Archive for January, 2005

Satanyanko and Strawberry Song Orchestra are setting up for a double dose of devilish feline fury, playing two nights in a row to celebrate the launch of their split CD at Osaka’s Club Water. Two nights, mixing sounds from Goth, dark rock and neo-retro lie in wait to take you on a trip through the West Japan’s alternative scene. Six bands each night for the price of just two Belgium beers (2,000/2,500 at door). Events are on February 19th and 20th with the Santanyanko and Straberry Song Orchestra CD, Ichigo gakudan to Akuma neko, being released in stores and on March 1st.

The madness begins on February 19th with performances from Jurassic Jade, S.A.A.G., Jubilee, Chugakusei Kanoke (from Tokyo), Satanyanko and Strawberry Song Orchestra.

Event Information:
Event: Satanyanko & Strawberry Song Orchestra Split CD Release Party
Place: Club Water (Osaka :: Sennichimae)
Address: 3F, 1-7-23 Sennichimae, Chuo-ku, Osaka (Map)
Phone: 06-6213-9357 (Club Water)
Date: Saturday February 19, 2005
Start: 18:00 ~ (18:30 start)
Price: 2,000 yen (2,500 at door)
Performers: Jurassic Jade, S.A.A.G., Jubilee, Chugakusei Kanoke (from Tokyo), Satanyanko and Strawberry Song Orchestra
Web site: Satanyanko
Club page: Club Water (Osaka :: Sennichimae)

The chaotic conclusion on February 20 includes Concre (Hiroshima), ∀nti Feminism (Tokyo), Haha Lemon (Tokyo), Kyoko Chinretsushitsu, Strawberry Song Orchestra and Satanyanko.

Event Information:
Event: Satanyanko & Strawberry Song Orchestra Split CD Release Party 2
Place: Club Water (Osaka :: Sennichimae)
Address: 3F, 1-7-23 Sennichimae, Chuo-ku, Osaka (Map)
Phone: 06-6213-9357 (Club Water)
Date: Sunday, February 20, 2005
Start: 18:00 ~ (18:30 start)
Price: 2,000 yen (2,500 at door)
Performers: Concre (Hiroshima), ∀nti Feminism (Tokyo), Haha Lemon (Tokyo), Kyoko Chinretsushitsu, Strawberry Song Orchestra and Satanyanko
Web site: Satanyanko
Club page: Club Water (Osaka :: Sennichimae)

The Japan Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare released it’s annual nation-wide suicide study on Friday, January 28 (See report – Japanese only). The report gives some interesting insights into Japan’s suicide culture, which results in an astounding 30,000+ deaths per year, or a shade under 90 per day.

Monday blues
I remember a study that found Sunday evenings the most depressing time as people start thinking about work on Monday. However, Monday is the day when the deed is most often done in Japan with rates up 20% over the average.

According to the report, while the average number of suicides is around 88 per day (64.1 men and 23.9 women), the Monday blues take 108 people per day (80.7 men and 27.3 women). Saturdays are the least likely days for self-inflicted death with rates of 53.5 for men and 21.2 for women.

Men in the morning
For men, the worst time tends to be between 12 a.m. and 1 a.m. and between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. Sounds like people just coming back after a hard night out, or just getting up (or haven’t slept) for the next day’s work, have decided enough is enough.

Women in morning and afternoon
The study shows the peaks for suicides by women are from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. (not another day at work), between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. It is interesting that the rate drops off during lunchtime.

Spring-time depression
As to the time of year it seems all linked to the financial year or possibly hay-fever, with March through June being the months where rates jump considerably to between 95.5 and 103.2 suicides per day.

It all seems very depressing, but let’s not get too wrapped up in things. Just chill out, have a cup of herbal tea or take a walk around the neighborhood and enjoy those things that usually get lost in the day-to-day noise of life.

Tokyo is a crowded place, so you always have to be careful where you walk to avoid bumping into others. Of course, it is a little unreasonable to have to look up for falling objects, especially people.

On the last day of 2004, a suicidal woman leapt from a 12-storey building landing on top of a man as he walked past the Tokyo high-rise. Both were killed in the incident according to the Mainichi article.

This is a repeat of a similar event in August 2004 where an unemployed man landed on another man who was passing by with a friend, after leaping from a high-rise. The jumper and the man he landed on both died, but the friend remain physically unharmed. Article on Mainichi among other places.

Neither jumper was trying to land on anyone, it was just the way things happened.

All aboard for the next Candy Spook Theater show at Takadanobaba Area. Candy Spook Theater specializes in taking buddhist chants and slamming them sideways into it’s own brand of punk-metal fusion so anything involving these guys is definitely going to be interesting!

