japanesedream_72: (hyde)
Madison Square Garden, that is!

That’s where my brother, Johnathan, & I saw the NYC performance of L’Arc-en-Ciel’s 20th Anniversary World Tour on Sunday, March 25, 2012.


We were supposed to go with a couple of friends, who, for various reasons, were unable to make it. To them, & to my other friends who wished they could have been there – I dedicate this post.

Somewhere over the rainbow... )

Anyway, I want to get this posted, since it's 3 months overdue!

To see the full set of photos from the day, have a gander at my Facebook album:

Thanks for reading!
japanesedream_72: (kyo-love)
The subject line is Latin, meaning, "through the thorns to the stars" - http://www.latinsayings.info/search/label/Page%206.

Okay, you know how this stuff usually goes, but I'm gonna keep to the basics this time, skipping over the personal aspects in favour of covering the show itself, with a little of the fan experience thrown in.

And down the rabbit hole we go... )
japanesedream_72: (japan)
For anyone reading this who doesn't know me incredibly well, I'm not an obsessive stalker or anything. I'm just a bit of a fangirl who gets kind of excited over stuff. ^_^

For those of you who do know me, what follows will probably come as no surprise. XD

Being a lover of pretty much all things/people Japanese, it was only natural that, several years ago, the news of a nihon-jin winning the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest would eventually reach my ears & draw my attention. Over the next few years, Takeru Kobayashi's consistent winning of the "mustard belt" would make me a very happy Japanophile.

Likewise, his loss of the belt would render me, yes, a little bit sad, but certainly hopeful that he could come back & win it again. Until the fiasco last year, with that whole arrest thing. That just pissed me off.


For those who don't know about that: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/04/joey-chestnut-wins-hot-dog-contest_n_635124.html

It had long been a hope of mine to be able to watch Kobi, as he's known, in action, in the venue that made him famous in America. But that was not to be. I was planning, this year, to go with some friends to Coney Island (site of the famous - or infamous, depending on your POV - contest), anyway, just to see how it all goes down (no pun intended). Wasn't really expecting Kobi to show up or anything. However, thanks to Twitter, I found something even better.

By the way, I hope no one minds pictures or names being posted. If so, please tell me, & I will remove/edit accordingly.

Alice goes down the rabbit hole once again...click here for all the details! )
japanesedream_72: (japan)
Finally getting around to putting words to this awesome, awesome day known as Japan Day 2011!

And down the rabbit hole we go... )

But wait - the Japanese news did a report, too!


Last but not least, I made a wallpaper for my computer at work, as an ode to the occasion!



Oct. 16th, 2010 03:11 pm
japanesedream_72: (hyde)
Before reading about this year’s Vamps show, you may want to take a look at my write-up on last year’s:

Vamps - 11 July 2009 at the Fillmore/Irving Plaza, NYC

Flash forward now to 2010...

Ready, set, fly away! )
japanesedream_72: (hyde)
Before reading this report, PLEASE have a look at my account of this year’s Dir en grey show!


Next month, another of my J-rock loves, Vamps, are coming back to NY. I was fortunate enough to see them last year (http://japanesedream.livejournal.com/310947.html), but this time they’re playing a different venue. And anyone who’s known me for any length of time knows that if I’m unfamiliar with a venue, I’ve gotta go in early & do a “dry run”, so I’m not totally discombobulated the day of the show.

(Sorry, this entry might be a bit image-heavy for some of you.)

On to the land of roses...but first, to the bus station! )
japanesedream_72: (diru)
A note about the subject line: It's a play on Haiiro No Ginka, Dir en grey's newsletter. I don't have an exact translation for that, tho' I know it has to do with the colour grey, & possibly a feeling of gloom. Henko is, according to a translated quote from Kyo that I read on [livejournal.com profile] diru_tabloids, what they call strange children in Kyoto, where he comes from. And we are definitely strange children! XD

It was obvious that Dir en grey have some rabid fans in Toronto. As the five-piece Japanese band walked on stage, the screams coming from the crowd to greet them were quite impressive. I am ill-fitted to really wax-on about the songs Dir en grey played live, as my only experience with them as a band is the recently released live CD/DVD package ‘Uroboros’*. I recognized a few tracks from this live package during the band's performance...but for the most part, I was watching Dir en grey as a newbie.

Kyo's vocals throughout the hour long performance were pretty amazing. He can hit notes so menacingly low followed by ear piercing highs, it was hard NOT to be impressed by his singing. He’s a smallish fellow, but what he lacks in physical height, he more than makes up for in massive stage presence. As his band-mates belted out technically amazing song after song, Kyo twisted and bent in all directions as he belted out the lyrics to about a dozen Dir en grey songs. They were pretty damn awesome.

- Mike Bax, Lithium Magazine (in a review of the Toronto show, the first date on the 2010 North American tour)

*I am certain the “live package” to which Bax refers is “Uroboros - with the proof in the name of living - at Nippon Budokan”, as opposed to the studio album “Uroboros”; I will refer to the Budokan concerts later in this write-up.

I hope everyone has had a chance to check out my posts about the Monster-Mania convention:

Day 1 - http://japanesedream.livejournal.com/382408.html
Day 2 - http://japanesedream.livejournal.com/382836.html
Day 3 - http://japanesedream.livejournal.com/383075.html

But if that hadn’t been awesome enough, the 3-day horror-fest was quickly followed by my third Dir en grey concert! (24 Aug., 2010, Nokia Theatre, NYC.)

Down the rabbit-hole we go... )
japanesedream_72: (geisha)
Before I begin detailing our NYC adventure from Saturday, please refer to the map here, so you can follow our little hiking trail, as I reference the neighbourhoods we visited:


Also, I’m trying my hand at thumbnails with this post...

CRAP! The thumbs aren't working! They don't link to a larger photo! I know nothing of HTML, & my editing attempts yielded nothing worthwhile, so I'm just gonna include links to the larger versions. Sorry, guys. If anyone knows how to actually make it work, please let me know!

And now, on with the show... )
japanesedream_72: (Default)
Those were the top 3 questions I got when I first posted the notices about the holiday cruise.

Well, it's come & gone, & I guess we pulled it off okay (even if it almost killed me!). We found one or 2 tiny glitches to iron out for the future, but overall, I think everybody had a good time.

I'll try & do a bit of a write-up on it soon, but for now, here are a few photographic highlights:

Won't you let me take you on a sea cruise? Me, Matt, & my mom in front of the boat. Due to cancellations, & was able to bring her, too!

Room with a view. This was actually on the other side of the dining room, but there was so much to see, I took pictures out of every window - all from my seat! The zoom on this camera is great.

There she goes... We stopped by a few sights, like the Statue of Liberty. I got LOTS of shots of that, at various angles & distances. We got to go out on the observation deck for those.

No, it's not the 3 Stooges, or even the 3 Musketeers, it's me, Mattie, & my mom. Oh, & that Liberty chick. Photo by Jessica, from Sales. EDIT: She took 3 shots of us, & since my face looks weird in that one, I thought I should post the other 2.

Point of entry. Ellis Island, where some of my ancestors (& probably, some of yours) came into the country, many moons ago.

In a New York state of mind... The Brooklyn Bridge - we went under it!

So much to see! Another scenic shot, featuring the Empire State Building.

Doppelganger! There was another boat from the same cruise line touring at the same time as us. But I think they were from the NY side, & ours was from the Jersey side.

Oh yeah, there's a party going on... I took so many photos of the scenery, it took me a while to remember to take some of the people! Here are a few of my co-workers, gettin' their groove on.

Death goes dancing. I still felt like hell, but Ashley & Sherry pulled me up on the dance floor anyway, just for a minute or 2. Which was long enough for Heriberto to snap this photo. Just so you all know, I cannot dance to save my life. I'm happier in a mosh pit, to be honest!
japanesedream_72: (shinya)
The day DEFINITELY ended on a much better note than the one on which it started. Now I'm kinda back to feeling sick, & feeling a LOT like a tool.

But I'm really, really happy.

Find out why! )
japanesedream_72: (gackt)

This is the theatre where we're going to see Diru next month. Plenty of places in the vicinity for food & lavatories. Which is especially helpful if you plan to sit in line for 6 or 7 hours.

It was very easy to locate, & there is some lovely architecture nearby. A church stands just across the street from the subway when you arrive on 23rd St. (& right next to the subway we'll have to take back). Here is a close-up of the archway. There was also the clock tower, on the same part of the block as the theatre. Once I got back to the Times Square area & hit my haunts, I took a slightly different route back to get to the subway (just on a whim; I'll be doing the usual the day of the show), & found this hotel. Groovy, ne?

While I forgot to stop in Sephora to get the make-up I'd run out of (I'm doing okay with my stand-in stuff, but I'll have to hit Menlo Park one of the weekends before the show, 'cuz that mall & the City are the only places where I can get it), but had a nice time looking around Kinokuniya & Book Off. There was a lot of stuff I'd have liked to buy, but things were SOOOOO expensive! They had some DVD's, live stuff from Diru & Vamps & a Hyde 'best of + concert video' set, all of which cost WAY too much, esp. when I'm saving my money for the Diru show. Thought I might find some CD's, but no joy. They still had Vamps' "Evanescent" single in Kinokuniya, but I still think $12 is too much to pay for 2 songs, one of which I already have. I was hoping something like the Kozi solo stuff or Gackt's "Crescent" might show up, but no sign of the former. The latter, they had on what might have been vinyl or some kind of album-sized laser-disc (it was in a case, so I couldn't tell; I just saw the word 'digital' on there), but I didn't know if I could play it or even afford it. They had "Machine Girl", but since I haven't seen it yet, I didn't know if it was worth $20. I found a cheap copy of "Pistol Opera" in Book Off, which I've been wanting to see for years - the visuals are so bold! - but it was a Japanese print, & I didn't think it had subtitles. They also had the "Moon Child" special edition, the DVD + commemorative book (I'm assuming it's the photobook I've swiped seen so many pics of on the 'net), but I already have the movie, & I didn't want to shell out $40 for the set. And that's to say nothing of the pretty, black & white Goth-Loli dress I saw in Kinokuniya...$375!!! Unless that thing has been on Mana's body, ain't no way I'm shelling out that much for any garment.

