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.

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.

 

Is This Interesting?

  I’ve been sharing a few of my works(unfortunately, they’re not published) here lately, and I’m wondering what you think. Below, I’ll provide a small sample from something I’m currently working on, so please let me know and you’ll make my day.

  “It’s Worse than Intoxication”
Chapter 1:Rock ‘n Roll Legend

  Luke puckered his lips and rested the cigarette between them. He took a long, deep swig of the addictive nicotine product and parted his lips again to blow the smoke out from his lungs as best as he could.

  A hand rested on his shoulder, causing him to flick the live cigarette butt away from his grasp and incline his head slightly to view Derek, the leader of “the pack”, as he often called himself.

  “I thought you quit.” He said briefly, moving his surprisingly gentle hands away from Luke’s shoulder so that he could help him stand up.

  Luke shrugged slightly and dusted off his clothes. He flashed Derek a “where’s Kami and the others” look, which consisted of a sideways, narrow-eyed glance and a wild air guitar riff with his hands followed by an energetic and violent session of banging on a set of air drums.

  Derek chuckled and moved one shoulder up, then down in a half-hearted shrugging motion. “Dunno. Last I saw them, Kami was flirting with some girls, and Jun and Mark were just practicing. Don’t worry, we’re not on for another 30 minutes and there’s no way in hell that they’ll be late.”

  “Yeah,” Luke said while sticking a hand in his coat pocket to search for another cigarette, “That’s ‘cus if they ruin this, you’ll lop their heads off and sell them on the black market.” He groaned with displeasure at the absence of a thin, orange and white object between his oddly full lips, but shook the feeling as soon as he noticed Derek’s hawk-like stare.

  “Have you rehearsed at all?” Derek asked nonchalantly, mentally waving off the look of disappointment and rage that Luke had practically thrown at him.

  “More than you.” Luke sang out, his voice making Derek wince and cringe as if in pain.

  “This is why I’m the singer…” Derek grudgingly muttered under a soft breath.

I Don’t Like the Screaming

  My mom once asked me if I liked heavy metal, which I thought was odd since she knew all about my strongly worded music genre preferences.

  “Do you like this kind of music?” She had asked while changing the radio station in the car and landing on one in the middle of a famous Metallica song.

  I stared at her. Why would I, a teenage girl(at the time of this event I was 16 years old), enjoy heavy metal of all things? I used to be so close-minded. In my head, heavy metal was a group of men headbanging to subliminal messages about drugs, violence, and death, and screaming incoherent lyrics at the audience and one another.

  “No,” I stated firmly, almost as if I were cross with such an indignant inquiry, “I don’t like it– it’s stupid. All they do is scream.”

  A soft and dramatic gasp came from beside me. I plastered my face against the window to try to see where the cars had crashed, ambulance had rushed by with an odd silence, or cat had been run over. Instead, I saw a normal road ahead and no horrible incidents. I turned to face her.

  “Get the cassette.” The answer came with gentleness. I groaned, but obediently did as told and pulled out an old, unnamed cassette from within a compartment and slid it into the old-fashioned player.

  Several alarming sputtering noises later, we were listening to what I claimed as “one of the best songs of all time.”

  My mom smiled slightly as I came to a pride-damaging realization.

  “Er, this isn’t… Queensryche, is it?” I asked, dreading the answer which I knew was to come.

  “Yes, it is! This song is ‘Silent Lucidity’. What do you think? Heavy metal isn’t all screams, is it?”

  I sighed in defeat and nodded in agreement. “I like it.”

  Since then, I’ve opened my mind– and now I listen to all sorts of songs from everywhere! And I’ve come to respect heavy metal– even with the screams; but rap, that’s something else, altogether.

Weekly Song Quiz #1

  I’m not sure about you, but I like mind teasers. Music, book, poem, movie and other quizzes are so much fun and they keep the mind sharp.

  Can anyone guess(without cheating, of course) what song this is, and who it’s by?

  “Where were you, when I was hurt and broken?”

  Good luck. If no one can guess it, I’ll update this post and add another hint.