Starting from 6:30 p.m. the show will probably last around four hours and set you back 3,000 yen at the door or 2,500 yen advance. This will get you five bands including the Spooks, Despair, hell:near, 2nd Effect and Kokushoku Sumiru (Black Violet). On top of that they have a bonus CD on the day (first 200 people).

Event Information:
Event: Party MonsTers Collection No. 1
Place: Super Live Theater Area Takadanababa
Address: B1, 3-3-8 Takadanababa, Shinjuku, Tokyo
Club Phone: 03-3361-1069
Club Fax: 03-3361-3069
Date: Tuesday February 1, 2004
Start: 18:00 ~ (18:30 start)
Price: 2,500 yen (3,000 at door)
Note: Lawson Ticket L-code 32142 (you can buy them using the Loppi terminal in Lawson convenience stores).
Performers: The Candy Spooky Theater, Despair, hell:near, 2nd Effect and Kokushoku Sumiru (Black Violet).
Web site: Candy Spook Theater or check Despair’s Schedule page for some English data
Club page:

Today’s post is going to center around, or at least vaguely float past, a little tome JP recently discovered during a random Web surf, the slightly controversially titled mook, Gothic & Lolita Bible. Don’t worry, I’m gonna tell you what a mook is too.

Well, let’s deal with the controversy of slapping Lolita in the title. Goth-loli is one of the offshoots of cosplay (which can include almost any kind of dress-up), and has been tied and bound (and quite possibly gagged) to the Goth scene. Of course Goth works well as a subset of cosplay too. So the loli-goth is pretty much ladies dressing in girly-type, fantastical or dark costumes. It can range from pure fantasy Victorian/Little Bopeep costumes to Death’s kid sister. It might be worth considering it as a ningyo, or doll dress-up, because a lot of the cosplayers seem to go for china-white pallors, regardless whether they are Bopeeps and Deathettes.

To be honest, I reckon the title is just there because it sounds controversial. Taking a leaf from the high-brow classic, Dirty Harry Five:

Swan: Drugs were Johnny’s trademark. He practically made his career singing about them. It made him controversial.
Harry: Well, I can see why you’d want him in your flick.

Gothic & Lolita Bible
Oh, my goth! Front cover of Gothic & Lolita Bible, issue one. It’s a nice gothy coffee-table magazine.

Next, the mook. You’re probably wondering just what the hell is a mook. Basically, it’s a shortening of magazine and book, hence mook (rhymes with look, not Luke). Sure, they could have called it bagazine, or bone, but somebody, somewhere decided on mook, and the rest is history.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know I prattle on like a nicotine fiend who hasn’t had a fix all day, but rest assured, we’re arriving at the meat of the piece.

Thanks to my multi-talented assistant, three volumes of the mook were ordered on Yahoo! Auctions Japan (Yeah, I’m cheap). They arrived and JP tore into the package to check it out.

Gothic & Lolita Bible is published by Index Magazines in Japan, which produces a number of life-style magazines for young adults (including a few nice cooking series). So it’s not going to be too controversial.

The Gothic & Lolita Bible seems to serve as a focusing point for Goth in Japan, communicating essential style elements of the scene (in the best possible taste of course – gawd I miss Kenny Everett). G&L Bible pursues the clothes and the look, so you don’t get to see much beyond the frilly shirts, embroidered dresses and fang implants.

In a nutshell, it presents a style template for young hyper-urban Goth to mold themselves into. There’s color throughout, with girly-goth fashion shoots and clothes catalogues. G&L Bible has some great pictorials that give a real sense of style to the scene. Beyond this there are myriad tidbits including cooking tips (I told you Index Mag has a number of cooking mooks) make-up lessons, interior decorating, a splash of manga, pics of overseas Goths (although they looked more like punk or rave boys to me) and…. wait for it…. dress patterns.

Gothic dress patterns
WTF? A dress design! My life on the dark side has been fulfilled. Time to break out the sewing machines brethren!

Yep, you can make yourself some funky little accessories at home! As you might suspect, this magazine is targeted to the female teen through to thirty-something market.

For what this is, a fashionable coffee-table book, it works well – aesthetically with great pictures and stylistically as an interesting juxtaposition to Western Goth (yeah, I’m drunk in charge of a Web page – sue me). If I could read a few hundred more kanji, I’d be lugging this on train to work (I have no shame). To be honest, if you get past the title, you’ll find a pretty cool glossy mag with a twist of Goth. In terms of fashion, it’s got designs that will be hard to find outside Japan. In terms of discussing the metaphysical, the Master Chief in GI Jane has this to say – Seek life elsewhere.

