...welcome...



This journal will be mostly open! Entries open to only access-list members should be few and far between.

I'm just a girl from Canada on a long-term adventure in Japan, working through my second bout of University and every day trying to learn more about myself, others, and this crazy mixed-up universe of ours. :P

If we share interests (which can be found in my profile), feel free to subscribe to me and I will happily do the same! Have a lovely day. ♡
It may seem really strange to people who aren't a part of the scene or haven't grown up with it, but since visual kei and Japanese rock culture is something that's strongly influenced the construction of my identity since junior high school, the idea of pulling back from it is actually really anxiety-inducing.

One of my main goals for this year -- to be fiscally responsible and be able to sustain myself properly and stay out of the red -- has many parts to it, one of which is limiting the amount of visual rock lives I attend, at least until I have a proper way to afford them that doesn't involve potentially destructive habits like the accumulation of debt. I'm not stupid and I'm not willing to endanger my education in order to foolishly follow bands around, as much fun as it is. That said, I have following BIOSPHIA in my calendar until the 2nd of April, when they officially break up and all of Naru's social media outlets go offline (he's decided and publicized this).

I'd like to take a moment to talk about Naru on here, because he's what we in the scene here call my "本麺". This is pronounced 'honmen', and the kanji it's made up of is quite hilarious. The word 'honmei' (本命) which is a noun meaning favourite, a sure thing, or a certainty, is what we call our favourite band. In this case, my honmei is BIOSPHIA, which is Naru's band. A person's honmei and honmen do not actually have to be from the same band, but they usually are. (Unless said person's honmen retires or dies, this does happen, and it usually doesn't change the fact that they're basically your forever honmen, in most cases.) Anyway, the word honmen is made of the first part of honmei, which has several meanings but in this case let's go with present (time) or real/true. The second character means noodle, actually, which is a funny portmanteau of the English word "men" (man) and the Japanese character for noodle. Sometimes, when I say, "that's a sexy noodle', I am using the opposite. :P Basically, it means your favourite bandman. Ever.

I feel an important thing to note here is I don't think you really choose your honmen, they kinda choose you. At least this is extremely true in my case. I spent pretty much the last six years denying I was brutally infatuated with this man and doing pretty much everything I could to somehow move closer to him without acknowledging that this was my reason for doing anything. It's sounds moronic because it kind of is, but listen. I had to hide, I even had to con myself. Because everybody wants you to do something worthwhile, something amazing, something great, something to better society. Especially when you're smart as a kid, and not only smart but also ugly, they expect you to do great things because nobody thinks you're going to make your mark any other way in the world. And they do expect you to make a mark. But the truth is, being smart never really got me anywhere except in a boatload of pain and isolation, and since preteen years all I wanted to do was dive headlong into bands and forget about how much everything fucking sucked for me, because I did not have a fun childhood or teen years. I wanted to rock out and be angry because as the great Bob Marley put it: "One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain." I got into things like Eminem and Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson as young as 11 (and got in quite some trouble for it too back then) because as cliche as it sounds, they fucking got it.

Nobody expects a 12 year old kid, especially not back then, to have legitimate feelings of suicide. Of self-loathing and worthlessness so bad, of feeling like nobody gets it (let me reiterate, especially when you're seen as 'smart' and 'ugly' and therefore an incredibly easy target for childhood bullies -- especially as a girl, for which being smart and ugly are both kind of social sins in this fucked up social strata of ours), of constantly being told you're not good enough not pretty enough not every fucking thing under the sun enough except for yourself, and you learn pretty quick that clearly yourself is a big pile of garbage. Especially when you're the subject of bullying as intense as I went through, that I have legitimate physical scars from that 13 years later have finally faded to white wisps of the memory of a hell on earth. I don't really know why it happened, why the kids picked me. I was bigger-boned, and then generally bigger, and I had no self esteem whatsoever. This is something I'm still learning to get now, but it is coming slowly. But because nobody expects a 12 year old kid to seriously want to die, to seriously know what that kind of pain is like, because nobody expects or even believes that a 12 year old kid is hurting that much when everything seems fine -- because letting it not seem fine just meant more bullying -- things got really bad, and really dark. And when I was 13, I went to a psychologist for the first time. Who told me what I already knew -- that I wasn't the problem, not really. I was a lot more mature than the other kids, especially for my age. I had to be, to deal with it all. They just didn't get me. Obviously.

