Archive for Uncategorized

My “Japanese” name…haha

So the other day my friend was trying to come up with ways to write my name in kanji. He came up with with following:

冷児 (cold child)

霊寺 (ghost temple)

麗児 (pretty child)

So each of these mean “reiji,” but since I can’t write the character for “pretty,” and neither could my friend without the help of his cellphone, I am just gonna combine them into 霊児 (ghost child). Yep. I’m a ghost. Booyah.

Just some cellphone pics of Shinjuku

These were all taken from the top of my hotel (the Keio Plaza)

I’m Back!

And I have returned! I came down with a very high fever and a bad case of the midterms, so I have been avoiding the internet like the plague. But now, I have some time, so I am going to continue with this blog! Let’s go!

So, I have worked out the JET situation. I will be interviewing for CIR (Coordinator of International Relations), which is a position working in an office rather than as an English teacher. Since I really don’t want to teach English, I am thrilled that I was selected for an interview! I bet it’s because I worked in BNY Mellon in Tokyo for the summer….Hmm…At any rate, Japanese is required for the job. Which leads me to my next point.

JLPT. Japanese Language Proficiency Test. 日本語能力試験.

I failed it. By 10 points. Because of the damn vocabulary section NOT having kanji to help me identify the words. I plan on not bringing this up in my interview, as it is very embarrassing and might hurt my chances.

The way JET works is thus:

90% of all JET participants are ALT (Assistant Language Teachers), and 10% are CIR. Taking the exam is highly recommended for qualifying yourself as being at a certain level of Japanese. Obviously, I suck. My plan is to ace the English portion of the interview and make them think that I am a completely normal and sane person, and if I bomb the Japanese portion…..maybe they will still hire me?

I have begun my Japanese review for the interview, and also done a mock-run with a member of the Asian Studies staff. She gave me hope…..so help me believe in me!

And I manage to mess up JET already…

So, as you know, yesterday I received confirmation that I will be interviewing for the JET program. What that email did NOT specify was whether I would be interviewing for CIR (Coordinator of International Relations) or ALT (Assistant Language Teacher). On my application, I selected CIR with the option to more to ALT if my application was not strong enough. The email was generic, and since it matched with my friends who all applied for ALT, I assumed that I, too, was selected for ALT. I booked a plane ticket with a friend, and booked an interview.

Today, though, I recieved an email that my interview had been cancelled and that I needed to rebook as a CIR. I had sent an email to confirm in the morning, due to feelings of dread last night. To my horror, I had only one day to interview for CIR left avaliable: Tuesday, Feburary 16th. In other words, the day of a midterm with my thesis adviser. NOT GOOD. Now, there is all sorts of drama going on with the plane ticket, mostly because my friend is scheduled for a Friday interview and now I a Tuesday, but we are booked on the same ticket. The airline will not let us split apart, so my friend is trying to either switch her interview time or just cancel the flight as a whole….I feel terrible, as this is my fault.

At any rate, they let me keep the interview despite my messing up the time booking. So, maybe, with any luck, I will be returning to Japan as a CIR instead of an ALT! Wish me luck! With everything….. >.<

JET Interview is Go!

Go, go, Chocobo!

 Today I received notification from the JET program that I will be interviewing for a position. I applied for both CIR and ALT (specifically, the CIR position with the option to switch to ALT). However, I know that my Japanese ability is not strong enough for the CIR, so I have instead opted to interview as an ALT. Whether this is problematic or not is debatable, and I have sent them an email notifying them of my change. At any rate, this is a huge step forward in my plan to return to Japan and not only master the language but start a band up as well. Stay tuned for more details!

Grimmace and I in New York, NY

Visual Kei Review: 愛狂います。ー サイコXレタア

The first Visual Kei band review I will do involves a very unique group from Nagoya.  

