Parent’s Guide to Understanding Visual Kei

  I know that I haven’t posted anything recently(I’ve been very busy lately- what with my second blog that’s still in progress, and all the work I’ve had- and really, I’m not complaining) and some of my dedicated readers may, or may not, be disappointed.

  I’ve gotten several requests from friends to write a post dedicated entirely to the “Do and Do not”s that come with having a child who has recently plunged into the world of blasting Japanese music, and men that look and dress like woman.

  That’s right- here’s the Parent’s Guide to Understanding Visual Kei.

1.)Your child is unique, so if they suddenly want to wear mismatched colored contact lenses, dye their hair ridiculous colors, and/or start dressing what is to you, ridiculously, then I assure you, it is most likely not a phase. Instead of trying to stifle their creativity, try to channel it into something less dramatic; maybe they can start out with a load of extra accessories, then build from there.

2.)Don’t let your child walk out the door looking like a geisha- Visual Kei isn’t about suddenly going from normal to crazy. Like the clothing, let them start off with simple or intricate makeup designs that best suit their age, face, etc.

3.)Be prepared to hear nothing but facts about with whom your child is currently infatuated. You’ll learn a lot.

4.)The likelihood of that “girl” actually being a female is close to, if not, ZERO. That’s right, Hizaki is a male who wears dresses- that doesn’t make him gay.

5.)Having your own opinion is very important. Let your child know how you feel about their interest in another culture. Think about it this way, at least they’re trying to learn something new.

6.)Japanese band merchandise can sometimes be expensive; but it’s worth it for a birthday or Christmas; or, you can make something on your own.

  That’s all I have gathered for now. Thank you for reading- I hope this helps you understand better what your child, niece, nephew, sibling, etc. is interested in and how to deal with it.

Music Rants: Why I Believe Japanese Music Is Best

  I have no idea why, but as stated, for some unknown reason, this post is dedicated to why I think that Japanese music is better than any other(well, I’m mostly targeting/picking on American music).

  My main argument and discussion about this topic centers around the fact that there are very few singers(good ones, that is) here in America. Unfortunately, younger and more recent generations of all people have stereotypically rejected real singing and human voices in general, and instead have found a love for techno.

  I, myself, happen to like only a few songs that involve techno, and even then it falls under “nu metal” and “rock.” What can I say? I prefer meaningful lyrics, vocal talent, and real instruments over remixes and the mechanical wizardry of modern society.

  Japanese music does have its own faults, considering the fact that they have a whole lot of techno, but not every genre of anything is perfect. I love the style: most Japanese bands look and sound great, and they usually aren’t just a bunch of pretty boys or girls(and believe me, some of the men in Visual Kei bands are literally pretty, cute, or beautiful).

  I love the sincerity in their voices and instruments as they sing and play. The lyrics are sensible, and carries great tunes and skills.

  Here are a few bands that I love with descriptions and such so that you don’t freak out when you realize that the cute girl you saw is actually a guy, and vice-versa: 

  Versailles Philharmonic Quintet. Though disbanded, the vocalist who goes by Kamijo Yuji owns his own record company and is very active in the music industry. A band member passed away in 2009 by the name of Jasmine You, reducing the band to only four members, still all male. Masahi is the drummer, Teru is the guitarist, Hizaki(who is a man dressed as a woman- listen to the music before judging, please) is the other guitarist, and Kamijo is the vocalist. The theme of the band is “Vampires.” The costumes are very elaborate. Songs I recommend would be “Philia”, “Vampire”, “Masquerade”, “Glowing Butterfly”, “Serenade”, “Flowery”, and “Prince.”

  The GazettE. This band is also all men, and has five members. They used to have a member named Yune, but he is no longer in it. Ruki is the singer, Kai is the drummer, Reita is the bassist, Uruha and Aoi are the guitarist. Ruki can also play the guitar and piano. Reita wears a bandana or noseband over his nose. Uruha has beautiful lips and thighs- I have to say that he looks most like a woman, or very beautiful. They have all had very interesting looks in their careers. Songs I recommend would be “Guren”, “Reila”. “PLEDGE”, “INSIDE BEAST”, “Dripping Insanity”, “RED”, “REMEMBER THE URGE”, “Silly God Disco”, “Burial Applicant”, and “Taion.”

