La包丁貴族 Lunch & Dinner Concert Reports
If there is anyone who was anticipating a concert report on here, I apologize for posting it later than normal. The contents are so dense and I needed to work on Sunday from early in the morning that it ended up becoming impossible for me to update within the usual time frame that I do.


Without further ado, here is my report from the Moi dix Mois Lunch and Dinner concerts on Saturday June 23,2018.



On this day we had a total of two Moi dix Mois concerts in one day. Its the first time they have ever done this and by what feels like sheer luck I was able to secure tickets to both shows (I lost the ticket lottery perviously but a couple friends helped me to get my hands on tickets to each concert).

There is a lot of cross over between the two concerts, so rather than dividing my report up by concert, I think it would be much easier to talk about both at the same time. Basically the way it will work is, whenever the two concerts deviate from one another, I will indicate “Dinner” or “Lunch”. If that sounds confusing, it will make sense once you read on.

Both concerts started off with everyone entering the venue and being directed to order their drinks first from the bar area. Afterwards, we were free to find our seats.

LUNCH
My seat number was 83 which was in the third row of tables from the stage. I was seated on Mana’s side of the stage(during the concert) and almost exactly where I sat last year.

DINNER
My number was 96, so my table was in the center of the venue. Surprisingly (or maybe not so surprisingly) this seat ended up being better than the first because I was able to see everything more clearly.

As each person sat down, the catering staff would then bring the food to the table.

LUNCH
Lunch was not particularly lunch. The venue opened at 3:00 pm, so we were served black pancakes with pink and blue toppings...




The pink was some kind of raspberry cream that was called “Creamy Mana” on the menu (for those who don’t know its a sort of joke and reference to a set of Creamy Mami bandaids Mana bought a year ago and kept wearing). If you’re from somewhere in the US like me, then these pancakes are probably not what you would imagine pancakes to be. The consistency was cake-like and the taste was extremely subdued. In Japan a lot of people don’t like the level of sweetness that many westerns do. I myself feel like my taste has adjusted more over time to what Japanese people like, so when I go back to the US a lot of things hit me as overbearingly sweet now. However, that is to say, some how I felt like the pancakes were a bit bland for me, but they weren't bad. Also, contrary to what you may imagine, they were served cold.(´~`;ヾ)



I ended up dissecting mine to see what they looked like in the middle. I'm guessing the brown in the middle was a kind of chocolate to help them stick together. That part didn't really have a taste though. I mostly just liked the raspberry cream and the strawberry.

DINNER
Dinner consisted of curry with chicken, vegetables, rice that was dyed black, and blue jelly mixed in the middle of it. There was a side dish of potato salad that was also dyed black.






Last year the blue curry had virtually no spice to it and had a coconut milk base. The taste that time was more like curry from Singapore. However, this time the curry was relatively spicy and tasted more true to Indian curry. The chicken was good, as were the vegetables, and really the potatoes salad wasn’t so bad if you could get over the fact that its dyed black. The entire dish consisted of rice (dyed black), vegetables, chicken, curry, and jelly (which was dyed blue next to the chicken). I've never had curry with jelly in the middle of it, so that was a little shocking to me.
Honestly speaking, I think I preferred the look and taste of last year’s curry. This was another dish served cold, but that probably couldn’t be helped. I probably could have gone with or without the food this year. Perhaps its really the presentation that was supposed to be the focal point? I’m not sure...

By the way, the flag on the food this year was reversible! One side had the Moi dix Mois logo and the other had La包丁貴族 (La Kitchen Knife Aristocrat) written on it.




DRINKS
There were also two special Mana created cocktails. They were the exact same drinks he made last year….and tasted the same as the drinks he made at the rendezvous to me as well. (≧∇≦)
There were an alcohol and non-alcohol versions available. The alcohol version is gin and tonic with blue curaçao mixed in. The non-alcohol version is pineapple juice with blue coloring.

Alcohol Version




Non-Alcohol Version



I got the one with alcohol at lunch and the non-alcohol at dinner. Thinking about it now, I probably should have done it the other way around, but it never crossed my mind then.


MIYOSHI SEIJI

Shortly after almost everyone had been served their food and got a little time to eat half way through, suddenly Hayato popped out onto the stage wearing a huge glittery yellow bow tie, a suit, and a microphone with a giant red foam mic head on it. Ryux also appeared holding a camera. Ryux was dressed casually in his own clothes, unlike Hayato, and walked to the back section of the audience area of the venue to start filming the stage. Hayato introduced himself as Hayamura Jun, the host of the pre-show (during both concerts).

I assume Hayamura Jun is a joke that has to do with Enka and a hint of Hayato’s own name (*Enka is traditional Japanese folk music. It will make more sense as you continue reading). While its a little hard for us non-Japanese people to completely grasp the feeling meant within this segment, I would say its comparable to The Lawrence Welk show in the US (Perhaps some people around my same age may know, certainly those who are even older would).

After giving a short intro speech, Hayato announced Miyoshi Seiji!
To give a bit of brief background information, Miyoshi Seiji is Seth’s stage name in his newest solo musical act. Something very different from typical visual kei, Miyoshi Seiji actually performs Enka music! However, Miyoshi Seiji has described this current musical activity as something that fuses both visual kei and enka.



Why Enka? You might wonder. Some months after K passing, Seth’s father passed away from cancer. Seth eventually came out with this story in full detail on his blog around the same time he formed the band Shape Shifter. When speaking of his father, Seth often mentioned how much he loved Enka music. For a few years now he’s talked quite a bit about wanting to perform Enka in honor of his father, so it seems this was only natural course. I can’t help but speculate if perhaps the reason why Seth decided to make this unique fusion of VK and Enka is because it depicts two very important aspects of his life.

The lights in the venue dimmed as Miyoshi Seiji walked out on stage completely decked out in an elaborate kimono. Disco ball style lights began to dance about the venue as Seiji introduced himself and started to sing.

The song had an authentic enka feel to it. I began to wonder if this is truly a Moi dix Mois concert or a retirement home?(;゚∀゚) (I’m joking!)

Halfway through the song, Seiji walked off stage and started shaking hands with tons of people and serenading the audience as he wandered through the isles between tables. Everyone was laughing at that point and Ryux joined in by getting up in Seiji’s face with the camera and handing him some paper with a word written on it that I couldn’t read quickly enough. Seiji took the paper and frantically tried to find a place to store it while singing, only to shove it down the front of his kimono.

