Local Inspiration

  Hopefully, I’ll soon be heading to downtown McAllen to gather some inspiration. I’ll be taking my notebook along to jot down some quick ideas.

  My goal is to make a compilation of the things that I’m generally interested in so that I can create my own unique style within that of Japanese street fashion.

  Does anyone have any suggestions such as stores, accessories, or things for which I should keep my eye out? I would also love to hear in what fashion genre you’re interested and what you do when searching for an outfit to expand your wardrobe.

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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!

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!

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Domo- Skeleton version.

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

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A set of cards for my Uncle.

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Ciel and Eevee pins.

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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!

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.

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  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.

Vlogging(Video Blogging)

  Ok, so to all of those who tolerate my rants– thank you very much– I have a question to ask. I want to start a vlog. It doesn’t necessarily have to be professional or anything like that, but would any of you have pointers or basic things to start off with?

  I would like to start on YouTube, but if there are websites and/or apps out there that are specifically for vlogs, that would also be helpful.

  Topics. I want to cover a wide variety of things from makeup tutorials to reviews, upcoming things in the media area, and everyday things.

  Materials. I’m thinking about using my phone or webcam on the laptop I own to create the videos.

  Location. My room would be the first choice, but if you know of a better place, such as outside, please let me know.

  Budget. I’m willing to spend $20-50 on whatever things are needed to improve my vlog and reach out to the targeted group.

  Targeted Group. I’m fascinated by the Japanese culture, so I may try to appeal to the Japanese culture in fashion.

  Please leave comments and suggestions. I need a little bit of help with this, so any advice/tips will be appreciated. Thank you.

“DETAILED” Coverage on the Visual Kei Fashion Statement

  This is my second post about the ever-popular subject that has spread from the proud nation of Japan to many other countries, cultures, and ethnicities around that brightly colored globe: VISUAL KEI– complete with the in-depth secrets, tips, and examples of clothing and jewelry that will draw you into this vast category of fashion.

  The problem with most blogs or informative articles(I mean no harm or offense to your trusted sources, whatever they might be) displayed on the internet such as “WikiHow” and “Yahoo!Answers” is always the exact same thing. That, sadly enough, would be actual examples of the clothing in action!

  Sure, there are pretty helpful 12 step tips out there waiting for you to read them– I’ve read my fair share of “How to be Visual Kei” and “How to Dress Visual Kei” articles– but they’ll likely leave you with a load of important questions that just have to be answered.

  In case you haven’t read anything like this, I’ll provide you with a four-step example of a vague, and somewhat useless informative paragraph below in bold.

  “How to Dress Visual Kei– 4 steps” 1.)Visual Kei involves dark colors, unless you’re involved with Kote Kei, also known as Kote Kote Kei, 2.)You should be creative, 3.)Add lots of jewelry, 4.)Be fun.

  If you’re an intuitive person, these four simple steps could easily provide you with all/any information you need to jump right into your closet and throw a bold, layered, and sometimes complex outfit together; however, if you’re not that kind of person, then you might need an example or two.

  Now, to those of you who have the mentality that you have to copy any outfits or accessories I present to, there’s no need to fret– it’s just an example. Just because I may like and suggest cross jewelry doesn’t mean you must buy necklaces or bracelets. It’s all about you, yourself, and your preferences.

  Nails. Nail art isn’t for everyone, and there’s by no means anything wrong with fake nails. Depending on your fashion sense and how extreme you might be, nail art will always vary. If you were gloves, you might not want to paint your nails. Half-gloves expose your fingers– they might also come in handy if you live in a really hot region, like gloves and want to tie it into your look, and don’t want to have a heat stroke.
If you like cutesy nails, something like this has variety AND can easily match black, white, red, pink, and brown articles of clothing or any accessories you may want to wear.

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If sophisticated or gothic nails are to your liking, then maybe something like this would be for you.

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There are MANY different types of nail designs, feel free to pick out some that you like or paint them however you wish. Remember, there’s no right or wrong in Visual Kei.

  Accessories: Rings. While I like to designate at least two rings to each hand, you might not like that many, or any at all. The color of any gem ring doesn’t have to match your outfit. Chain rings, flowers, skulls, crosses, whatever you’re comfortable with displaying on your fingers.

