14.7.17

ATTN: Fish Tank

Edit: If anyone else is getting ready to tell me all about how xenophobia is an ancient and noble part of Japanese culture, just like Pikachu and underwear vending machines, I first ask you to consider the following phrases: Muslim travel ban, "Build the Wall!", Brexit, Le Front National, Syrian refugee crisis. Xenophobia's on a buy one, get two free special all over the world, right this minute! What are you waiting for? Go stock up while you can!

Also, go read the comments section if you want some more of our choice thoughts on this matter. We were debating writing a second post, but upon consideration, decided we'd rather bring you some lifelike Hoshino Hidehiko gingerbread men and Buck-Tick addicted bunny rabbits instead.

Holy shit, did Blog-Tick just turn into a Japanese blog!? OMG halp! There's even a new banner! What the hell is going on here, Cayce?

Don't worry. The text at right is an open letter to Fish Tank, in case they check Blog-Tick. Ignore it as you see fit, or use it for Japanese practice, but don't let it bother you. It's not aimed at you.

As to what's going on here... for my next post, I had originally planned to bring you a light-hearted human interest story about a cute lil' bunny rabbit who just LOVES Buck-Tick, but then... this happened. 

You can see it all for yourself on Twitter, but it appears that our fellow B-T fansite proprietress Buck-Tick Zone received a cease and desist letter from Fish Tank threatening to cancel her fanclub membership because she shared images from the Fish Tank newsletter, and other images of the band. Now, the fact is that the most unsavory type of fangirl has been whining to Fish Tank for years to "crack down" on people sharing images from the Fish Tank newsletter online... their argument goes that if they paid money to receive the newsletter, then no one who hasn't paid money should be able to see it. It's been the cause of Japanese-language social media firestorms many times before now. So in a way, this isn't surprising. But let's examine what's wrong with the argument:

1) If Fish Tank are really so exclusive, then why do they let Fish Tank members purchase multiple tickets to concerts or multiple copies of fanclub-only DVDs? Oh right. They want money. But guess what, Fish Tank: in Japan, there's an expectation that if you want people's money, you should provide them with good hospitality and I'm not sensing a hospitable atmosphere right about now.

2) If we go to our friend's house and read her issues of the Fish Tank newsletter, are Fish Tank going to send that memory-erasing team from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind to our house in retaliation, to erase the memories of the content from our mind, and erase all our memories of Buck-Tick along with them? Take that gun, point it at your own foot, and shoot it. Go on. Shoot it!

3) Is the point of joining Fish Tank paying money to see exclusive content? Silly me, I thought the point of joining Fish Tank was to get good tickets to the shows. This is the main benefit of the fanclub and it would be silly to pretend otherwise. The newsletter is just an added bonus.

4) Fish Tank/Buck-Tick management: I thought your job was to advertise the band, not advertise them as being the only band in the world whose management seem to actively hate their fanbase. Buck-Tick Zone has been spreading the Buck-Tick love for like 20 years now (and you thought our 11 years was long!) She's never received any money or glory for her work. The only reason she does it is because she loves Buck-Tick and wants to spread that love... which equals more fans... which equals more people spending money on the band. If the management weren't so fucking dumb, they'd realize that fansites are free advertising and they should be tacitly encouraged, not squashed.

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Anyway, if this makes you angry, I'm going to encourage you to do the following: 

1) Send Buck-Tick Zone an email, Twitter message, etc. telling her how you appreciate her work. This shit is very discouraging when it happens and I'm sure she'd appreciate moral support.

2) Write to Fish Tank. Tell them how much you love the band, and how you'd never have become a fan without the help from overseas fan sites. Beg them to consider starting an English language version of Fish Tank and/or making Buck-Tick's music available as digital downloads legally available in other countries. Tell them how excited you'd be to spend your money on things like that. If we're going to change their minds, they need to hear from as many of us as possible. I encourage you all to write! The text of the open letter above is basically words to this effect, however please do not copy and paste it, because if Fish Tank get spammed with the same letter again and again it might make them hate me more than they already probably do. Also, original letters in foreign languages will have more clout, I think.

3) If overseas fan sites played a big role in you becoming a Buck-Tick fan, leave a comment on this post.

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For those of you who fear that if Buck-Tick Zone's been targeted, Cayce will be next... for the time being, we're not worried. As a non-corporeal entity, we are very difficult for lowly meat-puppet beings to pin down. Fish Tank can try to figure out who we really are as much as they like, but we doubt they'll succeed. So this big fat raspberry is aimed at you, Fish Tank! Plus, we still remember how Imai took the name "The Dazzler" for his guitar right off this blog, and yet remains too shy to thank us/pay us for our translation. Run run as fast as you can, you can't catch us, we're in Buck-Tickistan!

Also, Buck-Tick Zone notes in her tweets the re-location of the Fish Tank office, and speculates that perhaps the Fish Tank management are new and overzealous. As a matter of fact, we can confirm through personal experience that this is the case. Without going into too much detail, we had a run-in ourselves with a new member of Buck-Tick's management in which the party in question treated us with a baffling level of unnecessary contempt and inexplicable rage. As it stands, we can't say whether this treatment represented the attitude of one angry staff member or whether it represents the attitude of Banker as an organization, but it was dismaying, to say the least. And to further fan the flames of scuttlebutt: it's not just us. A number of Buck-Tick's musician friends have reported being treated in a similarly contemptuous fashion by Banker at various points in time, for various stupid reasons. Buck-Tick's management is known in the industry as being one of the most uptight, paranoid management establishments in existence. They've engineered a monster they can no longer control.