  BUCK-TICK. This band is considered one of the founding fathers for Visual Kei fashion. The lead singer is Atsushi Sakurai. This band is the oldest in this list. Songs I recommend would be “Galaxy”, “Kagerou”, and “DRESS.” All male.

  MEJIBRAY. Songs I recommend would be “Avalon”, “Raven”, and “Killing Me.” All male, again,

  Alice Nine. All male band members. Songs I recommend would be “Heart of Gold” and “Blue Flame.”

  SID. All male(I like male singers more- the vocal range is great). Songs I recommend would be “Hanabira”, “Uso”, “Rain”, and “Monocrome No Kiss.”  

  I’ll stop ranting and raving now, and ask about your opinions. If you looked any of my suggestions up(If you’re not fluent in Japanese, looking up the lyrics in English would be wise, but before that, just listen to the voices and instruments and formulate an opinion) and want to share, please do! If you have any suggestions for me, let me know, and feel free to ask questions!

Blogging Subjects- Help is Here(Hopefully)

  I’ve hit a wall- one that refuses to collapse unless I bring in Mr.Gorbachov or the Hulk; either way, I hit the point in my “blogging career” where inspiration isn’t a wide and flowing river, but a trickling stream that offers nothing but pity.

  We all come to this soon enough, now, what you do in response is what matters. If you decide to give up altogether, then that won’t get anything done; but if you try to find a solution, then you might hit the jackpot.

  Writing daily is a good practice, but for those busy folks, writing on occasion is alright, too.

  Writing ideas. Coming up with something to write and post isn’t always easy, so here are a few simple examples to set your mind at ease and give you a small helping hand.

  1.)Nature. Describe the scenery around you- it can help give your readers a feel of where you live, and can even bring you closer to them through possible similarities.

  2.)Childhood Reminiscence. Post something a little more personal- maybe a funny occasion when you were younger, something that you looked forward to, or even a heart-gripping story. You could write about your favorite pet, elementary school, or best friend.

  3.)Opinions. Start a discussion about technology, environmentalists, famous singers and actors, or anything with which you have a genuine interest.

  4.)Review Movies, Books, Etc. If you’ve read a book, seen a movie, listened to a song, or done a drawing or arts and crafts object, voice the description of it and state your likes and dislikes while trying not to give spoilers(unless you’ve included a spoiler warning).

  5.)Lists. You can never have too many lists. Lists… well, list, your likes and can be helpful for others who are searching for something. Make a list of the top 10 books you recommend for others to read and why, or do the same with any other topic. The length and subject is up to you.

  6.)Gathering Resources. Leave feedback on other Blogger’s posts and ask for advice. Read their posts and study the topics that they cover, why they do so, and how they format it. Everyone has a different style, but looking at their way of doing things might inspire you to make some changes or write about something new.

  7.)Facts. Not all blogs are educational, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t post random facts like why flamingos are pink and other things.

  8.)Awareness. Not everyone has time to watch the news in the morning, listen to the radio, or even pick up a newspaper. Watching the news and writing down the important and current events can help keep others up to date, and make you a semi-journalist.

  9.)Cultural Studies. If there’s a country or culture that you’re fascinated with, do a little research and post about that. Let others know about India, Brazil, Mexico, Japan, China, Spain, or any place that you like. It doesn’t have to be a full-on report. Just include some common facts, maybe photos, why you like this place, the system of currency, or some unknown facts and opinions.

  10.)Target: Stomach. A lot of people love cooking, and eating the food that’s cooked. Jotting down clear steps to making a dish that you like or want to try can appeal to a great deal of people and give you something to write about.

  11.)Secret Talent. Maybe you have something that you’re really good at. Don’t keep it all to yourself. If you’re talented, be proud and tell people.

  12.)Everyday. Write about your day- why it was good, why it was bad, what the weather was like, if you met anyone new, what you did that made you smile, anything and everything that happens to you in a single day.

  13.)Arts and Crafts. Share D.I.Y(Do It Yourself) projects that you liked and want other to know about. Explain the hard or easy process and be sure to tell everyone how to do it and how it turned out, whether it was a failure or a success.

  14.)Quotations. Quote things from others- famous or not- that go with your mood, style, or anything else.

