blacklilly: (Amelie)
Blissed out

Let's go with the Blissed Out first.  Further to my musings on the VK scene and my little photographic forays into it, I actually go all fan-girly and excited (well, as fan-girly as I can ever possibly be) about getting to shoot Deathgaze at their gig in Shinjuku at the weekend.  You know, had I not got the chance to photograph them live, I would have paid for a ticket and forgone the photos anyway.  That's how much I like them.

The ed. and I arrived at 4.45pm and collected our press passes, before hanging out in the venue (Loft, Shinjuku).  I scoped the stage out but somehow completely ignored the photographers' run at the front of the stage.  It took one of the sound guys to point it out to me, and I was quite relieved as I did not fancy the prospect of fighting the moshing masses to get a good photo.

So, I crawled down the front and had a little chat with a photographer from Cure magazine while we waited.  It was actually due to case of lens envy that I got talking to her.  She had the lens I've been salivating over, but will never be able to afford - a 14-24mm Nikon wide-angle lens.  I felt rather inadequate, to be honest.  She had the wide angle, a cute little 50mm (by the look of things) and a zoom lens, all of which she alternated throughout the show.  I had my 35mm Nikkor prime lens, and my 44-200mm zoom, which at such close proximity was only good for trying to snap the drummer, who was sitting in the unlit depths of the stage most of the time.  It does take nice sharp photos, where the 35mm sometimes fails, so it's always good to take along, just in case.

Deathgaze took to the stage a little later than scheduled, Naoki and Kousuke taking to the stage first, before Takaki followed.  Ai appeared after a little pause and the band went slamming into the first number, which may have been "Crash Down", but I can't be certain owing to switching into photographer mode. I remember the third song being "Blood", as it's my favourite off the new album.  I'm currently trying to check the Deathgaze blog to find a set list, but nothing is loading up...nope, nothing on the blogs about set lists. 

I had a great time up in the bands faces taking photos and trying not to mosh too much myself.  They were full of energy and playing my favourite kind of music, so there was nought that could go wrong!  Apart from the lighting.  Which sucked.  Not for the band themselves - from the audience the set up was great, but for me down the front, there was far too much back-lighting and waaay too many red gels being used.  I don't seem to be able to figure out how to compensate for reddish-tones in photos.  Ai looks positively devilish in most of my shots...when you can actually make out his face, that is.   Both he and Takaki were playing up to the camera all night.  I was most pleased.

I had my boots off for the first half of the show, which made scurrying about much easier, but after ducking out half-way to get some crowd shots, kept my boots on and did the rest of the show squatting down and performing all manner of photographic acrobatics in 3-inch platforms.  My thigh muscles are still pretty sore and I seem to have almost pulled my toe nail off my big toe.  It doesn't hurt, but I can tell it's not right.  I dread taking off the nail varnish to see what the damage looks like.

The toe beating slowed me down somewhat, so I took a breather and sat on the floor of the the pit watching the show.  After two great encores the show finally ended.  I had a beer in the bar with music still going round in my head, and waited with the ed. to interview the band.  Sadly, while I was waiting, I realised that I didn't have enough money on me for a t-shirt, which saddened me, as I had wanted to get one.  No idea where to track one down in Tokyo. 

The details of the interview I cannot tell you, as firstly, you should read the interview when Rokkyuu publishes it, and secondly, I can't understand enough of what was said to give you anything meaningful, except that Kousuke said he liked animals.

To the right here, we have the lasciviously-tongued Ai posing for the camera.  The "blacklilly" on his leg is my internet name, which also doubles as my photography name.  So, no pinching without asking, ne.

I need to wrap this up as I have to go to bed soon, but the mention of photos and names brings me to theme number two.

Slightly Put Out


Basically, I've photographed a fair few bands now, and for the most part have had no issue.  However, twice last weekend I found bands uploading my photos onto Facebook having swiped them from mine.  I was credited, but I am a little uneasy about the idea of bands using my photos without letting me know.  The issue is not permission - of course they can use the images, I'm more than happy for them to do so.  However, I would like some warning so I don't look at their pages and wonder why that picture is so familiar.  I had a discussion with the singer of one of the bands last week and he got quite defensive about it all, saying that what goes on Facebook is fair game.  True, but common courtesy is nice to practise too.  So, I'm a little...annoyed/confused/ about it all.  I've actually considered not bothering anymore, but that would be a stupid response.

So, in the future all photos will be marked with my name and website (when I sort one out).  It perhaps seems a little overkill, but this is something I would like to make money doing, and I need to attempt some sort of professional behaviour.

Actually, I just realised that using that promo pic of Deathgaze is probably making me look like a hypocrite, but it's a promo photo which means someone was renumerated for it.  I wasn't.

Worn Out

Yes, I am worn out.  All I want to do is sleep, but when I get there I can't.  I am counting the days until I finish each of my jobs.  Sadly the one I want to get out of the most is still over a month away from finishing.  They were saying to me the other day that they want me to come back and work for them in July.  Which part of "I quit" is failing to register?  Very Japanese I suspect.
blacklilly: (Takoyaki!)
Well, finally, some excellent news to tell you about!  I just found out this lunchtime that I have been offered a teaching position on board the 73rd Peace Boat voyage.  What this means is that I will be travelling around the world for 3 months whilst working as an English teacher on-board a cruise ship!  This plan has been in the works for a while - I've been planning it since last summer - and last weekend I went for a full-day teaching demo and interview session.  I came out feeling that I'd cocked it up, and so was hoping that the fact that I called on my friends who've worked on Peaceboat to recommend me would sway the decision.  Well, something worked! 

