A New Dark Lord & Marui Annex!!
A few days ago I made an entry which took me 2 hours to write, but as soon as I clicked the "save and post" button the entire entry was some how erased and never posted! I have no idea how that could have happened but it was incredibly frustrating and disheartening after so much work...
(この更新はすごく長くて、もうすぐ日本語で翻訳したいんですが、少々待ちください!)

However, I still wanted to write about this so heres to hoping the second attempt posting will work out!



Vampire Rose Birthday Live ~October 19, 2013~

I suppose a number of people who have read this blog through the years must know that I've been on pretty good terms with Vampire Rose for a while now. The last time I went to the Vampire Cafe, on my birthday, my friend and I had quite a long conversation with Vampire Rose and he invited us to go to his birthday concert. He asked me to come the year before as well, but I ended up at the time missing the live, so I figured this time I would make that up and be sure to come.

I was really shocked when I arrived at the venue -- the place on the inside looked like it had once been an opera house but had undergone a rendition into a concert hall, so the original stage was still in tact but there were no seats on the ground level. However, there were two balcony levels, making the concert hall itself about three stories high (although the building the venue was in had more than 6 stories). Being what looked like an opera house, the stage was absolutely gorgeous with a rounded platform complete with a huge beautiful curtain and an elaborate stairway coming from the stage right side staight onto the stage itself.

Even the fans at the concert were impressive themselves!
To be honest, there are a number of concerts I've been to in Japan where I've felt like as a new comer and stranger to some concerts I wasn't entirely welcomed by the fan base, but this live had an entirely different vibe. As soon as I arrived at the concert hall I was asked if I had a ticket. I didn't because I was planning on buying one at the door, but a girl suddenly came running up to me and told me that she had an extra ticket I could have! It was extremely nice since the ticket she gave me ended up costing far less than I had originally planned on paying. Then once I was inside the concert area another fan came up to me and gave me two red glow stick bracelets that seemed to be a staple for Vampire Rose lives! Thank you guys so much, it really left me with a great impression of Vampire Rose's fans!


As for the concert itself, once it was time to start, the curtains opened to the most amazing set I've ever laid eyes on at a concert in Japan!! First and foremost in the center of the stage there was a small staircase of about 10 steps or so lined all the way to the top with candelabra and a giant standing coffin at the very top of the stairs. Inside was Vampire Rose!

Right next to the stair case and at the edges on either side of the stage were giant ruin-like pillars along with roses all along the background and cross shaped tomb stones amongst an array of creepy but elegant ornamentation. Surprisingly with all of this on the stage there was still more than enough room for all the band members who played as back up support members (two guitarists, a bassist, and drummer). At the very beginning as Vampire Rose's coffin was being open, a fog emerged into the audience area and all the fans, in complete silence, lifted up red glow sticks that had been tied together in the shape of a cross. It was one of the most amazing images I've ever seen at a concert, and I will certainly never forget it!

The music was all a mixture of hard rock and more elegant sounds (harpsichords, pipe organs, etc) as I suppose you would expect from something like Moi dix Mois, but this was still very different! Everything was extremely up beat and it was so much fun when the fog machines all around the stage would blast out large amounts of fog straight up into the air! In fact, there were a lot of things during the live that were shot into the air... not only fog, but rose petals, streamers, and a number of other things that pertained to particular parts of the live.

One of the more interesting concepts of the performance was how as a whole it was almost like watching a movie. Between songs, sometimes the stage would go dark or the lighting would create the atmosphere of various scenes similar to Bram Stoker's Dracula story. There were various sound effects played at these times throughout the concert that progressed from wolves howling, horses galloping, and a carriage containing the voice of someone speaking who seemed to be a Japanese Jonathan Harker-like character. Finally we hear this Jonathan Harker character enter in a castle and stumble upon Vampire Rose, and thats where he did a very small one-man skit that lead to his next song. Although it sounds strange when writing about it, it was all done very tastefully making it extremely entertaining!

There was also an intermission in the performance, which Vampire Rose instilled a very smart an unique element to the concert -- a video projected onto the closed curtains! The video was a greeting from Vampire Rose himself and a run down of the items being sold at the concert (I really wanted a shirt and his custom vampire fangs, but I was ushered into an alternate exit with some other people at the end of the concert and couldn't find the goods booth). At the end of the video he made a parody video of a commercial playing over here about hair gel. Its hard to explain, but it was really cute and funny!

At the end, before an encore was called out and after the last song was performed, Vampire Rose was shut back in his coffin by his "servant" (who seemed to portray something like a VK type Renfield?) who stood in front of it as the curtains closed. A perfect end to a perfect performance!!

But that wasn't all!


Once an encore was called for, everyone came back out on stage but this time to celebrate Vampire Rose's birthday specifically. Everyone in the audience sang Happy Birthday and a cake was wheeled out with a sign on it that said "300 years old"!! The best part was, I think there must have been about 300 candles on that cake, actually! Of course they weren't lit though...that probably would have destroyed the cake. But it was a really funny addition I never would have thought anybody would actually attempt.