愛狂います。, read as Aicle., are self-described as “those apple-looking people”. Really. They said it at a concert in Takadanobaba Area in summer 2009. This could be because ルビ (Rubi, Guitar) has a fascination with attaching “large apples to his head”. Actually, he constantly has some form of apple paraphernalia on his body at any given point in time. This statement could also be from the fact that えみる (Emiru, Vocals) used to have half-red and half-green hair that was spiked up, thus emulating an apple. The other two members, 玲音 (れおん. Leon, Drums) and さらん (Saran, Bass), have less-apple-themed attire and hairstyles. However, that does not mean that the styling of this band focuses solely on the vocalist! Lately, the entire band has done a shift in styling, moving away from their former, more color-centric attire toward a style that can only be described as being bitch-slapped by a  rainbow. (By “color-centric,” I mean each member has one color that they focus on in their wardrobe) They are truly embracing kote-kei and making it their own. I have also heard them described as “Nagoya-kei”, however I am not entirely sure what this phrasing entails. It was also used to describe Lupo Label (now disbanded), yet the music and fashion styling of the bands do not really compare.

Their latest single, サイコXレタア (Psycho Letter),has えみる appearing to channel some SiSeN with his belly shirt, shorts, and color combinations. At any rate, the title of the song is a very accurate description, as the song is rather random and blends multiple styles together. What makes Aicle. great, though, is their ability to actually pull off these combinations. It has, in a sense, become their signature music style. Other Visual Kei bands often attempt to do this type of music style combination, but more often than not they fall on their face in the attempt. There is no other way to describe Aicle. but “unique,” both in the sense of their style, music, and interesing music style.

Here’s what’s going on musically in this single:

さらん may appear to be playing some boring bass lines, but before the bass solo (which is rather simple), he is often playing slap-style. His alternation with ルビ also makes for some interesting plays off one-another musically. Very interesting bass lines going on with this band, very interesting indeed….

玲音 is a soild drummer. Let’s be honest: a good drummer can hold any band afloat. There is a lot more programming in this song, but he holds a steady beat and throws in a few tricks every now and then.

ルビ has been holding down the fort as the main guitarist since the rhythm guitarist, ケイタ (Keita) left in early 2009 due to family issues. I’d say he’s been doing a brilliant job and he is all over the neck of that guitar. I adore the pedals and such that they use, it rounds their unique style out.

えみる. Either you love his vocals, or you hate them. I, personally, like how he can turn off the vibrato for certain parts and back on again for the chorus. His voice is rather high-pitched by male standards, but it works in his favor, adding another layer of unique musicality to the mix. The vocals are standard Aicle., so you have to listen to more songs to understand exactly what I mean by turning on and off the vibrato.

Aicle. is, to me, a true Visual Kei band. They experiment musically and also in the realm of fashion, and pull it off. They are experiencing a huge jump in popularity, selling out shows not only in their native Nagoya but in Tokyo and Osaka as well. If possible, I highly recommend seeing them live, as the fans are just as unique as the band. (They have a certain name, these fans, but I have forgotten it….It was a play on 狂い) There is also a lottery that the goods stand has, called a クラクジ (kurakuji). for about 200 yen, you pull out a lollipop that has a number on it. This number indicates you prize, which ranges from a button to an autographed poster to (this only happened once as far as I know) a meeting with the band for pictures. I won the autographed poster, an autographed photograph of 玲音 before he dyed his hair from blonde to the pink-red-orange, a few candid live photographs, and a hand towel (it’s a Japanese thing…). I also met them after a concert once, sans makeup. That was a bit horrifying, but it was cool just the same.

For those new to Aicle and wanting to hear more, I recommend the following songs, as they give a good overview of what this band can do (and they can all be found on youtube!):

心臓 (Shinzou)

トウメイニンゲン (Toumei Ningen)

ハマー*ヘッド (Hammerhead)

ゴメンナサイ (Gomen Nasai)

Choco Sand Biscuit Cream

That’s all for this review (wow, that was lengthy…) but I hope it was enjoyable! If you have any bands or singles that you want me to review, just post them in the comment section or shoot me an email!

Aicle. circa Hammerhead