on to say, “No, really. Like, just now I had wind blowing on me, right? That doesn’t usually happen. There isn’t wind going around making me look cool.” Then he says the same line about “I’m really, really not good at acting cool,” the audience responds the same way, GACKT air-flogs them again. So he says, “No, really. Like, I was standing around posing like *does Maro’s pose, a leg up bent at the knee, arms out bent at the elbows* with those crazy long nails, and I’m thinking, ‘If your nails get that long CUT THEM!'”
  • He also made fun of how he used to have to flick his head to get his hair out of his eyes, and that now he’ll sometimes try to get this hair out of his eyes smoothly with one finger even though he keeps it short.
  • GACKT apologized for coming out onstage without his cat ears. So he looks offstage and asks for someone to bring them to him. A while passes…and GACKT says to the audience, “It’s taking so long because they’re back there fighting over who has to come out here, like ‘No, I don’t wanna!'” Finally someone from the crew comes and gives him some cat ears. GACKT makes the same gag about being too old to wear cat ears, the audience starts yelling that he’s cute. He says, “No, imagine a 43 year old man walking into a convenience store and saying ‘I’d like to buy these [cat ears]’, what would you think? Seriously?”
  • Somehow at some point of this talk portion…I don’t know what happened, maybe someone in the audience said something? GACKT said, “No, no, I’m not wearing any underwear so I can’t take my pants off.” The audience start egging him on, so he says, “Okay, fine. If all of you take your bottoms off, I’ll do it too. You have to get completely naked on the bottom. Leave your tops on because we’re filming this though.” Then he makes the same joke about “waving [his] own stick” that Yuki had made earlier. And he keeps talking about waving his dick around then suddenly stops himself. He apologizes. “I am so sorry. I got carried away. Everyone who came here with children, please forgive me.” (I happened to see at least 4 children in attendance.)
  • GACKT said he had something serious to talk about. He started talking about the earthquakes in Kumamoto. He mentioned that the venue they were supposed to use there for the VISUALIVE had been damaged, and that it would take a year to repair it. So he reached out to his Kyushu people to find another venue, and found one, and are going to do a show in Kagoshima on the 21st (of May?), and that the information would go up on the website that night after the show. (Something to this effect has gone out in the G&LOVERS newsletter.)
  • After the talk about the earthquakes, GACKT starts talking about something else, but he suddenly gets caught off by “Miserable.” He turns to look offstage. He seems surprised but I wasn’t sure if he really was. Then the back screen comes on with a message that says “GACKT 17th Anniversary” and something about “always together,” “thank you”. GACKT whipped around to look at it, then the dancers come out with a huge bouquet, and wheel a cake unto the stage. GACKT said he had forgotten about his anniversary, and that he had been confused when the song came on and nobody was playing. He took the bouquet, blew out the candles on the cake, and said something else. Then the dancers were about to leave and he calls after them to take the flowers back. Once they do, GACKT takes a minute before starting to speak again. He said, “Oh, tears came out. But I’m NOT crying!!!” He was clearly moved. He asked, “How many of you have been walking with me from the beginning? For 17 years?” A surprising (to me) number of people raised their light sticks. I think GACKT said in response to that that that was an entire lifetime. [Three that’s in a row, isn’t my writing grand? ^o^ Also please excuse my rampant tense switching. I’m in a hurry.]
  • The band members are announced by someone speaking entirely in English. Each member gets a little hyped up intro, but when it’s GACKT’s turn, the announcer asked, “Do you want him?!” I wasn’t sure if we were supposed to answer, but…the announcer paused. For a few seconds. As if waiting for a response, but not a single person in the audience said anything. So he asked the question again and I yelled “YEEEES!” in hopes the others would get it, but they didn’t. orz Japan English Education FAIL
  • The audience chose YOU to do the microphone-less yelling into the audience bit, but then GACKT did it too (but he keeps the mike in his hand, he just holds it far away).
  • Finally when it’s time for “Koi no Friday” I realize that there are some homophone jokes in play with the three word things. “Koi koi koi” comes up on the screen, but each “koi” is a different word/character. First is 来い (“Come!”), 恋 (love), and I can’t remember what the last one was but maybe it was 鯉 (koi fish; carp). “Yoi yoi yoi” turns out to be…can’t remember the first one (maybe 良い meaning good?) but the second two were 酔い (drunk) and 宵 (night). “Pai pai pai” turns out to be パイ (boobs), 敗 (lose), π (3.1415). Yes, boobs, puns, and math all in one. But the second (third?) time this refrain is repeated, for “Pai pai pai” instead of パイ 敗 π there are pictures of boobs with Gakucchi heads covering the nipples.
  • There was a video clip consisting of scenes from Moon Child, followed by scenes from the Diabolos tour, and then the “ARROW” music video. Moon Saga in reverse chronological order, basically.
  • The very last bit of show begins with a video clip of Yoshitsune sitting by this stone admiring the beautiful moon. There are some flower petals fluttering by but I think they’re supposed to be peach blossoms given that one by one, the cast of the MOON SAGA plays show up and say stuff to him, and end with them all reciting the Oath of the Peach Garden (also heard in the spoken part of ARROW which I think says “warera umareta hi toki wa chigau to mo warera onaji hi ni shinu koto o negau” meaning “Even though we were born at different times we will wish to die on the same day”), with some variation such as “If we couldn’t have been born on the same day, then we’ll at least die on the same day.” Yoshitsune starts falling asleep, and they start calling his name. But then the scene changes and we see that that whole exchange was a dream(?) of the dying Yoshitsune, who’s last words as he sits by the stone with arrows sticking out of his body are “Kireina tsuki da na…” (“What a beautiful moon…”). At this point the screen parts, the intro to “Setsugekka” plays, and we see Yoshitsune sitting in a chair with arrows in him singing. The band members are wearing the Heian Era robes and some sort of masks, I couldn’t tell what of but from my vantage point it looked kinda creepy. They had on long white wigs too.
  • After that, the credits roll.