Before we knew it, the song was almost at an end, so Seiji quickly found his way back to the stage, made a closing statement and then walked off.

Hayato finished up the segment giving his commentary on the performance and signing off again as Hayamura Jun.


MOI DIX MOIS TALK PORTION WITH Q&A

Once the Miyoshi Seiji segment ended, a few staff started to set up 3 tables with stools on the stage. Eventually Mylene Farmer music started playing in the background and the Moi dix Mois members walked out on stage for the talk session. Both times Mana carried a small black Moi dix Mois bag with him, which contained items presented during this potion of the event.


This was during the set up of the tables on the stage

There were several consistencies and differences between the Lunch and Dinner shows, so let’s talk about what was the same first.

All the members sat down at the tables on the stage. Starting from stage right Ryux and Sugiya shared a table, Mana and Seth shared a table, and Hayato was at the furthest left table (Seth sat between both the middle table with Mana and the left with Hayato, so he often went back and forth between the two).

Everyone introduced themselves based on their (fictitious) roles.
Mana was the general head chef, Hayato was the head of spicy food, Seth was the head of sweets, Sugiya was the head of alcohol, and Ryux was in charge of the dish washing and apprenticeship.

Before going into the discussion aspect of this part, I want to quickly comment on the different fashion choices of the members between lunch and dinner time.

LUNCH
Everyone came out wearing the same chef-like uniforms that they did last year. For those who don’t know, the style was advertised on the flyer for this event.


DINNER
This time everyone was far more casual, wearing Moi dix Mois logo T-shirts that were sold at the concert. Mana also wore a bright blue apron sold at the event.

Now continuing on,
Being the lower rank, Ryux was ordered by Seth to get drinks at the back bar area for everyone on stage. Obviously this part was pre-determined because it happened exact the same at both shows. The only major difference was Seth complained about Ryux being slow at lunch time and then praising him, saying “You’re so hospitable” at dinner time. Ryux carried back five beer mugs at one time. Mana’s drink was the alcohol version of his special drink served at the concert, Seth’s looked like beer, Ryux seemed to have water, Sugiya’s seemed to be some harder alcohol, and I’m not exactly sure what Hayato had (it was a really light yellow color).

mdmdrinks.jpg
(From Mana's Twitter)

During both concerts, as Ryux served the drinks to all the members at their respective tables, Seth looked at the mugs and faked his surprise to see all the beer mugs have the Moi dix Mois logo on them. His commentary was something along the lines of “AH!! Whats this!? Is that the Moi dix Mois logo on the glass?? Oh, wow!! Its on your mug too!? And yours? How cool!! Thats awesome!!”
Everybody in the audience laughed and seemed to eat it up, but it was such an obviously forced reaction, I couldn’t help but cringe a little both times. This reaction was meant to be a form of advertisement as these beer mugs were being sold at the concerts.

DINNER TIME ONLY
After Seth finished his spiel, Mana brought out a camera he had with him and started taking pictures of himself holding his dink. He then handed the camera to Sugiya to try instead, so he posed for several more pictures with his drink.

From this point forward, the discussion and Q&A began. Mana brought a sketch pad with him in order to write his responses and communicate with everyone. Many times Seth and Sugiya were asked to read off answers from the sketch pad, but it seemed like a lot of trial and error because several times they had a hard time reading or understanding what Mana was writing. Occasionally everyone on stage started getting involved trying to make efforts to completely comprehend everything.

Depending on what was happening in the moment, there were times when Mana started whispering to Seth, making gestures, and speaking/mouthing what he wanted to say in front of everyone, but of course nobody in the audience could hear.

A lot of the talk was based on the food we were served, as expected. At lunch time Seth asked how the pancakes were. Everyone in the audience yelled out “Delicious!”. His remark back was, “Thats great! I didn’t get to eat anything yet...”

The Q&A at both lunch and dinner was extremely limited. A couple weeks prior to the concerts, Mana requested on twitter for everyone to submit questions for the Q&A via the mail form on his blog. I get the feeling not so many questions were asked, because he persisted his request all the way up until a couple days before the concerts, stating he’s still accepting questions.

As far as I can remember there were probably only something like 2-3 questions talked about during each show.
I will do the best I can do recall as much of it as possible, but sadly its going to b a bit fragmented because the discussion often surpassed simply answering questions. There was a lot of off topic interference.

LUNCH Q&A
“What are your favorite sweets?”
Its hard to remember what everyone said because their answers were brief. I remember Ryux answers being somewhat more talked about than the other members because there was some variation of what it is he liked. Mainly Mana’s favorites were the biggest focus. Mana’s favorite sweets are Yan Yan Tsukebo and Kikori no Kirikabu (translated to Lumberjacks Stump).

yanyantsukebopackage.png kikori.jpg


It was hard to tell if it was an act or not, but concerning the Yan Yan Seth seemed extremely shocked as if he had no idea what it was. He asked the audience at first, “Do you know what that is?” and everyone answered “Yes!”
He still seemed confused, so later on after trying to understand better, he asked again “Really, you all know it??” and everyone in the audience once again confirmed that in fact they did. Eventually Mana pulled out several of packages of both snacks from his bag and passed them around to the other members, so everyone could take a look and display them on their tables. Nobody else really seemed to react except Seth. Mana even had to write on his notepad to Seth that you have to dip the cookie part into the chocolate so he could understand how it works.

HOWEVER!!
I can’t just write off this instance without making a particular note of it. Actually, Yan Yan Tsukebo has been a long time favorite of mine too, but I quickly came to notice years ago that its rarely sold in obvious places. I’ve been able to find it regularly at a grocery store near my apartment, but its an extremely off chance that I come across it at more common shops like convenience stores. Furthermore, I’ve been asked before by various Japanese people what my favorite sweets are in Japan. When I gave that answer, I was often met with the same kind of reaction Seth gave. “What is that?? I’ve never heard of it!”
Therefore, even though I say I’m not sure if Seth’s response was an act or not, I could still find it believable that perhaps it was his honest reaction.

