Archive for June, 2005

The dark side is sexier, and it doesn’t come any sexier than Tokyo Dark Castle. Mixing the cutest gothic-lolitas with the harshest industrialists and everything in between makes TDC a dark fantasy like none other in Tokyo. The twelfth rendition of this hallowed underground event was huge delivering the hottest mix of bands covering Japanese Goth, darkwave, metal and industrial styles. Quite simply, TDC 12 hit the sweet spot right from the start and held the pace right through the night.

Fashion and space
TDC 12 was a tour de force of Japanese underground fashion. Gothic-lolitas were very well represented at the night’s event, showing off the most amazing (and amazingly matched) outfits that I have ever seen. There were even small knots of gothic-lolitas who matched co-ordinated outfits with each other to the point you started wondering if they were twins, triplets or even goth-loli clones. There was even a cutter-lolita to be found amongst the shadows, sporting bandages to cover her ersatz wounds. However, the most amazing ensemble in the gothic-lolita stakes on the night was a guy dressed to the nines and make-upped to within an inch of his life. Even his day-luggage was cute, with furry purple spikes sprouting from his backpack!

Of course, the darker side of Goth was exceptionally well-represented with slick black vinyl, leather and much more mixed in with lots of silver. And the boots! My god, the footwear was to die for. Custom-colored contact lenses, custom face and body make-up, corsets and so much more. It was pure dark fantasy the entire night.

Not everybody was dressed to thrill, but that would be only a few people. Igor felt very average as he skulked along in his basic black, but Igor is not a dressy fellow.

The space is well organized and people free to go outside for a breather anytime during the night. The entrance space is goodly-sized and suitable for mingling. There’s a video-projection running on one wall and a bar in easy reach – rum and coke please. The merchant tables had various items on sale from CDs (I picked up a 60-minute Gadget CD for 1,000 yen), gothic wear, some silver & pewter jewelry and one table that had things that looked suspiciously like claw-shaped treated ginseng roots. There was not a lot of business going on at the stalls, which is a shame – I quite like browsing the event markets.

Oh there were bands too!

The quality of the bands at TDC 12 was superb. This is to be expected as TDC is the biggest regular Goth event going in Japan (Kansai has the Kobe Underground Festival, but that’s only once a year). However, Genet outdid himself this time by pulling together some of the hottest bands from Japan’s underground scene from Goth-rock to metallic- and electro darkwave (is that the right way to put it), industrial, extreme industrial and retro-psychedelia. The night’s quieter offering of the night delivered a mix of classical and dark narration that captivated the audience to the point where everyone sat down to listen to the sisters Grim weave their spell. There were no misses in tonight’s line up.

Genet’s Auto-Mod with Carmilla Tamaki

It’s great to see the master is not afraid to take the always-difficult first slot. The audience is still milling around and the mood hasn’t sunk in, but the 25-year veterans got in and did the job damned well. The performance was silky smooth as Auto-Mod delivered their brand of Gothic-rock and it got the audience bouncing right from the get-go. I’ve got some old Auto-Mod from the mid-1980s and that stuff still has more grit and balls than most of today’s heavier mainstream groups. I particularly enjoyed Mind Suicide, a higher tempo number that does strange things to my mind and makes me want to mosh!

Agent Murder

Awi and co. returned to TDC with a vengance, taking the audience screaming through the set. Agent Murder exploded from the first song and then cranked up the dark energy the whole way through. Tonight’s mix started with Earth of Hypocrisy, an industrial-electro piece laced with screaming harmonics (I love that one). Thank you to Lee for letting Igor scream into the mike a bit! Agent Murder were possessed tonight, nailing each number with manic perfection and moving the audience smoothly from lighter electro sounds at the start to harsher splintered-metal numbers towards the end.

Sins of the Flesh

What could be better after Agent Murder than an electro-industrial attack from Sins of the Flesh. Originating from the UK in the late-80s, SOTF have re-ignited in Japan to bring new audiences into their world of angst-laced musical world. The sounds got everyone bouncing, the lyrics came through crystal clear, and the femme dancer was just incredible as Jude and his crew took everyone to the next level. At one stage the dancer was having her way with a blow-up sex doll after donning a codpiece onstage! To top things off, Awi climbed out from backstage to join Jude and the crew in one song! Totally awesome mix of sound and visuals.


Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better, in comes Despair. These guys aren’t industrial, they’re freaking nuclear! Returning from Wave-Gotik-Treffen, where they blew audiences away, Rieu and crew did the same again at TDC 12. They are totally industrial and you will be drowned in Despair’s flood of sound… and you’ll love every minute of it. Rieu had flashlights strapped to his wrist and mike, spotlighting the audience as he erupted during the set. Both Rieu and femme screamer, A≠A, powered their voices through the orgy of noise. Totally freaking awesome – a must-see for anyone with a penchant for industrial, hard electro, noise and any harder styles.


And then it was time to chill and enjoy the romance of the night! Featuring classical keyboards, operatic vocals and strings, Vexation has enough of a macabre twist with its dark narration to remind one they are indeed Gothique. They captivated the night’s adrenaline-drenched audience immediately. Everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) sat down on the floor like school children ready to listen to a story read by their favorite teacher. That kind of effect (especially after Despair!) says a lot about how good they are at what they do. They’ll be releasing a CD at the end of this month too, which Igor plans on picking up.


Oh, they may be relatively new to Tokyo Dark Castle, but Gadget has cultivated a sound with wide appeal. The band’s retro-psychedelia along the lead singer’s raw energy and charisma make them well worth catching at any event they play. They connected with the audience (especially the girls, notes Igor) instantly and didn’t let go. I picked up the 60-minute CD they had that night and it is damnable cool. Photographers please take note: When Kenzo is gesturing madly that he’s gonna dive into the crowd it might be wise to take heed! Great young band with a lot to offer… and you can bet there will be more in the near future.

Chronotrigger [Editor's note: now called Baal]

The night finished hot with this amazingly together three-piece metal industrial outfit. Chronotrigger is the yin to Despair’s yang with lead singer, U-Tarou, riding through her deep vocals to power over the industrial sounds. Mikito worked a storm with his ax-grinding and mixing to give an amazing industrial sound-scape. Finally there was Chihiro who held the beat together on his kit. U-Tarou was dynamic and visually stunning working her space on the stage. Mikito kept the balance with his own stage work throughout the set. A fresh, harsh industrial group who’ll blow you away.

DJ’s & VJ

Lest we forget, DJ’s Chiharo and Violet and VJ Kihito held the night together with great sounds and visuals between sets. The choice of mixes was good and the continuity consistent with few skips. It is always good to know the sounds will keep coming the whole night and these guys did a fantastic job. Kihito’s range of visuals on the screens has expanded quite a lot since the last TDC too. I can’t wait for TDC 13.


A couple of bands seemed a bit concerned about going over their allotted time towards the end of the set. It is a small thing, but it would be nice if there was a clock or backstage helper giving the band a five-minute warning. Also, I wish I wasn’t such a wallflower. I wanted to run up to Awi and say that tonight was freaking great, but I was too shy to say hello… Sorry.


This was easily the best party I’ve seen in Tokyo. The caliber of the players combined with the dress-sense and enthusiasm of the audience was just plain great. I’ll look forward to more skulking at TDC 13.

Tokyo Dark Castle 13 on September 3

Less industrial than TDC 12, but a great line up of experience and quality new blood. Bands will include veteran Goth-Rockers Auto-Mod, Destruct System, Neo-Glam flash from Jubilee, electro from Euthanasie, Neo-Punk from Satanyanko, operatic Selia, and Cut The Crap (need to check them).

This looks like a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Aberrant Corpses has organized Zodiac 13, a Gothic shopping bazaar event (if my limited Japanese serves me correctly). Just 1,000 yen gets you inside (and a drink in your hand it seems), and you can check out all kinds of Gothy-goodie producers in Tokyo – fashion/apparel, accessories, dark crafty things, art and more. Igor used to love venturing down the side streets to the poster, incense and trinket shops and now he can again :-9.

