A Thanksgiving Pun? The Sunflower Incident

One of my favorite moments from the YFC in Europe DVD I LOVE YOU ALL is what’s labelled in English as “The sunflower seed incident.”

Basically, a certain someone put a bunch of sunflower seeds on Chirolyn’s pick stand & mike stand at the concert in Barcelona, and Chirolyn, thinking he was supposed to do something with them, decided the thing to do was chew them and spit them out. On stage. Leaving the floor crunchy.

I loved the unhinged-in-a-different-way element that Chirolyn brought to the band. I wonder if he was also the one who wrote Spanish cuss words in katakana on his pick stand.

Anyway, a couple of years later, I was telling my students in Japan about Thanksgiving. The pilgrims, the Mayflower, etc. And one of my students says, 「メイフラワー?メイフラワー事件?」(“Mayflower? The Mayflower Incident?”). I was like, “What? They teach you guys about the Mayflower landing as the Mayflower Incident?” The student replied that yes, that it was in the history textbook. Huh. With all the Japanese history textbook controversies, I found it funny that they’d get holier-than-thou about the start of future Americans’ transgressions against the Indigenous peoples.

Then I remembered the YFC “Sunflower Incident.” Was it a history pun?!

I think I at least Googled “Mayflower jiken” in Japanese to see if the Mayflower landing was indeed commonly referred to as an “incident” in Japan. Though the word 事件 (jiken) can have the neutral meaning “event,” overall the connotation is decidedly negative.

I don’t remember the results of that search back then. But for the past 4 years I’ve been amused by the thought that the YFC bit had this extra joke in it. Finally, in the spirit of the season, I got around to checking it all out again.

The man behind the mayhem was actually Junji, who got the idea to surround Chirolyn with sunflower seeds.

But Junji himself didn’t call this “The Sunflower Seed Incident.” He called it 「ひまわりの種大作戦」(himawari no tane daisakusen), literally meaning “Big Operation Sunflower Seeds.” Or as I would translate it, “Operation Sunflower Seed.”

I suppose it’s possible the person who wrote the subtitles was a history geek being cute. Or passive-aggressive maybe.

If you Google メイフラワー号事件 with quotation marks, you’ll get a bunch of Yahoo! Chiebukuro (=Yahoo! Anwers) pages of high school students asking what the “Mayflower Jiken” was about, or why the Puritans left England. So while this usage doesn’t seem to be too widespread, it certainly is in Japanese high school world history textbooks.

On a bit of a side note, now that I’ve seen Delinquent Hamsters, I can’t help but wonder if Chirolyn inspired their creators a little bit. XD

Is the hamster with the Mohawk Chirolyn?!


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〜

YELLOW FRIED CHICKENz at Zepp Fukuoka 2011

Last week was the weekend I’d been waiting for for 3 months: the Zepp Fukuoka shows of YELLOW FRIED CHICKENz. Like everyone else, I was curious about the new songs, and how the twin vocalists thing would work out.

While I missed Jun-ji and Chirolyn, I did enjoy the new YFC. I don’t quite understand why there need to be so many guitarists, but some interesting effects can be had by having two vocalists. I thought adding Jon worked well. Of course, this is because GACKT made it so that it would. One of my friends thought that Jon seemed to be trying to upstage GACKT, but I didn’t get that impression.

As for the songs, the track 妄想ガール (Mousou Girl) sure seems like a load of fun, even if the lyrics are a bit iffy. ^o^; I can’t wait for these new songs to come out on CD so I can hear them clearly. Don’t know if it was my ears that were bad, or if the speakers weren’t calibrated properly, but there was a crap ton of white noise that made it really hard to make out GACKT’s voice. His mic might’ve also been on too low.

I don’t like the English version of “Mind Forest,” and I don’t like the addition of new English verses into “EVER,” “Jesus,” and whatever other song had this done to it. Frankly, GACKT’s English pronunciation isn’t good enough, and since Jon felt the need to rhyme the lyrics, these lyrics seemed forced into the melody of the original. I don’t understand why GACKT is doing this; after all, he gained non-Japanese fans with songs in Japanese. There is no need to force English unto these songs to gain more fans abroad. I think it would be better to just write new songs that are in English from the start, such as “The End of the Day.” Especially during “Mind Forest,” I had the original Japanese lyrics playing in my head.