On the other hand, Mana has talked about this being one of his favorite snacks a few times before on his blog and twitter. I don’t think is particularly a surprise to the fans or the other band members, which is why there was hardly a reaction from anyone else but Seth. Maybe Seth has never paid attention to Mana mentioning it before, but event that seems a little questionable to me. I guess we’ll never truly know…

Moving on,

Another question had to do with food and what the members can make themselves. Mana wanted to talk a bit about Omurice (An omelette with ketchup infused rice, chicken, and vegetables such as peas and mushrooms inside, then topped with ketchup or demi-glace sauce), so he started writing an extremely long message on his notepad. This is where things got confusing to the other members. First he showed the answer to Sugiya who tried to read it, but couldn’t understand. Then Seth started looking at it and couldn’t understand it either. It took several minutes until everyone started to understand what he wanted to say. Basically what Mana was trying to explain is that he can make omurice and he thinks the best possible way to make the omelette part is by shifting the egg through the skillet by shaking it for a few seconds.
Ryux made a commentary about hamburg (In Japan some people eat something like a hamburger patty served on a dish with toppings like cheese or gravy and no bun), which suddenly reminded Mana of a continuous joke they made last year because Ryux kept talking about the same thing and made everyone shout out “Hambuuurg” during IMMORTAL MADNESS. Mana wrote on his sketch pad and showed Ryux that he should say it like “hamBUUURG” as they did last year. Everyone started laughing and Mana started laughing so hard he couldn’t control himself. He kept hiding his face behind his arm but you could see him shaking from laughing so much.

The last question I remember being talked about (but I forget if it was at lunch or dinner) was “What do you do when you get drunk?” I don’t recall Mana commenting on this, but Hayato said “I fall asleep.” I don’t remember the other answers, but Mana did add something to what Sugiya said he did. I have an idea of what I think he said about Sugiya, but I don’t think what I remember is exactly right, so I’ll leave it out.


DINNER Q&A

At dinner time they talked about the curry we ate. Since Mana likes curry, he brought spices from home that he likes to use and showed everyone.

A lot of the conversation was more focused on the curry and taken up by one particular Q&A question:
“What kind of girls do you like?”

This is such a tired question by now, I’m surprised they keep re-answering it.
Hayato said he likes motorcycles and he loves it when he sees a girl riding a motorcycle with her hair waving out from under her helmet.

Seth seemed a little bit stuck in his response. When he was thinking about how to explain what he wanted to say, he said “Sexy…….sexy…..” and couldn’t quite finish off his sentence. Some how it got a little awkward so everyone started laughing and Mana wrote on the sketch pad キモイ (You’re disgusting) and showed it to the audience. Everyone started laughing even more at that point, and this started resounding through half of the conversations on the topic.

Sugiya said he liked girls with hair that looks like ramen. The other guys started laughing and questioning him a bit, which caused everyone in the audience to started laughing too. What he was trying to explain is he likes it when girls that strands of hair thats a bit wavy coming down, it kind of reminds him of ramen noodles. That probably wasn’t really a “cute” way of explaining what he liked, but everyone was entertained by his answer.

Unfortunately I can’t remember what Ryux said, but when it was Mana’s turn, he simply drew a picture and showed everyone.

It was a really simple picture of the bottom of a dress or skirt and legs with over knee socks. It looked like this:



Note: This isn’t Mana’s drawing, its simply a recreation I made of exactly how he drew it.

This is yet another answer that has been talked about numerously in the past by Mana, so most of the reaction from the audience came as amusement towards the drawing itself.

There was a bit more talking afterwards and wrapping things up. The talk and Q&A portion of the show was shorter than last year. I think both this time were around 20-30 minutes long.


CONCERT

Now for the concerts. The following are the set lists for both shows:

LUNCH
1. En Lumiere (SE)
2. Solitude
3. Front et Baiser
4. Beast Side
5. Twilight Flower
6. In that Hill
7. Immortal Madness
8. Dead Scape
MC
9. Agnus Dei
10. Perish
11. Ange ~D Side holy wings~

Encore
12. Pageant
13. En Lumiere (SE)

DINNER
1. Destruction xxx (SE)
2. Deus ex Machina
3. Night Breed
4. Material Death
5. Twilight Flower
6. In that Hill
7. Immortal Madness
8. Dead Scape
MC
9. Agnus Dei
10. Solitude
11. Ange ~D Side holy wings~

Encore
12. Je l’aime
13. En Lumiere (SE)

There were a few sound variations in some songs, such as in Solitude. In fact, during the lunch concert, it was really unexpected, so for a second I thought they were opening the concert with an entirely new song. Solitude was changed by adding a short guitar intro by Mana that gave off a jazz vibe at first until the main instrumental track stated to play and the song resumed as we all know.

It certainly gained my attention and was a refreshing experience of the song. There was a slight change I noticed to Beast Side as well. This time I noted a type of siren sound added before the first chorus and Mana seemed to vary up his guitar playing too, creating a more aggressive feel to the already energetic song.

The MC at both concerts were pretty much the same.
Seth asked everyone if they were having fun, to tons of cheers. He said he was enjoying it too but by dinner he said he was getting a bit hungry and tired.
They talked a bit about Deep Sanctuary coming up in September. He included a commentary about how there will probably be lots of new people at the concert who may not really know Moi dix Mois, but they want to leave an impression on everyone and the hope all of us regulars will help raise up excitement for everyone when Moi dix Mois plays. Of course Mana will also be playing in the Malice Mizer session.

On a more personal note, some how it felt a little strange to me when Seth talked about wanting everyone to raise excitement for Moi dix Mois. Is this a form of acknowledgement that our group of regulars is somewhat limited?

Some of you may be familiar by now that I enjoy looking into the statistics and numbers of concerts such as these. There were less than 200 tickets available for each concert this time (186 to be exact). While both shows technically sold out (hence I lost out on the lottery), I no longer feel like thats an honest representation of the number of people who actually attend. After the lottery, several people were selling multiple tickets to both shows, some even lowering the price of the tickets they were selling, which included numbers close to the stage! For the first time I even saw somebody holding up a sign that they were trying to sell off extra tickets they had. While the venue was full, it was by no means sold out.

Of course thats good news for people who want to go but didn’t win a ticket, but it concerns me a little. I haven’t seen anything like this at Moi dix Mois concerts before. There were empty spots with food still on the table that had never been touched. The staff picked these dishes up only once the concert had ended.

Still, all the usual people who went to the lunch concert also attended dinner, so there was hardly a difference amongst the two crowds. That always tends to be the case.