Event Info:
Event: Zodiac 13
Place: Shinjuku Headpower
Address: B1, 1-34-13 Shinjuku Shinjuku-ku Tokyo 166-0022 † Map
Date: Satuday, July 2, 2005
Start: 14:00~18:00
Price: 1,000 yen (1 drink incl. I think)
Shops: Anonymous Mask, Little Spring, ALraune, D-G-cu-JOKER Chihaya, Bottle Ship Freedom, Life is a Long Sentence, Chloe, Neo Blade, Daybook, Sabbatarian Night Bazaar, Skulltulala, F-Laboratory, and many more.
Organizer page:
Club page:

Well, looks like a few people seem to be enjoying the Cruise-Oprah incident. You know the one, where Mr. Cruise gets really excited about the love of his life. You know, I don’t event know here name. Anyway, don’t blame me, I just saw a link on Reuters!

Check it out here.

Man, I’m wrecked after Tokyo Dark Castle (awesome night, I’ll get a report out this week). Anyway… The Damned are hitting Japan this week. Igor was dreaming of heading out to see Mister Vanian, Captain Sensible and crew on Sunday July 3rd.

Alas, it is not to be :-( . Igor will be going on a ramen tour with a few friends as part of a reunion tradition in Tochigi’s Sano city – one of the noodle mecca’s in Japan. I’m a bit sad, but it is not a bad cop. In the words of Neo, great noodles.

While The Damned are electrifying Tokyo I’ll be driving back to Tokyo after enjoying the fine ramen and gyouza of Tokano ramen shop. I heard that the first Tokyo show is sold out, but there might be some tickets for other shows. Igor might plant himself outside the Monday place just to get a glimpse of the stars. If you see a forlorn gaijin salaryman skulking about the place, it’ll probably be me dreaming of scoping a glimpse of the legends.

Anyway, here’s the details of the events in case you want to see if any tix are available…

Wed., June 29: The Damned @ Club Quattro Hiroshima
Thu., June 30: The Damned @ Club Quattro Shinsaibaishi, Osaka
Fri., July 1: The Damned @ Club Quattro Nagoya
Sun., July 3: The Damned @ Club Quattro Shibuya, Tokyo
Mon., July 4: The Damned @ Liquid Room Ebisu, Tokyo

Despite spending several years in Japan, I have yet to visit a love hotel. Of course I haven’t been to Kyoto, Nikko or most other areas of cultural interest either, which just goes to show you what a boring, miscreant I am. I do know people who have visited love hotels – for reasons ranging from love to sleep to karaoke parties (would you believe) – and the consensus has been generally positive, regardless of the purposes for which said hotel was used.

From what Igor’s heard about love hotels

One friend noted that the bathrooms are much better at love hotels than regular hotels and that the overnight rates for a love hotel when travelling Japan were less than a regular hotel.

Another friend was quick to point out that love hotels were good for resting as the rooms are properly sound-proofed. Having stayed at a luxury non-love hotel he found he could hear the people in the next room talking. In fact he could actually understand what they said. Since the love hotel is designed for total privacy, most rooms tend to be very heavily sound-proofed.

I remember reading one article last year saying that love hotels have been put to other uses such as computer game playing and karaoke sessions. You could think of it as a chill zone, even if the cupboards are full of plastic-wrapped unmentionables.

One travel site noted that if you do go to a love hotel, it is wise to go to avoid the overly cheap hotel as their staff may not change the linen after every session (ewww!). Anyway, on with the Wiki…

Love Hotel from Wikipedia.

A love hotel (rabu hoteru) is an originally Japanese type of hotel offering privacy and discretion for a couple wishing to engage in sex. Alternative names include romance hotel, fashion hotel and boutique hotel. While such facilities exist in many forms worldwide, Japan’s love hotels differ from the typical roadside motel in that a majority of the clientele are, in fact, married to each other and only seeking the privacy not available in their own small accommodations. However, love hotels are also used for prostitution and enjo kosai[Igor note: roughly translated as compensated dating].