Anyway, I'd like to point out that this has, in all likelihood, nothing to do with band members themselves. The reason Buck-Tick have a management office is so that the management office handles their affairs so they don't have to. Whatever it is the management gets up to when the members aren't around, the members may very well not know about. This is how Japanese industry works. So don't go worrying that Mr. Sakurai personally hates you all (even though it's true that he wrote a song called "I Hate You All," that was Jim Foetus's title, so it doesn't count). So let's place the blame where it belongs: with the management team, not with the band.

Oh yeah, and if you can't read the text on our new banner, it's that line from the lyrics to "Only You." It seemed relevant, somehow.

67 comments:

  1. I would say BUCK-TICK's management also hates BUCK-TICK apparently. Idk how the japanese labels and staff work, but does this whole story have something to do with their return to Victor?

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    1. Personally, I think I'm sure it has a lot to do with it. Since the return the change has beem very remarkable. Who knows what's gonna be next, but I'm sure that if BT members don't do something things are gonna go very bad :(

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  2. CalculatingInfinityJuly 14, 2017 at 5:45 PM

    Hello Cayce

    Just wondering, is there an email address which I can write to Fish Tank? I run a Discord server with 50+ Buck Tick fans, so I'll get as many people as I can to write emails in. This needs to stopped as soon as possible, these sites are essential to fans around the world.

    Thanks.

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    1. I believe that the Fish Tank email address is fc-bt@buck-tick.com

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    2. CalculatingInfinityJuly 15, 2017 at 12:30 AM

      Thank you. I'm thinking of writing to Imai too but idk if that would be a good idea, hopefully Cayce will reply to this and say if to do that as well.

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    3. I thought that was Imai's address from his blog and Fish Tank was fc-bt@buck-tick.com?

      On that note, Cayce, would emailing Imai some help at all? Maybe not talking about this incident specifically but about how we are overseas fans that love the band and ask about the digital releases and such?

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    4. Yeah, why not email Imai? I'm sure it can't hurt.

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  3. I did start knowing the band with sites like this (NGS, buck-tick zone) and I really appreciate all the hard work you guys do. Specially with spreading the news, the translated lyrics, review of concerts and more (plus you always say things in the most clever and funny way) I always say that Buck Tick IS Love. So yeah I will write a letter to FT. Is so counterproductive doing this and expect more people to buy stuff from the band.
    Love from Chile

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  4. I would almost certainly never have considered the idea of going to Japan and seeing B-T live had it not been for Blog-Tick/Not Greatest Site and B-T Zone, as well as a couple of other now defunct English language fansites. In fact I would probably never have happened across the band at all if not for fansharing and YouTube.

    And I will note that prior to being encouraged/enabled to figure out the whole Fan Club and applying for tickets stuff I had only bought B-T stuff second hand online, with no money going to the band as a result. But after spending time gleaning the information I needed from English language fansites, I have been able to join FT, visit Japan for tours on four separate occasions, and attend 15 concerts. I've also taken the opportunity to buy tour goods and their newly released CDs and DVDs while there.

    Therefore it's a plain statement of fact that it was only through the existence of English language fansites and communities sharing news, information and yes, sometimes pictures (shock, horror!) that I was able to actually support B-T as an entity in any financial way at all. And overall that's been a not-insubstantial amount of cash, frankly.

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    1. I'm with you. I wouldn't even know Buck-Tick existed had it not been for Youtube, nor would I have been able to sustain my interest in them if not for sites like this one and Buck-Tick Zone. I'm a member of F-T, I've been to one B-T concert (2014) and two of The Mortal (2015). I live in Canada.

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    2. Yes, I went to a couple of Mortal gigs too, and bought their goods and CD/DVD too. But weirdly, I *can* buy their album on iTunes here. And Schaft's. Only B-T is impossible to find.

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  5. This is very similar to what happened in the VAMPS fandom last year (I'm not very involved so the details might be a bit hazy). The management noticed people sharing members-only photos and info over Instagram. They put in a note on the fanclub website saying that non-Japanese fans are forbidden to share and that their membership might be revoked if discovered. So, I am not surprised by this, only saddened.
    If not for B-T Zone and NGS I would not be in the position I am now (going to Japan in October, hoping to see B-T live, leave them some more of my money, etc.)--the selfless sharing of love for the band, knowledge, interviews, lyrics, news is so so so important for the growth of any fandom. It's sad that the F-T management does not see or appreciate this.
    I will email them as well, just so they know there's a number of us and that we love the band just as much as their local fans.

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  6. oh Cayce, this is so sad. We, international fans would have never become B-T fans if it weren't for the fansites. Buck-Tick is a band that never leaves Japan and for that reason, internet and the lovely people who share info and everything are the most important ones. Thanks to Blog-Tick/NGS and Buck-Tick Zone (and some LiveJournals) is that we can get to know more about the band and their work, you even encourage us to buy their material and thanks to your live reports you make us all want to save money to go to Japan and FINALLY see them live! We spend a lot of money on the band, we don't only pay for the material itself or the concert ticket, but we also pay for the shipment of said material and the plane tickets to Japan.
    I choose to join this cause and I'll help spread the word:
    - I , as always, translated your article to Spanish, it's here https://www.evernote.com/shard/s445/sh/be4c594e-deaa-4766-8cc9-d16cfde65f32/64d33b84c30c4040666905d0219b6fa2
    - I also offer my fellow Spanish speakers who don't know English and want to send their letter/email in English my help by translating what they want to say (my email is written as a note in the translation itself)
    ...
    Thank you, and thanks to anyone who just wants to share the love for Buck-Tick around the world.

