The Days in Question


As promised, in the latest issue of the Fish Tank newsletter, Buck-Tick have provided more information on the plans for this year's Days in Question. Yes, you heard me right - that's "days," plural. The band will be launching a DIQ mini-tour with five dates in total, culminating at the Budoukan on December 29th. The DIQ tour dates are as follows:

The Days in Question 2015

December 13th (Sunday) at Nagano Hokuto Bunka Hall
(open 17:30/start 18:00)

December 15th (Tuesday) at Osaka Festival Hall
(open 17:30/start 18:30)

December 19th (Saturday) at Sapporo WakuWaku Holiday Hall
(open 17:30/start 18:00)

December 23rd (Wednesday) at Yokohama Pacifico Main Hall
(open 17:30/start 18:00)

December 29th (Tuesday) at The Nippon Budoukan
(open 17:30/start 18:30)


Tickets are 7000 yen each excluding fees. Fish Tank ticket presales open Saturday, July 11th at noon, and stay open until Tuesday, July 21st at 2PM. Results of the ticket lottery will be announced on Friday, July 24th at 6PM.

Now please excuse me while I go laugh at the overseas fangirls tying themselves up in knots trying to decide whether to take their vacations in November or December.


The Mortal Coil


And now, for the biggest news in Buck-Tick land since the launch of Lingua Sounda: as announced this morning by an email bulletin from Fish Tank, Mr. Sakurai has started his own solo band, entitled The Mortal.

Little is known as yet about the band - no word on who the other band members might be (will felines be involved? we can't say for certain yet), or what the music will sound like, though I'd say a good guess would be that they sound like several hundred shades of Black, Such Goth, Many Darkness. The band also has an official FaceSpace page, from which we shameless ripped this promotional image, so give the page a "like" and you might get more info that way.

The Mortal is due to release their first album in fall of this year, with a tour to follow, and the tour dates have already been announced:

Tour The Mortal 2015

November 17th (Tuesday) at Orix Theater Osaka
(open 17:45/start 18:30)

November 25th (Wednesday) at NHK Hall
(open 17:45/start 18:30)

November 26th (Thursday) at NHK Hall
(open 17:45/start 18:30)

Tickets will go on general sale from September 5th. Children under the age of six will not be allowed in the venue, and all persons over the age of six will require a ticket. All seats are reserved, and the tickets cost 6500 yen each, including tax but excluding fees.

Fish Tank will be holding a ticket presale lottery for Tour The Mortal 2015, between Wednesday July 22nd and Tuesday July 28th. Entries close at 14:00 on July 28th. Therefore, if you are a not yet a member of Fish Tank, but you would like to attend this tour, the time to join the fan club is now.

In addition, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Mr. Sakurai's first solo album Ai no Wakusei a year late, and also to take this convenient opportunity to rake in more fangirl cash, Victor will be releasing a special Collector's Box re-issue of Ai no Wakusei on September 30th. The collectors box will contain an SHM-CD disc with all the original Ai no Wakusei tracks, and two bonus SHM-CD discs - one with all the singles and b-sides associated with Ai no Wakusei, and one with remastered live recordings from the Ai no Wakusei Explosion show held at NHK Hall in 2004. In addition, the collection will include a Blu-Ray disc with the full Explosion live concert video, as well as the promotional videos for "Sacrifice," "Taiji," and "Wakusei" in HD format. Then of course, there will be the requisite fangirly photobook and special box. Things it doesn't come with: razor shavings of Acchan's beard. Sorry, fans. The price is 8619 yen, including tax. Victor has no plans to release any of the discs individually, and furthermore, supplies are limited, so order yours asap!

And let it just be said that as part of my official Cayce Buck-Tick Horoscope 2015, I've been saying for the past six months that I had a feeling Buck-Tick was going to bust out and do something different and unexpected this year, and I wasn't wrong.

So I'll take this opportunity to gloat, and say: I've said it before and I'll say it again - ignore my advice at your peril.


UPDATE: There will also be ticket presales for The Mortal Tour 2015 held through Love & Media Portable (July 29th-August 4th), and The Mortal FaceSpace Page (August 5th-August 11th). Tickets go on general sale September 5th. Each fan is allowed to reserve up to four tickets.