After that, all the band members went to cat walks that were on either side of the stage to watch as the curtains closed and displayed another video. This time it was a compilation that had been put together by Vampire Rose's performing artist friends wishing him a happy birthday. I personally didn't know who any of these artists were so that wasn't something that struck a cord with me, but it seemed many fans at the venue knew exactly who they were so they all loved the video!

At last a few more songs were played and then at the very end a few pictures were taken with everyone in the audience and the performers together with Vampire Rose that night. It was a sweet memorandum, and right before everyone left the stage for the last time, all the band members held hands and did one big jump together (along with several of the fans doing the same in the audience).

This was honestly one of the best performances I've seen in years! Its a shame Vampire Rose doesn't often have a one-man live like this, because I believe he could truly be very successful as a performer. Of course I think he really loves the Vampire Cafe, so perhaps performing regularly and maintaining the restaurant would be a lot to bare.

Hes definitely won me over as a fan now, so I look forward to his future concert plans!

If you're interested in Vampire Rose's music and performance work, check out his PV and website!



http://dieode.com/vampire-rose/

He also has an Ameba blog →
http://ameblo.jp/from-vampire-rose/


By the way, after the live I decided to send him a tweet wishing him a happy Birthday and letting him know I loved the concert and this is the reply I got:




My message says "Tonight's live was the best! ・:*:・。(〃・ω・)ノ Happy Birthdayヽ(・ω・〃)。・:*:・゚" and his response says "Thanks♫ You were also the best ψ(`∇川)ψ"

So funny! I really enjoy Vampire Rose as a person and as a performer now!






Finally, I also wanted to write about the new Marui Annex where Moi-meme-Moitie has now been relocated to!

I really wanted to write an entry completely by itself on this subject, but as I was about to do it, I felt like the content was a bit too small to actually make an entry out of, so I'm putting it together with this live report.



On Thursday when I got to work, I learned one of the secretaries had been trying to get a hold of me to let me know I actually didn't have to come in for a couple more hours than what was originally planned. Unfortunately, my phone had died so I never got the message. But that was really not a big deal because since I work in Shinjuku there is a lot to do to kill time with. This time I decided to visit the new Marui Annex and check out the new Kera Shop Angel.

Marui Annex is located not even one block away from the original Mauri One building so theres hardly a difference in actual location, save for maybe a minute or two extra of walking time. The building itself is impressive since its so large and a bit more upscale looking from the previous, but I tend to think this has something to do with the contents within Annex now.

Just as it was in Marui One, Kera Shop Angel is located on the 7th floor of the building along with a few other lolita shops. The layout is quite different from what it was at Marui One, which made the shop appear far bigger than it had before... although, to be honest it may very be bigger! But don't be fooled, that doesn't actually mean theres more Moitie to shop around for!

In fact, the sad yet not totally unexpected truth is, the Moitie section has dwindled in size significantly. With the wide selection of 3 whole clothing racks of Moitie, the items you can buy at the shop seem quite limited. Granted, there is a small table displaying accessories, the Moitie section certainly doesn't have the appeal it once did.

From my impression of the shop, it feels like Kera Shop Angel is trying to expand its selection of brand names so each brand's amount of clothing available to purchase in-shop has decreased. Although I can very well understand this perspective, as someone who still very much loves Moitie, its a little disappointing.

Perhaps the future of Moitie is shifting more and more towards the dependence of online sales. If thats the case, it makes you wonder whats going on?

None the less, I imagine another reason for this may have something to do with the concept behind the new Marui Annex.

The concept of Marui One was largely focused on travelers, so they could experience a sort of one stop shopping center that would contain a wide variety of Japanese pop-culture related items and fashion, so there would be no need to hunt down individual shops. However, Marui Annex has an entirely different approach. This new mall is focused with the family in mind, so theres something for everyone. Some floors contain general women's fashion, others contain men's fashion, and some even contain every day goods such as dishes. The floors that now contain shops that were spread through Marui One are now condensed into a small number of floors, and even these floors are obvious in their attraction to different kinds of people. These floors no longer contain only gothic & lolita related goods, but also a book store (Village Vanguard) and shops related to anime and manga.

The Marui company has been known for some time now to move locations every few years, but for me its been a little sad to watch Moitie's diminish over the years. The first time I ever saw it was when it was still its own shop, but then when it merged into Kera Shop Angel I was a little sad knowing it would never be the store it once was. Now that the selection feels like its getting smaller and smaller within Kera Shop, it makes me a little bit more sad. Hopefully we'll see good things in the future, though~


So after this long novel of an entry, I hope all of you enjoyed it and are looking forward to Halloween coming up very soon!
Who knows, maybe you'll see something exciting on here too?


Sarah