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  7. I became a fan last year because of this site. I've never had a solid interest on anything, but thanks to Blog-tick, I fell in love with them ever since ( and also your sense of humour ).
    I don't know what to write so ( never commenting on anything before too) Sending you lots of love from Vietnam <3 <3 sorry for my bad english.

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  8. Not much to add, but thank you for always taking a stand when it's needed. All my repect, sending love.

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  9. Hello everybody,
    I just wanted to bring to your attention the fact that Buck-Tick has uploaded the 2005 Catalog on Spotify. I would suggest to everyone that we start listening the shit out of it, so that we can prove our point. I think Spotify is great gateway to western listeners and is even less problematic than iTunes and the likes of it....
    Umi

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    1. That is great news, I agree this is good opportunity to show support for the artists from abroad, thanks for the info!

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  10. Hello Cayce, I want to say that I'm really grateful for all your work. Thanks to you I was able to understand Buck-Tick's artistic intentions much better! I'd like to ask you about your opinion on this- I shared your article on my fb fan page and had a conversation with one Japanese fan who disagree with sending emails to FT management about this issue, because it can turn the case even worse. She thinks they might stop offering membership to overseas fans and we should respect the culture and rules among Japanese fandom. Demanding an English version of FT newsletter is not a good idea because there's no guarantee that it makes English-speaking fans join FT. Also FT would have to spend extra resources on it. I tried to explain that the main reason why we are concerned is that foreign fans are afraid that FT management might exclude the important members like btzone and you from the fan club, because you offer vital info about the band to us and without you there won't be so many devoted foreign fans who are actually willing to buy B-T's stuff. She argued back that it's not a good thing to rely on certain person to understand all info about the band. If we really love the band, we should try to learn Japanese.

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    1. Emailing the FT management to offer feedback would result in FT revoking the memberships of the many hundreds of overseas members, throwing away loads of cash in the process? Don't be ridiculous!

      As to "culture and rules among the Japanese fandom" and "if you really love the band, you should learn Japanese"... there are so many responses I could make to those remarks, I hardly know where to begin, but I'll start here

      1) Japanese fans share photos, too. It's already been a cause of social media kerfuffle, as I mentioned at the beginning of this post.

      2) Yeah, FT would have to spend extra resources to reach out to foreign fans. The hope would be that they'd gain more than they spend. That's how marketing works. Then again, do not expect fangirls to understand even basic points business operation, because almost none of them do.

      3) Huh, I guess Rockin' On, Rolling Stone Japan, and all those other Japanese music magazines that cover non-Japanese bands ought to start printing exclusively in English... because if Japanese fans of American and British bands want to learn about the bands, they should learn English, amirite?

      You, my friend, have run into an archetypal xenophobic Buck-Tick fan. Unfortunately, it seems there are a lot of them out there. Frankly, I think their main problem is that they're jealous at the way foreign fans tend to attract the attention of the band members at live shows. If you want to engage with her and question her xenophobic prejudices, go for it, but unfortunately, often times people like this are too closed-minded to listen. Don't be taken in by that "Japanese culture" line. It's the Japanese equivalent of "make America great again."

      Also if you haven't already read The Fangirl Phenomenon, please do. The person you spoke to is clearly one of them.

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    2. Thank you very much for your immediate response, Cayce. I have already read The Fangirl Phenomenon, it was really helpful. Just to set it clear, now she informed me that she's from overseas too (Hong Kong). Regarding the "language problem" I said that not all people would learn a whole new language just for one band, mainly because of the lack of time or money etc. She thinks that if we don't find it necessary, it sounds like it's not worth spending time on B-T. Why do we think that Fish Tank has to do a favor to translate all the materials just because we don't read Japanese? We don't even know how many members would really need the English translation. Maybe just a few fans really care and FT has been already spending extra resources on the oversea shipping of their concert products. She doesn't think FT would take any action to hurt the fans if we only make translations. The main problem causing this case is sharing of images in public.
      Such opinion as "go learn Japanese otherwise don't even think of being interested in Japanese band" sounds rude to me, but..I don't want to spread negativity in fandom ofc, I just want to bring another opinion on this issue, because maybe sending mails to FT is contraproductive and we- western fans- just overreacted. On the other hand I know that we are not going to complain or ask for changing rules. We just want to make us visible. I explained her that I'm very aware that being a fan of Japanese band is not easy. Also I am willing to accept her arguments against the English version of the newsletter, since we fortunately have some wonderful people who occassionaly translate it for us. We're just saying that in spite of the fact that FT offers a membership to oversea fans, I don't see any moves from their management to make it a bit easier for plenty of us. There are many fans who would welcome the chance to join if they were more accessible. At least an English translation of their official website interface would be really helpful. But I'm flexible, if nothing is going to change, that doesn't make me love the band less.