Now, I've loved visual kei since I was 12 years old. And it fucking saved my life. People don't get this, but it did. It was this whole other world where things seemed backwards to what they were in the social space I lived in, and I absolutely fell head over heels for these gorgeous men who, to the untrained North American eye, looked like girls. I loved it because I always felt like a boy, like a big ugly bulldog, like I wasn't allowed to be a girl because of my structure and size and my voice and the like. But here were these guys that were saying hey fuck that, and they were hot. Some of them even wear dresses, and they wore more makeup than anyone I'd ever seen. I absolutely loved it. The visuals got me first, the style of rock music was amazing (at that time it was Pierrot and Dir and etc. and then shortly D'espairsray was on the scene), and I felt like I could carve out a space where I could maybe exist without apologizing for not fitting into the norm. I am not kidding, visual kei saved my life.

I found the scene by myself, so I cried in the hallway at school in seventh grade when I found out hide was dead. The internet was a new beast back then, Google wasn't invented yet. Anyone remember Ask Jeeves and Mama? lol These were the days of Napster and dial-up fax lines and the screech that killed your ears and not being able to use the phone while someone was on the internet. My brother and I had so many fights over the computer.

Fast-forward several years. This whole time I'd been striving, working, trying to find a way to get to Japan and experience this first-hand. I was thirstier than you've ever seen; a fucking starved tigress hunting based just on the scent, the promise of the herd that was on the whole other side of the water hole. But I wasn't gonna lay down and die.

Let's just say I found a way to Japan and I took it, consequences be damned. I was 19. I'd been waiting 7 years and I jumped. I found myself in Tokyo, then in Kyoto. A friend of mine and I had reserved tickets with Suicide Ali and WHITEBLACK happened to be playing with them. Taken by Tatsuya's (now CROW MUSIC's manager) stage presence and seeing that we would be in Kyoto at the same time as them, we reserved again, and arrived at ARC DEUX about a week later. This was the first time I saw Naru.

I was 19 and he was 27, actually, but he super didn't look it. At the time, he was in a band called Lycee. I can remember in exact detail what he was wearing, because I couldn't take my eyes off this incredible charisma bomb of a man. He didn't have tattoos then, but more piercings. I remember him standing in a full-PVC bodysuit decked out with studs and grommets in silver and gold and all sorts of weird strappy things with half-black, half-blonde hair (if you know him now you're going wow, his style has changed so much!! /sarcasm), one hand on the bar above his head and both feet on the rail screaming like a banshee at his tiny audience. I was absolutely captivated. He was weirdly gorgeous in a strangely masculine, insane, and I'm-not-that-hot-but-I-totally-am kind of way. He was a commanding presence, absolutely. And he still is; even offstage. He's loud as hell and extremely forward about what he's feeling, which is pretty uncommon for a Japanese man. He's an A type and he's a fire sign and he is a fucking firecracker. Color me smitten, for the next 7 years.

I followed him. Enough that when Lycee ended and then he had a short jaunt with VULGAR but then officially announced and started activities with another band, VELGREED, (which he started with Shion, which he is still in now with BIOSPHIA) I actually dropped everything and came to Japan. It was insane and I was insane and a bunch of terrible shit happened like I lost my job and this was in 2008 when the crash happened and the Canadian dollar was suddenly worth 73 yen as opposed to the 117 it had been worth for the previous year and a half... I still went. And I wouldn't trade it for anything, because I got to be on saizen (front row) since there were only 5 people in the front. And this was at what is now Ash OSAKA, at the time it was HOLIDAY OSAKA. What's funny is I have now seen BIOSPHIA there on several occasions, including last month, with a HELL of a lot more of a crowd and it's actually my favourite local livehouse. Anyway. The point is, I followed him.

And while I was following him, I pretended to like EVERYONE else. Even when I came to Japan in '08, I pretended to fall for Shion, or rather I tried to convince myself I liked him more. Or Airu more. Or, when they went through a lineup change, I did the insane thing and sent an entire box of shit to Haruka (who is now in カルディア(Cardia)) for his birthday. Which was the most useless thing ever, honestly. Haruka's a jerk. But I pointedly ignored Naru. I didn't want to accept that I was as ridiculously crazy about a stupid bandman as I was, because that's just dumb. That's just unacceptable. Isn't that a thing that silly, useless girls do? I didn't want to be a silly, useless girl. I had been that for enough of my life already.

But my love for visual kei in general, and my adoration for this 5'10" gorilla-beast we call Naru, didn't wane. It was kind of my stronghold, actually. It was the one thing that could really cheer me up. I loved the insanity of it, the music and the costuming and the craziness, the intricacy of the scene and how everyone, for better or for worse was/is so woven together. I am serious -- in indies vkei, everyone knows everyone.