  15.)Support. Share information about a charity or at-home-cause that really calls to you. Include things like what they’re supporting, how to help the cause, other social media pages to follow, like, contact, etc., and what you can do to help.

  16.)Dreamland. Dreams can either be weird, or completely normal; then again, our thoughts on what normal actually is varies. Describe a dream that you had(old or new) that you want to share. Cover the dream itself and how you acted when you woke up.

  17.)It’s a Drabble. A Drabble is a short, fictional post of only 100 words. It’s a good challenge for writers and those who are interested in writing, and it helps the mind. You can create an account at Drablr.com.

  18.)Shopping Hauls. Focus on what arrived in the mail or was bought at a store. Clothing, jewelry, any accessories, shoes, art supplies, you hobby supplies- use your stuff at a shopping session and share with your readers. There’s Miss A, eBay, Amazon, Milanoo, Goodwill, Barnes and Noble, Baby the Stars Shine Bright, h.Naoto, Hot Topic, and so many other hauls.

  19.)Faith. Religion. Share your beliefs and what you think is right.

  That’s all I have for now. Hopefully this served its purpose and I’ve lit a fire under you. Good luck, and happy hunting fellow bloggers and readers.

Japanese Words of the Day

  I’ve been studying the Japanese language, both symbolic and in words, and I’ll not be the first to say that it is way harder than it looks and isn’t too hard at the same time.

  As someone who comes from Spanish and English speaking households, when I look at the Japanese system of communication, I can spot some words that sound English, Spanish, and even French.

  For instance: when I was in my early teen years(at least, I think that’s when it was) I thought that the word “sayonara” was French. I knew that it meant “goodbye”, but I had no idea that it was actually Japanese.

  The language can be difficult to master and speak/write fluently for beginners, but practice makes perfect. I used to- and still do so on occasions to keep my mind sharp- stay up practicing my symbols, and how to put them together to form a sentence or phrase.

  I you know Spanish, then you’ll know that most of the times, a statement is what I call “reversed.” This means that you’ll say one thing in Spanish, and if you translate it directly into English, it’ll sound off or as if the verb came before the subject. The same rule often applies to Japanese statements: Bandodesu za• Gazetto– or The GazettE is a band.

  Bando=Band, Desu=Is, Za•=The, and Gazetto=Gazette. Normally, you’d think that it’d be “Za• Gazetto desu bando”, but that’s incorrect. In this case, “band(bando) and is(desu)” are linked and followed by “the(za•) and Gazetto(Gazette).

  Also, if you take the words band and Gazette, you’ll notice that the Japanese form of these words are very similar to that of the English form. Use the knowledge that you have of other languages and combine it in your efforts to pursue a new language.

  Good luck to you if you’re currently trying to learn another language. Try your best and don’t be discouraged!

The “RGV Lolita” Group

  While at Omnicon, I attended a panel, or seminar, about Japanese Street Fashion which covered Decora and some Visual Kei, then gravitated toward the Lolita fashion. I was very impressed by the three representatives of the “RGV Lolita” group that directed the Power Point and gave all of beginning Lolitas easy hints and tips on how to start off in that category.

  They have a Facebook group especially for those Lolitas in the Rio Grande Valley, which is at the tip of Texas, that currently has 61 members, myself included. They gather and meet monthly to discuss small events and other gatherings, trade clothes and buy and sell garments as well, have a tea party, and trade any advice that they’ve acquired.

  I’m very excited to be a part of something that has others who are interested in the same “odd” things that I am when it comes to Japanese fashion. If you live in the Rio Grande Valley and are interested in or are already Lolita, I suggest checking out their Facebook group.

Omnicon Haul

  I found a lot of cool things and met a great deal of awesome cosplayers. My sister(who has just received her invasalign braces) lost the darn, clear things in a trashcan, apparently while I was gone enjoying myself. I think she takes after me. My mom told me all about it over the phone, then asked if I could come over to clean. Having to leave the event early made me sad, but I can still go back since I have the band and I figure that I owe her since she carried me around for 9 months.

  Anyways, time for photos of what I bought!

image

Domo- Skeleton version.

image

Death Note Notebook(which actual instructions and names from the show written inside).

image

A set of cards for my Uncle.

image

Ciel and Eevee pins.

image

Inuyasha: The Final Cut(Part 1).