Top 25 Songs I Recommend for the Open-Minded

  I’ve decided to make a list of songs that I believe to be exceptional. It could be because of the lyrics, meaning, rhythm and beat, or vocals. Not all of them will be American(English) songs– some will be Japanese, Spanish, or Instrumentals. I hereby present you with my compilation.

  1.)The Invisible Wall(by The GazettE). This song is partly in English, and some Japanese. I found it hard to understand most of the English with Ruki’s(the lead singer) accent unfortunately, but you can always look up the lyrics. It’s more on the heavy metal side of things and presents an air of truth about the ugliness of human nature.

  2.)Safe and Sound(by Capital Cities). This song falls under the “pop” and most likely “old themed” genre. The rhythm is upbeat and the lyrics state that no matter what happens, they’ll be “safe and sound.”

  3.)Wheel in the Sky(by Bon Jovi). This is an older song, but the vocals are amazing.

  4.)Hate Me(by Blue October). I love this song– the message that Blue October depicted through these lyrics was something that everyone can relate to at one time: the loss of someone who that person loved, and all the things that he/she wished they could’ve done right.

  5.)Like a G6(by Far East Movement). I don’t necessarily understand the lyrics, but the tune is just so catchy that I find myself singing along whenever I hear it.

  6.)Siempre Juntos(by Romo ONE ft. Eikem). This song is in Spanish. For those us of who speak and understand the Spanish language, then we know what the title means; but if you have difficulty with it, the title means “Together Forever.” I love the meaning– the singer talks about how he loves this woman so much, and even if she passes away, he’ll always love her. Listening to it makes my teary most of the times.

  7.)Bittersweet Symphony(by The Verve). The violins and other instruments are great. I love how the vocals and instruments work so well together in this particular song.

  8.)Reila(by The GazettE). Yes, another Japanese song, and by the same band nonetheless. The lyrics convey the message of losing a loved one. In the PV(music video), you see memories of the band about a girl. It is later found out that “Reila” has committed suicide. The last lyric line, when translated into English, says the following: “You’ll come back to me tomorrow, right?” There are numerous rumors surrounding whether or not “Reila” was a real person.

  9.)100 Years(by Five for Fighting). I love the meaning of this song, which has to do with the life of any person and how they spend their time. It states “when you only got 100 years to live.”

  10.)Blow Me Away(by Breaking Benjamin). Vocals are more than amazing. I loved every aspect of this piece.

  11.)Madness(by Muse). Techno mixed with more great vocals is just the best combination. The lyrics also have an appreciated meaning.

  12.)Enjoy the Silence(by Depeche Mode). Another old song, and definitely a classic. It has “good vibrations”, as some might describe it(that statement is in now way to be considered offensive).

  13.)Everybody Wants to Rule the World(by Tears for Fears). Here we have another classic. The rhythm is an A plus.

  14.)You Get What You Give(by New Radicals). The tune is so very catchy, and the lyrics generalize our need to feel accepted.

  15.)Demons(by Imagine Dragons). I’m a huge fan of this band. Almost every song that they’ve released has been a big hit with me, this one especially. It was based off of someone with cancer, who has since passed.

  16.)It’s Not Over(by Daughtry). Lyrics– heart touching. The singer states the following in one part: “this love is killing me, but it’s the only one– it’s not over”, and “when you slammed the front door shut, a lot of others opened up” in another place.

  17.)Midnight City(by M83). It consists of pure techno and a few inaudible words in the background– but I listen to it for the awesome beat.

  18.)Time(by Pink Floyd). It states how time seems to fly, and “you run and you run to catch up with the sun, but its sinking” and “shorter of breath and one day, closer to death.”

  19.)Fall Apart(by John Wilson). This is a Christian/any religion song that’s based on an experience of coming to God. I like the lyrics and vocal work.

  20.)In the End(by Linkin Park). I’m also a big fan of Linkin Park, as they often get into all sorts of subjects that anyone can relate to.

  21.)Masquerade(by Versailles). A Japanese band that’s “theatrical”, to say the least. Part of the reason for the list title including “open-mindedness” is that a few of the songs are out of the ordinary. Versailles has several songs worth listening to.