Looked at a few interesting books, too. There was a whole rack with J-zines featuring Gackt, for some reason. I know he's popular, & is in a lot of them, but so many at once! If only I could read better...they're a bit too pricey just to look at pretty pictures (pretty as he is, lol). Anywho, as per my M.O., checked out the GL Bible section; looks like they got a new issue (33, I think they're up to), & of course, Mana-sama was in it. Oddly enough, so was Courtney Love! (Understand, I adore Courtney, but it was really weird seeing her in that particular publication.) Also found a book called "Tokyo Gaikokujin" (Tokyo Foreigners), with pictures of the Japanese domeciles of foreign-born residents. There were Americans, Indians, all sorts. (*is jealous*) It was all in Japanese, so I couldn't tell too much about it (it was also expensive). Another book had these little cartoons, & it was written in both English & Japanese. Really funny stuff! It was called "You know you've been in Japan too long..." Strangely, a couple of the things in there already apply to me! I also learned there is a term for what I am: a henna gaijin. Gaijin or Gaikokujin means 'foreigner', but a henna gaijin is a 'wannabe Japanese'. And I definitely wanna be!

I'm always a bit sad & envious, but moreso sad, when I'm in those places, because my knowledge is so lacking. Even the things I can read seem overwhelming, 'cuz there's so MUCH that I can only glance at things (or I'd be there all night!), & what I can read, I have to read VERY slowly. But it gets balanced out by how comfortable I am there, & I just keep telling myself, "Someday." I hope I'm not lying to myself.

In any case, a gaijin dude I'd seen in one of the aisles at Kinokuniya recognised me when he saw me later in Book Off. I didn't get a chance to check the upstairs manga section at Book Off (I can't remember if they have English stuff up there or if it's all Japanese; I usually spend most or all of my time there mired in music & movies), but I couldn't find any Banana Fish. I did find out, though (at home, not in the City), that "Monster" might start showing on Sci-Fi/Syfy next week (they do Anime on Monday nights). Toshie said that's pretty good.

I got to use a little practical Japanese, though, in Chiyoda Sushi, where I absolutely had to go (after passing up buying the Kill Bill set for $14 - I might be able to get them cheaper in Princeton), as I hadn't eaten since breakfast & it was nearly dinner time, so I was getting a bit dizzy. They're really nice in there. Had a lovely meal of brown rice, pumpkin tempura, & these mixed vegetable batter-cooked thingies (not tempura, though; I don't know what you'd call them), with Calpis (a sort of milky soda) to drink. Picked up some foods for home, too - dorayaki (bean paste-filled wheat cake), daifuku (sort of marshmallowy things), hijiki onigiri (a rice/seaweed thing; hijiki is, I think, brown rice & dark seaweed), burdock with carrots & sesame seeds (burdock is some kind of root; I usually get either that or lotus root when I go there, whichever is available), & a dinner bowl of whitefish & other assorted yummy things over white rice. Oh, & another bottle of Calpis.

After that, it was back Penn Station to catch the train. I lucked out, 'cuz it started boarding 10 minutes early. I'd brought a book with me (Koji Suzuki's "Dark Water"), so I got in some reading on the way there & back.

And that was my day.
japanesedream_72: (tired)
Made it to the San Gennaro Festival today/Saturday, which was a lot of fun!

Up early, got ready. Wore the same outfit as I’d planned for last weekend, when we were originally supposed to go (things came up & we had to cancel), except with my hair up this time. Managed to get a few things done before meeting Allison at the bus station. (We took the bus 'cuz it costs the same as the train, but you don't have to pay for parking.)

It was a nice ride, & I saw some things/places I hadn't seen before. Even Port Authority (the NYC bus station), I'd never been to, as I've always taken the train, so that was new, as well. Took a couple of different subway lines, too. Learning something new all the time.

Before the Italian festival, however, we decided to grab a light lunch (I love Italian food, but it tends to be somewhat heavy, & my digestive system has been a bit disagreeable of late). Thought we'd try Sushi Mambo, a Japanese restaurant which we'd seen on our previous excursion. Unfortunately, they didn't have the bento lunch special (apparently, that's only on weekdays), but we got something very nice in lieu of that. Allison had the Oyako-don, while I opted for the Nabeyaki Udon. I'd have gone for a donburi dish like hers, but I really wanted to try those naruto kamaboko (steamed fish cakes, spiral-patterned, like in Uzumaki)! It was great, lots of big chunks of veggies...nice, warm broth (the morning was chilly)...they bring it to you in a hot-pot, with the bowl on the side. I just wish I could master the art of eating udon with chopsticks. O.o *someday*

After lunch, walked down to Mulberry St., where the main part of the festival was. Took about 15 minutes (maybe less). We were now in Little Italy, another part of the City I'd never been to. The place was packed! The streets were decorated with banners & such, marking the festival, as well as Italian & US flags. On either side of the street were stands & stalls, almost all of them food-related. There were also games & prizes (like the kind you'd see at the boardwalk as a kid), a few vendors here & there, along with outdoor dining areas for the local Italian eateries. There was just about every kind of Italian food known to man there: lots of pasta, sausage, pizza, calzone, & desserts galore - cakes, cookies, biscotti, cannoli, zeppole, gelato...even deep-fried Oreos!

Walked up & down Mulberry (seemed like a really long street!) & Mott (these were the 2 main streets of the festival), looking at all the goodies, which also included some rides for the kids. There was an 'attraction', like the old freak shows, advertising a 'snake girl' (part human, part serpent), but we didn't go in.

As Little Italy & Chinatown overlap a bit, & I'd always wanted to see Chinatown, too (particularly the oft-spoken of Canal Street), Allison was kind enough to walk me around both sections, watching me be a total tourist as I snapped shots of cool buildings in the area & bits of Chinatown that caught my eye.

Back to Little Italy, where we had some sorbetto (more of a sorbet, whereas gelato is like ice cream). She had something fruity - was it raspberry? - & I had coconut. We walked up to the church where they had the San Gennaro shrine outside, & inside, they house the statue of the saint, which is paraded through the streets on the feast day. It turned out to be much better that we didn't go last week, ‘cuz Saturday (19 Sept.) was the actual saint’s day, & were able to see the procession of the statue, which we wouldn’t have caught otherwise.

Our friend & former co-worker, Glen, had been attending Rosh Hashanah services uptown, but he called Allison to say he had a couple of free hours, so we met him where he'd gotten off the subway & took him down to the festival. I bought a couple of t-shirts denoting the occasion (1 for me, 1 for my mom), while Glen got some pizza & Allison shared her water with me. It was starting to get warm! Even the weather was on our side.

Heading into the afternoon, we watched the procession of the San Gennaro statue (I took video clips, too - there was a band playing, which did an upbeat, semi-jazzy rendition of "When The Saints Go Marching In" with trumpets). Got some zeppole (deep-fried dough with powdered sugar, kind of like donuts, but a little chewier, & hollow) & shared that as we walked back with Glen to the subway station, where we saw him off.

Allison & I then went back to the festival to buy cannoli. They had this one stall with these cute little 'baby' cannoli, in new & interesting flavours. I got an original, a mint chocolate chip, & the Almond Lovejoy (almond & coconut). One of the ones she got was pumpkin pie, I'll have to ask her how that tasted! Afterward, we walked around for a bit, hunting down a particular stall that had a good deal on regular-sized cannoli, which we'd promised a couple of people at work we'd bring back for them (we saved some zeppole, too, since we'd promised those to others). Found it at last, bought the snacks (I made a quick call to my mom at this point), & headed back to catch the subway ourselves.

While walking Glen to the subway, we'd passed a little Chinese shop that had those parasols hanging, the pretty, Asian ones which everybody seems to have but no one seems to sell. Well, on our way back, we stopped there, & they actually sold them! I got a very nice green one at a very reasonable price.

Caught our train, made our way back to the bus station, & just managed to snag the 6:30 bus! Parted ways at the bus station back in Jersey, after which I drove my very tired butt back home. Snarfed my cannoli, called my mom to detail the day, & took a much-needed nap.

Not planning on doing much of anything tomorrow!
japanesedream_72: (gingersnaps)
Where to start?

Summer in the City... )

Is this a horror flick or a disaster movie? )

The coming of the red & the black... )

Yeah, I know, it's a LOT. I just hope I haven't forgotten any details!! XD
japanesedream_72: (hyde)
It’s been a long, tiring, enjoyable weekend.

Saturday started off pretty crappily. I’d wanted to go to bed a little early, get up early, & do a few things before meeting up with Allison & Glen. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to sleep until around 4:30 in the morning, with my alarm set for 6:30. Naturally, I said to heck with the alarm, but still only slept until 8:30. It was already getting humid when I woke up, which means my hair decided it was gonna do crap-all except go super-frizzy, so I opted for a little braid-work. Then I couldn’t figure out what to wear - nothing looked or felt quite right. After, at last, finding something remotely do-able, I managed to get to the bank, the shoe repair shop (my mom fixed the teeth on my one boot, but it still needs a new zipper, which the shoe-man said he could do - it’s a tad pricey, but I’ll have my favourite shoes again!), a quick jaunt to the grocery store for a few necessities (where I saw Gerald from work - or, rather, he saw me), then back home for a quick chat with my brother (Johnathan; my mom was out shopping) before leaving to catch the train.