  And that’s it! I also met David Yost, the original blue Power Ranger. As well as a few others. It was a lot of fun!

Lolita- This Fashion Statement and It’s Subcategories

  Lolita- a branch off of that of Visual Kei and closely related to Oshare Kei and Decora. It’s most often referred to as a “cute form of Goth”, and sometimes even Goth Punk.

  There are a few different sub-genres under Lolita. They are Sweet Lolita, Goth Lolita, Classic Lolita, Punk Lolita, Elegant Goth Lolita, and Classic Goth Lolita. In each, the term “Loli” is often used to shorten the name, such as GothLoli.

  The Lolita fashion branch is based on Victorian Era clothing- which consists of lace, ribbons, and a “cupcake” shaped dress that is achieved by layers of petticoats. It was only until some time ago that the Loli fashion statement began to change, and objects such as headsets, stockings, platform shoes or boots, and parasols were accepted with open arms, which also contributes to the multiple categories.

  Sweet Loli. Also known as Amor Loli focuses strongly on the Victoria and Edwardian Era and uses basic Loli designs with lighter colors and more childlike motifs. Colors such as pink, fresh pink, light or normal red, and pastels are used in makeup. The outfits consist of animals, lace, ribbons, fruit, flowers, and also pastel colors. Jewelry often helps aid in the fantasy theme.

image

  Goth Loli. The colors in Goth Lolita are darker and mostly consists of dark red and blacks. Black makeup such as eyeliner is often applied to form a certain defined look.

image

  Elegant Goth Loli. This is a substyle of Goth Lolita and is influenced by the Steampunk fashion.

  Classic Loli. It’s a more mature style of Lolita, and is a mix between Sweet Loli and Goth Loli- it isn’t too sweet or dark, and tends to focus on the Victorian style. Shoes and clothes are more functional, and the jewelry often contains very intricate designs and is less whimsical.

image

  Punk Loli. Here, punk fashion elements are added to normal Loli and Goth Loli. Animals may be seen, as well as numerous buckles and straps, pins, ties, and other accessories.

image

  If you have any questions or want a more detailed explanation, feel free to Email me at codegeass0915@yahoo.com or leave a question in the comments. You can also look up any term through your search engine(Yahoo!, Bing, Google, etc.) and find a number of things.

Omnicon 2014!

  For those of you unfamiliar with Omnicon, it’s an event that takes place in the heart of Mcallen, Texas at the Mcallen Convention Center and features anime, manga, games, famous voice actors and actresses, cosplay, competitions, and so much more.

  While I’m not Japanese, Korean, Chinese, or even of Asian ancestry, I’ve always had an unexplained love for the Asian culture and more specifically those of Japanese influence. I love anime and JPop(or Japanese Pop), especially visual kei bands like Buck-Tick, The GazettE, Alice Nine, Versailles(A.K.A. Versailles Philharmonic Quintet), SCREW, SID, and many others.

  You can believe how excited I was when someone knowingly paid me way more than what my little customized story was worth because they really liked it! I almost turned down the extra cash, but my “client” as I call them, wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. So here I am– happy to indulge in what I consider a piece of heaven this Friday(August 1) at what would be my first anime convention.

  My reasoning for never going to any when I was younger was because we simply never had the spare money or time, and I haven’t gone now because I’ve been working as hard as possible to support my mother and sister.

  That reminds me- regarding my sister and the school tuition, the money I’ve received has covered part of the cost, plus the large bonus I had completed it, leaving me with a little leftover money for myself! I couldn’t be more happy about how things have worked out.

  I’m more than excited– not to mention about the shopping that I’ll get to do. I’ve set myself on a budget(which probably isn’t surprising if you’ve read any of my other posts where I talk about financial problems) and am determined to stick to it. I don’t think I’ll survive a day without the water and light.

  I’m definitely going to make a specific post- with pictures!- for all the things that I did, bought(or not), ate(foreign snacks are delicious), played, and other things.

  Whether or not I’m going to do any cosplaying hasn’t been decided yet, but I’m really hoping to at least throw an amazing outfit together with what I already have. If not, then it’s alright. I’ve thought about maybe posing as REITA(Reita, bassist of The GazettE) for the convention, but whenever I see that(or a) noseband, I just can’t help laughing because of the speculations that Reita doesn’t have a nose. I’m pretty sure that he has a nose- there’s no need to fear.

image

  That hair, though, is something else altogether. I can just imagine how long it would take– not to mention the amount of hair spray and durability of a state of possible flammability. Not to mention the fact that I’d have to do a lot of shopping to at least get clothes that are similar. I’m sorry, but I don’t believe on spending $100 or more on a vest.