Lunatic Festival ~Before the Lunacy~

At long last, the Lunatic Festival is now only a day away! And for those of you who were wondering if you would be able to view streaming footage from the festival on the Internet, the answer is yes! A 33-hour program devoted to the festival will be airing on NicoNico starting from 10:30AM on Saturday, June 27th (that's tomorrow, folks!) The program will include interviews with all the performers by NicoNico MC Yamada Hisashi, as well as candid camera fan interviews from Hamaoka Reira, a roving reporter who will wend her way through the crowd to see what the fan enthusiasm is like on the ground! Presumably, since this program is 33 fucking hours long, ample footage of the performances will also be shown.

Everyone who wants to experience the festival vicariously through the internet should access the following URL to watch:

Anyone who records the footage of Buck-Tick, minus, or Kafka gets publicly celebrated on Blog-Tick!

In addition, a more detailed venue floor plan has been released. Though there are still some unclear elements, it certainly seems as if the Moon stage is separated from the Fate and Shine stages - but if that's not the case, you all have my permission to feel cheated, because what's the point of having three stages if none of the bands overlap?

Next door to the stages will be a separate hall called Eden containing a food court area, a bar, and booths from the festival sponsors. The food court will include booths from Unagiya (selling limited edition Luna Sea meat buns, jumbo sausages, and other sexually suggestive meaty foods), Matsuri yakitori and kara-age, Tenraiken (spicy cold noodles and shaved ice desserts), Egg Rainbow (hamburg, rice, and "wild turkey"), Tacodelia (organic taco rice, organic brown rice steak donburi, and churros - and Luna Sea is copying B-T here because Tacodelia was totally at the B-T 25th anniversary fest back in 2012), Tokyodu (garlic soy sauce soba noodles, pork donburi and kara-age), Kebab Istanbul (Doner kebab, kebab rice, and Turkish beef sausage), Hanna Okonomiyaki (pork balls, cheese takoyaki and yakisoba balls with mayonnaise), and Maguro no Uoni (seafood donburi, marinated tuna, marinated pork donburi, and cold tuna tea soup.) Between all those edible balls and sausages, who needs rock bands anyway?

Festival sponsors Tower Records, Slave (the Luna Sea fan club), Fender Guitars, Pearl Drums, G-Life Guitars, ESP Guitars, the Japanese goth fashion label h. naoto, Clair accessories (who will be selling a limited-edition pendant), Nerds hair and nail art (where you can get your hair and nails done on-site at the festival!), Hills Avenue (which sells additive-free cosmetics and supplements - this one has Sugizo written all over it!), Kiyorabi (which sells suspicious hippie "health" foods, including items they call "hydrogen water" and "hydrogen-containing jelly"), and a partnership between Brother technologies and Guitar magazine, where you can reserve your copy of an on-demand limited edition t-shirt and/or document book of the festival. Sheesh, at this rate, you'll be so busy shopping you won't have time to watch the show at all!

But really, if you have a free moment, feel free to join me while I drop by the Kiyorabi booth to remind them that anything that contains water contains hydrogen by definition. Hydrogen: putting the "H" in "H2O" since approximately the Big Bang! This has been a public service announcement. You're welcome.

In the hall next door to Eden, there will be goods booths selling festival goods, Luna Sea goods, goods from the other artists (including B-T!), and gacha-gacha prizes. Goods will go on sale at 8:30 AM, so get there early! The doors don't officially open till 9AM, but I'm sure the venue staff won't mind if you forcefully barge in half an hour too soon.

And finally, fans are reminded that staking out a spot in front of the stage and guarding turf there all day is strictly prohibited. Chasing the artists or waiting for the artists outside the venue is also strictly prohibited. Pitching tents outside the venue and camping out overnight is also prohibited, as is harming the plants and trees in the vicinity of the venue. Furthermore, if you look like a yakuza, the venue staff reserve the right to refuse to let you in, so if you're missing a finger or two, I suggest you wear gloves at the door. The venue staff also reserve the right to refuse to let you in if they deem your appearance to be "unsuitable" for the festival, whatever that is. 