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  Necklaces. Chokers are very popular amongst many people, and not all have spikes. If that type of jewelry isn’t your style, then try something calmer, like a chain or maybe a heart. Whatever goes, and if you want to put together a matching outfit, then keep in mind the basic color pallet you’ve given yourself. You can wear more than one necklace, or none at all. One is fine, too.

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  Bracelets. There are all types of wrist wear. Crystal, chain, latch, ribbon, beaded, weaved, all are various styles for you to find and try out. Adding a bracelet might give you an extra splash of color to show your style, or you could just like that particular piece of jewelry.

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  Earrings. If you don’t have any piercings on your ears, and either don’t want to get one or aren’t allowed, clip-on earrings are an option. If you have the standard piercings(which would be the ones on both of the earlobes) then choose some earrings that you like and go nuts. There’s nothing the matter with mismatched earrings, either. For those of you with “cartilage” piercings(this is a piercing on the upper part of your ear), using ball earrings is more common, or a miniature hoop. Cuff earrings are also in demand, though not necessary. Below is a diagram of the different types of earrings available to those who want/are allowed to have their ears pierced as they please.

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  Clothing: Your Visual Kei inspirations. Start off by looking up some people who’re also into Visual Kei. They don’t have to be famous, but someone widely known such as a Visual Kei band would be a great inspirational source. Thoroughly examine their various outfits, jewelry, hairstyle, and makeup to get a good feel of the general air. Take the band member “Uruha” of “The GazettE” as one of the simpler and more basic role models.

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Making the outfit may be difficult for those of us on a limited budget, but if you can afford to go ALL out, then I won’t stop you from ordering this from Cosplay sites in Japan, or even showing a picture of this to a professional who can make a replica; however, if you can’t afford the whole thing, there’s no need to fear, the solution is simple. Let’s say that you love this outfit and wish to own it or at least something almost exactly alike.
1.)Break down the outfit. As you can see, he’s wearing a black, straight laced corset over a black, collared button down shirt. He’s also wearing similarly colored pants, and a white vest outlined with black. Amazon offers a wide variety of half-corsets, white vests, and black blouses. Also, you can see a spikey bracelet on one of his wrists, accompanied by another bracelet with long pieces of string cascading down.
2.)Do research. Look up websites where the products are guaranteed as shown. Make sure you check every place, including stores near you. Remember, it doesn’t have to be exactly the same. What works for one of your inspirations might not work on you the same way. Be flexible. Read comments about the store or online store your visiting to make sure that the quality is good.
3.)Be patient. A lot of people are impatient and want the whole outfit at the same time. But you’ll probably have to acquire a “copied” outfit piece-by-piece over some period of time. Save up and spend wisely.

  Hair: Needed materials. Have you dreamed of having that messy, layered hair look? Find a picture of a hairstyle you like and show it to a barber or stylist you have faith in. Explain each detail of this style carefully and wait for them to finish. You’ll need a whole long list of things, depending on your choice: brushes, combs, dyes, gels, hair sprays, flat irons, curling irons, and hairpins. Taking care of your hairstyle is a commitment– you may even have to spend an extra hour or two in the mornings to get it exactly the way you want it. If you happen to get lazy, you still have a layered haircut to fall back on.

  Highlights. These will most definitely give you a desired look; but the downside to highlights is having to get them done almost every other week. Hair that has enhanced coloring will need special care. Temporary dye is also an option. It washes off when you shower, so you can have streaks of red, blue, purple, green, or whatever “hair chalk” or temporary dyes you have or like for a day.

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  Makeup: What you’ll want to have at your disposal. This is also a lengthy list– but it’ll pay off. Blush, eyeliners, eye shadows, lipsticks, foundation, powders, mascara, glosses, and lip liners.
Below, I’ll provide you with two pictures that help as examples.

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  Just match anything you want, refer to famous or nonfamous people, be yourself, and have fun with it. For any questions that you may have about anything relating to Visual Kei that I didn’t answer or you want specified, leave a question here or if you have Tumblr, my user name is the same as this website: ThatHelpfulPerson.

  I hope that this blog helped you and answered any questions you have/had.