  I may add some uniqueness to my outfit for Friday and put on something that one of my own fictional characters would wear.

  Budget, budget, budget! No, I’m not a cheapskate– I just believe in putting needs first and indulging every once in a while. While some people tend to think that a budget is a restriction, I actually see it as a way to inspire creativity. Think about it, if you have $150 to spend on an outfit that resembles someone’s style that you admire, then you’re not going to break the outfit down into pieces and put it together with your own custom touches here and there. If you’re on a budget, you might make the clothes or accessories yourself, have more fun with the whole process, and even learn something new.

  Unfortunately, the only electronic device that I have besides my laptop and T.V.(and other things like an old, hand-me-down MP3, which I love) is my phone, so all my pictures and videos will have to be stored here. I don’t have much memory left, so I’ll have to consider either buying another memory card, a cheap camcorder, or erasing some pictures and videos. Whatever must be done, will be done.

  Anyways, I think I’ve managed to cram all of my excitement into this post, and will keep everyone updated as the date draws near and on the day itself.

  If you have any ideas or suggestions(such as cosplay or camera or budgeting tips and more), I’d love to hear them! Wish me luck.

Barnes & Noble- I Salute You

  Today I decided to withdraw from my little piece of comfort, joy, solitude, and hermit-like state of living so that I could “cruise the town” and hopefully stumble upon a hidden spring of information and inspiration. My first stop? A quick bite to eat at a Wendy’s from their dollar menu- unfortunately or not, I hate spending a lot of money on takeout; I love cooking my own meals, as well as indulging every once in a while and stuffing my mouth with salty French Fries and a bacon cheese burger.

  I finished my meal and exited the building quickly. I still had no idea what I was going to do or where I was going to go, so I got in my car and sat there for a few minutes before having the genius idea to visit a place that I really love more than any other place. Barnes & Noble.

  Being able to look at so many books in one place fascinates me, which makes the library my second favorite place. Not only do they have a lot of books, but the variety is great! I have to admit for all of you manga/anime fans out there that they’re a little shabby in the manga and anime department, yet other than that, the selection is fantastic. They do tend to over price their books, movies, music, etc.,(to give you an example of what I mean, a series of only 13 episodes cost approximately $50- crazy, right?) but I know that business is business.

  Even though I was on a very limited budget, I think I managed to waste more money on gas then on anything I actually bought; which happened to be a sketch book for $3.

  I really love how helpful the majority of the staff is whenever I go there- they answer any questions you ask, show you certain areas you were looking for, suggest certain things if you’re not sure what it is you want, and much more(probably because it’s their job). I even love their mini-coffee area. I’m a huge coffee lover– I just can’t get enough of the Mocha Moolatte from Dairy Queen(it could be the fact that I like to save my money and freelance writing doesn’t exactly have a stable or fixed income), or the French Vanilla that I drink while writing. I know that caffeine causes Kidney Stones(these are “stones” that really can’t be seen and are excreted during urination. Some cases are so bad that before a person passes a Kidney Stone, they may become nauseated and throw up, faint, or even have horrible headaches. Drinking large amounts of caffeine on a daily basis will likely make this painful thing possible) and supposedly stunts growth, but I figure that I’m not going to grow anymore, so why not?

  About their shop- it’s like a café, and what’s better than a book store with a café in it? They even sell sweets and other consumable products.

  The only downside about Barnes & Noble is their somewhat lackadaisical “no reading the books or sitting down in an aisle” policy- which is basically ignored by the general population, which I find rude. Rules are made to be followed and obeyed, not broken. Oh well, most of the times, the occasional dedicated employee with kindly inform a rebellious visitor of the rules. I’ll be the first to admit that I do sometimes read part of a book while sitting down at a hidden table somewhere at the back of the café so as to not be seen until either a few minutes before closing, or someone finds me and scolds me in a polite way.

  Overall, the trip really made my day and I hope to go there again tomorrow to see what else piques my interest.