In Japan, love hotels developed from tea rooms (chaya), which were mostly used by prostitutes and their clients but also as trysting places for lovers. After World War 2, the name tsurekomi yado (bring-your-own inn) was adopted, originally for simple lodgings run by families with a few rooms to spare. These establishments appeared first around Ueno, Tokyo (partly due to demand from Occupation forces) and boomed after 1958 when prostitution was abolished and the trade moved underground. The introduction of the automobile in the 1960s brought with it the motel and further spread the concept.

The name “love hotel” may originate from an establishment in Osaka called Hotel Love, which had a revolving advertisement on the roof. The sign was thus easy to misread as “love hotel”, which was adopted for the entire concept. In Japan, however, the original term has fallen into disuse thanks to the euphemism treadmill and an ever-changing palette of terms is used by hotel operators keen on representing themselves as more fashionable than the competition.


Love hotels typically offer rates for a rest of several hours (averaging 5,000 yen) or an overnight stay (averaging 10,000 yen). Love hotels are geared towards drop-in visitors, not travellers, which usually means that reservations are not possible, leaving the hotel will forfeit access to the room, and overnight stay rates only become available after 10 PM.

Entrances to love hotels are discreet and interaction with staff is minimized, with rooms often selected from a panel of buttons and the bill settled by pneumatic tube or a pair of hands behind a pane of frosted glass. While cheaper love hotels are utilitarian, higher-end hotels may feature fanciful rooms which are (for example) decorated with cartoon characters, equipped with vibrating beds or decked out like dungeons complete with S&M gear.

Love hotels are typically either concentrated in certain city districts (like Dogenzaka in Shibuya, Tokyo) or located near highways on the city’s outskirts for convenient access by car.

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

I rocked up to Tokyo Dark Castle 11 and it just blew my mind! I just checked the TDC 12 show and my mind just blew up again. I LOVE ALMOST EVERY BAND! Okay, I’m into the chu-hi something rotten tonight, but it really is a great line up. And it’s just after my birthday. I don’t care what the ferrets say, I AM GOING!! Here’s the information. I’ll probably edit this when I’m sober, but it’s definitely a codpiece-worthy night!

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 June 25, 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, Agent Murder, Sins of the Flesh, Despair, Chronotrigger, and Vexation.
DJs: Taizo, Chihiro & Violet.
VJ: Kihito
Web site:
Club page:

On Tokyo Dark Castle nights, there’s usually an early party or two going on to get you in the mood – like this one! It’s not Goth, but it’s got a couple of bands from the realms and (from a quick snick of the download samples) the bands have a gritty edge. Organized by Japanese Babies and Destruct System, Japanese Rock System @ Shinjuku Urga will deliver six live acts, including the organizers and Aural Vampire! Some great sounds for an insanely affordable price with tix @ 1,600 yen advance (1,800 yen @ door). If TDC ain’t enough, or if you have to get home to feed the ferrets, then snarking this event is a must!

Event Information:
Event: Japanese Rock System
Place: Shinjuku URGA
Address: B1, 2-42-16, Kabuki-cho, Shinjuku, Tokyo (7 minutes from JR Shinjuku East exit) † Map
Phone: (Shinjuku URGA) 03-5287-3390
Date: Saturday, June 25, 2004
Start: Open 18:00 † Start 18:30
Price: 1,600 yen advance † 1,800 yen @ door
Bands: Japanese Babies, Destruct System, Aural Vampire, Soul Source, Super BossM10 and Fennec.
Club page:

New Wave Junkies is a pretty funky event for electronic and live remix artistry. You have neo-grooving axe-funk from Dummy? along with the always-new digital arrangements from Lord aCid plus a plethora of other players and DJs. The place is quite spacious, the bar staff attentive and the sounds quite delicious. Lots of cool, new sounds coupled with a really friendly atmosphere (crowd and players) make this a great chill-time event and chance to meet some really interesting people! You can learn more about the event by checking Igor’s take or GothicGaijn’s report.

