Archive for April, 2005

I was checking my account today and discovered JP Goth turned one on April 16. The site itself didn’t begin until May 2004, but that’s just by the by. I find myself trying to remember what it was that drove me to set this up and (once again) asking Where to now Rover?. Anyway, just some random (possibly narcissistic) thoughts and a few stats.

Pastel beginnings
JP Goth began in pastels, would you believe. The pastels were conjured up while hand-coding the original base design on my notepad. There I was, thinking about colors, when I saw the Google ads on my screen and decided they looked pretty swank. Got the color codes and dropped them straight in. It looked all nice and dandy, but was about as Goth as Doris Day. Black soon entered when my beautiful, significant and much better half pointed the pastel problem out to me (yes, I needed someone to tell me pastel was not Goth).

Hand-made for 2004
I love notepad. It’s the only software that does not tell me what I should do. It lets me screw up all by myself. It doesn’t spell check, correct code errors or replace code with non-compliant alternatives. It’s the faithful ol’ chow dawg that lets me learn things myself and does what I want without question. The base templates and hand-glued (or nailed) stories probably came from May through August with marginal help from a basic database. I also got side-tracked by blog-mania which ripped my thoughts straight online.

One person a day was a good day!
Yeah, no one knew about this place and Google indexed the few pages by accident. The first three months were ridiculous with almost no-one looking in except by freak accident.

Things start moving September ~ December
September saw a few changes. Visitors started coming to see the blog, the search engines were getting friendlier with JP, the events pages were picking up the odd page view, and new life was breathed into the news area thanks to nyotai mori. Yes, one look at a Mainichi article on the naked sushi phenomena had more pull than anything else on the site. People were falling into the site from Australasia and Europe, but strangely not the US (does this mean they didn’t know about nyotai mori or that they were typing “naked sushi” instead). I added the first version of the bulletin board for kicks but that passed away quietly into the night. I also added Google ads to see what happened.

Pages accesses crept from around 30 page views per day (generated by human beings aside from myself) to around 150 page view per day (again, humans excluding myself). How did I know this? Well, I went through the logs by hand every day to pull out the precise figures – it takes a special person to do that for fun. In terms of people, the number went from around 10 to around 40 per day. Woot! I was excited.

Meeting people!
I’ve exchanged e-mails, got a lot of good information and met some really cool people in the scene. That’s been one great by-product of JP, especially because everyone I’ve met has been really amazingly cool!

JP Goth 2 Emerges
December/January saw me being a real pig at home as I madly downloaded various content management platforms for my vision of JP2 (sounds grandiose doesn’t it). I had no idea what I was doing, and, rest assured, I still don’t. But this CMS stuff had it all, news submissions, member set ups, link database, events could be tacked in and one bulletin board could be hooked straight in (albeit in a pretty ugly way with regards to template handling). That was it! It was hot! During this period, Igor was not popular with those around him at the time – even the ferrets (and ferrets are very forgiving things), but JP2 was going up. And up it went, complete with a home-made neon on black layout.

Pop goes the weasel, coz the weasel goes pop!
Three months from the start of JP2, 12 months from pretty pastels and it looks like we have community, brethren! Not just guys dropping in from search engines, but heroes who signed in and put out for Goth in Japan! We’re currently cruising with around 150 real living/undead entities and 500+ page views per day (if I included bots, spiders, machines and spammers that would be around 2,000 per day!). I danced a jig and the ferrets danced with me (for different reasons of course). And yes, Truffle did go pop – he actually pops quite a lot, truth be told. He has entire conversations for minutes at a time – although nobody, not even Truffle, knows what he’s saying. Oops digressing again.

What’s NEXT?
So, I’m sitting here thinking what next? Heck, I don’t know. I’ve never been good with plans (remember the guy who couldn’t organize a piss up at the brewery? His name was Igor). I just want to enjoy making my wee site a place you guys would like to drop in and check out what’s up, down and whatnot.

Now here’s a plan.
All, I know is that Tokyo Dark Castle is on this weekend and Igor’s gonna get himself to that party for sure.

Props to all!

Once again, Igor delves into the world of free content! Today, I’ve scarped another entry from the ever-interesting Wikipedia to give a primer on the cosplay phenomena. Quite interesting as Igor did not even know there were terms for some of the cosplay offshoots (I’ll scarp those in weeks to come).

Cosplay (kosupure), a contraction of the English words “costume” and “play”, is a Japanese subculture centered on dressing as characters from manga, anime, and video games, and, less commonly, live action television shows, movies, or Japanese pop music bands.