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    3. An especially amazing piece of xenophobic fangirl illogic, since B-T themselves have repeatedly declared themselves fans of many Western bands since their teenage years, despite not being able to speak English. They obviously can't REALLY love Bauhaus, or Bowie, or Led Zep etc etc. then? Is she going to write to them and tell them so? /laughs

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    4. @ Natalus B - If you don't want to write to Fish Tank, don't write to them. No one's forcing you. But in case you hadn't noticed, the point of writing to them is to demonstrate that there is enough demand for overseas outreach that it would be worth their while to offer more services to overseas fans. I think the worst that's likely to happen is that they ignore everyone's emails and carry on in the same bitchy fashion, and that's that.

      But as to the idea that it's not worth spending time/money on a band if you're not willing to learn a whole new language for them... let me ask you, who here actually has learned any foreign language solely for love of a band? Not Cayce, that's for sure. Learning a new language is a massive investment of time and effort and if you're going to pursue a goal that big you need to have something more at stake than love of a single band. Also, what about the part where music is a universal language? Also, what about the part where there are hundreds of languages on planet earth, and there's interesting music written in all of them, but no one could ever possibly learn them all? Did your precious Hong Kong fan learn Japanese just for Buck-Tick?

      Truly, we could discuss the flaws in this argument all day long and not reach the end of its nasty, uncharitable snippiness, but let's make one thing abundantly clear: if anyone's spreading negativity in fandom, it's the fans making racist and/or xenophobic comments, not people arguing for greater inclusion.

      Also, at risk of sounding problematic: these days, English is the de-facto language of international communication. If you want to reach a world audience, English is the language in which to do it, as evidenced by the massively international readership of Blog-Tick (FYI, many if not most Blog-Tick readers are not native English speakers!) Sorry, fans.

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    5. Oh I just noticed your note at the beginning of this article :'D I didn't want to make you feel upset.
      I wanted to know your opinion on this because I felt uncertain about sending emails and I agree with everything you wrote. When it comes to her statements "if you really want to know more about the band/ if you want to know what the band members say/ if you really love the band TRY TO LEARN JAPANESE", I told her she can't expect everyone to do it, because it's only normal that people who don't have abilities or time to learn will seek help from translators. According to that logic, we shouldn't rely on translations of books or the subtitles for movies and should learn countless numbers of languages because some of us like a wide range of bands across the globe. In some cases it wasn't just music or the official info, but also translated interviews what made people really fall in love with B-T. Those are not just occasional fans, they are decided to support them financially. Then does it really matter if they don't know their language? After all, without youtube and the Internet itself no one outside of Japan would know what B-T is. I don't think she's gonna change her attitude, but well..I'm just banging my head against a wall. Enough is enough :D

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    6. You didn't upset me. Here's what upsets me, in addition to the original issue.

      - I have encountered an increasing number of Japanese B-T fans with similar attitudes to the person you spoke with. I wrote about this in some posts I made at the beginning of the year. Over the past two years, I have sensed a deepening current of racism and xenophobia among Japanese Buck-Tick fans, which is a new thing, and very disturbing. I suppose most of them are middle aged women jealous that young, attractive foreign girls draw band member attention during shows. But that doesn't make their behavior more acceptable or palatable.

      - Every non-Japanese person living in Japan occasionally encounters xenophobes who say shit like the precious "learn Japanese" comment above... but good god, do not listen to these people as if their remarks have any merit! Deep down, they're motivated by the same tribalist fear as the Trumpists and the Brexiters, etc. They're the more benign cousins to the racist assholes who put on hate rallies against Japanese-born Koreans. Call them out! Do not let them bully you. When Americans or Europeans are xenophobic dicks, we call them what they are. So why should Japan get a pass due to being the home of "venerated Japanese culture"?

      - What's with all these people freaking out about the idea of foreign fans writing to Fish Tank? Why is the idea of standing out or speaking up terrifying to the extent that these people are not content to simply not write to Fish Tank themselves, but feel compelled to tell others not to do so? Fish Tank is of little significance in the grand scheme of things, but the terror of protest or demand for change is a symptom of a much larger and very upsetting phenomenon. Global society is in a pretty bad state right now and if we, global humanity, do not stand up and make some changes right this fucking minute, things are going to turn out very poorly for all of us.

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  11. Hello, Cayce,
    I am a BT-fan from Russia and I’ve been a FT-member for over 5 years now. Due to the nature of my profession, it is my job to deal with ‘Japanese/Chinese/Vietnamese culture’ on a daily basis.
    I have a few thoughts on this FT thing. Of course for me as an overseas fan it's sad to witness such negativity, but I just have to say that from my experience and from the experience of my Russian fellows FT as a representative management was never a reason to feel neglected. You say that FT ‘advertise BT as being the only band in the world whose management seem to actively hate their fanbase’. Truth is FT management was kind enough to receive our money in goddamn envelopes and send back the change in yens when there was no online-service for joining the fanclub. They answer our stupid letters written in English (which are sometimes hard to read not only for Japanese people), they re-send us our newsletters lost somewhere in the middle of snowy Siberia by our noble Russian Post. In fact, overseas fans have equal rights with the Japanese ones. We can order a ticket, we can buy stuff – without Japanese telephone number or Japanese address. LOTS of fanclubs do not allow doing this. The opportunity to become a FT-member for us foreigners is more of a privilege rather than a right. And I think it’s rather presumptuous of us to ask (or to fight?) for more. Yes, they don’t want the English version of the website, they don’t want extra money (plus extra problems) from us. It’s their right. For us it may sound stupid or racist, but it’s their choice based on their own decision. Maybe they really don't see any sense in that, maybe they just don’t want to try something new or afraid to get in uncomfortable situation (which is the Buddhist hell for all Japanese people). Every land has its laugh, and every corn has its chaff. In Russia we drink vodka while riding our polar bear, and in Japan they are wary of foreigners. As to FT’s threatening to cancel fanclub membership because of sharing the images from the newsletter, it is also their right to do so. Similar things happen in other fandoms. Personally, I don’t think that sending emails, begging or arguing will help in this situation. It’s impossible to change people’s mentality by sending emails, but it might make FT management angry. Because, yes, they don’t like us as much as we probably want them to.
    They really see it from another point of view and in my opinion foreign fans should rest their nerves. All in all, in 99% cases it’s impossible to find a person who scanned or uploaded the stuff.

