Yes… This is a shaved dried shrimp. Shrimp biltong. It tastes most bizarre. crunchy and insect like. Kinda made my skin crawl somewhat.

So the ultimate question…

Can we eat it?

IMGP4478 yup… Just like he said.


Summer Fun ~ Lake Haruna Fireworks


A bunch of us went up my mountain 2 weeks ago to watch the Annual Fireworks display there. Fireworks are always a blast but they were setting these off on the lake itself which made for an excellent show (Fire and Water always go well together) It was not quite as big as many of the other fireworks displays out there, but I liked it the most. Admittedly, ANYTHING on Mt. Haruna tends to be more awesome than anywhere else.

Sorry about the crappy Quality pics.. they were taken on my iPhone.

IMG_0141 IMG_0149

I will try get some better pics from Clarke cos he was shooting on his DSLR that night.

GAAAAAH I need to buy a real camera.


Jasmine You has died.

Another skilled musician goes off to join Hide's new band.
You will be missed, but your music will live on.

Article from Versialles official site:
2009.8.9 更新 「Versailles」より緊急のお知らせ

兼ねてより体調不良にてお休みをいただいておりましたJasmine Youですが、8月9日未明に永眠いたしました事をまずここにご報告させていただきます。あまりに突然な出来事に、メンバー・スタッフ共に今はまだ茫然と現実を受け入れることで精一杯です。



Translated version: 2009.8.9 「Versailles」 Urgent Announcement

Though Jasmine You had taken time off in order to rest because of poor physical condition, we received a report that early in the morning on August 9th, he died. Because of the extreme abruptness of this news, the members and staff are all dumbfounded and trying hard to accept this it.

As soon as his family has been notified and updated as to the details and we receive their permission, we will further report to all of the fans.

Moreover, with the current announcement, in regards to activity, please allow us to postpone it.


ScuberDIVE 09 - Shibuya ga Taihen

This past Monday was the Shibuya ga Taihen leg of the Scuber Dive festival series.
It was TAIHEN(very tough) indeed. 76 bands 7 Live Houses 7000 Yens and the best rock fest since I left SA. I obviously didn’t see ALL of the bands but i did get 12 of them and most of those that I saw passed the ultimate test… The managed to make me rock out hardcore despite the little girls getting in my way.

IMG_0100  black: my plan before the show. green: how it turned out.

There are others who are more obsessed with Visual Kei as a ‘sacred’ and ‘pure’ musical genre who will give much more ‘in depth’ reviews of the festival. I am not obsessed with VK as much as I am obsessed with rocking out to good music so the following Mini Review will be based more from a veteran of many live shows across the rock spectrum POV not VK obsessed blinkered fan girl… How the bands felt live to me, not what colour eye shadow Hizaki was wearing.

I got in as they kicked off their set. I literally opened the door as they started and was blown aback. They were on the O-East main floor so it was pretty big and the venue seemed packed to the gills. The set was professional and hard. I like the vibe they gave off… It was a lot more like a live back home than a VK live in Japan. I didn’t have the most prime location.. but I did have enough space to head bang properly (which feels so weird without hair) I like how the band didn’t give the hand flapping any encouragement but then anyone who knows me knows how i feel about furitsuke. In fact the music was way more conducive to wrist-breakers (the fans who flick their limp wristed fists in the air thinking its a punch) than furiers. Giru were very powerful. Pity about the shortness but then cramming 76 bands into half a day does require sacrifice. The only downer for me is that they had first band syndrome for me… Would have preferred them after I had warmed up a bit.
TLDR: Girugamesh was hard fast and great fun.

The star performance of the day for me. I entered Duo with high expectations. Out of all the bands there I wanted to see Deluhi live the most after missing out on tickets out their previous one man shows. Their music is out of this world, a great mix of European and Japanese styles. i hear so many of my favourite Scandinavian bands in their sound yet the fusion of that with Japan has truly produced some of the best music on earth… ok enough blowing sunshine up their arses. Needless to say I was expecting  A LOT. They delivered… and they didn7t even look like they were giving it 100% It honestly looked like they could have put even more energy into the performance which makes me wanna see a longer show soon! The also played their new single which will be out on the 8th of August. Its no "Two Hurt” but then I have only heard it once so yeah. What I particularly liked is that I knew many of the words (which is rare) so it charged me up more and letting lose the screams with full energy put me into battle mode! good thing there was no moshpit… I may have had the need to give a demonstration on how its REALLY done. I did elbow a chicka in the head by mistake… that's what happens when you walk behind the giant(foreign) guy that's punching his (non limp wristed) fist into the air while screaming like a berserker!
TLDR: Deluhi blew me away. Thoroughly fantastic!