Allison & I had coordinated beforehand, so we were able to catch the train into the City together. Took the subway downtown, to Christopher Street in the Village, where we met Glen at a little pizza shop, & chatted up a storm while we grabbed a bite to eat.

After that, we walked down to Hudson River Park, which is beautiful! It’s a long pier with little grassy areas, places to sit, & large, tent-like structures for shade, right on the Hudson River. You can see sailboats & the Circle Line ferry-cruiser coasting by, & the Statue of Liberty in the distance. We sat on the steps, chatting, enjoying the view & each other’s company.

I was able to get a few photos & possibly a snippet of video of this lovely place, before my camera up & clunked on me. I thought it might be the batteries - even though they were freshly charged, the ones that worked best are rather old - & planned to buy new ones when we found a store that had them.

Walked back to Christopher & around several other streets, going into various shops in the area. (Some of this part of our day gets a little mature, so I may do a separate, friends-only post, with regard to a few of the finer details.) There were lots of things I’d have liked to have bought - some really nice clothes, music/videos, etc. - but even though I’d brought money with me, I was reluctant to pay some of the prices for things (like $125 for a dress!). There were some groovy restaurants, as well: several sushi places, & a nifty, themed place called Jekyll & Hyde (which they were kind enough, when Glen asked, to let him & Allison walk me through).

Made a pit stop at CVS so I could purchase my batteries, which - sadly - failed to revive my now-departed camera. Ah well. I’d been meaning to get a new one, anyway. (Of course, it would’ve been nice if it could have lasted just this one day, ‘cuz there were still fantastic things to see!) Next, it was a quick duck into Starbucks, where there were glorious nature-related photographs on the walls. Several shots were of wolves! And those who know me are surely aware of my wolf-connection.

Next, it was on to another fabulous place, Washington Square Park. It’s really fantastic! Both Glen & Allison had cameras in their cell phones (why am I so behind the times?), so they took some shots for me, & will e-mail them to me. We sat there, at the edge of the water fountain right in front of the arch, for some time, talking & people-watching, enjoying the cooling weather & the sights & sounds around us. And, to think, all I had to do was walk down 5th Ave., past the Empire State Building, & I’d walk right into the place! I’ve been going to the City for 2 years & I never knew that. Thankfully, I do now.

Glen suggested, somewhat earlier during our travels, that we stop for dinner at Jekyll & Hyde. So, after bidding good-bye to the park, that is where we went. This place is awesome! Well, if you’re a geek-a-zoid tourist with a passion for cheeze & horror, anyway. ^_~

I really wish I hadn’t lost the use of my camera, ‘cuz the interior was groovy! Very old-London, with lots of Gothic horror cliché, but so cool! It was dim (they even have votive candles on the tables), with a big streetlight in the middle of the place. Everywhere you looked, there was something neat. Over the bar was a big glass shelf case with (non-human) skulls, a brain in a jar, animals preserved in glass - bats & spiders & such. A little sad, but beautiful, too. There were skeletal figures perched in various places, as well as a mummy in a sarcophagus, a caged fellow, a mad scientist, a gargoyle, a giant boar’s head over a faux fireplace...you get the idea. There were framed photos of Lugosi, Karloff, & either Frederick March or Lon Chaney (it was hard to see), & paintings with moving eyes. The staff passage was a long hallway that looked like a library, with books on shelves & such.

I found a few shots on the ‘net:




We sat right under the wolf’s head!!

I kept thinking they should’ve brought Hyde there when Vamps was in town...he could’ve even ordered the Hyde Burger! XD They had fun names for the food. My friends got the Mummy & Frankenstein burgers; I stuck with a garden salad, though I did drink an “elixir” - 3 or 4 different fruit juices mixed w/7-Up. Yum! I took a couple of the napkins home with me, ‘cuz even the napkins in this place are cool.

There was a very fitting selection of tunes being played over the PA: horror theme songs, novelty tracks, tunes from movies. These would be interrupted periodically by the animatronic entities, like the gargoyle & wolf’s head (who reacted with the patrons, talking to & occasionally insulting them in a humourous way), the mad scientist & caged “Hyde” figure (who sort of battled each other, ‘til the scientist played “YMCA” & ‘saved’ us from the wrath of Hyde, LOL!), & the skeletal organist (who told bad jokes). The Cockney-maid waitress (actually, I don’t think she did any waiting, she was there purely for entertainment purposes, for which you pay extra ~ warning: as awesome as this place is, it’s a bit over-priced; otherwise, I probably would have asked about buying a t-shirt) was a total hoot! She sat at our table & talked to us...after first putting her head down on the table & complained that she was tired of ‘fake-cleaning’ all day, ha ha!

I can’t even get into all the details, ‘cuz it’s just one amazing blur in my mind, suffice to say I got a complete & total kick out of it, & when I told my mom about it, she said it seemed like a place she’d like, too! I’ll have to try & get her there sometime. :D

It was getting late by the time we left the restaurant, but while we needed to catch the train home, we were having so much fun, so we walked something like 20 blocks, all the way up 7th Ave., from Christopher, all the way to Penn Station! Funnily enough, even though we’d walked so much already that day, I barely noticed it. The weather was quite nice by this time, having cooled off tremendously, & we yakked up a storm along the way, talking about this, that, & the other.

Penn Sushi was closed when we got to the station, or I’d have picked up snacks & such to munch on during the remainder of the weekend (stuff I get there almost never lasts me longer than that). Next time, perhaps. Anywho, it was more yakking on the train. Glen’s stop was before ours, but Allison & I were able to continue all the way to the parking deck, where we parted company & made our way to our cars. We’d taken the train in around 2:00, & it was after 11 when I got home!

Talked to my mom, telling her all about our fun-filled day (& noting how much of it she, herself, would have enjoyed...except, perhaps, for all that walking), stayed up for a little while, but zonked out around 2 am.

Sunday morning, I once again disregarded the alarm & slept a little later. After breakfast, I ordered the tickets for myself & [livejournal.com profile] charaxinae for the horror convention. Still no sign of an events schedule, but I’m looking forward to it, nevertheless. I told Johnathan (when I talked to him on Sat.) I’d pick him up a goodie or get an autograph for him or something. If it’s the latter, I’m hoping it’ll be from Katharine Isabelle!

On to the order of the day - Wal-Mart was kind enough to let me buy the display model of a light green Kodak M320. I looked at the various cameras there for a rather long time (not my first time doing so, either), before deciding on that one. It cost just over $100, with 1-year warranty & rechargeable battery included. The lady even ’cleaned’ it up for me, since it was a display camera & lots of people touched it. It fits my SD memory card (some new cameras, you have to buy a whole new kind of card for), which is fab, too. I haven’t really gotten a chance to do much with it, but at least I have it.

Next, it was off to Woodbridge Mall, where I’d hoped to hit Hot Topic & maybe find the third live-action Death Note film, since I heard it might be out by now (with subs). I didn’t find it, but I did get what I guess is the newest D’espairs Ray album! I think it’s called “Redeemer” - I haven’t made my copy yet (I never play originals, my machines want to eat them) or looked up the Kanji titles, but if this stuff is anything like what’s in that concert video I got, it should be good!

They have an FYE there, so I ducked in on the off-chance I might find one of the 2 other “Ginger Snaps” movies. Would you believe I found BOTH of them?? I was, like, jumping for joy! Watched them both Sun. night, & watched GS2 again today (Mon.). That one has yielded an idea for the cosplay we’re doing for the convention...at least, for the character I’m doing.

The weather seemed to work against me, however good the musical & cinematic spirits had been to me: it was sunny when I left my house, drizzling when I came out of Wal-Mart, & POURING by the time I was finished at the mall! And I’d left my umbrella at home! I was not about to go out into that, esp. since I had to walk a ways to my car. So I figured I could buy a cheapie umbrella & use it, then keep it in my car for such emergencies. Can you believe I had to go into FOUR stores before I found an umbrella?? Actually, 3, but I wasn’t going to pay $14 for the one I found at JC Penny’s. Ended up in some shop I can’t remember the name of (Bilibo, or something), where I got a black umbrella with a pink handle & butterflies on it, for $5. :)

Armed with protection against the dreaded wetness (I really wouldn’t mind rain so much, but the least sign of moisture & my hair goes into afro-drive!), I made the mad dash to the car & headed toward home, with a quick stop in Menlo Park Mall to buy more over-the-knee socks (I got 5 pair for $20!) & grab some Oyako-don at Kabuki in the food court.

And that was my weekend. ^_^

By the way, keep me away from glass. Within the last 2 weeks or so, I’ve dropped a drinking glass, had a picture fall off the wall (shattering the glass in the frame), & accidentally broken one of my favourite glass bowls (which my mom gave me 2 of, so there’s 1 left, but I might not use it for a while). Ugh!
japanesedream_72: (hyde)
Where to begin?

Yesterday morning, I suppose. These things for me are an all-day affair. Unfortunately, they’re a 2-day pilgrimage for others (I heard that there were already 30 people camped out in line at Midnight the night before), & I just can’t do it. But things worked out well, in any case.

Okay, let’s not jump ahead here. So, I managed to get some sleep yesterday morning (I really needed it, my insomnia, as some of you know, has really been acting up lately), but once I was up, all the trappings of my day centered around getting ready for the Vamps show! Spent a little time after breakfast going through the lyrics, prepping them for the booklet I’ll be making (yes, I know, I still have a gazillion others to finish - I’ll get there, I swear!). Thought I could actually finish the booklet & bring it with me to peruse while waiting for the club to open, but I haven’t hunted down enough pictures, & with dial-up, that would take excessive amounts of time. But at least the words are ready (sometimes, that’s the hardest part, since J-rockers don’t always sing exactly what they’ve written). Anyway, I’d already had my outfit picked out, so it was just a matter of getting the hair & make-up right. And I think, for all the time & side-tracking involved, I did a good job:

I’m a Vamps addict

The side-tracking was both joyous & annoying (though the latter proved slightly humourous in hindsight). The joyous bit came when my mom called me, & Johnathan told me that he passed his road test! He’s had a permit for a while, but now he can get his license ~ way to go, kiddo! I promised him I’d pick him up something at the concert, since he’s been really generous (he picked up food for when Mark & the gang & I were at my mom’s, during my last visit, & even barbecued; he also got & planted some flowers in their backyard) & helpful (to my mom at home) & whatnot. Plus, I’ve gotten him into some J-rock, & he does enjoy Hyde quite a bit.