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    1. I've drunk plenty of vodka in my time, but I've never ridden a polar bear, so you've got one over on me there. But I have lived and worked in Tokyo, and been heavily involved in the Japanese music scene for about a decade, and I know a thing or two about how things work here... wouldn't be much of a blogger if I didn't. So please kindly, stick to lecturing me about Russia, and refrain from attempting to lecture me on Japan, my longtime home. Also, leave Vietnam and China out of it. Asia is an extremely heterogeneous place. Contrary to popular Western belief, different Asian countries actually have very different cultures.

      Yes, Fish Tank at one time were extremely helpful to foreign fans - a topic which I've written about before. The management has changed hands and attitudes have changed along with it.

      However, I don't think you can possibly conclude that Fish Tank don't want foreign money, or any of the other things you claim Fish Tank want, unless you ask them directly. All that's at issue here is the fact that they sent a cease and desist letter to B-T Zone for sharing images.

      And let's get one thing straight: B-T Zone is a Japanese citizen and she grew up in Japan. She's also not the first person to receive a warning from Fish Tank for violating terms of service. I've known Japanese fans to receive such warnings over ticket scalping and I'm sure they greatly outnumber the foreigners who Fish Tank has gone after. This issue is not actually about culture. It's about bad business management.

      Once again, Fish Tank is a business. It is not some group of snobby fangirls who decided to set up a clubhouse in their back yard and only let the cool kids in. Sending emails won't change their mind? Maybe not... or then again, maybe it will. Smart business managers listen to customer feedback.

      Sure, they have the right to cancel B-T Zone's membership if they wish, it's in their terms of service. But realistically, marketing these days occurs mainly online, and image sharing is a big part of it. How many foreign B-T fans out there first fell in love with the band because they saw a photo of Acchan-chan's face? How many of those fans went on to spend significant amounts of money on the band? Quite a few. A smart manager in touch with the times would understand this, and allow a certain amount of image sharing if it served the interests of the band. B-T Zone's site certainly has served the interests of the band, by increasing the fan base. Lots of overseas fans spend money on the band. I even help many of them do it, through my shopping service. Buck-Tick is already actively benefiting from foreign money. They surely would not say no to more. Contrary to popular belief, they're not actually that rich, and sales mean a whole lot to them.

      Oh yeah, and let's mention how plenty of Japanese bands relish overseas promotion (X Japan, Luna Sea, Dir en grey, L'arc en Ciel, the list goes on.) Plenty of Japanese bands have provided English language services for foreign fans. For fuck's sake, even Arashi has an English language website.

      Yes, I have sensed a troubling undercurrent of racism from Buck-Tick's Japanese fan base and management of late, but it's entirely personal and not about Japan at large. The only way this has to do with Japanese culture at large is the way in which it's a great example of how out of touch Japanese corporations are, especially when it comes to globalization. The suits don't speak foreign languages and are out of touch with the times. If they don't change their ways soon, Japan's just going to get less and less relevant in the business world (I have seen this from the inside, I worked in the overseas PR department of a mismanaged Japanese megacorp for many years). Then again, maybe we'll blow ourselves sky high before then and it will be a moot point :)

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    2. Also, I feel compelled to unpack some of your statements about Japanese culture.

      -"it is my job to deal with ‘Japanese/Chinese/Vietnamese culture’"
      ...These are three very different cultures which should not be lumped together. If you know as much about these cultures as you claim, you know that already.

      -"they just don’t want to try something new or afraid to get in uncomfortable situation (which is the Buddhist hell for all Japanese people)"

      ...The only thing that's true of all Japanese people is that all Japanese people are human. Like all humans, some of them hate new situations. Others relish them. The "timid Japanese" is a racist stereotype. Please stop perpetuating it. Do you think Buck-Tick would ever have risen to stardom if they were afraid of discomfort or trying new things?

      -"in Japan they are wary of foreigners"

      ...Some Japanese people are wary of foreigners. Others are very interested in foreigners. This goes for people in every country on earth. Xenophobia is shaping up to be one of the worst challenges of our moment in history. Let's acknowledge that and work to change it before it destroys us.

      -"Because, yes, [Fish Tank] don’t like us as much as we probably want them to."

      ...You have no evidence to back up that statement. And even if it were true – Fish Tank hating foreign fans is against their best interests, so let's convince them of that and get them to change their minds and not lie around being sanctimonious nihilists.

      "it's much more easy to label something as simply 'bad' or 'wrong', or 'retarded' when it comes to non-western methods of management or whatsoever."