I’m not claiming any of it to be a big problem or anything, but it certainly caused me to think about the reality of the situation. To me, the sentiment of Seth’s statement felt more like “Those of us who are always around no matter what might be small in numbers, but surely we can all work together to make a huge crowd fully enjoy Moi dix Mois”
Its a humbling feeling when you consider the crowd size we will be facing in September. I can’t speak for everyone, so I wonder if anyone else has grown far too comfortable in the intimate atmosphere we typically find ourselves in at Moi dix Mois concerts within recent years?

Anyway, Dis inferno was also announced. I could be wrong, but I believe Seth said December 19. Once more information comes out, I’ll correct that if I’m wrong.

Of course IMMORTAL MADNESS, the typical Call out song was played at both concerts. Every time the Moi dix Mois members said “La Houchou Kizoku dix!” (La Kitchen Knife Aristocrat dix), the name of the two concerts, throughout the day they would make a certain hand movement in unison.

They created a capital letter L with their arms (Left arm standing straight up and right arm laying horizontally from the elbow of the left arm) for “La”, then as “Houchou” (Kitchen Knife) was said, they would wave one arm as if they were creating one half of the infinity symbol ∞ and then finish it off with waving their arm back at “Kizoku” into a “dix” hand sign at the ending “dix”. Everyone was taught to do this same motion during IMMORTAL MADDNESS too. In fact, there were a few calls this time. First everyone was asked to shout the traditional “dix Love” but after some time it was switched to La Kitchen Knife Aristocrat.

During both shows, Mana also wanted to change it a bit, where he asked everyone to act like maiden-like (or as I see it, like shojo anime characters). He wanted everyone to put their hands into fists under their chins and yell things like “yaayy!” and other phrases as they rubbed their firsts together (if that makes sense). Watching everyone try, it didn’t work so well at either concert. The yells weren’t nearly as loud as I think Mana had hoped and it was a little awkward to watch. Everyone gave it their best effort though.

Before In that Hill started, both times there was a spoken intro by Seth along with background sounds of running water and birds chirping meant to lead into the song. However, the more I thought about it during that time, the more I realized I think these background sounds are actually coming from a white noise machine Mana has talked about using at home to help him relax and sleep. Its exactly what it sounded like and I think he’s even shared some of it on twitter in very short video clips he’s made from his house!

Truthfully, when you really consider it, should it really be so much of a surprise? Mana has shown CDs he owns of nature sounds such as rain and thunder, which helps inspire him for his music making process. Since he also loves white noise generators, it makes sense. I don’t know why I never thought about it before, but perhaps it comes from the fact that I found myself far more focused on the mechanics of the music at these concerts. This year I’ve been working extremely hard to brush up my music theory knowledge and understand how everything works in greater depth, so I found myself immersed in these concerts from a new perspective. I’m finding it more and more interesting to talk about technicalities I’ve come to understand better over the course of this year and in terms of Moi dix Mois concerts its fascinating to find details I didn’t think about in the past.

Maybe some day I should make an entry about interesting points I’ve collected on Moi dix Mois music and performances from that stand point. Is it something everyone would be interested in?


Since these shows consisted of several parts (Miyoshi Seiji, Q&A/Food talk, concert), the concert itself was limited to about 1 hour both times, so it went by quickly.

The encore at each concert was slightly different.

LUNCH
Everyone had continued to wear their white chef jackets throughout the concert, so by the time of the encore they all changed clothes to Moi dix Mois T-shirts and Seth wearing a black La Kitchen Knife Aristocrat apron. Mana wore a new white and pink version sold that day. All the other members also wore aprons from the waist down, except Mana who wore a usual Moi-meme-Moitie half skirt for concerts.

manapinkshirt.jpg
(From Mana's Twitter)


The encore song was somewhat surprising: Pageant!
This is usually only played at Mana’s birthday, so it was fun to hear it at an unrelated concert!! All the members left the stage quickly after the song finished, so everyone in the audience was a little confused as to whether we should wait for something more to happen or if that was really the end of the concert. People started clapping as if anticipating everyone to come back out on stage, but after a few minutes it became understandable the concert was done we all left until we could enter the venue again an hour later for dinner.

DINNER

During the concert, all the members changed from their T-shirts to the white chef jackets worn throughout the entire lunch concert. Finally at the encore they changed back into Moi dix Mois shirts again. Ryux was wearing a Moi dix Mois jacket that he had cut the sleeves from. Seth wore a black and pink Moi dix Mois shirt, Sugiya had on a white and black version, and I think Hayato was wearing black and red. Mana wore a black and blue version this time.

The ending song was Je l’aime. Its not entirely a surprise as its a popular ending song for Moi dix Mois concerts. Seeing as the lunch concert had Pageant, maybe the idea was to follow a similar format to Mana’s birthday concerts after all.




In the end, it was a little exhausting having two concerts in a row. Even though its probably much more difficult to be performing on stage rather than attending in the audience, I could still relate to Seth’s feelings when he said he was getting a bit tired. Regardless, I think everyone had a great time!!

Theres so much going on that it really does make for a unique experience. My curiosity is usually piqued with the food, so I can’t help but want to go because I need to know what will happen! Naturally the music is a great surplus to the event, so its not something you can really go wrong with.


Lastly I have a few extra photos to share from the event!


The seating chart used for both lunch and dinner this year.








What I am looking may seem strange, but actually its a Hiroshima Carp apron over the same Moi dix Mois shirt the members were wearing today and a long EGA skirt. I didn't take many pictures of myself this time, so this was my one commemoration shot. Unfortunately I was photobombed by staff too. (^^;





PERSONAL MATTERS

This is just a little bit of extra information, but since I haven’t been posting much on here recently, I might as well include it at the end here.

First of all I want to apologize for not responding to everyone who has sent me messages within the past few months and I never responded. I feel like I say this way too much, but my life has been so busy its been hard for me to find a lot of time to do many things I would usually be quicker at. I really wish I had more time to do everything…

Speaking of being busy, something new has been added to my plate that I’m extremely excited about!!


I’m making a book!!!


The contents will be covering my experience as a Mana fan from the beginning. Of course it will be from my point of view, but I want to include the feelings of the atmosphere in western countries like the US from the time leading up to when visual kei was starting to experience a boom outside of Japan to the point where it made a complete take over. There will be a lot about the atmosphere in Japan too and how the two countries compare and contrast, particularly in the world of VK, Lolita/Moi-meme-Moitie, and especially Mana related topics. I love writing and this is a topic I thoroughly enjoy, so I’m excited about it.