So in 2013, with the right situation and the backing from my parents who I also think finally realized this wasn't going to disappear, I finally applied to do a full University degree in Japan. And guess what? I made it.

In March of 2014, I arrived in Japan. I landed.

At the end of April, I went to my first BIOSPHIA live. It was at Osaka MUSE.
Now, at the beginning of April, 2015, at Osaka MUSE, BIOSPHIA is ending.
It has been an insane and amazing year with this band that I'm incredibly grateful I got to spend their last one - at the very least as this unit - with them.

But it's hard. Now 33 years old, and still an indies career bandman having worked for CROW MUSIC which puts their artists through insane schedules (you should have seen their summer tour oh god), Naru isn't sure if he's going to come back. He's telling people to stop asking if he's going to do sessions even or whatever, because he doesn't know. And I understand this just as well, because after the year I've had with them too, I am also ready for a break from this kind of life. A break. But he doesn't know yet if he's going to come back. He wants to 'try something else'. God, I'd be the first one to understand that feeling. But selfishly, I don't want him to leave it. So I hope he comes back, because I'm just learning to accept some things now. That after all this time, maybe I don't have to be the person who changes the world. And maybe, when I stop feeling like I have to, I actually will. And maybe I'm not as ugly as everyone's always told me I was, or that I believed I was, since I was that twelve year old kid. And maybe, just maybe, it's okay for me to be happy doing this... because not everyone is happy hiking mountains, or building puzzles, or sewing clothes or baking or sitting at the beach or whatever people like doing. Maybe it's not wrong. Maybe it's just me.

And maybe, in my own way, the way that someone does to someone they've admired from afar for so long, it's okay for me to love Naru. Because everything started getting so much easier, and so much better, once I finally just let myself say, yep, that's my bandman. I'm a part of this subculture, and nobody can take me out of it. And I don't even want to fight it. I adore him to pieces, and that's okay. I didn't waste any more time (or money) trying to not anymore, and it was great. Things got a lot more comfortable, and I even had a way better relationship with the band -- and the band's main fans (jouren) -- once I 'came out' as Narugya. That sounds really weird, probably, but it's the truth.

The imminent end of BIOSPHIA is anxiety-creating for me, for a lot of reasons. But, on a positive note, I'm curious to see what it will bring for the future for me and everyone who has been involved with them, too.

023

Jan. 2nd, 2015 12:26 pm
Wow, has it ever been a long time since I posted something here.
First of all, happy new year to anyone reading this! ♡
Being on vacation is great, I finally actually get enough sleep. lol

Over the Christmas season, things were really intense for me. Intense and tiring and I definitely lived in excess with the things I was interested in and wanted. I completely and utterly spoiled myself and from this alone I learned some things. I learned that it wasn't as fun as I thought it was going to be. I learned that it was stressful. I learned that that's not really who I am. Society says you should or would be happy if you have this and this, if you do this and this. But at the end of the day I found that really wasn't the case, so this experience helped shape some of my new years resolutions.

I did make resolutions this year, only three. Three big ones that are important to me, that have many subgoals beneath them. I will share them here.

1. Make it to my goal weight: 150 pounds.
This goal has many subgoals under it, and I have begun planning out how to do this properly. Upon coming to Japan, I very quickly lost 40 pounds, barely even trying. I then gained twenty back over the summer, on mostly a diet of convenience store food after traversing the country following my band with a friend. I then lost about half of that again, so I'm still at a total loss of 30 pounds, but it has been sitting at that for months. It's time to up my game and add more actual exercise and training to this regimen while once again cutting out sodas (what I did when I first lost 40) and less fried food.

2. Pass JLPT Level 3.
There is a Level 4, but it's not worth shit, so it's not worth taking. The JLPT, for those who don't know, is a standardized nationwide "Japanese Language Proficiency Test" that is available for anyone who wants to take it twice a year in Japan, including Japanese nationals. N1 is basically "I can read a newspaper" level. N3 is basically "I can live in Japan" level. :P N2 is "I'm pretty proficient". I want to be able to pass N3 with flying colours next winter. (This also includes an undertone of studying Japanese myself more intensively, with a focus on more kanji.)