      ...What do you even mean by this? Define a "Western" vs. "non-Western" method of management? The world isn't divided into East and West. American, British, Russian, Chinese, Indian, Japanese management styles – they are all different.

      -"And OF COURSE Japanese management styles have nothing to do with Japanese culture. It's just random coincidence."

      ...Huh? Yes, Japanese management styles have to do with Japanese culture. Of course they do! Business management style is a part of culture. It's very true that Japanese business management tends to be insular and out of touch with global trends in favor of total absorption in the domestic market... a problem which a lot of Japanese critics have been pointing out for a long time. The lack of understanding among Japanese corporate managers of 1) the ineffectiveness of their traditionally rigid, hierarchical, hidebound, by-the-book way of doing things and 2) the great potential benefits of globalization is a problem which Japanese society will need to solve if Japan is to perpetuate its status as a world economic power. Currently, Japanese companies are not doing well overall because they are so out of touch with the global market. The Japanese economy is suffering accordingly, causing Japanese workers to suffer both financially and emotionally (I mention the suicide of Matsuri Takahashi). You're right that Fish Tank are currently behaving like an archetypal old-style Japanese company in this regard, but it's stupid and self-sabotaging on their part. There is no reason we should respect them for it, and no reason we should not offer constructive feedback. Maybe they won't change. Then again, maybe they will.

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  12. This is so sad and... I don't know where to begin but I will write a mail to Fishtank and let them know that I would definitely know much less about Buck-Tick if it weren't for fansites and YouTube.

    I've been a random fan when I first heard some of Buck-Tick's songs which are the typical ones that are at least a bit popular in my region (if at all). Since I loved what I heard so much I started researching the band and came upon Mr. Sakurai's solo stuff... which lead to much admiration and a need for a deeper understanding of him and the band. I searched for song lyrics and videos and the like and very soon came to Blog Tick and other big fan sites.

    Mostly it was this very place here and the ever wonderful Cayce that helped and provided me with being able to buy Buck-Tick's stuff and get information and humor and great insight of it all.

    So... yes, I need to have a word with Fishtank's new management about how they are treading online fans and in the process overseas fans, too.
    Looking at it from the management point of view, shouldn't they be glad that there are people willing to spend hard money on Buck-Tick's stuff, even going so far as to take it on to travel to Japan for at least one live show? I know some of the people here are even lucky enough to attend more than one show...
    How can they not see that it wouldn't happen if it weren't for all the wonderful fansites around the internet?

    Well, I hope and wish that you, Cayce, keep standing strong and don't let the FT management get you down. It's so sad that they are such jerks...

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  13. Yes, I've noticed that it's much more easy to label something as simply 'bad' or 'wrong', or 'retarded' when it comes to non-western methods of management or whatsoever. And OF COURSE Japanese management styles have nothing to do with Japanese culture. It's just random coincidence.
    And once again, FT do not threaten English websites themselves, they just follow the rules. There are plenty of BT images except ones from the newsletter. Every devoted fan can go to holy tumbler and find loads of stuff uploded anonymously. And as far as I know nobody said anything about punishing English fan sites' hosts for their translations, atricles, QA sections or images from one billion and one other places.

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    1. One more time: the issue at stake here is not the availability of images to overseas fans. The issue at stake is that, by being dicks B-T Zone for image sharing (and it wasn't just FT Only stuff, by the way!) FT are effectively repudiating the enthusiasm of all the non-Japanese fans collectively. B-T Zone's influence on the band's career has undoubtedly been a net positive. She's spent loads of her free time promoting the band out of love, and how do they repay her? With a slap in the face.

      It's a shitty attitude which smacks of xenophobia, but it's also bafflingly bad business. Businesses are supposed to woo their customers by providing attractive products and services. Customers are not supposed to get down on hands and knees and kiss the ground to thank businesses for shitty service, just because shitty service is better than no service at all. The very idea is laughable to anyone with any business background whatsoever. By sending customer feedback in the form of letters to FT, we may be able to make them see that they're making a bad business decision, and encourage them to correct it.

      An example: back around 2006, there were no lolita clothing shops in the US. Everyone who wanted lolita clothes had to pay a shopping service to order the clothes from Japan. Lots of American lolitas started writing to brands, begging them to start selling the clothes in the US. Plenty of these American lolitas were ridiculed with snide comments about how they were too big to fit into the clothes etc. But Baby, the Stars Shine Bright eventually got the message and opened a shop in San Francisco which is still there to this day. It would never have happened without fan demand. I don't see why Fish Tank should be any different. Why shame people for attempting to offer constructive suggestions, or make changes in circumstances they're dissatisfied with? Telling people to give up attempting to make change is fatalistic at best and totalitarian at worst. And I think you Russians have had some experience with totalitarianism before.