Cosplay Venues

Cosplay can be seen at public events such as video game shows, as well as at dedicated cosplay parties at nightclubs or amusement parks. It is not unusual for Japanese teenagers to gather with like-minded friends to engage in cosplay. Since 1998, Tokyo’s Akihabara district has contained a large number of cosplay cafes, catering to otaku anime and cosplay fans (sort of geeky obsessive/fetishist types – JP). The waitresses at such cafes dress as game or anime characters; maid costumes are particularly popular.

A recent trend at Japanese cosplay events is an increase in the popularity of non-Japanese fantasy and science fiction movie characters, perhaps due to the international success of such films as The Matrix and Lord of the Rings. Characters from the Harry Potter films have a particularly high number of female fans in Japan.

Another growing trend at cosplay’s largest event, the Tokyo Game Show, was “crossplay” (cross-dressing cosplay). One small niche group in this field are dollers, a subset of kigurumi cosplayers. They wear bodysuits and masks to fully transform into their characters.

At these events, cosplayers are often referred to as layers. Those who photograph layers are called cameko, short for “Camera Kozo” or “Camera Boy”. The cameko give prints of their photos to the layers as gifts. Tensions between layers and cameko have increased due to perceived stalker-like behaviour among some obsessive males who push female cosplayers to exchange personal email addresses or do private photo sessions. One result of this has been a partial ban on photography at the largest dojinshi event in Japan, Comiket (short for Comic Market – JP).

International cosplay

All aspects of cosplay have spread across the world, joining with costuming at science fiction conventions in North America and Europe. It is also a common sight at anime conventions. Cosplayers at anime conventions in North America often find themselves on the receiving ends of glomps, a type of high-powered hug.

Cosplay in the United States and Europe contains a couple of unique elements. Cosplay as Star Trek or Renaissance-era characters, especially at science fiction conventions, are more popular than they are in Japan. Secondly, the age of cosplayers in Japan tends to start lower and range wider, with a great number of teen cosplayers dressing up as characters from currently popular weekly comics aimed at their age group, and older cosplayers often portraying “classic” characters.

For a twist you might want take a look at Men of Cosplay, by TDR. Here you will get to spy some camekos, cosplayers, crossplayers and a guy in a shmoo suit.

Parts of this article are licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Cosplay.

Gear up for Gothfather Genet’s 11th Tokyo Dark Castle! TDC is the uber-Goth event in Tokyo. Starting from the late evening until the next morning, TDC is an event not to be missed. Igor’s got a fairly good chance of showing up – it’ll be Igor’s first TDC and intentional all-nighter – woot!

Details are up on the Tokyo Dark Castle Web site, which sports a hearse-load of pictures from past events for your perusal!

Event info:
Event: Tokyo Dark Castle Vol. 11
Place: Shibuya DeSeo
Address: 1F, Dai-2 Okazaki Bldg., Sakuragaoka-Cho, 3-3 Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0031 † Map
Club Phone: 03-5457-0303
Date: Saturday April 30, 2005
Start: 24:00 ~ Next morning
Price: 3,000 yen adv. † 3,500 yen on day.
Note: Must be 18+ (ID checks).
Bands: Auto-Mod with Tamaki Camilla, Selia, Agent Murder, Phantasmagoria, Gadget, Euthanasia, Falling You (US).
DJs: Taizo, Chihiro & Violet.
VJ: Kihito
Web site:
Club page:

Nagoyan Goths! Stand up and be counted on April 30 at Stigmatic: The Darkside of Electro Ritual… to the Mechanical Dark Zone. This event starts @ 9 p.m. and goes right through the night – you’ll be a zombie by morning (but that’s what you wanted right?). Anyway here’s the deal…

Event info:
Event: Stigmatic
Place: Nagoya † P.o.d
Address: 4F Voice Bldg., 1-23-1 Izumi, Higashi-ku, Nagoya † Map
Club Phone: 052-953-0393
Date: Saturday, April 30, 2005
Start: 21:00 ~ next morning
Price: 2,500 adv. † 3,000 @ door (includes 1 drink)
DJs: Doom Spider, Sister Levi, riz-K
Web site:
Club page: Uh-oh I don’t know.

Aural Vampire will be hitting Tokyo’s The Live Station (sometimes called Meguro Live Station). Looks like the event is a sayonara to Daiki of Daiki’s Friends Session Band (don’t ask, I don’t know). I just did a download from the Dazzle site and it sounds like some serious thrash with an industrial edge – mosh shimashou!