Last year’s Fukuoka crowd was, I thought, way too well-behaved for a rock show. This year, the crowd was more frenetic, but I think it was because there were only 2 nights instead of 4. This year I was also able to get really close on the second night, and apparently there’s a huge difference between the area right in front of the stage, and that just like 7 feet further back. I know some local DEARS members who were up in front who said they were even knocked down to the floor by people’s pushing! There was one girl with dyed blond hair in pigtails who had started out behind my friends and I, but pushed and shoved her way to the front. Now, I’m all for people finding openings and taking advantage of them to move up, but pushing people out of the way is not cool. If she had come my way, I would’ve given her a good elbow to the ribs!

One thing that always bothers me is that encores seem to be taken for granted here. The band leaves the stage, and people wait in silence. Sometimes someone will start up a “YFC!” chant, but it doesn’t last long. I guess since when the band leaves, it isn’t announced that that’s the end of the show, so maybe we’re just supposed to take it as the band taking a break. But I think it’s a corrupted encore. The second night, my friends and I waited about a minute or two, then started up a YFC chant. A few people around us joined in, but for the most part, the crowd waited on in silence.

When the band came back out, at least then the crowd became really loud and lively. GACKT started smiling suddenly, and he said, 「やぱり福岡は違うね」(“As expected, Fukuoka’s different”) and 「この押し方結構好きよ」(“I really like the way you push us on”). They came out much faster this night, and I like to think that it was thanks to my friends and I, who didn’t give up chanting “YFC!” even though barely anyone else joined us. ^o^;

The second night, Shin’ya came out with a big-o fistful of drumsticks to throw into the crowd. The first night, YOU had thrown a cushion into the crowd that looked like it had the members’ signatures on it; but first, he rubbed it on his crotch.

Hm, now I’m just rambling about the different things that happened, so maybe it would be better to stop. >o<;


This one’s for you, GACKT! *takes Vicodin*

WOOO! No wimpy alcoholic drinks here!  Only potent painkillers are fit for celebrating two nights of YELLOW FRIED CHICKENz!  WOOOOOOOOO!


Just kidding.  Don’t take meds like that just because.  I have a legitimate reason, namely, my FullMetal Ankle.  I only had one pill left, and was saving it for these concerts.

Getting back on topic…Thursday and Friday I went to see GACKT and the YELLOW FRIED CHICKENz at Zepp Fukuoka.  Both shows were great, but Friday’s was noticeably better.  There’s too many sights, sounds, and feelings to try to do a chronological telling, so I’ll write in vignettes.

Thursday Night (July 1st)

As expected, there weren’t as many people on Thursday.  Judging by the signs with the ticket numbers, there were only some 1600 people in the standing room plus how many ever there were up on the second floor seats.  My friend and I had tickets numbered in the 1330s, but when we went in many people weren’t trying to get up as far forward as they could, so we ended up pretty close to the stage; I estimate some 25 feet (8 meters) away.  We were close enough to be able to see GACKT’s face clearly and could see the sweat flying from his hair when he would head bang.

Around 6:45 someone (it wasn’t GACKT) came on the mic from backstage to lead the crowd in “kiai practice.” There was lots of OSU! and ANIKIIII! and slurred, rolled-R manly Japanese.  Don’t know if I understood it correctly, but after the first “ANIKIIII!” it sounded like the guy said, “What the hell was that?!  It’s not “anikki” it’s “aniki”!  Can’t you even pronounce right bakayaro?!”

The concert proper started on time.  GACKT walked in carrying his sword and started “ZAN.”  I couldn’t hear his voice very well and he seemed tired.  He was staggering, but I couldn’t tell if he was stagger-dancing or just plain fatigued-staggering.  (After seeing him Friday, I think it was from fatigue.)  It wasn’t until the fourth or firth song, “LU:NA” that I could clearly hear his voice.

His little strip-teasing during “Dybbuk” and finally the ripping off of his shirt during the bridge of “LU:NA” were wonderful. XDDD

I think it was after this that GACKT led the crowd in random shouting, first calling on the men, then the women, then finally just yelling “YFC! YFC! YFC!” over guitar feedback.  During several songs there was also the random shouting out of “Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!” which I thought was too absurd to actually do so I just pumped my fist to the beat. ^o^; (Dear GACKT: obscenities without context do not a badass make.)