3. Resolve my finances.
2014 was the year of excess, but not this year. I need to settle down, use my cash book, go to less lives, be more conscientious of my spending on food and entertainment (which will also be helped by trying earnestly to lose more weight and study harder), find a decent part-time job come springtime and begin to pay back some of my debts. I also have the HUGE financial burden of trying to find a new apartment to live in mid-June, which... I am terrified of. The cost of 3x the rent just to begin living there, none of which you ever get back, the cost of buying things like a bed, fridge, etc... x_x; My parents would say "you should have thought about that sooner", but I didn't, so ha. :P

So there's my resolutions for the year. Three solid, somewhat lofty goals, but they will all make my life much, much better and much more fun in the end.

It's interesting to me though, that I've become so scared to say anything. I stopped using this journal in general because my parents have access to reading it, and even though I'm an adult living halfway around the world, whenever I do anything at all in the back of my mind I hear them scolding me. So I feel that I always have to hide what I'm interested in or what I'm truly enjoying, because to them it's stupid and foolish and I'm just a useless kid. I really feel that's how they see me; especially in comparison to my brother who is obviously going to do so well for himself. I sometimes want to cry that I'm not some fancy, slim, fit businessman who could make them proud. This honestly weighs on me daily, so instead I just gloss over my passions (as much as I can) when I talk to them, and they only get like 0.001% of the story because I know they're ashamed and not interested. My life, it would seem, is a useless pile of getting-nowhere. It obviously makes me feel bad on the daily, that I'm not something to be proud of. lol I try and just get over it, and it causes me to do stupid things because I have this little beast in my mind going; "Welp, you're never going anywhere anyway, everything you like and do is stupid, you're so futile, you're so ugly, you're so fat, you're so useless, you're always going to be alone, what the fuck are you doing, lol stupid bitch". It's constant. I can't even tell you how constant it is. I wake up and the first thing I feel, before I even think, is something like a sadness.

I love my friends, but I'm losing them all this month. Egiya and Nicole are both going home. Chika is moving to Hiroshima and quite possibly leaving the vkei scene altogether. It's hard to find people you can really trust here, and even when you do, they all leave eventually. The Japanese students do not mix with the foreign ones. We even have our separate lounge at school, the Fujita Global Lounge, which is nicknamed by the students here as 'the Cage' (sometimes even the 'Gaijin (Foreigner) Cage').

I do my best here. I'm still struggling with a lot. I try and make it look like I have fun all the time, but on the daily there's a lot of struggles. A lot. Sometimes it's hard not to cry every day; especially feeling like I have no support on any side of me. I feel like I'm this island who has to stay and look happy and handle everything perfectly and never fuck up and just take everything in stride and be perfectly okay all the time. I can't even be sad to my family; ESPECIALLY not my family, and that sucks.

Buh. I don't even know what else to say, I upset myself. lol
Have a good day, anyone who is reading this.

022

Oct. 2nd, 2014 09:29 pm
It's been about six months since I arrived in Japan, and about that long since I posted here, too. lol Sorry about that, if anyone still reads this!

I've gone through a lot since I arrived here, and honestly a lot of really tough stuff, that is ongoing. School work itself is basically the least of my worries, so I suppose in some way that's good, but it would kind of be ideal if more of my difficulties were of that focus, like a normal university student.

Recently I've sort of been feeling like my life is entirely falling apart. That sounds really trite written here. I feel stupid saying it, honestly. But I truly know less about myself or what I really want or where I'm going to end up than I ever have in my life. And I feel really, utterly useless, disgusting, and stupid.

Japan is really hard on people. Moving to this country without really being able to speak and understand is hard. It's a racist country without meaning to be in the same way a gentleman tries to treat a woman well without realizing he may be acting extremely patronizing and chauvinist. Being here for four years is going to prove to be interesting and incredibly challenging: I've already lost a good group of friends from last semester that went on their way back to their own lives in their home countries and am having a hard time adjusting to making real friendships with the new ones that have arrived, if only due to the huge amount of drama at the end of last.

Furthermore I've realized I really do have to start putting myself, my goals, my desires, and my feelings first. I once heard a saying that went something like "do not put such a cheap price on yourself, for you can be sure the world will not raise it for you". More and more this seems like the truth.

People who love you when you're a child will tell you you can be and do anything. When you're a child and young adult they tell you if you're smart and you work hard you can succeed. I don't believe this in full. Firstly because you have to be dealt a very good hand no matter what to succeed in this life. Secondly, I've seen what a massive, massive advantage this baseless world gives to those who are genetically sheer lucky enough to be given what the current status quo defines as 'beauty'. So if you're given a marginally good start and you're gorgeous, yes, the world will hand itself to you. As long as you're beautiful. That's especially hard for a woman, and especially a woman who's not.