The annoying/humourous part happened 3-quarters of the way through my preparations. I ran out of eye pencil! It kept breaking (I use a soft kind), but I thought I had more. Sadly, I didn’t, & had to run to CVS down the street to pick up a couple - without my eyes done, or even eyebrows! (I shave them & draw them in with liner, ‘cuz I’m too impatient to let them grow in enough to get them shaped, seeing as how the hair there grows in so oddly). On went the sunglasses (which I haven’t worn in a while, ‘cuz they have a scratch on one lens; I need to either get them fixed or get new ones), & to the door I flew…& opened it to find 2 women on my porch inviting the entire neighbourhood to their church service next week for a special guest speaker.

Thankfully, they didn’t take a lot of time, & once they were a few houses away, I felt it was safe to resume my flight. Got 2 pencils, just to be safe. Then I flew back home, continued with the preparations, & managed, while doing so, to sneak in yet another viewing of Ginger Snaps. I really am obsessed with that movie lately. I’ve gotta get it on DVD (& the other 2, as well, if I can find them).

In any case, I’d planned to leave the house around 2:30, thinking I’d get to the venue at about 4, which would give me a decent position in line.

Guess the gods had other plans.

I was finished prepping by 2, & psyched myself up by watching my Vamps DVD (4 music videos). Incidentally...

YouTubers can watch them here! )

Then it was off to catch the train, with more Vamps playing in the car (I’ve been playing them pretty much incessantly since I got the CD). That slightly nauseous feeling that often accompanies excitement was starting to set in (by the time I got there, I could hardly breathe). In a few hours, I’d be in the same room as Hyde! I’d wondered, here & there during the week, when he & the boys had flown in, & even Johnathan was saying, when I spoke to him (as I was getting ready), that they were probably already at the venue while we were speaking, rehearsing & such. The thought had crossed my mind, as well.

Call me an idiot for not looking up the train schedule. Go ahead, it’s okay. ‘Cuz I am. I had to wait 40 minutes for the train! I’d missed the 2:44 by a couple of minutes, & the next train didn’t come until 3:29. Ugh! There was a pseudo-snide comment I had to deal with, as well, from a guy who asked me if it were Halloween. Trying to think on my toes, I said, “Every day.” Then he said something that sounded remarkably like, “Damn, I want to marry you!”, & then he & the guy he was sitting there with cleared off. Very strange.

It just kinda got worse from there, ‘cuz it seemed I had to wait for all the trains. The subways, the shuttle, everything took a while to get there. Naturally, considering I wanted to make it to the Fillmore without being at the end of a 6-block line.

Guess what? When I finally did make it to the Fillmore...you guessed it. I was at the end of a 6-block line. Argh! It was Dir en grey 2007 all over again! Though, unlike the Diru show, it wasn’t blistering cold out. (Thank goodness!)

Still, next time I go to a show, I’m bringing a folding chair or something. All that standing (I got there around 5 & the doors didn’t open ‘til 7, though, for some reason, we didn’t get in there ‘til 7:30, maybe even a little later) was starting to bother my back! It was a very diverse crowd in the line, though - J-rock seems to bring out all types of people. I even saw some very nice Loli gals/bishettes, & a bishi or 2 (the boys at these things tend to be more rocker than Loli, I find).

There were a couple of nice line moments, though. As I was going to the end of the line, a couple of girls commented my bag, the one I got in Harajuku for the Moi dix Mois show. (I also got various compliments on my necklace & collar, most notably from a couple on the subway going down there, the girl having some very interesting piercings.) And a lady (on the staff, I guess) passed out glow-stick bracelets to everybody. Then, she came around & gave us more! I had 3, though I would later lose one in the melee of the pit (another, I picked up off the floor before the show got started, ’cuz I didn’t want to slip on it when the crowd got going, though it had lost the little piece that held the ends together).

At one point, a guy, done up in kind of a punky Goth outfit, trailed his female friend, going, “Don’t leave your homo behind!” Later, they came up toward the front, & he was admonishing her: “You left your homo behind, I’m calling animal abuse on you!” It had me, & the 2 Asian girls (not Japanese, though) behind me, cracking up. They were kind enough to share their Pocky with me.

A whole lot of people seemed to know each other in this line. I don’t know if they were coming in groups or what, but I got the impression some did, & a few of them got there early to hold places for the rest in their group. Others, who had been in line, would go get food/drink, leaving at least one person to hold their place, & then return. Some could be seen leaving & re-entering the line multiple times. It almost didn’t seem fair for those of us who just stood there for those 2+ hours.

A yellow balloon was making its way along the ground near us, with a face drawn on it. Kind of looked like the cover of Smile by L’Arc-en-Ciel (y’know, that other, famous band Hyde is in?), with a touch of the well-known Nirvana t-shirt thrown in. Last I saw it, it ended up in the lobby of this place I was stuck in front of, some kind of therapy center for people with physical/mental challenges. A few of us would have to clear the way whenever people went in or out of there. One lady came out & marveled cheerfully at all of us standing there (esp. since there were a number of Goths/Lolis & whatnot), asking what we were there for. I said a concert, & when she asked whose, I said, “They’re called Vamps, they’re from Japan.” She said that was cool.

I enjoy the opportunity to spread the word of J-rock. ^_^

Sadly, a few unscrupulous types were traipsing up & down the street beside the line, asking if any of us had an extra ticket. Undoubtedly, they were planning to buy them cheap & sell them at an inflated rate. Someday, I hope they can obliterate scalping.

There were some people filming the line, some of which were folks going to the end of it (which stretched, by the end, quite a ways back from me), a few of which belonged to the Vamps crew! Initially, we heard screaming from further up in the line, & some people said they thought at first that Hyde had come out (of course, a couple of us in the queue figured nobody would be keeping their places if that had been the case! I still believe they were inside, getting ready for the show). When the cameraman passed me, I made the V for Vamps. It occurred to me later that I prob’ly should’ve said something, like, “Vamps wa saiko desu!” (Vamps is awesome!), but oh well.

The line only moved a couple of times, but finally, I turned the corner & was back on 15th St., with the Fillmore just ahead, at the start of the block. Earlier, a guy came around inspecting ID’s. If we were over 21, he tied a yellow band around our wrists. I guess the place has a bar. Prob’ly explains the fight we nearly witnessed outside the entrance (though there were about 6 guys breaking it up, so it never became an actual brawl). I put my earplugs in (yeah, I learned after Diru), & we were told to have our bags open & tickets ready. I brought an extra bag (my jack-o-lantern one) with something long-sleeved (in case the night got chilly) & my little umbrella (I put black electrical tape on the end where it’s broken), & to put t-shirts or whatever in, & stuck my Rirakuma bag in there, as well, in case I was able to pick up any of my fave Japanese snacks before going home. They searched the bags when we got to the door (despite this, & their not allowing cameras in, a few people managed to smuggle them in), & scanned the bar codes on the tickets.

This concert had a couple of things I’d never seen at shows before, the first being a little bin at the front entrance where you could put presents for Vamps. Damn! I wish I’d brought them something. I’d actually contemplated giving them something I had with me, but most of it was kind of necessary (like my Rirakuma bag or Umbrae, my little travel talisman doll), or stuff my mom gave me. Sorry, boys.

Had to go upstairs (through a very nicely-decorated hallway, with a pretty, ornate mirror at the foot of the stairs & framed posters, I guess from acts that have played the venue, going up - it’s a rather historic place) to get to the show, & since there were a lot of people in there, already staking their claim to spots in front of the stage, I figured I’d forego buying souvenirs ‘til after the show (besides, I didn’t want anything delicate, like a CD or DVD, to get crushed, & it was too late by the time I got in - or so I thought - to buy anything & then check the bag at coat-check). I was pretty close, about half-way back on the left, near the great, big speakers, which were blaring techno-rock (I noted a Marilyn Manson song). Good thing I had my earplugs in! There was a really nice chandelier overhead, & a balcony (maybe for people who got drinks? I noticed a waitress weaving in & out of the crowd). We could see the techs getting everything ready, & a couple of them started filming us (I believe they filmed part or all of the actual performance, as well). I howled a bit (as is my custom), & we all raised our hands in devil horns or fists or waves or V for Vamps as the cameras passed over us, our wrist-bands glowing in the dimness.

The invariable push started before the band even came out, when the roadies were tuning up & such. (I think the screams started when one of them played the riff from “I Gotta Kick Start Now” & they must have thought it was the actual show - funnily enough, I honestly don’t remember them playing that number during the performance, although they may have; my brain is not what it once was.) I had a pretty decent view of everything - Hyde’s mic stand with the fake roses going all the way up it, the drum kit, with “Vamps” written in a half-circle on the front of the bass drum, in a sort of Old English font (& a number of water bottles lined up in front of it, on the riser), the tuning of various guitars, even the computer set-up; the band has techno-style sequencing in a number of their songs, & while guitarist K.A.Z. is credited with programming, there is an extra member of their live act, Jin, responsible for “keyboards & hard-disc & metal percussion”, though I’m not sure if the person I saw doing something with the computers was actually Jin.