I screwed up… My brain was deep fried in Deluhism and I only gave it some beer and an Onigiri to recover. My intent was to go to O-Crest to see LiZ but i went up to O-Nest instead (crest nest pest whatever) By the time I got there I realised my error I just stuck it out there cos i didn’t feel like going down 6 flights of stairs and up another 5. I was not disappointed with M, but they are not LiZ. Having said that I did love their vocals. Deep and rich… somewhere between Kamijo and Gackt but that's not very accurate. The music was decent but the band did not seem to have the passion that the vocalist had on the day. They did do a good job though and got me head banging… but They WERE after Deluhi. It cannot be helped I suppose.
TLDR: M are a good band but I was still recovering from Deluhi

Apart from some MP3s which I have come across on the interwebz I did not know much about them besides the fact that they were hard. I got to the venue after they had just started and it was packed, and i do mean PACKED! my height was a winner but even then from the entrance it was hard to see the stage. I did see the vocalist and was surprised! He was a big guy and not just in length (well compared to me he may even be small, but for a VK vocalist, he was huuuge) I was very happy to see this. The music was actually not all that brilliant however. I cannot really explain it but because of the vocalist’s size and the fact that their sound was some of the most metal VI I have heard, the bar was set higher for them in my mind and they just couldn't reach it. from a purely metal perspective… they were about as good as a middling metal band back home… Not as good as ...and Chaos or Elegy, Nowhere near SacriFist and Architecture of Aggression and not even in the same solar system as the Scandinavian Metal gods. Though for what Its worth I missed the brutality and skill of South African Metal a lot after seeing them. We have some BRILLIANT stuff! OK back to Scuberdive.
TLDR: Deathgaze’s vocalist looks cool but their music lacks brutality. Metal without Brutality is sad stuff.

Versailles ~Philharmonic Quintet~
I need not go into the depth of my love for this band. They are a fusion of Power Metal, Kamijo’s Voice and the theatre. Their C.C. Lemon ‘Chateau De Versailles’ tour final last year was mind raping. Hell it was even better than Blind Guardian which was a pretty hard show to beat. I had extremely high expectations. I was planning to miss Danger Gang for them. but they pretty much sucked. I mean they were good… they are just too good as musicians not to make decent music but Jasmine You was missing due to ill health and as a result they played with an off stage replacement bassist who did not know the songs too well. In addition to that you could see that the band was not really giving it their all. I cannot blame them, I mean their bro was down they did not enjoy playing without him and it showed. After 13 mins or so i said stuff it and went back to my plan. I was disappointed that they were not up to scratch but its Versailles. I already know what they can really do when they are in form.
TLDR: Versailles lacked Jasmine You and as a result was not up to scratch.

The band that never fails to WIN! I will admit the fan boy in me comes out for bands like Danger☆Gang and exist†trace… why (as if it were not OBVIOUS) they are all female! I have also found that all girl/girl fronted VK bands tend to go the extra mile at lives. I am not too sure why but even bands without the mind-blowing skill of Deluhi or Versailles put on live shows that are pure energy. Danger☆Gang are one of the most genki live acts I have ever seen. EVER. (admittedly it was before I saw Decopin.. but that's the next review) Their set was short as they were at O-Crest but it was a pure energy filled short set and most of the fans were established fans not first timers so the vibe was good. Their crowd interaction is second to none and it seemed like they engaged with every member of that audience personally. Its a nice touch. Makes you wanna give the band your all because they make you feel like you are the number one fan. It helps when you have the loudest roar in the room (and for a change new some of the lyrics)  too… but yeah. While not mind blowing or brutal. Danger☆Gang was fun. good fun and I absolutely loved their set.
TLDR: Danger☆Gang played a fun set which was made of battle and WIN!

DecoLa Hopping
I bumped into Decopin’s  first single Papillion not too long ago and was very pleased with their sound cute and fluffy juxtaposed to brutal hardcore. I mean what better mix is there. Little loli murderous rampage. which is exactly what they sound like. Firstly contrary to my previous assumption, They are not an all girl band, just a girl fronted band… Loli fronted would be better and the fact that said loli has a roar to rival mine makes it even better.  One thing I do like is even the brutal music has a kawaii bounce to it. Its fun, Its brutal. and I think it would go down really well in South Africa. I was pleased. They were better than I expected and it was great to hear more of their songs. I was sad to see the crowd though… there were only 12 or so peeps (me included) up at the front going berserk while everyone else just kept to the outskirts. but the music was good enough to block out the failures and focus on the win.
TLDR: Little loli murderous rampage! with bubbles.