Event info:
Event: New Wave Junkies
Place: Live Inn Peak 1
Address: B1, Mine Bldg. 3-28-8 Kita-senzoku, Ota-ku, Tokyo 145-0062 † Map
Phone: (Peak 1) 03-3720-0190
E-mail: (Peak 1) infoATpeak-1DOTnet
Date: Saturday, June 25, 2005
Start: 18:00 open † 18:00 start
Price: 2,000 yen adv. † 2,500 yen @ door.
Live: DUMMY?, Lord aCid, Mute, and Black Love Fantom.
DJs: Techma, Lord aCid, Kei (JLHA) and Kuro (Mute) and Isawo (Black Love Fantom).
Event site:
Club site:

Once again Toge, Toge, Tokagee emerges. You can check the flyer’s front, and back for an idea of the event! Toge, Toge, Tokagee is organized by the people who brought you Android 666 series, which built quite a profile during it’s time. Definitely worth dropping in for a snark. If you do go and get the chance to meet Taroo (the organizer), tell him that Igor sent you!

Event info:
Event: Toge, Toge, Tokagee from Daybook
Place: Shinjuku Headpower
Address: B1, 1-34-13 Shinjuku Shinjuku-ku Tokyo 166-0002
Club Phone: 03-3354-7727
Date: Friday, June 24, 2005
Start: 18:00 open † 18:30 start
Price: 2,000 yen adv. † 2,300 yen @ door
Live: Enma, Urara, Fresia,
Kaleidoscope, Mary Gold
Exhibitions: Set Shizuka, Set ShizumaBlack Garden/Kuroi Niwa, Deviant Behaviour and others.
Web site:
Club site:

Onto my third chu-hi and feeling like one sexay biatch, Igor is pleased to announce that JP Goth 3 is under development. Igor, together with two months’ supply of alcohol is going to be moving his booty and taking the site to the next level.

Yes, folks. PostNuke is just getting in my face with it’s queebles, limitations, unexpected template mis-handlings and Xanth issues. Let me put it this way, I can upload, install, launch and make my first post in fifteen minutes with the blogware I play with, but PostNuke it like fighting with Baal armed with a feather-duster. It’s quite a nice little system, truth be told, but it isn’t the user-friendly post fest that I would like. So it’s time to move elsewhere.

So in comes Xoops, a trippy little piece of ware with a Japanese-native support base. Yes, Japanese folks. That’s the next dimension in JP Goth. Don’t worry, I’m not going to forsake my English-able brethren. You guys are the reason for doing this site in the first place. But I got a new goal of going multi-lingual!

Multi-lingual is a bit of a misonomer, as it implies a bilingual system running all content from all contenders. Basicly, that isn’t going to work. The English-reading audience isn’t going to be too happy with moji-bake (unreadable characters), and the Japanese-reading audience doesn’t need half-assed handling of double-byte characters – character codes instead of beautiful Japanese. Even systems that run English/Spanish or the like come off a little weird. No, I want each group to experience JP Goth in their own language.

So the goal will be two systems running Xoops and Joops so we can jump from one to the other – if that’s your deal. Xoops/Joops are also much friendlier for community news. Essentially the basic posting mechanism will be just as easy as the board. I’ve also done a bit of preliminary testing with image uploading on the news console and found it was freaking easy – technical term.

Hopefully the Japanese version, Joops, will encourage a few people to post information on events in Japanese – which can be pealed off fairly quickly into English. And vice versa. Picture posting should be more stable and more pretty and the calendar should let users send information in without problem.

Igor hopes the basic launch will be viable by the end of August, assuming Xoops/Joops doesn’t create more problems than expected. The final goal will be to set up the Xoops/Joops, transfer all data across (or most of it anywhere) so users will only notice a small change when entering the site. Of course there’s a lot of work for an idiot like Igor (do I look like a programmer?), but I think it will be beneficial to hard-core users and occaisional visitors…. of course I could be wrong.

Anyway, I’m gonna do it and see what happens. If it fails, then this monster will remain online, but if it succeeds then w00t!