Now, some of you (well there’s at least a few dozen dropping in now) might find this news disappointing. Maybe you were hoping for something a little bit darker. Maybe you are looking for something on the hard music scene, coffin schematics, the poetry of a tortured heart or just something with a bit more grit between the fangs. I hear you, and I’m checking another mag that might be more to your tastes.

However, if you can appreciate the beauty of the gothique japonisme (sounds sexy doesn’t it), want to see some new styles, then I think at least a couple of copies would be worth adding to your goth-reference collection.

Now you know I’m a cheap bugger, and I picked mine up for 400 yen each, second-hand (they were in fab condition). If you want them new and can score them in Japan, the price is 1365 with tax. Buying stuff online overseas could be expensive. I saw one listing with the basic price at US$20 at J-List (warning: some adult stuff on that site), but has them at US$15.01 apiece.

Links to places mentioned today:
Gothic & Lolita Bible :: Mook for the Goth scene in Japan.
Index Magazines Publishes G&L Bible and… cooking mooks!
Yahoo! auctions :: Great for bargains in Japan
Kenny Everett :: Funny bugger from the UK.
J-List :: Online shop for Japan stuff (some adult stuff there) :: Cool online shop for Japan-related stuff.

† All links are examples only – arm yourself with a search engine to find more information †

† Originally published on JP Goth’s old site: Gothic & Lolita Bible: It’s a Mook…. What’s a Mook?, JP Goth Journal, Issue #7, June 5, 2004. †

Manic Crash

Darkness lays upon my soul
Unseen fears take their toll
To touch the sky o’er my head
There is no choice to be but dead

The pain of life enraptures me
Like lost ships in odyssey
Yet, while my soul is set to break
The choice to live must surely take.

† Nov. 10, 2004 †

Sometimes your plans get derailed by the unexpected, but that’s a good thing – it reminds you that life is supposed to be interesting. Instead of finishing up a funky little article for JP Goth 2, Igor was drawn to a link in the Google Ad area offering some free Goth sounds from Anders Manga. Five minutes later Igor went off!

These downloads are tasty stuff. All four songs are very polished pieces giving a glimpse into the artist’s forthcoming album One Up for the Dying, which comes out in March, 2005. The songs have very smooth modern synth sounds, with the occaisional classic darkwave ripped in for good measure.

From Anders Manga’s Web site:

“One Up for the Dying” marks Anders Manga’s first ambitious solo release since the demise of The Dogwoods in 1999. As one reviewer explained, “Anders Manga is a Dance in the Twilight Zone… the songs are melodic and energetic… excellent darkwave”.

And how does Igor feel about this?

Igor could dance to this (well Igor can’t dance, but he would valiantly shamble across the floor). Igor could drink to this (anything from Chu-hi to Jinro, maybe a shot of whiskey even). Igor could drive to this. Yep, Igor is buzzcocked and loves it!

Why not check it out on Anders Manga’s Web site!!

Sex dolls for rental? It’s a scary concept, but it looks like one business (although I shudder to think there are more) has found a niche in the provision of high-end dolls for customers according to a mid-December article in Mainichi’s Wai Wai.

Although costing 600,000 yen at the outset, they have proven profitable for the owner:

“We’ve got four dolls working for us at the moment. We get at least one job a day, even on weekdays, so we made back our initial investment in the first month,” Kimura says. “Unlike employing people, everything we make becomes a profit and we never have to worry about the girls not turning up for work.”

Stop it! I’m not talking about this anymore. If you need to you can read the article yourself.

Half a month of sleepless nights (okay, I averaged two-three hourse a night) and we have the basic shell for JP Goth 2 up and running. Whew! It’s an empty shell at the moment, but that can be rebuilt. Should work really well in the months ahead and anyone can add news, event info, links and more! Time for bed methinks.

Gothic Lolita or GothLoli (gosurori) is a fashion particularly popular among Japanese teenagers and young women. It emphasizes Victorian-style girl’s clothing and often aims to imitate the look of Victorian porcelain dolls. Gothloli’s name and origin is a combination of lolita fashion – appearing deliberately cute to the point of looking childish – and certain styles found within gothic fashion. The style started as a youth subculture sometime around 1997/1998 and became a well-established genre available in department stores by around 2001.

Variations of the Gothic Lolita look include “Classic Lolita” (more traditional, light-coloured and “girlish” clothing) and “Elegant Gothic Lolita” (EGL, which focuses upon the pastiche of upper class victorian fashion found in old horror films.). The male analog to this fashion is called “Elegant Gothic Aristocrat” (EGA) which shares EGL’s emphasis on the Victorian era, though not on children’s clothing. Gothic Lolita is also influenced by the imagery of more feminine Visual Kei (or “visual rock”) bands. Visual Kei is a Japanese form of rock music defined by bands featuring performers in elaborate costumes but whose musical style varies.