After a while, & chants from the crowd of, “Vamps! Vamps! Vamps!”, the suspense was finally over, & the boys appeared. Drummer Arimatsu & bassist Ju-ken came out first, followed by the main duo, K.A.Z. & Hyde. They all looked really good! I could see them well (even better later, as I got closer), down to their jewelry, tattoos (including Arimatsu - all those boys are inked up!), the lot (including Hyde’s teeth when he sang!). I don’t think Arimatsu was wearing a shirt. Ju-ken had the top hat (he later took it off; it had a V emblem on it), with a tank top (they were all wearing tanks), I think with some sort of crest on it, & a jacket, which he later removed. K.A.Z. had his hair up (spiky), with a black tank with lots of white words in a variety of positions (this would later be changed to a grey striped shirt with Vamps written across the front). Hyde had a black tank with what may have been a skull & cross-bones (K.A.Z. wore something similar in a photo-shoot, the skull had fangs), &, I think, a vest over it (he later removed the vest). Hyde’s hair was red, & kinda poofy-frizzy. But he looked quite scrum-delicious! I could see he was wearing black eye-liner, & noticed, at one point, he was playing his red guitar. Ju-ken did that upright bass thing a lot, &, I believe, played a bass fiddle on one song (“Sweet Dreams”, as I recall). I saw K.A.Z.’s dark blue Flying-V guitar near the end of the show.

Songs...the Vamps instrumental/effects piece, “Bite”, played as they took the stage, & after, I think, something like, “Hello, New York!”, they launched into “Sex Blood Rock & Roll”, with the crowd chiming in on the “ooh” parts, & yelling out the title line of the chorus right along with Hyde. This boy’s a mover & a shaker! He gets his hips going (when I got really close, nearer the end, I could see the holes in his jeans!), & flips his head from side to side, shoulder to shoulder, so the hair gets going & everything (even while he’s on guitar). He makes these groovy faces, too, purses his lips a lot, & does a lot with his eyes. Sometimes, he appears to be experiencing a sort of supreme ecstasy, riding the music’s emotional high.

All the boys were quite energetic, & seem to be really happy & excited to do what they’re doing. During one song, Arimatsu tossed his drum-stick in the air, it did a flip, & he caught it before picking up the drum beat. And Ju-ken was wild! He seems like he’s just a really fun guy (he used to play for Gackt, incidentally). K.A.Z. gets very into his playing (during one song, he threw his guitar back - it was still strapped to him - & it did a complete revolution around his body), but he, Ju-ken, & Hyde (oh yes, Hyde!) made a lot of contact with the crowd, prompting us to be very responsive. The 3 of them also changed positions several times, so people on both sides of the stage could get to see them (Moi dix Mois did that, too). There was also a moment when Hyde & K.A.Z. were ‘head-banging’ together!

Hyde introduced a couple of the songs & said thank you to us after a few of them, but also took time to speak to us in English. He asked if we were having fun (& later, before some rollicking number, if we were ready to get crazy), said thank you to us for coming to see them (& also said, “Please be nice to us”). He told us they’d be here for a month (I think the last date is 1 August). Then he said he’d eaten pizza, & it was “yummy”. He told us he’d had 2 pieces (but I don’t think he was saying the word “pieces”, I’m not sure what word he used), but they were “this big” (& held his hands out wide). He also said it was “too hot” - he meant the climate; even he & the boys were sweating. At various points, he got up on his box (he has one like Diru’s Kyo - Hyde, too, is a Short Person, though he didn’t look very much smaller than the other members of the band), to stand on to play guitar, or prompt the crowd with a hot look (those expressive eyes!), a “come on” gesture with his fingers, or the V for Vamps. Oh, & he licked his lips/teeth quite a bit. I saw the tip of one of his wings (he has a pair across the top of his back) when he jumped off the box once, peeking out from under his shirt. He also has flame-like designs around his arms, just above the elbows, which I could also see.

I was pleasantly surprised that they mixed some of Hyde’s solo numbers in with the Vamps tunes, although it makes sense, since K.A.Z. has played on Hyde’s “666” & “Faith” albums (I believe he co-wrote some of the music on “Faith”, & also co-produced it). In no particular order, & to the best of my recollection, the other songs they did (including the encore tracks) were:

Vamps stuff:
Love Addict
Secret In My Heart
Vampire Depression
Sweet Dreams
Hunting (during this one, Hyde is supposed to yell, “Where’s my lamb?” - which he did - but somebody had a sign that said, “Here’s UR Lamb!”)

Life on Mars

Hyde stuff (666):
Midnight Celebration

Hyde stuff (Faith):
Jesus Christ
It’s Sad

*EDIT: When I was initially writing this, I kept thinking I'd forgotten one track off 666, & it appears I did. It was "Hello", according to the 'official' setlist, here: http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/vamps/2009/fillmore-at-irving-plaza-new-york-ny-43d65f0f.html

I tried singing along with some of the songs, but I couldn’t really hear myself well, so I was prob’ly just screaming a little off-key. Besides which, the crush got SO bad, it was really difficult to breathe a lot of the time, let alone sing. I did manage a few howls in between tunes, with an occasional shout of “Haido-san!” just for Hyde’s benefit (pardon my fangirly-ness, but Mrs. Hyde - yes, there is one - is a very lucky woman!), with what I thought might be my last breaths before losing consciousness. I truly did feel as though I were going to pass out - I didn’t even feel like that during Diru. And those boys are metal!

Honestly, it was the worst pit crush I have ever been in, but I would NOT allow myself to be propelled backwards or faint, so I endured. I was drenched in sweat (most of it not mine - I keep joking that the crush was so bad that I lost my virginity), far worse than at Diru, & boy, did I miss that “tame” crowd I had at Moi dix Mois! My Harajuku bag sustained a bit of damage - the ring holding one end of the strap on got bent a bit & slipped out, but I still have it & it can be repaired. Though I may have to drench it in Spray-n-Wash to get the sweat smell out. XP

One other thing I have never seen at a concert before, that I saw at Vamps - people passing around bottles & cups of water. You’d take a swig, & pass it on to the next person. It was really lovely! At one point, I saw K.A.Z. throw out a bottle or 2 of water to the audience, which got passed around. He also splashed people with water (he got me on the hand), as did Hyde (who got me several times, right on the head/face!!).They also threw out picks & such (J-rock guitarists often do that - occasionally, you’ll even get a drummer throwing out their sticks). One of K.A.Z.’s bounced right off me! It went on the floor, & a very nice girl next to me bent down & got it between numbers, as we protected her from getting killed by the stampeding pit crowd. We swayed to & fro, had to put up fists & elbows to keep our rib cages clear for breathing, occasionally coming very, very close to tripping over each other. There was even pushing during the SLOW numbers! A couple of guys, I suspect, were doing it on purpose, though most of us were just apologising to each other for whatever body parts we smacked each other with, remarking back that we understood; it really wasn’t a choice. I was just happy I didn’t get hit in the face by any of the crowd-surfers! There were a few, but none of them seemed to make it very far. At least one of them may have done it just to get some air.

We got them to do one encore, after several bouts of chanting “An-ko-ru!” (encore, as pronounced by the Japanese - I think the guy shouting it next to me actually was Japanese). I believe that was when Hyde asked us about getting crazy, & they launched into “Love Addict”. For the life of me, though, I can’t remember exactly what song they played last. Whatever it was, the whole show was completely & totally awesome, & I wish them the best of luck with the rest of the tour. Tonight (Sun.), they join the Warped Tour in Connecticut.

Sadly, when “Greensleeves” starts to play & the techs come back on-stage, you know the show is over. So after some brief conversations with a few of the people I’d been crushed up against, turning me into the dripping, hot Gothic mess I had become, it was off to the souvenir stand. Unfortunately, the lines were very long, & there was a bit of a crush - almost (but not quite) as bad as the show itself! Fortunately, I’d brought along my little fold-out Asian fan, so I was at least able to get that going. I was also nice enough to fan a couple of the people I was speaking with; they appreciated it. Met 2 very nice gals with whom I engaged in much conversing, though, unfortunately, they were sold out of t-shirts by the time I got to the front of the line! Actually, they were sold out of a lot of things. Most things, come to think of it. But I managed to get some stuff. Got the CD for Johnathan (it doesn’t come with the DVD, though, like the one I found in Book Off a couple weeks ago), along with a wristband with the Vamps logo on it. Got a wristband for me, too, as well as the Tour Book (I took some shots of it when I got home), & a canvas bag. It’s black, with VAMPS LIVE 2009 on it.

Outside, it had begun to drizzle, & it was cool with a slight breeze. Most of us agreed it felt really nice! There were a number of people from the show standing around; somebody said they were waiting for the boys to come out, but we later learned they’d already left (or so we were told). Said good-bye to the nice girls I’d been talking to & headed off - unfortunately, in the wrong direction at first - toward the subway. But things happen for a reason, & a very sweet-seeming Asian girl (Japanese, I think) asked me to take a photo of her & her friends. I was happy to oblige.

Turned around & made my way (the right way this time) to the subway. You could tell who’d been at the show by the Vamps bags & whatnot (reminded me of high school, when there would be a concert & half the school would be wearing the t-shirts the next day). While waiting for the light to change so I could cross the street, a guy said to me, “Now, those stockings are hot!” (I didn’t tell him they’re actually thigh-high socks.) He mentioned something about them being sectional, so if you broke it down with regard to my legs, first you get an ankle, then you get a slightly larger ankle...He asked if I watched a show called “Dexter”, about a serial killer. I haven’t seen it. He said to check it out, then I’d know what he was talking about. That’s the first time someone has used an allusion to killing me as a compliment! XD

Happened upon another of my fellow concert-goers (whom I’d spoken to in the souvenir line) waiting for the subway. We conversed about the show & Hyde & other shows & such while riding to Grand Central. She & her companion were making their way back to Connecticut (I wonder if they’ll be at Warped today?). I went up to Times Square to make my way to the other subway station to get a train back to Penn. Before catching the train, however, I came across a mini-concert: a Beatles cover outfit, the Meetles, were performing, & got the crowd to join in a rousing rendition of "Hey Jude". After that, they were starting "I Wanna Hold Your Hand", but I had to catch the subway to get to the train station, or I'd never get home!