Then there was…GACKT shimmying during “EVER.”  Oh. My. Savior.  It was so cute, so adorable, yet utterly ridiculous.  I was simultaneously thinking of the Chiquita Banana lady and Belscard, the antagonist GACKT voices in the MMORPG Dragon Nest for which “EVER” is the theme.

There were several times during “Flower” and “Uncontrol” that GACKT put the mic down, I assume so that the audience would sing, but unfortunately, it was only during the first verse of “Flower” that the crowd actually did, or at least, that’s all I heard.  I felt bad for GACKT.

In general, I would say that the crowd wasn’t very frenetic.  It was strange to see the older people (40s, maybe even 50s) just standing, watching without swaying or otherwise giving any sign that they were listening to music and enjoying it.  Especially given that the “Rules for Private School Students,” which are the “rules” for participating in the live that among other things dictate that “students” (the audience) show their enthusiasm by yelling “osu” and “aniki”, etc, say that “the front is dangerous, if you can’t handle it, fall back!” and “only you can protect your body!” (translating loosely).  I was expecting to see a mosh pit, but alas, there was no moshing.  The fist/hand pumping was as violent as it got.  The girl in front of me nearly hit me and my friend in the face a couple of times, and I stepped on someone’s toes when I jumped up and down without thinking.

Thankfully, the weather was relatively cool, so it wasn’t hot in the hall. I could feel the air conditioning above my head, and even surrounded by all those people, it wasn’t unbearable.  I was dressed lightly, but I don’t know how the girl in the maid outfit could stand it.  Most people were dressed normally though, a plain shirt and capris, skirt, or shorts.

After the second to last song, when GACKT and the band went offstage, people started clapping and chanting “YFC.”  It seemed rather staid to me.  I thought, “Is this supposed to be the audience calling the band out for an encore?” For long reasons I won’t go into here, I have the impression that Japanese think encores are mandatory, so they don’t shout with all their might to make the band come out.  Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s the idea I have.  I wanted them to yell louder!  In my mind I was screaming, “Come on Fukuoka!  Don’t embarrass yourself! It’s bad enough only the Friday show sold out, so at least SCREAM!!!” ^o^;

My friend  told me that the Japanese people around us had a look on their faces like “OMG are these people really screaming?”  I did notice that the people in our section, with the exception of the boy to our right, really weren’t saying anything (even if their fist pumping was violent).  The people closer to the front were better though.

During the last song, “Uncontrol -Kyouki Ranbu edition-” the crowd once again left GACKT hanging when he wanted them to sing.  Maybe a few people way up front sang for him, but I couldn’t hear them.

At the end there was another screaming session of “YFC!” and what sounded like it was supposed to be a big cat’s “raow.”  During the call outs for men and women, GACKT said 「やっぱり九州の男は強い!」(“As expected, Kyuushuu men are strong!”).  I didn’t understand what he said about Kyuushuu women, but my friend and I woo’ed fiercely even though we’re not Kyuushuu women.  LOL  Then he asked the men if they would join him for another men’s-only live at the Budoukan, and asked the women if they would join him at Tokyo Dome.

Jun-ji was the last to leave the stage; he threw out like 5 pairs of drumsticks.

Once the band went off and the lights came back up, GACKT came on the mic from backstage and did a cutesified yet rough「忘れ物のないように」(“Careful not to forget any of your things” and said a bunch of other stuff I didn’t understand, and finally, said “Buy all the goods you fools!  If there’s anything left, we’ll have to commit seppuku!”

Thus commanded by GACKT, my friend and I went to get some goods.  I got a face towel, a Gakucchi, and the YFC Box. Very few people were buying goods, and even before the concert, there were sometimes only one or two people at the goods tables.  I felt a bit bad for GACKT some more.  ^_^;

Mongoose was apparently afraid of Gakucchi and turned away.

When we sat down to put our hauls into our bags, a Japanese fan approached us in English to try to sell some tickets for Friday’s show, but unfortunately all the people we called were either unavailable or couldn’t spare the money for not even the discounted tickets.  Oh well, we tried.

Friday Night (July 2nd)

Friday I had arranged to meet some friends at the hall.  I was waiting for them outside when it started to rain, so I texted them to let them know I would go on ahead.  This time, my tickets were for the second floor, as standing room sold out either before tickets went on sale to the general public, or in the 10 minutes before I got to the Loppi to buy my tickets the day they went on sale.