In fact, I’ve already written part of it, so its something thats underway. I had proposed the idea to a few friends, but originally it was meant to be something more private among certain people, so it wasn’t going to be anything professional. However, two friends in particular really loved the idea and offered me a publisher!! I didn’t expect it at all, so I was totally surprised! Therefore, I am now altering the original idea a bit to make it into something anyone can read if they want to!

I know there are a lot of other things I need to post on here as well that I’ve held back from. Its been a long wait, but please be patient with me as I try to get as much done as I can with my limited time lately. ><;;


Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed the concert report!!
Next is Deep Sanctuary, so please look forward to that repot in September.


Sarah
DALLE
Surprise, surprise!
Tonight I went to a concert with a friend!
It always feels like it must be a once a year event that I go see another band besides Moi dix Mois, but tonight was Dalle.

I never listened or knew much of anything about them before, but my friend insisted I go, so off we went!

There are so many things worth writing about Dalle. However, its a little hard for me since I’m pretty unfamiliar with them. Regardless, I will say everything I can here! I guess this entry will be a sort of mini report.

The venue was Shibuya Vuenos, a really cool looking place that begins with the reception on the first floor and a concert hall in it’s basement level! However, going down to the basement level felt like a man all in itself. The first floor can act as a sort of balcony with a spiral staircase going all the way to the bottom, but there are various points where the floor levels off and so technically speaking you could probably watch the concert from various levels looking down into the crowd and stage.

Of course I’m not sure how much fun that would be, so naturally we went down to the bottom level so everything is easy to watch.

We walked in while the first band was playing, Sicx. Honestly speaking, I’m not always keen on opening acts, but I think perhaps this attitude comes from the fact that when I saw smaller VK bands in the past, there were sooo many amateur opening acts that tend to feel like a hit or a miss for me, and when its a miss, its a big miss. This time, however, I somewhat regret that I was a bit late arriving because Sicx was extremely talented!!

Their style was a perfect compliment to Dalle! You could hear a heavy punk inspiration in their otherwise edgy rock sound. The vocalist had a simplistic gothic style in terms of fashion while the other members seemed to have their own unique looks too, ranging from something a bit like a gothic bohemian style to full on punk looks. As strange as it may sound in writing, they all matched together surprisingly well! There were five members total, but I managed to get a picture with three of the guys!



Everything about their performance was energetic and well put together. At the end of the night they stood in the doorway of the concert venue handing out sample CDs and asking everyone to please remember them. Remember them!? Based on their performance I never would have suspected they still rely on something like handing out advertisement CDs at the door! I think to some extent the audience might have agreed with my sentiments because there were tons of people in the audience dancing and having a great time while listening to their music. They certainly have to be headed in a good direction, I think!

Now for Dalle…

After the Sicx concert ended, the curtain to the stage was closed and classical music started playing during the set up time.

Eventually Dalle appeared on stage.

Now as I said before, I don’t know so much about Dalle, so I can’t really give a description of the members or the set list, but I will at least try to speak on the overall performance.

Naturally I can identify Kozi, and from my understanding the vocalist is Ryo. I was on Kozi’s side of the stage so those two were the main members I could see during the show. However, I did notice the bassist’s style of playing was really unique! While playing, he held his bass so low down it looked like it was practically dragging at his feet. Maybe its silly to say, but in some way it seemed more like some kind of giant war hammer he was carrying rather than a bass guitar. But certainly that made him all the more interesting to watch.

Both Ryo’s voice and aesthetic were things I came to admire almost instantly. In fact, the first thing that struck me about him was his appearance. His fashion choice, hair, and overall appearance was really cool, but then when you look at Kozi who had a full face of make up on, you suddenly notice theres something drastically different about Ryo…he has no make up on at all!

Admittedly, I think this only came as a surprise to me because of the type of bands I’ve grown familiar with seeing almost my entire concert-going life. Its rare for me to see bands not fully dressed up in costumes and make up, but that doesn’t mean its not welcome. In fact, I somehow found it refreshing! Regardless, I wasn’t really there for looks, I was there for music and a great show!! Isn’t that essentially the chief purpose of attending concerts anyway?

Kozi looked like a seasoned professional on stage, absorbing himself into the music and being genuinely Kozi (how else can I put it?). I have seen him play in ZIZ during the past several Deep Sanctuary concerts I attended, so his performance style is not entirely a surprise. I’ve always thoroughly enjoyed his energy during shows and how true to himself his performances feel. His role in Dalle was no exception.

Another thing I was surprised by was the DJ. Before going to the concert, I assumed the set up would be relatively typical for a rock band— maybe two guitarists, a bassist, drummer, and vocalist. Therefore I didn’t expect to see such a member. In fact, I was petty surprised to see Kozi was the sole guitarist of the group. Considering the fact that I strictly only go to Moi dix Mois concerts I think my mentality has become somewhat static over time. However, this concert challenged my expectations, which made me think a lot more how an artist may try to convey their image.

This is something I can’t help but praise Dalle for. The way they conducted their concert was similar to something I’ve found myself dreaming of doing more and more over the past several months now. The music was high energy and intense. Every song contained a blend of sounds and elements that set them apart from the rest, yet at the same time, there was still some kind of overarching feel that tied everything together.

Also, several video clips projected onto a big white curtain at the back of the stage. The clips contained a variety of scenes such as a church in black and white with glitch-like graphics overlaying it, or distorted images of statues. The use of audio and visual together was really engaging and kept me wanting more. In fact,

It astonishes me that up until now I knew virtually nothing about this band, but after seeing them live for first the first time I’m already inspired to want to work harder on understanding more about music and performance myself.



Thank you so much to Ascheard for convincing me to go tonight and to Sicx and Dalle for such an unforgettable night!!
I hope to go see them again some time in the future, they are absolutely worth it!!


Sarah
Super Update!
Its been about a week now since the Rendezvous and at the end of the last entry I mentioned that there was still quite a bit I haven't gotten around to posting yet that I still wanted to.

Therefore, this entry will serve as sort of a mass update of almost everything I've been meaning to write about on here!


APRIL 28

For only a few short days Moi-meme-Moitie had a display inside Marui Annex, the mall where Kera Shop Angel in Shinjuku is located. I took several pictures so you could get a sense of what it was like.