They've actually got a specific role for me on board.  As a teacher with more exam experience than most, I will be teaching the TOEIC classes on board.  TOEIC is actually my least favourite exam to teach, but I'm going to accept the challenge and try to devise a way to improve people's TOEIC scores without boring myself to death.

I feel like I should be dancing around the place, kicking things and generally shouting a lot, but I just sat on my sofa and felt a bit numb after I finished the phone call with the co-ordinators.  I've been waiting since December to see which way my life is going to be heading this year, and now the decision has been made I guess I've gone a bit blank.  There are now so many things to organise.  Do I keep my apartment while I'm gone?  Do I come back to Japan and stay until my visa runs out in November, or do I move on somewhere else?  Moving to another country could only do wonders to my love life, I suppose...  Anyway, thoughts thoughts and lots of thoughts.



The cough and gravelly voice stuck around until Saturday.  I didn't feel much like getting out of bed for most of Saturday, but I had to get motivated to shoot this bunch of growly, screamy, heavy beasts called Reivier.  They played at AREA in Takadanobaba, which is a mere 15 minutes from Asagaya, so I didn't even have to go very far.

Following on from my musings about Visual Kei in my previous post, I was highly amused to note that the mosh pit at a VK gig is the only place  you will see people hanging out in slippers - only changing into their shoes to go skipping off to the toilet.  It's also the first time I've seen synchronized hand-banging in full force.  I noted that head-banging in Japan is much more fragrant (as it's mostly girls) and you are at a near-statistical impossibility of losing your teeth, owing again to the girls, and the fact that everyone knows what the moves are - there's no miscommunication, as a certain Fox news presenter would say - though I doubt synchronized moshing proves the existence of God.

I was down in the mosh-pit for part of the show, then hung back on the raised section with my zoom lens to catch the encores.  The band were pretty good live, which is good, as their tracks (the ones on Youtube, at any rate) actually suffer from the opposite of my normal gripe -  they don't sound well-produced enough.  They need someone with a good grasp of mixing metal to get their sound spot-on.  If they want to crack the overseas market, which they really could do, they need a good producer.  They were thoroughly entertaining, and certainly seemed to be having a great time themselves.

After the show, the editor of the VK magazine and I interviewed the band.  We slunk through the dressing room and found the guitarist Koh, who had arranged our press-passes. He corralled everyone into a corridor backstage and so we all stood in a circle and talked. They were all quite sweet and friendly, and were much more approachable than the last band I was involved in interviewing.  Mid-way through, the lead singer started de-robing himself, and stood about in his tight underwear and smudged eye make-up. 






Speaking of interviews, tonight I'm actually being interviewed by a magazine about being a vegetarian in Japan.  Three of us vegetarians, plus the owner of a vegan cafe in Kichijoji, will be discussing the trials and tribulations of our dietary choices over a FREE veggie meal.  I hear there will also be a camera there, so I should try to pretty myself up before I go out. 
blacklilly: (Amelie)
Despite my best intentions when I returned from Bali to make a little more time for doing nothing, which means actually relaxing at home with a good book, I have had remarkably little time to do so this month.  The weeks have flown by once again, and there seems very little to show for, although a far deal of stuff was done.

Back at the end of December I shot a goth fashion show in Harajuku, which featured X-Japan's guitarist Sugizo giving a live performance on both guitar and electric violin.  The shoot was for an online magazine, for whom I have written some album and single reviews. The magazine isn't live yet.  It was meant to come out last week, but it's now looking like sometime this week instead.   How I ended up writing for a Visual-kei magazine, whilst knowing almost nothing about the genre, is still to be discovered, but booze cruises in Tokyo have quite a lot to do with it.  I'm thinking of trying to research Visual-kei a bit more, as it's a genre of Japanese music which drives me slightly potty.  Potty, because they bands almost never look like they sound...or how I think they should sound, at least.

Let's use Daizystripper as an example.  Observe these lovely lovely young men to the right.  Rei (the bassist on the left) is rocking the cut-off t-shirt with his teeny-tiny waist, and the other all look thoroughly cute.  My problem was what they sounded like.  Looking at them, I was thinking something along the lines of the early grunge scene - you know, when Alice in Chains were more glam.  And then of course, I listened to a song.  Whatever song it was I cannot remember, but it didn't impress me much.  The music was fine, I just felt that the whole thing was overproduced and far too clean sounding.  And then I saw them in concert, which made my jaw drop.  Yu-giri getting on stage and growling and screaming earned huge amounts of rock points in my little world.The energy of the band was excellent, and I found myself bopping along in the photographers' pit.

You can watch a video here.

In other news, I am looking after a rabbit for 6 weeks.  He's super cute, but doesn't like to be handled too much yet.  He runs in circles around my feet while I'm cooking, which is pretty hilarious to watch.  He also has an unhealthy relationship with an orange ball.  I had to take it out of his cage as the raping of said orange ball was freaking me out.  His name is Cecil.


Apart from that I've done some photography at a couple of shows -art shows and rock gigs,  but haven't yet put the photos up anywhere to see.

Next week I'm being interviewed by an eco-lifestyle magazine about being a vegetarian in Japan.  I get a free meal in one of the best vegan cafes I've been to in Tokyo (I was there last night, actually) and can wax lyrical about being poisoned all the freaking time.  I actually ate a piece of meat by accident on Saturday night, which pissed me off a bit.  I'm getting really fed up of telling the restaurant staff I'm vegetarian, only for them to forget about it as soon I've ordered one dish. Being vegetarian applies to everything I order.Rabbits

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