Fans may leave and re-enter the festival at any time.

Happy fangirling!


Lunatic Festival Updates

For those of you who were wondering whether the Lunatic Festival will be broadcast on TV, the answer is yes: a broadcast of the festival including live streaming, interviews and a digest of footage of the various bands will be broadcast on Fuji Television Next on June 28th between 6PM and 7PM. Then, starting from 7PM, Luna Sea's entire set will be broadcast live. A rerun of the broadcast will air on Friday, July 31st between 11PM and 1AM, while a longer, more in-depth broadcast will air on Saturday, August 29th between 5PM and 10PM, and it may be that we'll get more footage of each band then. The official website of the TV broadcast is here: http://otn.fujitv.co.jp/lunaticfest/.

In addition, the timetable and stage layout have been announced. Both are a bit hard to interpret, and frankly the user interface person who designed the diagrams ought to be fired immediately, but looking at the stage diagrams, it looks as if bands playing on the smaller Fate Stage and Shine Stage will trade off, whereas performances on the large Moon Stage will take place independently and simultaneously...though I may be wrong about this. In any case, Buck-Tick will be performing starting at 5:40PM on the Moon Stage, and will play for approximately 50 minutes before Luna Sea take the stage for their headlining set.

Though the official festival rules declare that beach chairs and parasols are expressly banned, last time I checked, Makuhari Messe was an indoor venue, so unless they've installed a rain machine of their very own, inclement weather should pose very little threat to the proceedings, barring a typhoon (perish the thought!)


Regarding Impostor Profiles

Every so often I get inquiries from readers about whether various social media accounts purporting to belong to the Buck-Tick members are legitimate or not. In fact, this question has already been addressed in the Fish Tank newsletter, albeit in a teeny-tiny article tucked into the back pages of the magazine that no one actually reads. So don't take it from me, take it from Fish Tank:


Regarding "Posing" Social Media Accounts

It has come to out attention that there are accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking services registered under the same names as the Buck-Tick members, however, none of the Buck-Tick members are registered on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social networking service. In addition, the only blogs written by the band members are Imai's blog "Hisashi's Diary" and Higuchi's blog "Yuuta's Yuu-Yuu Lifestyle," both of which are linked from Buck-Tick's official web sites. Sakurai, Hoshino, and Yagami are not blogging at this time. Please take great care in checking the veracity of statements or information regarding Buck-Tick posted by anyone outside Buck-Tick's official management team.


So there you have it. That fake Sakurai Twitter account is fake, people. So are all the fake Facebook profiles registered in South America. None of the Buck-Tick members can speak Portuguese! If you see a Buck-Tick member posting in Portuguese, that's not a Buck-Tick member! (Sorry, Brazilian fans. Sorry to crush your fantasies.)

Of course, Fish Tank may very well not be telling the whole truth about this. Japanese people of Buck-Tick's generation are often quite indifferent to technology, and many don't even own computers, so I do find it perfectly plausible that none of the Buck-Tick members maintain any internet presence to speak of...but then again, Twitter is hugely popular in Japan, so I also wouldn't be surprised if some of the band members were tweeting a bit on the down-low. You never know. But if they are, you can bet that they're not advertising who they really are in any way, shape or form. If they wanted fan attention on social media, they could get it - plenty of Japanese musicians use Twitter, Facebook and other platforms publicly, all the time - Sugizo, Kiyoharu, Tsuchiya Masami, Kiyoshi, Ryuutaro, Ken Morioka, the list goes on and on. The fact that the Buck-Tick members don't means that they don't want to.

As for trusting in the veracity of the information regarding Buck-Tick posted by anyone outside Buck-Tick's official management team, I've said it before and I'll say it again: everything you read on the internet is true. Fish Tank is wrong.


In the same announcement about social media profiles, Fish Tank also goes on to remind people that copying or uploading the articles, info and photos contained in the Fish Tank newsletter is strictly forbidden. I've gotten questions about this one from readers, too, but in this case, I wouldn't take Fish Tank words terribly seriously.