That’s pretty much it. This whole thing came in at just under four hours. It was a pretty good show. It felt a bit slower paced given all the breaks, but…if that’s what GACKT needs to do to put on the show then okay.

MOON SAGA Week in Fukuoka

This is over a week late, but I’ve been crazy busy. During all the mayhem, I was able to squeeze in one showing of MOON SAGA~Yoshitsune Hiden~ and one visit to the GACKT X KIMONO Project exhibit.

I went to the kimono exhibit on Tuesday the 14th with two friends. Admittedly, I only went to get the free “GACKT produced” tenugui advertised on the site. So I made a reservation and anxiously awaited the invitation as the day drew near.

If it weren’t for the Nemuri crest I’d think this envelope was from the Liar Game Office.

We get to the exhibition venue and not a soul was to be seen. This was Obon week, but it was still surprising considering the hustle & bustle just one block away. Our invitation was for 7PM, but we were a few minutes early. The friendly staff welcomed us, showed us around, and told us about the kimono. Two kimono that GACKT actually wore during Nemuri Kyoushirou were on display, and one staffer informed us that “at first, it smelled very strongly of Platinum Egoist.” >o<;

Perhaps the staff sensed that we weren’t gonna buy anything, as they just kept on emphasizing how expensive the kimono were. The older gentleman did say once or twice that the yukata were much more affordable, but still, no hard selling going on. Which is a shame for them as salespeople; despite my nearly complete lack of interest in wearing kimono or yukata it probably wouldn’t have taken much swaying for me to get the hot pink & black yukata with the Nemuri crest just for the hell of it. ^_^; It’s one of those “I’m in Japan, might as well” things.

The other piece that had me seriously considering parting with my hard-earned dough was the black and white kimono with the DEARS logo on it. I would never wear it, it was too beautiful for that! I think it may be the “secret model” the Kimono Project site was talking about; at least I haven’t seen it in any of the photos on the site of the various lines.

Shining just as brightly as the kimono were the huge posters of GACKT. When we jokingly asked how much for the posters, we were told, “we can’t sell them.” But when I squealed at one of them the older gentleman said, “100,000 yen.” I said, “I’ll pay! Give me time!!” 😄

Anyway, despite our invitation saying that the showing was from 7 PM, at a little past seven the staff said to us, “We have the venue until seven, so…” With that they collected our invitations and the gentleman brought over the tenugui. Only what we saw in his hands wasn’t the tenugui my friends and I were expecting.

Perhaps the feeling that we were being given leftovers was what made getting this disappointing. Can’t look a gift horse in the mouth, but…not as advertised!

We left the exhibit feeling a bit confused, but oh well. Only two more days till seeing GACKT live again!