To my chagrin, Penn Sushi was closed, so no snacks. I bought an iced tea (diet, with lemon) on the way to the shuttle between Grand Central & Times Square, so I wasn’t much in the mood for anything like a milkshake or even junk food - or, at least, junk food that wasn’t Japanese. But that’s the only Japanese place I know of in Penn, & nothing else seemed to appeal to me, so I supposed I’d have to wait ‘til I got home.

Had to wait for yet another train, so I phoned my mom to let her know I’d gotten out okay. (I’d spoken to Johnathan when I first got there - I called from the line.) Told her a few highlights of the show. Then they called for my train to board, so I ended my call & got my tired, sore body on the train. It was a little cold, so I put my long sleeves on & perused my Tour Book several times.

Got back to the station & made my way to the parking deck, which cost me $12. (Blargh! It used to be free on Saturdays!) Didn’t hit my house until 1:30 am. Had some food, but of course, I wasn’t tired (well, I was, but I was still running on adrenaline or whatever). Made it to Death Note, clunked out after that.

Then I woke up, had breakfast, & started writing this thing. Talked to my mom, had some lunch, & finished writing this thing.

And there you have it. ^_^
japanesedream_72: (hyde)
Going back to this post for a second...

(I apologise if that's friends-locked.)

Look! It's my Vamps ticket! It's so beautiful!

This is where the magic happens. The Fillmore Auditorium, site of the upcoming Vamps show.

And, from the parade:



Viet Nam

Maybe next time, I'll put up the photos of my kitchen.
japanesedream_72: (geisha)
Welcome! My mom in front of the sign marking the start of the festival grounds.

Hello Kitty posing with a fan.

Talk about fusion - Japanese meets Jazz on-stage.

The little drummer girl says, "Hai!"

Karate Kids on-stage, showing their moves. Large screens on either side broadcast the festivities, which is very helpful when tall people with heads stand in front of you.

Cool & the gang - me, Pikachu Girl, Tattoo Chick, & Hot Ninja Boy. ^_^

I still think he looked a lot like Die, by the way.

Ninjas in action - a screencap from my video clip of Hot Ninja Boy & his amazing moves.

Dance Dance Revolution - the crowd joins in during the Bon Odori demonstration.

Obla-di, Obla-da - the young dancer amuses the audience as the Shamisen Club plays. A screencap from my video clip.

Something old, something new - the Shamisen Club use traditional instruments to re-interpret modern tunes.

After-party - my mom in front of Bubba Gump's.

One additional note: Forgot to mention something else that we saw whilst in the City. We were on the shuttle going back from Grand Central to 42nd St., & there was a girl sitting next to us. A guy walking on the platform suddenly stops, looks in the open door, & starts singing to her. Stuff like, "To the beautiful blonde girl, if you're over 18 & don't have a boyfriend, call me on my cell--" & he gives the number! "--after 7 pm so my minutes will be free..." He kept going, saying things like how pretty her hair was, how she had perfect teeth & ought to do toothpaste commercials, all kinds of stuff! XD

Only in New York.
japanesedream_72: (geisha)
...to Japan Day!


Next time: photos!! (Go here: http://japanesedream.livejournal.com/301772.html)

And probably corrections or additions, since I’m tired & I have no desire to try & proofread all this. :P
japanesedream_72: (kyo-love)
Yeah, that’s pretty much been my life for the last 2 weeks, lol.

Guess I should start at the beginning, last Friday night. Turns out we went to Plan B - my stepdad & Johnathan came, & the 3 of us went to Point Pleasant Saturday morning to go deep sea fishing on a party boat, the Norma-K III. It was so cool! I took lots of photos, mostly of other boats in the marina, as well as the water & birds & jetties & such. Got my stepdad to take one of me & Johnathan on the boat, as well. We got there pretty early, so we had breakfast in a nice little local diner-shanty place. Rented our poles & staked our positions on the boat. I’ve never been deep sea fishing (haven’t been fishing in any sense since I was 12), & even though I’ve been on boats before, wasn’t sure how I’d be as far as the waves, so I took a Dramamine ahead of time. Did fine. There were a lot of people on the boat, so it was a little difficult to fish without getting snagged in someone else’s line every so often, but I had a blast. Many of us caught things like skate & sea robins (we were trying for fluke), or small sea bass or fluke that were too little to keep. We entered the pool, where you give, like, 3 bucks a person, & whoever catches the biggest fluke gets all the money. We didn’t win, but I caught a sizeable sea bass (& apparently, made a few blokes on the other side of the boat a bit jealous). After numerous prayers & honouring of fish, sea, & deities, the boat crew filleted the fish (which we later had for dinner). On the way back to the marina, I got some video of the sea birds that kept following the boat & diving for the fish. There were dolphins in the distance, jumping a bit, but they were pretty far out, so it was kinda hard to see. Still cool to know they were there, though. It was only a half-day charter boat, so we were back by lunchtime. My brother bought me a t-shirt before we left.

Back to my house for food & so my stepdad could rest before driving back to PA. Actually, we all passed out for a while. Later, when my stepdad left, Johnathan & I chilled out with a couple of videos. It turned into Italian Zombie Night, with a double feature of “Burial Ground” & “Demons”.

Sunday was a big day. Took Johnathan to NYC. Gave him pretty much my standard tour - about the only thing we didn’t get to was Grand Central Station (but I still have the photos on my camera from last time I was there, so he got the idea). Started in Central Park (the 72nd St. & Central Park West route, to show off the Dakota). He gave some change to a street guitarist (said he always wanted to do that), who promptly started strumming & running off accompanying spoken-word lyrics about “the lady in black” (i.e., moi). We walked around for a bit, took a photo of a nice couple near the stairs overlooking the fountain (& got a photo of Johnathan in the park, as well), then up to Columbus Circle & back to 72nd. Only problem was, we were too early to stop off at Kumo Sushi (it doesn’t open ’til, like, 11:00), where I’d wanted to take him for appetizers & green tea ice cream - I was determined to introduce him to the latter. But, knowing that our grocery store had some (Hagen-Daas makes it), I said we’d stop & pick it up on the way home if we couldn’t get any in the City.

Did the Times Square thing, this time with lunch at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.; I’m on a mission to get my mom there, since she’s really into “Forrest Gump”. It’s a touch pricey (not surprising, as it’s in Times Square, which is tourist trap country), but the atmosphere is nice. Lots of stuff to look at, including costumes from the film, & classic tunes for background music. Besides having the logo on the table, it’s got the names of all the cities where they have the restaurants - including Tokyo & Osaka! The service & food were good (I had a grilled chicken salad, my brother had the Dynamite Shrimp) - it was funny, ’cuz the waiter asked a bunch of trivia questions about the film, & Johnathan got ’em all right, so the waiter said he won the grand prize...all the crackers he could eat before we left. *giggle* If you donate an extra dollar when you pay the check, they put it toward saving sea turtles, so we did that. And since we said we’d get my mom a souvenir, we ordered the fizzy lemon & strawberry drinks in the light-up glasses. When you’re done, you take your receipt to the gift shop & they give you new glasses to take with you! So I have one & my mom has one.

Ducking into a few shops my brother wanted to check out (he ended up with a few t-shirts & a pair of sunglasses), & running into a starving but amiably self-promotional musician, to whom we gave a small donation & from whom we got autographed copies of his CD - he kept high-fiving my brother (we ran into him again later on our travels) ’cuz he asked where we were from & when my brother said PA, he said he used to live there - we made our way to the usual sites: Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, & 6th Ave. for the Chrysler Building, the Grace Building (I always show that one off ‘cuz it’s interesting architecturally, kind of sloped, plus that’s my mom’s name, so I call it the Mommy Building), & Bryant Park. There was something Japanese going on in the park, but we never did figure out what it was. I thought the announcer lady said it had something to do with Obon (the festival of the dead), but a) I always want to think Obon is in August, & b) they kept saying they were going to start doing something, but nothing seemed to happen. I got some video footage anyway, even though you can’t see anyone doing anything. You can hear a little singing, I think, from the 2 kimono-clad chicks, & hear the guy in the hat talking loudly (my brother said he wasn’t even Japanese), but that’s about it.

On to Kinokuniya! Had a nice, long gander, showing off the many, many appearances of Mana-sama in the Goth-Loli Bible (he really is in every issue), & drooled over some CURE articles on Riku & his new band, Chariots. But I saved my cash for upstairs, where I found myself Gackt’s MOON album (nicely completing the trilogy of album, tour DVD, & movie). Spotted a lovely something-or-other going in while we were on the way out. I’m thinking it was male, just from the body type, though all I saw was boots & denim & chains & hair (from the back). Whatever it was, I whispered to my brother that I wanted “one of those”, & told my mom later that I prob’ly should’ve kidnapped it (wonder if it was handy, lol).

From there, it was past the Library & into Book Off. Still can’t quite figure that place out since they rearranged it. They have a new gaijin working there (there used to be a red-headed guy); I figure they must hire Japanese-language students from the local university, ’cuz he understood things they were saying to each other. (*JEALOUS*) Anywho, didn’t spot a whole lot that I needed. However, as Johnathan was kind enough to treat me to lunch, I bought him a DVD of “Resident Evil: Extinction”, & since I was entitled to a discount thanks to a combination of a lust for J-rock & a Book Off member card, it wasn’t expensive. Sadly, though, they’ve discontinued the member card service, so this will be the last discount I get.

