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.

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.

Sometimes You Can’t Help but Overhear Those Awkward Conversations

  Have you ever been told the following excuses by your ride home, friend or family member, or boyfriend/girlfriend: “Five more minutes”, “I’ll be out in a minute”, and “Yes, I was a pyromaniac”?

  What was that last one about? If you’ve ever been subjected to sitting next to that one person who just won’t stop talking to someone over the phone during breakfast, lunch, and dinner, then you know the situation that I’m about to describe.

  I was stuck next to my friend J.(I’ll call them this for their comfort and want of privacy) at Chili’s. I don’t usually splurge on fancy meals since I’m on a limited and radical budget, but that night was special. J. was engaged to her boyfriend from high-school– which was unexpected but welcomed with a whole lot of congratulations and hugs.

  She generously proclaimed that the tab would be better off in her hands, considering the fact that we were going to share the “2-for-$20” special. I was hesitant to let the bride-to-be pay for my food, but after a few minutes of light arguing, I gave up and let her have her way.

  I was enjoying the steak that she’d recommended for me to try, when I heard the unmistakable buzz of a phone in action followed by what was most definitely “Taion”, her favorite song by a sensational Japanese band known as The GazettE. No, it really isn’t the newspaper. Google or Bing it if you’re into the JPop(Japanese pop) scene– you’ll get a whole lot of results.

  She apologized several times, answered the call, and subjected me to over an hour of broken up conversation between her quoting my words to our friend H.(privacy, once again), and telling me what H.’s replies were, along with their own conversation.

  What I didn’t expect(besides J.’s announcemen) was for H. to suddenly bring up a strange topic. “So,” H. began energetically, “have you guys done it yet?”

  I tried not to choke on the lemonade that I had ordered and been slowly working at diminishing. For the next thirty minutes, I listened to the details exchanged between J. and H. It stunned me how she could just give away all those things– and in public, nonetheless.

  Other topics such as the death of the dog Inomise, turtle Simon, opinions on piercings, candy apples, wedding rings and dresses, and a few words on politics were also covered as I awkwardly sat there in silence and finished the last of my steak. An attitude towards pyromania was also discussed, strangely enough.

  It might’ve been the most horrific display of etiquette in the history of horrible etiquette; but that brief encounter with my dusty and never-before-discovered violent side that almost made me reach across the table and snatch that phone gave me this opportunity to channel my frustration and embarrassment into something more productive.

  I silently thank both H. and J. for teaching me a valuable lesson: Sometimes, you’ve just got to sit there and deal with it.

“Rating of the Day”

  The rating of “Most Liked Song by a Visual Kei Band” for today is awarded to The GazettE with their song “INSIDE BEAST.”

  My reasoning for the selection of this particular song performed and made by one of the tens of thousands of visual kei bands is simple: it sums up the nature of human beings and puts it in a catchy song with amazing instrumental and vocal skills.

  For those of you who haven’t heard the song before, I’ll give you an insight. “INSIDE BEAST” was made and released in 2013 from the album “BEAUTIFUL DEFORMITY.” The songs seems to focus on the horrible monster that lurks within us all, whether we are aware of it or not. Light BDSM scenes are shown, revealing to us the physical horrors of people– in this particular part, the percussionist is involved in an S&M scene, posing as the sadist. This can be translated as the way he may abuse the drums while performing.

  Self-destruction is shown in another by the burning of a self-portrait of one band member.

  Another member of the band is dancing with a partner. He then proceeds to thrust her onto a couch, where she lays motionless. This may be interpreted as an action of discarding someone or something once it’s purpose has been lost.

  The lead singer is personified as two people: the “inside beast” to which the lyrics refer, and the outside self which is presented to the world. A pipe is depicted in the room of the less stable representation of the singer, leading one to believe that it’s a mind-altering substance.

  It sounds like a rude awakening to those of us who want to run away from what we know is our weakness. The truth is entailed in genius lyrics and symbolism.

  RATE: 5/5 stars awarded to this song. (*****).

  Please feel free to leave a comment on what you thought about this review. A link below should give you the options of websites on which to view this music video and listen to the song.