These guys were the first surprise for me. I was not expecting anything epic… great but not epic. Having seen a few PVs and heard many of their songs I was definitely keen to see them live but the quality of the recording or something hid their actual talent. In person however they they were epic indeed. Scarily so. I needed to re adjust my mental state to truly appreciate how much better they were on stage than recorded. There was an edge, a power that captured everyone who was watching and just entranced us. I even joined into one of those hoppy skippy excuses that pass for moshpits at VK shows (I had to keep my arms clear so as not to elbow the little girls in the face) and even more surprising was that 4 crazy looking girls actually found me rather amusing (something about body-slamming an immovable object?… I dunno) I also got to witness a new move that I had never seen before. basically the ones at the front lean over the bars in front of the stage with their asses in the air (yes… pink with black polka dots.. but that is not the point) then the ones behind take turns to body-slam them. It was the closest thing to any real power I have seen exhibited by the ladies that frequent VK lives.
TLDR: WAAAAY better live than recorded. Panty shots from fans were included ;)

The other power metal driven over the top theatrical band I got to see at the festival. Musically great and very powerful indeed. They reminded me somewhat of Versailles which is a pretty big influence on them. It does feel a bit second generation and watered down though, what I mean is that there is not a lot of musical linkage back to the steel from Europe. You can hear the euro steel in the Hizaki Grace Project and subsequently in Versailles. You can hear the power and melodic death in Deluhi (and Leda’s other band is Galneryus which is one of the best metal bands in Japan) Megaromania sounds like they are influenced more by the Japanese version of the power sound. Its not a bad thing but they have yet to evolve it into their own unique sound. Basically They sound like other bands at the event. The were not the band that the other bands sounded like, if you get my meaning. It did not detract too much from the show however. I still had a blast to them. I particularly like how the vocalist used one of the girls doing the panty shot body-slam thing as a foot rest. Yeah he planted his boot square on her back and struck a pose while singing. After he raised his foot she went all fan girl berserk… as If god himself had trampled upon her. When I am a rock star, I wanna try that :D
TLDR: Powerful band though the sound was a little lacking in the originality department.

Like Deluhi, I had extremely high expectations from VanessA going into the live. I got into O-Nest as they started playing and i was greeted by the aural assault that I was expecting. They are a truly brutal and powerful band. which suited my adrenaline (and no small amount of testosterone) fuelled mood. Got me going almost instantly. One thing i did see is their clean vocal stuff which i tend to skip through when i listen to their singles but that is just cos I love their aggressive sound. I honestly feel their clean is not nearly as developed as their hardcore stuff. Though I reckon others may disagree with me on that.  Basically If there are no screams and smashing riffs their sound does not feel special in any way (to me). While I was in a hardcore mood at the festival I do like chilled and clean melodic JRock sounding VK as well so I hope as they develop they address this. The show was short but it was good. and that was all that mattered. (post note.. I have listened to their more clean stuff since the show… I still maintain it does not stand out from the crowd like their hardcore does.)
TLDR: VanessA’s hardcore sound sets them a bar above many bands but their clean sound is run of the mill.

Chemical Pictures
I have been reading Jimi’s (the bassist) blog since Chateau de Versailles and when Chemical Pictures was formed I was always keen to see what they sounded like. Not every band has an American member and I was keen to see how different they sounded. I even skipped Tokyo Mikaeru’s set to check them out. I figured that they were playing at O-West so they had to be good enough, but I basically had no idea what to expect. The opening instrumental got my body flailing which is always a good start to any set. As for their sound Its very hard to accurately describe especially after such a small dose, but It was awesome. I heard many rock influences that I have never heard in VK before which was pleasing. They were no metal band but they did have a fair amount of hardcore in them which was good on the day and the most important thing was their passion. They were giving it their all, so much so that Tenten (The Vocalist) forgot the words to one of the songs :p. That aside though they took a tired and worn out crowd and extracted even more energy out of us. It was skilfully done and I had a great time. Chemical Pictures is now added to the list of bands that I think are worth following.
TLDR: Pretty damn awesome! I wanna see/hear moar!


Summer Fun ~ RAMEN!


Got to Hang out with Yoshitatsu and Yuki tonight. Its been too long. Turns out he has a new job and he is earning a good deal more which is great for him. He also has a sponsor for next year and a landed himself a guest driver spot at a drift event in Australia!!! Things are looking up for him indeed.


Anyways... we ate ramen at a place in Kiryu. HOLY SHIT IT WAS GOOD!!!!! I bookmarked the location on me iPhone so I can go back!


Actually I have technology… and Sharing IS caring… :p

here is the place:

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