Once again, no one was at the goods tables.  But I hoped that with more people, the crowd would show more enthusiasm.  They did!  Whenever something was thrown out into the crowd, there was a visible fight for it.  People were louder with their kiai, and always sang when GACKT gave the chance (but he only gave two chances this time).  There was a cute moment when GACKT did a very calm, not terribly forceful fist-bump with someone in the front row who had their fist up.  ^o^; (I also found GACKT’s half-done head of cornrows amusing in a similar manner.)

This time GACKT was ON from the very beginning.  I could hear him clearly and he didn’t look tired at all, there was no staggering of any kind.  I didn’t know whether to be relieved (i.e. “Yay!  GACKT got some sleep and possibly ate something!”) or even more worried (i.e. “No! GACKT drank 10 espressos and took a fistful of diazepam!”).

This time Chirolyn didn’t try to be Gene Simmons as much, but he did pretend to masturbate by stroking a strategically held open water bottle.  ^_^;;;;;;;;;

Since we were in the seated area this time, I had much more freedom to move.  I head banged and jumped around relatively freely, though I did apologize to the girl behind me the one time my hand smacked hers.  The older lady next to me would yell out “GAKUTOO!” and something else I didn’t understand every now and then, but my friend and I were still the loudest in the section.  Or more accurately, I was the loudest in the section.  ^o^  I had been worried that I wouldn’t be able to yell since I’d woken up with a sore throat from the previous show, but, やっぱり、being that much further back motivated me to reach new decibel levels.  Both friends I went to the concerts with later said (in what I think might have been as much complaint as it was compliment) that I had “some lungs on [me]” and “really showed how excited” I was.” ^O^

Now, Thursday night I’d had the urge to yell “KFC!” instead of “YFC!” but didn’t, but this time my friend said to me, “I really wanna yell ‘KFC’.”  We tried to do it together, but it proved too funny and only got two out before it turned into “k–LOLOL kK F ahahaahahaa!”  I also let lose and yelled 「福岡もっと叫びましょう!!!」(“Fukuoka let’s scream more!!!”) because it was really starting to bug me that the audience wasn’t trying very hard to get the band to come back out after the second to last song.  I also did a yell that’s sort of like a Hispanic equivalent of a kiai; you hold a rolling-R at high pitch and let it turn into a laugh.

Everything else was pretty much the same.  At the end GACKT said something about how he was also a man of Kyuushuu (Okinawa is sometimes considered a part of Kyuushuu) and that Kyuushuu was the best.  The message from backstage was similar, though I didn’t hear the threat of seppuku if the goods didn’t sell out.

This time we actually had to wait in line to buy goods after the show, but no more than 10 minutes.  I had meant to buy another face towel, since my bracelet caught on the one I had and pulled some threads out, but I forgot.  I did pick up 5 bags of YELLOW FRIED CHIPz.

My friends and I then went to Hard Rock Café (it’s right next to Zepp) to have dinner, but were so busy talking about the show that we didn’t even open the menu till the waitress came over to ask what we would like to drink.  Whoops.  So, we quickly looked at the menu, decided, and went back to talking about the show.  Meanwhile, I’m opening the cards that came with the chips.  Right as I added “Buddha Sits Down” to “The Chiropractic” and “The Bad Man” at the center of the table, the waitress came back to take our order.  She looked at the cards and started laughing, then we all laughed for a minute.  Once she took our orders and left, I opened the other two, “The Wind Mill” and “The Pole Dancers.”   Once I saw that I didn’t get a single card with GACKT I ran out to see if the goods tables were still open, but unfortunately they weren’t.  I don’t really like potato chips so I guess it was for the better.

After that we hopped on the subway, then went our separate ways.

It was a great two nights!

This afternoon, I woke up with everything sore.  My neck from head banging, abs from clenching to scream louder, arms from pumping, legs from jumping, and throat from screaming.  But I could be in more pain, so by GACKT’s apparent logic, I wasn’t serious enough!  Either way, I soothed my soreness with that last chubby Vicodin and a hearty lunch.

YELLOW FRIED CHIPz: Part of a balanced diet.

Now it’s time to start saving up for Premium or SS seat tickets for when Nemuri Kyoushirou comes to Fukuoka in December. ^o^