Found a new place to pick up snacks (though I didn’t get any on this particular day), right next to Book Off, Chiyoda Sushi. I’d read a bit on their menu & such, but it’s the take-out bento & goodies that drew me. We had a lookie ‘cuz I wanted to see if they sold green tea ice cream (they don’t), but they had lots of other things like onigiri & inari-zushi. Filed that for future reference.

Back to Times Square for a good romp through the Virgin Megastore, with a stop off to take a photo of my brother in the middle of the Square. Back on the subway, but this time up to 5th Ave. to duck into 1 or 2 more places, & show Johnathan the Empire State Building. It was kinda hot & a little late, & we were on the tired side, so we didn’t go in (I’d suggested a few times throughout the day that I’d take him up to the observation deck if he wanted). Next time, we said (maybe with my mom?).

So it was Sayonara to the City & back to Penn Station, where I let my brother peruse the shops, & where he picked up some of his souvenirs & some food/drink, as did I (although Penn Sushi was closed - they must not open at all on Sundays). Got another one of those double-decker trains coming home.

We stopped off at A&P for some snacks (my brother spotted the mini-canoli & couldn’t resist), & I almost had a fit ‘cuz I couldn’t for the life of me find any green tea ice cream! After taking out nearly the entire stock of Hagen-Daas, I found some at the way, way back of the freezer. Bought 2 small containers, & dished out an entire one between the 2 of us as soon as we hit the house. Talked to my mom & then watched Johnathan’s DVD, which was quite enjoyable. Promptly passed out after that, as I had to work the next morning.

The rest of the week will be a bit less detailed, as it’s all sort of blurring together. Please bear with my less-than-functional brain.

Monday, after work (I had half-days the whole week), it was off to the mall (Brunswick Square), where we went NUTS in Game Stop, ‘cuz they were having a DVD sale, something like buy 2, get 4 free! I got lots of anime, including “Berserk”! (Toshie will be proud of me for that one.) He also got a few baseball caps, some clothes, & sneakers for himself & Mattie. We both got some stuff in Spencer’s, too - Johnathan bought me a pretty cross necklace, very Goth, as well as some t-shirts in Against All Odds (I was willing to get them for myself, but he insisted, sweet boy). I bought lunch at Wok Express, where I introduced him to vegetarian sushi & the art of using chopsticks. (He was very good for a first-timer, by the way.) ^_^

After that, some necessity shopping, including the purchase of 2 spools for my weed-whacker. Never did need to use it this week - Johnathan got the lawnmower going, did both the front & back grass, & even trimmed my hedges. We also got my grandpa’s car started, thanks to my stepdad’s battery charger.

Tuesday, lunch at Panera. I had planned to take him to Attillio’s, the little pizza place we’d been going to for ages (& to Panera another day), but it isn’t there anymore! Ducked into Barnes & Noble, where we each got some DVD’s. He got a couple of “Beavis & Butt-Head” box sets. I found Herschell Gordon Lewis’ “Two Thousand Maniacs”! It’s hard to find any of his stuff around here. (I have “Blood Feast” & “The Wizard of Gore” on video, & some clips from his other films on a compilation video.) They actually had a couple others (including the 2 I just mentioned), but I limited myself, esp. since we ended up back at A&P, where I found my beloved focaccia bread veggie pizza, & then at Blockbuster next door to there, where my brother bought some more DVD’s. Snarfed the entire pizza between us that night & watched “I Survived A Japanese Game Show”.

Wednesday was the double-mall run, Woodbridge Center & Menlo Park. Yeah, they have malls where my brother lives, but he says ours are bigger. And I wanted to take him to the Rainforest Café in Menlo Park for lunch. So we jetted around Woodbridge for a bit, ducking into a few places he wanted to check out, as well as hitting my usual haunts of Spencer’s & Hot Topic (where he bought a pair of shorts & I drooled over corsets but decided to save some money), not to mention another Game Stop (more DVD’s!), then it was off to Menlo.

I don’t think we bought anything, though we did a lot of looking, in places like Spencer’s & East Meets West (I’m pretty sure the one in Brunswick Square is gone - !!! - which means this is the only one left in this area), but we did get some yummy food. As promised, I treated him to the Rainforest for lunch, where we split the Awesome Appetizer platter & had fruit smoothies. I also threw some coins into the alligator’s pond (it all goes to rainforest conservation), & snuck some video with my camera. It’s difficult to get clear footage since the place is kept pretty dim, except the statue in the waterfall which is well-lit (I took several clips anyway, including the animatronic gorilla we sat next to, the steam rising from the 'bar', & the 'thunderstorm'), though the fish tank entrance, the alligator pond, & the outside foliage yielded some nice shots. Upstairs at the food court, Johnathan treated me to dessert. He ended up with a strawberry chillata, whilst I had an Oreo swirly. A really cute girl at the table behind us passed out - I was afraid she was dead; I just looked over & she was on the floor. Her cute & sweetly worried boyfriend helped her up & doted on her, & somebody had already gone to get security/first aid. I kept looking in their direction, saying, “I hope she’s all right”. She was, & even seemed a little embarrassed at having fainted in public. It was kinda toasty that day, she probably got dehydrated.

Thursday was Taco Bell for lunch - my treat - since Menlo’s Taco Bell didn’t have the Fruitista Freeze Johnathan originally wanted. It was another pretty humid day, so we stayed in the rest of the day, doing house stuff like laundry, watching videos. I showed him some of my computer goodies, too.

Friday, it was off to the pictures! Back to Brunswick Square, where we had lunch again at Wok Express (apparently, the only place where you can buy Banana Snapple), picked up a couple more things at Spencer’s (I got him a belt buckle & me a Gothic-style heart necklace) , & saw “Hellboy 2: The Golden Army”. We both really liked it. I was kinda groovin’ on the bad guy - give me a hot, martial-artist elf who yearns to resurrect the forgotten, mystic world & I’m there!

Nights were spent watching movies. Some of his, some of mine. A little anime, too - I think Johnathan was starting to get interested in “Berserk”; we watched one episode & he suggested a day or so later that we watch another. ^_^ Of his flicks, we watched “Sweeny Todd” (I think I may buy that for myself at some point - good stuff! Though I think Tim Burton owes a lot to 80’s Goth icons; Edward Scissorhands took a good deal, just in initial impression, from Robert Smith, & Sweeny Todd pretty much swiped Dave Vanian right out of the Damned!), “Night of the Demons 2” (a little corny, the first one’s better), the Rob Zombie re-make of “Halloween” (during which, thanks to my stupid job, I nodded off, but we watched it again over the weekend at my mom’s - it’s actually pretty good, particularly in the way it fleshes out Michael Myers’ backstory), & “Saw 4”. That one was all right (it’s one of those franchises like we had in the 80s - you don’t watch them for the story so much as to see how creatively the expendable cast members will get killed off), but the best part was in the extra features - a video for the ending theme song, “I.V.”...by X-JAPAN!! The reunited original members, sans late guitarist Hide, doing a groovy song on the roof of a shopping centre in Odaiba. You can see the Rainbow Bridge & Tokyo Tower in the background! There are also odes to Hide (they used previously unreleased guitar tracks of his on the song), with shots of him on screens in Shibuya & I think Shinjuku, too. I was able to tape it, so my brother let me snag it.

As I was playing lots of J-rock in the car & whatnot, Johnathan joked (esp. after I told him about Michael from work getting into some of my stuff) that I was “recruiting”. Of course, it wasn’t long before I got him in on the act. Showed him some of the classic Asian flicks, “Ichi the Killer”, “Oldboy”, “Battle Royale”, & “Moon Child”. I think he got quite the kick out of them. I know he dug “Moon Child” ‘cuz he told me so - he wasn’t expecting it to be what it was. I love that movie so much, but it literally breaks my heart every time I watch it. I had to lighten things up a little by following the film with the finale of the Gackt concert DVD, where he brings out the film’s cast (minus Hyde) to sing with him on “Orenji no Taiyou”, the song he & Hyde did for the movie, & which has a part of its own in the story. It’s really nicely done - since Hyde couldn’t be there, Gackt, at the end of the number, sings with & to an empty spotlight, as Hyde’s recorded vocals accompany him.

Afterwards, I also had to show my brother a bit of Hyde in his element as musician (both solo & with L’Arc), & Gackt in his Malice days. Malice’s Klaha-era stuff, Dir en grey (whom I’ve shown him things from before), & Phantasmagoria were also showcased. Johnathan even picked up on some of the same impressions I’d had of certain songs - the way L’Arc’s “And She Said” sounds almost like a Beatles tune, Diru’s “Obscure” having a sort of Korn-like vibe, stuff like that. We wound up on my front steps one night chatting & he’d mentioned that he’d buy some of those CD’s. So I said I’d make him a sampler. Some of the tracks were things I’d shown him from my DVD’s, the rest were among the many I’d played snippets of for him to muse on, & when he found one he considered a keeper, he’d say, “You can put that on,” with a grin.