The display was designed to showcase the various lolita brands inside Marui Annex, so each brand created a small set up in a public showcase area. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect at first, but it was smaller than I had imagined. Furthermore it seemed to be mixed in with so many pastel colors!



Theres only so much I can say about this, but on a positive note it was nice to see the Alchemy print backdrop. The dress is a remake/update of the old Gothic Arch print that sold out years ago, and thats about all I have to say about that.(≧∇≦)



I wasn’t really dressed for the occasion nor was I originally intending on taking a picture at the display but the friend I was with insisted, so now we have Slayer Sarah completely mismatched with an elegant Moitie display!! Ah well... (´~`ヾ)


MAY 16

This day marks the beginning of a new lolita magazine called "Le Panier". After receiving my copy of vol. 1 I noticed the magazine seems like a more refined and updated version of the Gothic & Lolita Bible. It includes one image of a Moi-meme-Moitie coordinate.


I recommend buying this magazine to anyone who would like to see lolita make a come back in a printed format like this. Its understandably difficult for magazines to succeed in the long term (dare I say even in the short term) nowadays, so similar to this magazine's predecessors, I wonder if it will be short lived. Surely its something to be treasured for those who loved the Gothic & Lolita Bible in the past though.



Le Panier International Orders


MAY 19

Saturday marked 4 years since K's passing. It has become customary now to have a hamburger and coke in memory of him since its something he really loved.

I had plans to go to a studio with a friend that day for a collaborative project we're working on, but at the last minute I suggested we stop at K's favorite hamburger restaurant for lunch!



Every year I do this I always feel slightly guilty for not liking beef. However, I try to make up for it by ordering a chicken burger instead. Thats ok, right?? Please forgive me K, its the best I can do! m(_ _)m

......I really miss K.


EXTRA

Also on the 19th, as mentioned above, a friend of mine and I have been working on a collaborative project together!! Heres a sneak peak of something we did for it!



This is connected to the Croix project I announced some months ago, but actually with this collaboration its becoming something bigger! I can't begin to express how happy and excited that makes me because it feels like the vision I had set out for this is becoming a reality!
Sometimes I worry about the pace the project is taking for it's full development, but then again Rome wasn't built in a day either...

Anyway, what exactly is the current collaborative project and what happened at the studio? What does the picture mean?
Its something that will be revealed more in time...hopefully very soon.
But I just couldn't end this entry without saying something about it!!

For anybody who supports and decides to follow this project, from the bottom of my heart, thank you sooo much. It means the world to me.


P.S.
One last remark!!
In the past couple of weeks I received emails and letters from readers here!!
I wanted to let you know I saw them and was so happy to read them! I've been a little slow at updating things lately, which is why I ended up with this massive entry today. I promise I'm going to respond to everyone soon! Its the next thing on my to-do list after this entry!!
Also, I'm going to try to work on and finish up Rock and Read translations as well, but that will be coinciding with the work I need to do for the collaboration project I'm working on. It's all going to get done as long as I keep pacing myself as I'm trying to do now!
Please look forward to everything!!

Sarah
Mana Rendezvous 2018
You're here for a Rendezvous event report, right?
Well, as promised I am here to deliver!

This was the first time Mana has held a Rendezvous in several years now, so in terms of how it all works there were no true surprises, but interestingly the location was at the Vampire Cafe. I think this is the first time its ever been held there, but I was happy about it because I've felt for a long time this would absolutely be an ideal place for such an event.

Everyone's meeting time with Mana is extremely short, so I feel like I could easily get to the point and make this a super short entry. However, whats the fun in that?
If you only want to know what happened when I met Mana, I will bold the section where it begins so you can scroll directly to that.
In the mean time, let's talk a little about my account all the way until that moment.

So there was a little confusion at the beginning. I actually didn't buy a ticket for myself— a friend of mine gave me a free ticket. That being said, my friend had his name on the tickets and emails and our times to meet Mana were totally different. The event was organized similar to the ESP Jeune Fille event last year in that there were 4 time slots to participate in. Whichever time slot your given by the staff is the time you can enter the cafe. My friend's was at 12:45 whereas mine was at 1:45. We were worried if the staff would even let me in since my name wasn't printed on the email, but after talking to them everything turned out fine.
That means when I showed up with my friend around 12:45 I had an hour to kill on my own. Fortunately another friend was ending his time at the Rendezvous as I arrived so we walked around and talked a bit until I could finally enter.

I was starting to feel a little stressed by the time I could go to the vampire cafe, but fortunately yet another friend happened to have the same time as me!! Both of us were extremely nervous so we were doing anything we could to calm ourselves. The staff was kind and talked to us a bit, surprisingly in English (honestly I don't know how I feel about that on a personal level after living in Japan as long as I have now, but I recognize they're just trying to help). Finally we were ushered to a small elevator and up we went to the 7th floor where the Vampire Cafe resides.

One by one, the staff asked to see what number we were given on our ticket and we had to sit accordingly to that. Vampire Rose was there, sadly he didn't greet me like usual this time, but he was working hard trying to set tables making sure everything looked presentable. Each seat was set with a blue drink produced by Mana, a Moi-meme-Moitie clear folder, and an advertisement for the Vampire cafe.



The drink wasn't bad. I think it was basically a gin and tonic with syrup in it. Relatively simple.




The straws were shaped like a cross, so I was holding the flyer behind it so it was easier to see in a picture.

As soon as everyone was seated at their respective tables, finally the staff started going around and letting everyone know when it was their time to go meet Mana.



Heres a short video Silvia (my friend who I went in with) took. Was she spying on me???(≧∇≦)
(by the way, this video is marked as unlisted as it was originally a private video I asked permission to share. So you can only see it on here!)


The waiting time went by somewhat slow, so I pretty much just entertained myself by taking pictures and playing Pokemon Go.



Try as I may, I just could not look like a normal, decent human being in any of these pictures. I was way too nervous! I look like the awkward seal meme! LOL



One thing I noticed while waiting was the music inside the vampire cafe. I believe it was Bach, but what was interesting was the CD that was playing just kept repeating the same few songs over and over again. Particularly one song kept playing that I realized contained a part of a later Malice Mizer song (Bara no Seidou era)!! Which one was it, though...? I'm going to try to figure it out and post about it once I find it!!