Japan’s thrashers and metallers are usually pretty damned good so don’t be phased. For this event Igor would probably go for street-wear black and bring an extra set of earplugs ‘coz those amps will be set at 11 (possibly 12). Here’s the details…

Event info:
Event: Damage Factory Vol. 18 (by Dazzle)
Place: The Live Station (Shinagawa)
Address: B1F, New Fuji Bldg., 2013035 Kami Osaki, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo † Map
Phone: (The Live Station) 03-3444-3464
Date: Sunday May 1, 2005
Start: Open 17:30 † Start 18:00
Price: 2,000 yen adv. † 2,300 yen day
Bands: Dazzle, W.A.R.P., Daiki’s Friends Session Band, Aural Vampire, Stinger Missile
Club site:

While digging through the scrap box of left-overs from the old site, Igor pulled up a little series he did on being cheap in Japan. Thinking it required tizzying up, Igor slapped bastard into the title and, hey presto, the article’s been repurposed or that’s what those industry types might say. Well, it’s only a year old and not too atrocious, so please enjoy (or grimace through) Igor’s piece on accommodation…

You know Japan is an expensive place, especially Tokyo. Rent is a killer, but that is true in most major capitals around the world. Transportation is pretty high, but companies will usually pay for worker’s train passes. Going out can become impossibly expensive, but you gotta go to the wrong sort of places ;-) . Food can be expensive, but there are always cheap options like my beloved gyudon pitstops. And going out for a bit of R&R is usually gonna cost more coin.

So I’m starting this little quest into cheapness with the unavoidable cost of city apartments.

Well, you get what you pay for with accomodation. It’s damned true alas. The logic is pretty straight forward. The further out from Tokyo your apartment is, the less it costs. The further from the station, the less it costs. The crappier the apartment, the less it costs. The more industrial the area, the less it costs. The smaller the place, the less it costs. So you could choose between a central Tokyo shoe box, or somewhere with space an hour out of Tokyo (maybe even in Chiba or Saitama). Your choice.

There’s still the problem of foreigner-unfriendly agents, but you gotta understand there are difficulties such as: language issues, people not understanding/respecting rules of places they live, people who run off without recourse, lack of guarantor, etc. I ain’t advocating not serving the gaijin (hell I am one), but you gotta see things from the other guy’s perspective – there are simply more risks when dealing with the foreigner. Of course, there are ways of dealing with this without telling the client to seek apartments elsewhere. I wouldn’t waste time asserting my rights with a place that avoids serving me – I would much rather pay rent to someone who appreciates my presence. Find a gaijin-friendly place and you’ll be okay. Don’t speak Japanese too well? Get a friend to come along and help.

What are the kinds of options you got? You could decide to stuff it and head for a gaijin house. I’m not exactly sure what these places are like, but somebody described it like a backpacker hostel or student accommodation and that was enough for me to make me look elsewhere. The benefits would be no big bond payment, per night or weekly rates, you get to meet all kinds of people, and you can bug out without much hassle. The downside’s that you’ve got a tiny room with everything else shared. If you’re laid back then it could be pretty cool, but if you’re not a social butterfly or you get stuck with a bunch of maniacs you’re kind of stuffed. Worth a look as a launchpad. You’re still going to be up for a fistful of yen each month, but it’s easy and not too many strings.

You can find find listings in most major city English free-zines such as Metropolis in Tokyo or doing a quick Google Search. You can find some information on gaijin houses at Japan Guide.

Next step would be sharing with someone else. You can usually find listings in the local free mags (there are just so many of these damned things). You may be paying a bit of a premium on the rent side (although some guys score well with wealthier cohorts), and you’ll still be seeing at least one stranger in their underwear in the mornings, but you’ll only be battling one person for the bathroom and kitchen. Of course, if that person is a maniac, you got major problems as there is nowhere to hide. The good things include more space for your yen and you don’t get hooked up with a lot of upfront costs. Again, the free classifieds are the logical first choice for searching.

Renting by yourself or with someone you know is definitely better for getting some personal space (not much space in most cases, but a bit is a bit is a bit). The place will feel more like yours and it shouldn’t matter if you walk around the place naked. Most places are unfurnished, but there are furnished places around. I’d take unfurnished and go for a gomi-run (wait for part two) rather than furnished as I like owning my stuff. What you’ll be up for could be expensive through to Oh my farking GOD!

It’s a big whack to get across the threshold. First there is the monthly rent, but then you got bond (1-3 months rent), an honararium called thank you money (0-3 months rent), and finally agent fees (1 month). Thank you money is a real rip, because you will never see it again. At least with the bond you have a chance of getting most of it back, but thanking someone for taking your money with more money – sheesh, just beat me with a wet fish already!

So to begin with you are looking at a minimum of three months up front (one month each for the agent, the bond and advance). It has the potential to go all the way up to eight months (3 bond, 3 thank you, 1 agent, 1 in advance)! For a place going for 120,000 yen that can be anywhere from 360,000 to almost 1,000,000 yen! I was up for 700,000 in my first place and I have just two words to say on the topic: NEVER AGAIN

The other thing is getting a guarantor. Most places need a guarantor so they can extract money from the guarantor in case you skip out (this saves thinking tasks such as risk assessment). The problem for most foreigners is that it usually needs to be a reliable local. Fair enough, but if you aren’t in well with a local, then your options suddenly become much more limited. But there’s hope.