Think about it...if they really didn't want people disseminating the information in the newsletter, they'd post the announcement in a more readily visible location than tiny print at the back of the magazine. I'm aware that certain holier-than-thou alpha fangirls out there get their kicks from trying to police the rest of the fanbase for unauthorized distribution of fanclub-only materials, but the fact is, a little bit of piracy of the Fish Tank newsletter is good for Fish Tank - once people see all the cool perks afforded by Fish Tank membership, they're more likely to want to join, and Fish Tank is almost certainly aware of this.

So next time you're on tumblr and some killjoy comes along and starts whining at you to take down those super-duper restricted fanclub-only photos of Acchan-chan cuddling his kitteh, you have my blessing to kindly direct her to a YouTube video of "Nakayubi," and continue on your merry way.


If any of you readers have any other questions you want answering, just drop me a line, and I'll write another article.


Raindrops and Roses and Whiskers on Kittens


And now, for a very special announcement:

Buck-Tick's new look!

They will be wearing these outfits at the Lunatic Festival.

Prepare yourselves, my friends!

For this marks the union of two of my favorite things!

Buck-Tick, meet Lolita.

A match made In Heaven (see what I did there?)

Thanks to the Buck-Tick fan community of Ecuador for bringing this miracle to light. For those of you who thought that all the Ecuadorian Buck-Tick fan community was capable of producing were preposterous fake Facebook pages for the band members, you have been officially proven wrong. The Buck-Tick fan community of Ecuador would like its good name back.



Serious Mascots


And now for something completely different.

Since Buck-Tick are on vacation, I thought it would be nice to take a little vacation here on Blog-Tick, too, and relax with some surreal-yet-all-too-real cultural happenings and phenomena from the Land of the Rising Sun.

And since Buck-Tick now have their own set of mascots in the form of Serious Bear and Pandacchan, I thought we'd start on the topic of mascots.

For those of you who just became a Buck-Tick fan five minutes ago, this is Serious Bear. He was designed by Higuchi Yutaka, which is why he has an initial U on his chest.

Pandacchan is perhaps less easily understood, but since pandas are known for their difficulty in achieving please me oh yes sexual tacos, maybe he's not so hard to understand after all. (Contrary to popular belief, the A doesn't stand for "Anarchy," neither does it stand for "Atsushi." The A stands for "Angry as Fuck.")

(As we can see from the reference photo above, Pandacchan is an excellent likeness.)


Anyhoo, some of you may be aware that Buck-Tick are actually very late to the mascot game. In fact, Japan is full of mascots, or "yuru-kyara," who represent everything from prefectural governments to national historical sites.

For example, this is Hikonyan, the samurai cat who represents the Hikone Castle in Hikone, Shiga Prefecture.

(The above photo of the Hikone Castle was actually taken by Cayce, many many moons ago...)


And here's Serious Bear with Gunma-chan, the official mascot of Gunma Prefecture. These official tie-in goods were sold at the Day in Question last year.


Tie-in merchandise is a big deal for mascots. Some mascots become popular media stars and people throughout the country buy the tie-in goods, regardless of whether they've ever visited the prefecture or other location in question. One of the most popular mascots in Japan these days is Kumamon, who represents Kumamoto Prefecture. Isn't he cute?

These days you can't go anywhere in Japan without bumping into Kumamon. The parade of Kumamon goods is endless, so let's take a look at some of them...

Kumamon holds Hello Kitty from behind in a dubious embrace...

He graces the film of your instant-developing film camera...

He pops up on your sake bottle...

He might even jump out of your bento box!

So popular, no wonder the girls want to snuggle with him at night!


In fact, Kumamon is so popular he has also become a meme.

(Kumamoto Prefecture is particularly known for its delicious citrus fruit.)





But!  These days Japanese mascots are in trouble, thanks to government budget-trimmers who think things have gotten a little out of hand. This is an actual article that appeared in the actual Japan Times...

And this is Last Week Tonight's John Oliver responding to the article above. Western journalists may love to talk about "wacky Japan," but as they're swept up in sensationalism and cheap cultural and racial stereotypes, they usually end up getting things terribly wrong. John Oliver, however, is right about everything. Watch this clip, people. Watch all of it.




If you have design submissions for This is NOT Greatest Mascot, email me.