My ticket for MOON SAGA was for the final Fukuoka show on the 16th. The difficult thing about this was that I had a business trip to Nagasaki that same day. x_X

Well, saying “business trip,” the common translation for 出張, sure conjures up a different image than what it actually was, but that’s what it’s called when one goes somewhere other than their usual workplace on some work-related thing.

The thing that had been keeping me crazy busy was planning for the first ever overnight English camp put on by Fukuoka Prefecture, taking place in none other than the Dutch-themed park Huis Ten Bosch in Sasebou, Nagasaki Prefecture. It was decided that all ALTs involved in this camp should go to the park for a preview (good) on the 16th (yikes!).

It’s been a while since I’ve cut something that close!

We left the park an hour and a half behind schedule. Doors for the play opened at 5:45, but we were still on the bus some 17 kilometers from the city at that time. I was getting really anxious, and texted the friend who would also go to that performance to pick up one of each of the clear files for me just in case.  Once we finally got into the city I started checking subway times on my phone. The next 25 minutes of well-orchestrated timing and running, I must say, I’m rather proud of. >o<;

18:00 Check subway on phone, aim for the 18:07 subway
18:03 Our chartered bus pulls up to Hakata Station, our group leader just says “Go, go!” to me and I dash off forgetting to even say “otsukare” to the team.
18:07 Catch the subway
18:13 Arrive in Tenjin Station. I stay underground for a bit but since I’m not too familiar with the underground I go up once I see a sign for the Fukuoka Building. When I get on the top streets and cross Showa-doori, I notice another person running. I wonder, “Are they going to the play too?!” but then it hits me: the lights on these two blocks must turn green at the same time. So I dash off after this guy and just barely make it across the next light. I keep running!
18:23 Arrive at the Fukuoka Shimin Kaikan (normally a 15-20 minute walk from Tenjin Station, depending on pace)
18:25 Am seated in my 16th row seat sweating profusely but with time to spare before the curtains rise!

After all that, the play initially did not disappoint. It was funny, GACKT was adorable, and there was pandering to the local audience by the truckload! One of my minor “complaints” about Nemuri last year (or whenever that was) was that GACKT did not participate in what little Fukuoka gags there were, but this time, the whole cast busted out niwaka masks while saying 「ごめーん!」during…I don’t even remember what scene it was. I was just geeked to see the masks. Later in the show, Benkei’s actor went down the left side of the audience handing out these autographed masks, saving the one signed by GACKT for a girl near the front.

About midway through, however, I started to wonder, “what is the point of this?” It probably didn’t help that I needed to use the bathroom and was waiting anxiously for an intermission that never came. Anyway, I had done very little reading up on the play, so other than the characters I didn’t know much what the story would be about. The sets were interesting, the costumes were cool for the most part (not impressed by the bootleg Jack Sparrow look on Yoshinaka ^_^;), the music was fitting, and the dancers did a great job. And Kage’s fight scene! WOW.

But still, as a story, I was left unsatisfied by this arc of the MOON SAGA. It felt anticlimactic. I know it’s part of a larger work, but the play should still be strong by itself, but that last fight scene left me thinking “…that’s it?” The use of wire work as cool and all, but…that’s it? I think I would feel like this play didn’t have a proper ending even if it weren’t for the Swarm of Green Ninjas scene from Nemuri Kyoushirou to compare it to.

The play ended, but then the cast did a slightly changed version of an earlier scene as an encore. (I assume it was an encore, as most of the audience seemed surprised by the cast reappearing on stage ready for that scene.) I can’t remember now if the credits rolled before or after this. In any case, as it was the last Fukuoka showing, I wanted to stick around and see if GACKT would peek out, but since I hadn’t bought any goods and didn’t want to end up in a long line (I had a seat close to an exit), nor did I want to make my friend wait, I busted out with the other patrons and went to get some goods.

I see Kage and think of Sephiroth, but my friend, a CLAMP fan, thought of one of their other characters.

It would be nice if shows were added at venues on Kyushu, then I’d like to see this play again and see if maybe the latter half doesn’t leave me so “meh” after having seen it once already. As it is, I was happy for the chance to see GACKT again for the first time in 10 months, and enjoyed the overall artistry of the play. Story-wise…I’m gonna have to wait and see what else the MOON SAGA has in store.

[This post has also been posted to my JET Blog Lucky Hill.]