There are a number of places catering to foreigners (some expensive, others seem reasonable), that can help you cover the guarantor issue with their apartments. However, there is no escaping the fact that you’re up for some coin to get set in an apartment.

Sites worth a look on this topic:
Japan Guide :: Information on renting
Finding Accommodation in Japan :: Government info for students.
Open Space :: A search site in Tokyo.
Sakura House :: An agent covering various cities.

The other major accomodation alternative is being homeless. I’ve heard of a few cases where people did just that (for a while). It’s not recommended, but whatever’s your cup of tea. For the price of a tarp, light and gas cooker you have a place to stay. There’s laundromats, bath-houses, cheap restaurants with TVs in the background, so it is possible. For a piece on a real-life homeless foreigner check out Homeless activist makes plea to save the trees.

Next entry will be on scoring stuff like a cheap bastard should.

Note: All links are examples only, not recommendations one way or the other.

Man! I turned on the TV one night around 12:30 to be smacked in the face with another dose of these adolescent boppy singers and it sent me into convulsions (Morning Musume site so you can convulse at your leisure). I guess that it’s okay to produce this kind of trop, but Morning Musume makes Kylie Minogue’s debut with I Should Be So Lucky and Locomotion look like death metal.

However, in the news last week I saw one member got banned. Wow, I thought, this must be salicious! Scoping the news, I found out that the reason for the banning/expulsion of lead Musume, Mari Yaguchi, was that she was caught on camera with her boyfriend. Ew! What was she doing?

I was gravely disappointed upon reading deeper into the topic. According to Mainichi’s Wai Wai:

Yaguchi was captured on camera simply getting into a car and walking alongside her boyfriend, an actor called Shun Oguri. A mutual friend introduced the pair and they began dating in about the summer of last year.

That’s it?!? She’s 22 years old!?! Pah! Morning Musume – devilspawn.

Wild night @ Kobe’s Otoya featuring local bands, Phantasmagoria and Satanyanko, plus Falling You from the US. On top of that you got four DJs. Nice mix of Goth styles for your pleasure. And only 1,500 yen!

Event info:
Event: Phantasmagorium Vol. 1
Place: Otoya, Kobe
Address: B1, 4-9-14 Kanou-cho, Chuo-Ku, Kobe † Map
Club Phone: 078-393-2758
Club E-mail:
Date: Tuesday April 26, 2005
Start: 18:00 ~ midnight
Price: 1,500 @ door
Bands: Phantasmagoria, Satanyanko, Falling You (US)
DJ: an0n , Elmina , Psycho Kitty and Yugestu
Web site: Phantasmagoria
Club page: Otoya, Kobe

I managed to find Club D’or with great difficulty, but Vertige is a cool way to spend a Sunday with electro Goth and industrial sounds to get you jumping and you won’t feel out of place in leather, PVC or flourescent polystyrene extensions.

Okay, it starts early Sunday evening (24-April), goes from 17:00 to 23:00 and costs just 1,800 yen (with one drink). No time for details so….

Here’s the flyer.
Club D’or:
B1 4-1-1 Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo.
Phone: (03)595-3645
Here’s a bad map. Yahoo map (bit better). Remeber, it’s off the main street just before the second Family Mart (you can see FM on the opposite site – right). There’s not much to see, but you should see a little red light on the side street on the right (then follow the stairs down – spooky huh).

Well, between work-related drinking (bwuahahahahaha, it’s evil), vet visits for the little princes and the duties of being a family-oriented miscreant, Igor’s going have a pretty full weekend just being normal. I want to see NWJ (and catch up with Gsson), but it might be a wee bit difficult – we shall see.

Friday † Toge, Toge, Tokagee

On Friday there’s Toge, Toge, Tokagee @ Shinjuku Headpower , which Igor picked up a while back (details, details). Now, I know, not everything I put up here is going to be fully Goth (check ADM report), but I think we’re pretty safe with this pick.

Saturday † New Wave Junkies

The main deal would be New Wave Junkies (cheers Gsson for this one) on Saturday evening from 18:00 @ Peak-One Ookayama (info here). Why? Well, this seems to be the post-Midnight Mess mess. Igor wants to go, but it depends on how much free time he can scrape together…

Tuesday † Phantasmagorium

Finally, there’s a special little show in Kobe on Tuesday the 26th with Phantasmagorium @ Otoya. Looks sweet with Falling You from the US among the bands there.