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    2. Dear Cayce,
      Let's not get personal here, ok? There’s nothing bad in showing our love for the band, but we should think very carefully before sending anything to the band’s management. I don’t doubt your life/work experience, so please, do not doubt mine. Making random conclusions about a person based on their nationality is also…uhm…not very nice.
      Sorry, I don’t need your lectures exploring topics on Asian history and culture, but I feel I must say how worried I am about your public proclamations and encouraging people to spam FT with complaints and requests. Your own letter shows disrespect for the rules of Japanese writing etiquette (and non-Japanese speakers should know about that), and it’s not only my personal opinion. There is no simple ‘thank you for all you’ve done’, but there is plenty of lecturing and whining about unfortunate destiny of foreign fans, which is rude and just not fair. FT guys have done a lot for us. And once again – yes, it’s their right to punish people for uploading the fan club’s stuff (I haven’t heard anything about other pics or whatsoever). You are talking about money – well, people paid money for their newsletters, so why Japanese fangirls should be ok with the situation when some foreigners break JAPANESE rules? B-T Zone is a great person, we all love and respect her. I suppose, the only reason of targeting her was some complaints from Japanese fans, and FT just can’t be deaf to these complaints. Sad story, yes, but they can’t just close their eyes on it because she’s our superwoman and has done a lot for English fandom and the band. FT made the issue pretty clear, their rules were printed and reprinted many times.
      We are guests on this party weather you like it or not. Well, most of us. Honestly, I don’t want your open letter to speak for every foreign fan. I appreciate your work, I love your website, really, I thank you for all you’ve done, but I can’t agree with you on this issue. You try to make certain problem with uploading certain stuff sound like BT is a victim of bad management and shortsightedness. Five minutes ago it was our fault that we did break their rules, and now, look! – they are jerks that don’t appreciate our love and interest. Moreover, we feel empowered to teach band’s management what to do with their money and how to deal with the fanbase. Let us show some respect.

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    3. Yulia,

      There is nothing personal about this. I don't know who you are. You made some sweeping statements about Japan which I took issue with and felt the need to clarify. You're the one who started off by talking about your Russian heritage (though honestly I don't see how it's relevant.)

      As I said, "Asian" culture is heterogeneous. But Japanese culture is one of the topics this blog focuses on, so yeah, I do lecture about it sometimes, and I am committed to rejecting stereotypes in favor of nuanced analysis.

      Honest question... are you a Japanese speaker? Can you even read what my letter says? I don't know what "rules of Japanese letter writing" you're even talking about. No, I didn't open the message with the traditional archaic greetings and talk of the seasons, because there wasn't any need to do so. I haven't even written to Fish Tank myself, I merely posted the message to them on Blog-Tick in case they check, because clearly they checked Buck-Tick Zone at some point.

      There is no indication that Japanese fans complained about Buck-Tick Zone, but also, no, Fish Tank do not have to listen to the complaints of any fans, Japanese or not. If you've spent any time on the internet, you'll know that fans complain about everything, all the time. Some complaints are valid, plenty aren't. Part of Fish Tank's job is separating valid feedback from directionless bitching.

      Yeah, B-T Zone broke the rules. But Fish Tank made the rules and they can bend them if they choose. I think, given the surrounding circumstances, they are being unfair.

      I don't know what you mean, "we are guests at this party." Do you think that Japanese fans somehow "own" Buck-Tick and we don't? I ask you: what if Buck-Tick were British, instead? Would you still call us "guests at the party" in that case? British and American rock music is beloved by the entire world. Why shouldn't it be the same for Japanese music?

      In fact, there are already numerous Japanese bands who are known and loved worldwide. YMO is a great example. Do Japanese fans "own" YMO? Seeing as Ryuichi Sakamoto lives in New York these days, I think he'd disagree. Or what about Tomoyasu Hotei? He lives in London, but he's still considered a Japanese national hero. Are all the British fans who go see him play in London "guests at the party," too?

      Yeah, I think Buck-Tick is currently the victim of bad management. I also don't think there's anything wrong with writing to Fish Tank and telling them what the fans want. In fact, they encourage fan feedback. A line to this effect is printed in every newsletter. They don't necessarily know what fans want unless we tell them. This is not "spam."

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    4. We usually ask for something in a polite way, we say ‘hello’, ‘thank you’ and ‘goodbye’ at least, and we definetely don't start our letter with the long story of our sufferings. I’ve already told you that, so please, don’t pretend that somebody just accused you of being rude and ran away. It’s childish.
      And please, make sure FT guys understand that your letter with this ridiculous and inappropriate ‘love your enemy’ quotation expresses your OWN opinion, ok? It's my humble request to you.

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    5. Hello Yuliya,

      As I already mentioned, I did not send the message to Fish Tank as a letter. I merely posted it here in case they check Blog-Tick. Therefore, I wrote it in proclamation format, rather than letter format.

      The content of the message is based on the contents of the many, many, many letters I have received from Buck-Tick fans over the years, and based on the feedback I have received from shopping service customers. Believe it or not, I get a lot of email from B-T fans, and I read it all, so I think I've probably got a better grasp of the Buck-Tick fanbase than the average fan.

      Last time I checked, there was no signature on my message, seeing as it isn't a proper letter, but I'll sign your name at the bottom if you really want me to.

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    6. Oh excuse me - I forgot to mention - thank you for your feedback! And goodbye!

      Delete
  14. To add my two cents to this... I started out as a fan of various Japanese bands when I was in middle school in the UK and saved up all my pocket money to buy CDs at import costs. But I wouldn't have done this if I hadn't heard about these bands through English fansites and listened to samples of their music on youtube.
    Now, I have been studying Japanese for ten years, have lived in Japan for 6, I am a member of Fishtank and have spent countless chunks of my paycheck on BT and other Japanese bands lives, goods and CDs.
    But I wouldn't have done so for such a long time if it hadn't been for foreign fansites and (at that time) grainy Youtube videos.
    I think they should block the accounts who upload entire concerts to Youtube that are still commercially available- yes. But I don't think they should go after fansites and subtitled Youtube clips.
    I think these help the bands more than harm them in the long term.
    Also, would love to have a drink with you if you are ever in Kansai for BT, Cayce!