I designed a nice cover for it - he picked out the shots: for the front, a screen full of Kanji from a Diru “Saku” screencap I took ages ago, & a small Han’ya I nicked off the ’net for the track list:

Malice Mizer (Gackt) - Le Ciel
The Pillows - Carnival
L’Arc-en-Ciel - And She Said
Hyde - Seasons Call
Gackt - Seki-Ray
Gackt - Oasis
Dir en grey - Obscure
Moi dix Mois - Perish
Malice Mizer (Klaha) - Gensou Rakuen
Phantasmagoria - Unknow Zero Distance
Phantasmagoria - Neo Ark
Dir en grey - Repetition of Hatred
Hyde - Prayer
Hyde - Made In Heaven
L’Arc-en-Ciel - Trick
Hyde - It’s Sad

He also seems to want to get into X-Japan (I’m still trying to find X songs I can work with; their old stuff is a touch hair-metal for my taste, but I really like “I.V.”), & said if I find a CD with the D’espairs Ray song (“Squall”) that I taped at his house last time I was over, I should pick that up, too. ^_^

Saturday, up early & off to my mom’s. Between work & showing Johnathan a good time, I was pretty wiped out - that afternoon, I kept dozing off. My mom loved her cup, & she & Mattie saw the photos & video clips on my camera (some of the still shots, I’d printed on photo cards for Johnathan to take home with him). It was one of those really hot days. I went to the store with my mom to quickly pick up some necessities, buying myself a pack of those green bags (they’re supposed to make your fruit & veggies last longer), & then it was right back into the air conditioning. We snarfed Whoppers, fries, & shakes from Burger King & watched a couple of Johnathan’s videos, “Lady In The Water” & “Eastern Promises”. We blabbed about all the stuff we’d done during the week, & later had some snacks, & watched “Brokeback Mountain” since my mom had never seen it. Johnathan passed out (think I wore the poor boy out). My mom made it through the movie, & after a little foray out to the front porch (it was a bit cooler by then), we went back in & flicked around the tv a little. My mom zonked after a bit, & I flaked half-way through the “Death Note” re-run.

Sunday morning, my stepdad made eggs for breakfast, & we looked quickly at some of the extras on Johnathan’s “Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2” DVD - there’s a part with out-takes that has hidden patterns & such that they explain. You’re supposed to be able to watch those scenes in reverse & see stuff, like words or messages or something.

He also got “300” (which I’ve seen) & the original “Scarface” (i.e., the pre-Pacino version), which he said he’d been looking for for a while. My hitherto unlisted purchases included “The Evil Dead” & “White Oleander” (which I have on tape but have wanted on DVD), the first “Silent Night, Deadly Night” (to add to my holiday horror collection - watched it the other day, but had to re-play the ending TWICE ‘cuz I kept falling asleep; my stupid job wears me out!!), & volumes of anime titles “Heat Guy J”, “YuYu Hakusho”, “Zoids”, “Chobits”, “Inu-Yasha”, “Evangelion”, “Escaflowne”, & “Reign the Conqueror”. I’ve got all of them in varying amounts (ranging from some to all) on video, but wanted the DVD’s (“Escaflowne” I have quite a bit of on DVD, but I’m missing a couple volumes) - if I ever get my computer working right, I’ll have lots to choose from if I need to screencap!

But I digress. After a pizza lunch & the re-viewing of Rob Zombie’s “Halloween”, I got a few goodies to take home from my mom & stepdad, said my good-byes, stopped off for gas, & made my way home.

This week, it’s back to normal - working too long & too hard for too little cash with no energy or brain capacity left by the time I get home.

But that's another entry for another day.
japanesedream_72: (Default)
(or, "It's a good thing you did that, a real good thing!")

Yeah, thank my mom for the tag lines there. ^_^ And for this mega-nostalgia trip clip! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ux3laLkueZk

That stemmed from our conversation when I called her to tell her about my day. Now I get to tell you:

So Michael, my friend from work, came over this morning, & I drove us down to the train station. Took the train into the City, & had a good, long walk. But, unlike my Japan Day experience, we actually found stuff without wandering very much, 'cuz he has a sense of direction! Took the subway up to 72nd, & walked around Central Park, or at least a nice portion of it. Actually hit a few spots I hadn't seen my previous time there, which, of course, required the taking of photos (Strawberry Fields was decorated today, too, so I also got a shot of that). Strayed a little off the beaten track at one point - we were going in the right direction but exited too early; it was okay, though, 'cuz I got to show him Columbus Circle (59th), & we walked up the rest of the way (back to 72nd). On the way, I saw a few nifty buildings I'd never seen before, & took pics of them. Passed the entrance to Tavern on the Green, too, which I'd never seen (though I didn't get a shot of that - it was only the sign). Went to lunch at Kumo Sushi, where we had bento (tried the Teriyaki Tofu one this time - YUM!) &, of course, green tea ice cream. My friend had never had that, & hadn't ventured into chopstick territory before, either (despite having had Japanese food before), so that was fun to introduce him to. He dug the food, & was very good with the hashi (sticks) for a first-timer. Also taught him a teeny bit of practical Japanese. :)

He was kind enough to pay for lunch (I offered to chip in for my half, but he wouldn't let me, so I left the tip), & we missed the majority of the rain - it was starting when we left the park, but I'd brought my umbrella; it poured while we were eating, but had almost stopped as we were leaving - & took the subway back to Midtown...where it started to pour again. As my umbrella wasn't quite large enough for 2 people to fit under comfortably, we stopped at a souvenir place & he found a nice, large one, which he bought. I showed him some landmark buildings/areas, like the Chrysler & Empire State bldgs., Times Square (including the theatre where I saw Diru, & where the line stretched - the restaurant where I had dinner that night isn't there anymore! It's a Levi's outlet now), Rockerfeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, NBC Studios, St. Patrick's Cathedral (which we went into for a minute; my first time in there - it's SOOOOOOOOO beautiful!! But I didn't take any pics 'cuz there was a wedding going on), Bryant Park (which we went in - I'd been outside it but never in it before), the NY Public Library, I can't remember any more. Took him, of course, to my haunts - Kinokuniya (where I showed him Mana's many appearances in the Goth-Loli Bible, as well as perusing various issues of CURE, one of which had an article on Jun's new project, another of which had an article on Riku's band, Chariots - including a very scrummy photo! But I saved my cash (don't think I wasn't tempted, though), showed Michael the CD & DVD section (no "Bara no Seidou", though I picked up a flyer for one of the Death Note live-action films), then made our way to Book Off - which they've rearranged! The same thing happened to me in Tower when I was in Shibuya. MUST be a Japanese thing. So I got promptly lost (I used to at least be able to go right to the L'Arc), but found a couple of my bands eventually, or should I say, where there stuff would've been if they'd had any. Took a gander at the anime & whatnot, debated whether or not to buy that Death Note soundtrack again (yeah, it was still there), decided against it (though again, tempted), & headed back to Times Square to check out Virgin Megastore. Didn't buy anything, but looked long & longingly at many things I would get if I could afford to get them all...

Back to Penn Station via the subway, where we ducked into Penn Sushi. I bought a bottle of green tea (which I think was the same brand I bought at Narita Airport when I landed in Japan), as well as some desserts I'm always itching to try but never do 'cuz I end up buying sushi &/or gyoza & shumai instead. But since I had sushi with my lunch, I went in for the mystery desserts today. There's a green cake thing (sort of rolled around a bit of cream), a brown cake thing that may or may not be stuffed with something, & green tea daifuku. (I saved the cakes but ate the daifuku a little while ago - they're like marshmallows! Very lovely!) Used my own bag, natch, & had a little conversation with the bishette who works there. I always see her when I go there, but haven't really spoken at any length with her. I can't remember who started it, it might've been my friend asking me what the word for delicious was for the umpteenth time (not that I minded - it's "oishii", in case you were wondering), & she said it, too. He asked if she were Japanese, but it turns out she's Korean. I used my Rirakuma bag, which she thought was cute, & she & another, older lady who I guess works there, too, or runs the place or whatever, were trying to read it (I knew it meant something + bear, but I just found out it means "relaxed bear"), & I was showing them the katakana. It was kind of a neat little moment.

We had some time before the train, so we wandered about a bit, looking at different shops & whatnot. Ran into one of the guys from work, Luis. We were introduced to his wife & son, & his parents - the latter were here on vacation from Puerto Rico, & Luis had taken them into the City to show them the sights. We chatted for a bit, then went on our way.

When it was finally time to board, we were on the niftiest train!! It was a double-decker!! I'd never even been aware that those things existed! The seats were like airline seats - more comfy, even! And there was a digital thing that noted the upcoming stops. It was so cool! Got into some conversation with a guy sitting across from us. Between throwing about tiny bits of French, talking cinema, & concocting the Great Cult Crossover - The Kiss Saves Santa Star Wars Xmas Special (Kiss, light sabers in hand, saves Santa from Darth Vader, who can't stand the sound of rock music) - it was a hoot & a half.

Back to the station, finally, & drove home. But the day isn't over yet. See, Michael used to live in Arizona, & got to know some of the Goth community there. You'd never think this person who is kind of soft-spoken, a chemist, a little nerdy-looking (& I don't mean that in any derogatory connotation whatsoever), who likes watching comedies, would be into music like Goth or metal. But he can actually dig that sort of thing, & was interested in hearing the Japanese take on it. So I'd had a few CD's in the car, & it was pretty intriguing (& fun) to see him react so positively to stuff like Dir en grey, Moi dix Mois, & Phantasmagoria! He asked about my J-rock colleciton, & if I had any video that he might be able to see. So I let him hang out for a little bit when we got back & showed him clips by Diru, Malice Mizer (Klaha era), Hyde, Gackt, & Mago. If I can figure out how to do it on this computer, now that my Music Match Jukebox seems pretty much defunct, I said I'd make him a sampler. (Worse comes to worse, I'll do it on audio-cassette.)

Said our good-byes after that, & he was off home. I called my mom, finished my tea & daifuku, & came on-line. Will probably pass out after Death Note.

EDIT: Photos!

Just a quick shot before company arrived.

Pretty picture by the water’s edge, Central Park.

Another pretty shot of the lake, Central Park.

Strawberry Fields, Central Park.

Teriyaki tofu bento from Kumo Sushi.

Grand Central Station, exterior.

Interior of Grand Central Station.

Japanese desserts - daifuku, sponge cake, bean paste cake. Please note, the sponge cake pic I had to nick off the ‘net since I forgot to take a photo of mine before snarfing it. ^_^

August 2017

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