I've also had to come to the realization that I'm old. I'm getting old. I'll be frightfully old basically when I graduate. By that time what person will want me, what workplace will want me? I've fought with that. And also my health. I wasn't given such a good hand in that either, and unbeknownst to me I carried the tendency for and then developed some serious issues such as diabetes and liver disease. I've found myself wondering if I'll have 20 years after I graduate before I basically decay or have a heart attack, and wondering this seriously. Things that have happened in the last several months have not calmed these worries either, only exacerbated them.

I'm a mess right now, truly. So while I plod along and continue my studies I try not to think too hard about the future or myself or else I just become even more depressed. I try to just hope for good things to cross my path and doors to open. Good people. And I try not to think too hard. I try just to keep going.

021

Mar. 28th, 2014 06:37 pm
Happy birthday to me… I’m really sick. LOL I just knew, as I was staring at those masks in Daiso yesterday, that I should have bought them. Sigh. And by really sick I just mean a cold; I have a badly stuffed nose and a bit of a sore throat. But really, I’m okay. Last night was the first night since I bought my bedding that I didn’t sleep through the night. :C Damn you, cold!! I’m trying to think of what may have caused it, and I think the main culprit is probably being super hot/sweaty and then super cold in a matter of moments. (Because I would be hot and sweaty from walking home uphill with bags, but it was actually cold outside, and then I would take all the sweaty clothes off and sit in my PJs by an open window… In hindsight this may not have been a good plan. LOL) I decided to have the fruits and the macaroni salad for breakfast. Maybe today I’ll buy myself a little tart or piece of strawberry cake or something. :) The market at Hankyu… I forgot to write about this yesterday. The market at Hankyu is even more amazing (by like, a landslide) than the Station Marché, which I was already impressed by. It is also more complicated. At the Station Marché, like any grocery, you just pick up what you want, go to the counter, pay for it. At the Hankyu station market (across the overpass bridge, Station Marché is on the JR side), it’s much more like a bazaar, and you order items especially from each kiosk, but you can see that the quality is utterly exceptional. Some things are even cheaper than across the way, but some are more expensive. Anyway, they have everything. Bento, sushi, desserts, all sorts of meat dishes, vegetables, they have an entire section for produce, and it is crazy busy in there. If I’m feeling bold maybe I’ll take pictures today, lol.

I was going to do laundry this morning then realized I do not have laundry soap. orz WELP. /adds three millionth thing to the list.

Since it’s my birthday, I think I’m going to go shower then watch this Umbrella DVD that came with the single I bought in Tokyo. :3

;u; That was so cute. I’m feeling a bit better since my shower. Part of me just wants to sleep more, but the other part says well, it’s already 8 am, I should get on with my day… Hm.

Well, yeah, I’m definitely sick. I laid about in bed for about an hour, then got up. I have a cough, chest congestion, sniffles, the whole works. :C It’s not making me want to get a whole lot done today, I’ll tell you that. Plus I’m really worried about the fact that I don’t have a mask. x_x

OH MY GOD THESE MINI TOMATOES ARE FUCKING DELICIOUS. ;O; I’m really hungry today for some reason… plus it’s my birthday so whatever. XD Also today I have discovered that lotus root is delicious. And I just ate some asparagus-like vegetable I have no idea what it was. LOL I have eaten sooo much this morning. :X But maybe it will help me get over my cold, lol. I took my B vitamins too!! I actually do feel quite a bit better after eating all that, so maybe I needed it. All morning I have had: a serving of roasted veg, a container of those mini tomatoes, the macaroni-egg-ham salad (which also had zucchini and carrots it’s weird I know XD), a single slice of bread with the tuna-mayo stuff on it, 3 small pork meatballs, 2 shrimp in spicy sauce, a Vietnamese-style meat spring roll with hot mustard, and a serving of fruit salad. Please come through for me, multitudes of vitamins, minerals, and proteins. lol

I have also forgotten to mention that I am the only English-speaking person in my dorm, all three floors. There are many Chinese people, several Koreans, two girls from India and one Spanish woman. That is it. LOL Honestly, it’s interesting and a little strange to be in a place where the lingua franca isn’t English. One thing Leela told me before I left Tokyo was “don’t surround yourself with English-speakers, try and listen to the language as much as possible”. That’s proving to be rather easy. XD;

Oh man, I really do feel better after eating all that. XD Maybe food is important. ROFL

So the garbage trucks around here sound like ice cream trucks back home. It blows my mind that the garbage trucks in this area not only play cute music, but are pink, too. Japan, you are weird and lovely.

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lisawilliamson

January 2015

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