By the way I wore a moderately casual EGA look this time so I didn't get a full coordinate picture. I tend to feel like EGL just doesn't suit me anymore as I get older...maybe some day I'll wear it again, who knows, but I don't feel confident in it like I used to. Thats life, I guess.


Meeting Mana

So finally we get to the part where I met Mana! I think nearly an hour went by, but finally I was called back. I had to wait a few minutes in a line of about 3-4 people and to be honest, when the person right in front of me went, I could see everything that happened!(/ω\*) I tried to look away somewhere else because I felt a bit guilty about it. I could see that Mana was wearing all black EGA this time. In fact, he posted a picture on twitter today!




Translation:
Today at the “Rendezvous ~Temptation of Crimson Blood~” the atmosphere in the venue was so fantastic it felt like time totally spent in an illusionary world.
Even right now I'm unable to forget your warmth…
I definitely want to do the rendezvous again next year!



Anyway, as the person before me left I was finally allowed in.

Theres a veeryyy small entry way between the hall and where Mana was located and you had to walk down two small steps to get there, but basically as soon as I walked through the entry Mana was standing right there.

My first impression seeing Mana in person again was a bit of a shock for me. It wasn't anything about him personally, but my own feeling. This all felt so familiar!! Of course it was, I've gone to the Rendezvous many times before and met Mana over and over again repeatedly for the past 8-9 years I've been living in Japan now; it shouldn't be a surprise at all! But truly my feeling was something like, “Alright here we are! Let's get going as per usual!” as if its something totally normal.😂 What!?

I say all this in a positive tone though. I'm glad I can feel this sort of familiarity. In fact, maybe my feelings of familiarity with Mana now have gotten to a point that...well...I'll explain it in a moment.

So he stood in front of me and showed me how he wanted me to hold my hands out and then he quickly grabbed at them with one arm around my back. He ushered me to a sofa thats basically like 2 steps away and gestured for me to sit. I did so and then he sat down next to me and autographed a photo of himself located on a small table immediately to his left. It takes him a while to write and at this point I never know what I'm supposed to do. I just kinda looked around at the area (it wasn't really set up in any special way actually, just a small empty room) until he finished and gave me the autograph. At that time he just looked me in the face, I guess in case there was anything I wanted to say or do. As always, I never have anything to say, so I just gave him my usual smile and a nod as sort of a “Thanks and ok, let's go!” but this time he wasn't having it. Instead he did the exact same back at me! I didn't know what to do so I started glancing around and tried nodding again like “Are we going anywhere or doing anything yet...?” and instead of acting on it, again he just sat there and mimicked me. He looked like he was about to start laughing too.😂 This is where I was saying maybe I'm starting to get too familiar with him, because in that moment I nearly said out loud “Now what??” but I caught myself right before I opened my mouth and just stayed silent.

Then finally Mana stood up and had me stand up too. Thats when things got...strange..!
So as I stood up, suddenly Mana lunged over and hugged me, but this hug wasn't like any hug I experienced from him in the past! At first he gave the usual hug I anticipated from him— whenever I went to past rendezvous usually when he hugged me he either gave a really light hug and patted me on the back or it was a little more firm, but still just about the same every time. This time he started with the light hug, and then he started holding onto me tighter and tighter and tighter and tighter...what the hell was happening!? At that moment I thought to myself “This is different from usual!” and since he wouldn't let go, I ended up hugging him back really tightly because maybe he needed it😂, but he kept hanging on and wouldn't let go. Finally the tension settled down and he started to let go, but actually....NOPE!!!

He hugged me AGAIN! Just like the first time, as tight as he could and as long as he could! I was a little confused then, but I thought “Ok two hugs then...” but he started really getting a death grip on me after a while. Eventually I thought it was all over....but...NO!!!!! OH NO. NO. NO. ITS NOT OVER YET.
This must have happened somewhere between 4-5 times!? 4-5 death grip hugs that felt like they would never end! What was going on!? What was I supposed to do?? This is also where my feelings of familiarity were starting to kick in again too, because I was about one second away from blurting out “What you doing!???” but as my mind raced I knew that might sound bad, so I laughed a little because I wasn't sure what else to do at that point. Thats when Mana started laughing in the exact same way as me. An audible laugh echoing my own as he continued to show no sign of letting up from the aggressive hug attacks. Of course I say all of this with amusement and happiness, but I won't lie, I was pretty confused at that point!

Finally after what felt like an eternity, he grabbed my hands again and walked me to the location I entered from. The entire way to the entrance/exit he wrapped his arm around my waist and started petting my hair from behind. Why does he always pet my hair...( `-ω-)?
As I started walking up the first step to get back to the main area of the cafe, which is where Mana began to let go of my hand, but suddenly my boot hit the step and I almost tripped, so he reached and grabbed back onto my hand again, which caused me to trip on the second step going up too! (;゚∀゚) I looked back at him and he seemed a bit worried, but I made it back and reluctantly he let go. After that I ran away to gather my belongings and leave the event space.



Truth be told, I was pretty surprised with the outcome of the event today. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, but I didn't anticipate any of what I got out of it. Thats a good thing.


Personal Reflection

From the bottom of my heart, I thank my friend who gave me the ticket to go to this event. It wasn't something he was obligated to do, but it was something he felt I should definitely be a part of and so he gave me this ticket out of the kindness of his heart. The memories that were created today never would have happened without him and they are memories I will cherish for a lifetime. Thank you so so sooooooo much Maddy! I could give you 100 death grip hugs in return too!!(≧∇≦)

That brings me to the next thing. To be honest with all of you reading this, I just haven't been feeling myself for I don't know how many months now. Mentally, emotionally, physically...I haven't been feeling great, so if anyone is wondering why things like blog entries, translations, news, etc have been slow, thats the truth of the matter. Its just personal stuff, really. Its not something I really want to dwell on in this entry but its something thats been on my mind due to the content I've wanted to post on here but just haven't yet. I'm still not entirely sure what I feel now. I don't know, I just feel a little lost lately. But, today was a happy day and I was surprised by such a positive interaction coming from Mana. It gives me a little more strength to carry on with things I've been neglecting. By saying all this, I wanted to make note theres still more things I've been meaning to write about on here and fortunately Mana's energy today has helped me to want to get those posts published on here soon.

I promise I will try my hardest to add translations from Rock & Read and photos from a certain small Moi-meme-Moitie exhibit at Marui that I went to a few weeks ago!