  22.)Mysterious Ways(by U2). I love the beat and the entirety of the song.

  23.)Sail(by AWOLNATION). I like the music and vocals– the lyrics are good, too.

  24.)Breakeven(by The Script). This song is more on the soft side. The meaning includes how when two people move in different directions, the pain is never equal.

  25.)Sleeping with a Friend(by Neon Trees). I don’t necessarily agree with the lyrics, but the vocals and beat is very catchy and something easy to sing along to.

  Well, that wraps up this list. If there’s a song that you love and feel that I should listen to, leave a comment and I’ll definitely check it out. Also, if you have another list preference or suggestion, I’ll look over it and do some research.

Words Like Music

  Music, just like writing, is a combination of the right words into something that works and attracts the attention of the listener. A paragraph or two accompanied by two or three chorus lines forms a song. There are several songs in an album.

  Music is another way of self-expression. I find it truly amazing how some of the most beautiful and touching music is composed by a man who was deaf: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. He was truly a musical genius.

  A few songs that are released on the radio nowadays actually have a meaning to them that appeal to those of us who seek something more from the vocalists of bands and a subtle, yet catchy beat.

  So this article will be all about those songs that touch our hearts or portray a message that we enjoy. I’ll ask for your opinions about new songs, old songs, classics, and anything else that has to do with the musical world.

  This may be considered an odd classical to start out with, but an orchestra that not only won several awards, but also impressed me greatly is the theme music of “Jurassic Park.”

  As for songs with lyrics, I really like all sorts of genres. Rock, R&B, Blues, Jazz, Heavy Metal, Glam Rock, Country, and all the other categories there are.

  Music can affect each and every one of us differently– some people just see music as a song, while others tend to search for the meanings. It’s up to you and your point of view, really. What exactly is music to you, and how does or doesn’t it change certain aspects of your point of view or life?

Visual Kei- All the Categories and Tips

  Visual Kei– when referring to the musical aspect, it covers various genres, but resorts to mainly heavy metal, glam rock, and punk rock.

  On to the “visual” part of Visual Kei. Hair, makeup, wardrobe, and accessories, all are very important aspects of this popular cultural significance.

  First, we’ll go step by step through the explanation and process.

  Makeup. Depending on what level of visualization we’re talking about, the makeup will vary, though not by much extremity. The makeup will consist of a light foundation(and if you would like to achieve a pale look, then I suggest skin lighteners) of about one or more layers, eyeliner, eye shadow, and lipstick. Usually, darker colors will be used; blacks, browns, and deep reds are basic. However, lighter colors may be used.

  Hair. Flamboyant, messy, long, short, blond(e), pink, blue, curly– it all goes. The style of hair is normally very choppy, with numerous layers of different lengths, and sometimes even colors. Sometimes it’s parted to one side, with the ear exposed. This can be done by simply cutting strands of hair to a length just above the ear.

  Accessories. Part of this appealing category depends less heavily upon rings, necklaces, chokers, nail art, fake glasses, hair clips, bracelets, jewels, piercings, etc. A wide array of things may be used to enhance the look.

  Wardrobe. Very flippant clothes are used. Dark clothing, customized shoes, and striking blouses are a few examples.

  Subgenres. “Visual Kei” has many different branches, some influenced by lolita goth, a popular version of goth that consists of an alternative cutesy style with all the morbidity and black color. Both have influenced each other in some way.

  The first category is known as “Angura Kei”, which is characterized by more traditional clothing. It’s from the time of about 1960. Kimonos are frequently used.

  “Eroguro Kei” puts its focus on eroticism, sexual corruption, and decadence. Although many people associate it with an inappropriate subject, “Guro Kei”(the shortened name for this category) actually depicts things more on a bloody, gore-filled scale.

  “Kote Kei” apparently consists of the following idea and/or goal: seeking the bizarre. Blood, roses, crosses, and corruption are the known imaging.

  “Oshare Kei” is a much lighter form of the usual Visual Kei preferences which includes neon colored clothing, very light makeup(if any such as eyeliner and face paints), and happy messages in songs. Bright colors are used in the hair, as well as different colored contacts.

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