Mana, the crossdressing former leader and guitarist of the Visual Kei band Malice Mizer, is widely credited for having popularised Gothic Lolita. He coined the terms Elegant Gothic Lolita (EGL) and Elegant Gothic Aristocrat (EGA) to describe the style of his own fashion label, Moi-meme-Moitie, which was founded in 1999 and quickly established itself as one of the most coveted brands of the Gothic Lolita scene.

The style
Usually a combination of black and white, often black with white lace. Typically decorated with ribbons and lace trims. Skirts are knee length and may have a crinoline to add volume. As in mainstram Japanese fashion, over-knee socks or stockings are extremely popular. Black fishnet stockings and white or black tights are also common. Shoes or boots with high heels- though not usually stiletto heels- such as Mary Janes, complete the look. Frilly, ruffled or lace-trimmed Victorian blouses are also popular especially with “EGL” types, who may also favour long skirts and jackets rather than the overtly “childish” designs of typical gothloli’s. Apart from the occasional shortness of skirts, designs are usually modest, sometimes with long lace-capped sleeves.

Some additions may include an “Alice in Wonderland”-style apron, tiny top hats, parasols, lace gloves, and lace headpieces. Mostly black or white, headgear might consist of a headband with ruffles, ribbons, lace or bows. Sometimes even bonnets are worn. Hair may be curled to complete the porcelain doll look. The naturally dark Japanese hair color is often lightened but rarely to blonde.

Makeup is used sparingly and is seen more often with EGL styles than with other GothLoli styles. Black eyeliner is typical. A pale complexion is preferred, so white foundation might be used. Red or black lipstick is seen but lighter makeup is the rule.

Gothic Lolita outfits may be accessorized with other props like conspicuous pocketbooks, hatboxes, handbags and other bags, sometimes in the shape of bats, coffins, and crucifixes. Teddy bears and other stuffed animals are also common, and some brands make special “gothic” teddybears out of black leather or PVC.

Typically, this is not everyday clothing for adherents. Worn primarily in public for concerts and on weekends, the style is mostly for show and not a practical fashion.

Although “Lolita” is apparently a reference to Vladimir Nabokov’s famous novel, and GothLoli is often worn by teens, most followers of the style do not consider it overtly sexual. Adherents present themselves as Victorian children or baby dolls and prefer to look “cute” rather than “sexy”. Many Japanese women place a high value upon extremely youthful appearance and behaviour, and it is not uncommon for adult women to buy products aimed at children such as Hello Kitty goods. Gothloli is perhaps a more visible extension of this behaviour.

Goth Loli Culture
In Japan it is mass-marketed and has wide visibility particulary in the street in Tokyo, on television, in manga (see Paradise Kiss – Ai Yazawa for an example of gothloli inspired manga) and computer games. Outside of Japan it is still a fringe fashion although it has slowly begun to spread to other countries. Gothic Lolita, along with Cosplay and other Japanese cultural phenomena, can sometimes be seen at concerts and anime conventions throughout Europe and the United States. The style has not yet been mass marketed outside of Japan. However, there are plenty of dedicated fans filling the gap. Gothic Lolita magazines are widely available for purchase on the internet and at Japanese bookstores, which also deal in anime and manga. Adherents in Europe and the United States often sew their own homemade Gothic Lolita outfits, sometimes offering them for sale to make up for the difficulty of acquiring them from Japan.

Gothic & Lolita Bible
One magazine in particular, the irregularly published Gothic & Lolita Bible has played an instrumental role in promoting and standardizing the style. The 100+ page magazine includes fashion tips, photos, sewing patterns, catalog descriptions, decorating ideas and even recipes.

Currently the heart of the Gothic Lolita subculture, at least commercially, is the Marui Young department store in Shinjuku, after its predecessor Marui One closed at the end of August 2004. This large youth-fashion oriented department store has 4 floors entirely devoted to Gothloli and related fashions.

Crossover with Goth
In Japan, Goth is a very minor subculture with few followers, partly because the emphasis upon visual identity in Japanese youth culture makes other factors such as music and literature much less important signifiers. In Japan most people wrongly assume that “Goth” refers to “Gothic Lolita”, except for the Goths themselves, who strongly emphasize the differences. However, due to the immense popularity of Gothloli from around 2001-2004 (probably the second most easily spotted youth fashion after kogyaru), and its continued acceptance by many young girls, Goth nightclubs and events increasingly try to attract Gothic Lolita customers to bolster the low number of Goths who attend. Therefore many Japanese “Goth Clubs” will also feature a guest DJ playing J-pop and Visual Kei music, Tea and Cakes in the chillout room, Doll decorations, and other items designed to appeal to the Gothloli sense of European nostalgia.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Gothic Lolita.