In the mean time, enjoy these scans I made of my Mana autograph and the Moi-meme-Moitie file I received.






P.S.
Lately I keep hearing similar requests from multiple friends lately saying, "Come to Europe!!"
I've come to a realization in my life recently that I think majority of my friends are from Europe now, thanks to Mana/Moi dix Mois. It was a dream of mine since I was really young to be friends with people all over the world and now I've noticed that dream has become a reality. Truly I must come visit you all in Europe some time!! It would absolutely be a dream come true, so I will try my hardest!!💙
I also received a few requests today about the content I make for this blog and my site. I think they were really good ideas, so I'm thinking about how I can implement them now! Thank you so much today!! I really feel more and more inspired because of you all! Including aggressive death gripper as I mentioned earlier!


Anyway, please look forward to the next entries coming soon!!



Sarah
Consensus
Thank you to everyone who gave their input on the last entry.
I apologize this is coming along more slowly than anyone would like, but all in all, it seemed the majority of responses I got favored posting scans from Rock and Read 77 separate from the interview since the interview will take longer to translate. Therefore, I finally have all the scans ready to share!
Feel free to click on any of the pictures below for full size.








They're slightly out of order from the order they show up in the book, mainly for aesthetic reasons. Anyway, if you're curious about the true number order, the files have numbers on them like P1, P2, P3, etc. so it should be easy to understand.

Another thing about these scans. I think as small thumbnails like you see on here, they look pretty good, but if you look at the full size scans, they end up looking really grainy. I did everything I could to try to eliminate as much noise from the pictures as possible, but unfortunately in the end they didn't turn out quite as well as I would have liked. The reason for this is, the paper used within Rock and Read is somewhat cheap and has a texture to it. The photography quality as a whole wasn't so great either, so I knew from the first moment I saw these pictures they would be a huge challenge to scan.

Hopefully you guys enjoy them anyway! This magazine is available for order online too, so it seems its still possible for you to get a copy even if you don't live in Japan! In fact, I really encourage you to do so in order to show your support for Rock and Read magazine! Heres a link:
NEOBK-2224301.jpg

Rock and Read Vol. 77 International Orders


Concerning the interview translations, as sort of a "sneak peak" on what to expect, I wanted to mention that the topic this time is about dispelling rumors, I think particularly from Malice Mizer era. Probably the biggest shocker that will be taken away from this magazine is that Mana and Gackt have been in contact again since 2011.

From the little bit I've skimmed through so far, I got the impression this interview was done more or less to celebrate the Malice Mizer 25 year anniversary.

Anyway, since my schedule is pretty busy lately, I'm not completely sure when I'll be able to post the translations, but I'll continue working on them and try to get them out as soon as possible!

I hope these scans will manage to hold down everyone's interest until then.
Enjoy!


Sarah
Update.
For the past two days, I have watched several of you patiently awaiting my update on here.

Yes, I did receive the new Rock and Read vol.77 magazine.

rocknread18.jpg

I know you're eagerly awaiting to see what all is included; the pictures and translations of the interview.

I wanted to make this update to confirm I will translate and post scans as I always have in the past.
However, the reason why I haven't yet, and still dont have scans up on this update is for a few reasons:

First, I ordered the magazine online and didn't realize once it was shipped to me I would have to sign off on the package. I had an extremely busy work day yesterday, so by the time I got home last night I noticed the post office sent me a slip to have it redelivered.

This morning it finally arrived but I didn't even get enough time to really look through or read much of anything because once again today was another intense work schedule.

Finally now that I'm home and can look through it, I realized the interview goes on for a lengthy 12 pages! Due to the length, its not realistic for me to say the translations will be up immediately, but I'm going to do the best I can to translate and post everything as soon as possible.

Therefore, I guess how I approach this depends on those of you who are interested in it:
How would you like me to do it? Would you like me to post the interview piece by piece based on sections as I finish them? That would mean posting 2 pages at a time as I finish them.
Or would you prefer if I waited and finished the entire 12 page interview all at once?
Same goes for the scans-- if I post them, do you want them all at once? Before posting the interview? During the sections as I finish them (meaning corresponding the pages of the interview that go along with the pictures in order)? or once everything is finished and have it all posted in bulk?

I'm not quite sure which would be the best way to go. One way would mean quicker updates, but also lacking seamless continuation, while the other would mean having to wait a longer time, but having everything all at once.

Anyway, I apologize for the delay to those of you who still depend on me. I wish there was some way for me to better balance my work-life schedule but its been so hectic lately I hardly have a moment to breathe!



In the mean time, theres one little thing I wanted to share of my own!
If you're only looking for Mana news and information, this part of the entry is going to be pretty irrelevant, but its something I've been working hard on with a friend and am excited about!!



This is sort of a teaser trailer for a collaboration between the Croix project and a friend, Virtual chambeR!
As a sort of easter egg, watch all the way to the end and check out the link to the "Alpha" video from VR's side!
Its something that will connect these two worlds which really excites me because it was an unexpectedly great surprise!!



Anyway, please look forward to more on both topics of this entry!


Sarah
Bonus Update! New Jeune fille guitar picks + video
Heyy!!

I wasn't expecting to make another update so soon after two big concert reports, but actually today I decided to go out to the ESP craft house. Since new Jeune Fille guitar picks matching the Jeune Fille X Ferrum Crossray Illusion were introduced at the two Mana birthday concerts this weekend, I ended up wanting a few for myself. I took some pictures of them when I got home so you can see the details and colors!




Click on each picture to enlarge it if you would like to see them in a bit closer detail.

I bought 6 in total because I thought that was all they had left, and then I realized there was another place in the shop that had a bunch more. I was going to buy 10 so I could use a few and save a few, but this is probably more than enough.(≧∇≦)

I also made a really short video showing off one of the picks and using it to play the intro of Unmoved on my Jeune Fille!
Its a very simple video, but I wanted to do it for fun for everyone who reads this blog and on a couple social media accounts.



Of course I'm still in the beginning phases of learning guitar, but I use Unmoved to warm up every day because I love playing it. Also, since its Mana's birthday I thought it would be a fun treat to finally make good on many people's requests to see me learn Moi dix Mois songs!

As I learn more over time, maybe I can post longer and better videos in the future. Anyway, please enjoy my embarrassing beginner playing!(/ω\*)


Sarah