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    1. Great to meet another old-school fan who lives on Honshu! Whereabouts in Kansai are you located? Let's go for takoyaki next time I'm in Osaka!

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    2. Near Kobe and Osaka. Let me know when you are around Osaka way :). I'm planning to go to both DIQs there.

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  15. Hi, Cayce. Hi, everyone. My english sucks, sorry.
    I'm from Russia too.
    Firstly I would like to thank you for your fandom activities. But now as BT-fan and fishtanker I completely disagree with the things you're talking about.
    I believe a spreading of negative moods is not a way to solve a problem. You've published the open message to FT, but it's full of claims and grievances and neglect of bases of japanese conversational ethics, not a single word of appreciation to them. If you prefer to be unfriendly it's your own case. Neither mine nor other fans. So please stop to write things like that with involving the name of all international fans. Please stop to mask your personal negative feelings by worrying about interests of all international fans. As one of them I don't need your militant patronage. Please stop to image FT as haters or something. They're not. I have enough experience of conversation with them too and they always was responsive to me. Of course my personal experience is not absolute value, but yours too.
    I'm not saying we must to keep silence about our needs and wishes, but if we want to change their mind about us, firstly we need to be friendly, patient and thankful for everything we already have, instead of angry and rude. By the way, it would be interesting to know how many western fans thanked them for FISH TANK WEB. Let's stop to take things for granted. If someone here want to mail them just think about it for a while.

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    1. I get the sense someone is complaining about me on vkontakte. Thanks guys, there's no such thing as bad publicity!

      Do you read Japanese? Could you read my letter? Please tell me where the negativity and grievances are and what "rules of ethics" you think I broke.

      Yeah, FT used to be the sweetest, most helpful people. The management has changed and attitudes have changed with it. I already wrote quite a bit about this earlier in the year, but it seems you guys haven't been reading Blog-Tick on the regular, you just piled onto this post because it's been attracting attention.

      I'd also like to point out that engaging in reasoned argument is different from being angry and rude. I don't believe anyone's been angry and rude on here. If they had, I'd publicly ridicule them as per NGS policy. But if you're mistaking sarcasm for rudeness, you're reading the wrong blog.

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    2. I have no an intention to read you or somebody else a lecture of japanese language. But if you've asked about reasons why I called your letter rude, let's try to discuss.
      Sorry again if my english sounds too silly.

      The quote sounds cool if we're using it during conversation with our fellows, but I'm sure it's kind of rudness if we're talking with persons who are not familiar to us, especially japanese. The word "enemy" sounds disturbing and threatening, you know. Let's try to find even single sample of using words like that in japanese business emails, for an example. As we know even the explaining of a reasons by から may sounds rude in some cases. Not to mention a words like "enemy". Even ご検討下さい doesn't looks respectfully in that context.

      That's how it may sounds now, in my opinion:
      "We all international fans are so poor, you know. Actually we don't care if you maybe have no time or other resources for us right now. We don't want to recognize we have some reasons to thank you for your support, but we want you recognize we have a lot of our personal problems with being fans and we want you help us with it. The case we break the rules is your fault. You must do better. But if you will neglect our needs we will think you hate us as enemies. Hey, look! We're so versed in Sakurai-san lyrics, aren't we?".

      Also the fact is japanese hates 迷惑をかけられること and 文句を言われること, but respects 謝り, 感謝 and 思いやり (even if it just formal). That's why I called the letter rude. There is too lot of first one, but there is not a single word of second ones. You can call me valetudinarian, but if we will take a book of japanese language we will see things like that. I'm not asking you to use keigo if you don't like to sound too polite or formal or something. It's ok. But just how about to make it little more friendly if the aim is to be heard?
      Here is ordinary and pretty simple version of message, without neither keigo nor "enemies".

      FISH TANKの皆様へ
      いつも心遣いをもらい、心からありがとうございます。
      海外のファン達も好きなBUCK-TICKのライヴに見に行きたり、アルバムやグッズなどを買ったりすることがてきるのはFISH TANKの皆様のおかげです。感謝しています。
      でも、迷惑をかけてしまい失礼ですが、世界中のファンが増えていくと思うので、お願いがいくつかあり伝えたいです。
      日本語がわからない人、ファンクラブの会員になる方法またチケットを購入方法などに困っている人もまだまだ多いので、もしいつかオフィシャルサイトやファンクラブサイトを英訳してもらえればありがたいです。そしてiTunesで買えたらいいなと思う人もいます。
      (ог other things we want)
      検討してもらえると嬉しいです。
      これからもずっとBUCK-TICKを応援していきます。
      よろしくお願いします。

      Of course I'm not insisting it must be exactly that. It may be more detailed if you like. But I believe something like this have a chance to be taken into consideration by them.

      By the way, there are other sites instead of iTunes where probably foreigners can buy digital version of B-T songs. For example, amazon.jp, recochoku.jp etc. So we can try.

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    3. Kat, you do know I'm a professional translator who's been in the business for years, right? In case you don't know what a professional translator does, let me explain: I take Japanese business documents (and comic books!), and I translate them into English. Some fields I have worked in: power plant engineering, environmental toxicology, corporate security, construction safety, foreign aid development project, public relations, human resources management... the list goes on. If I weren't deeply familiar with business Japanese, do you really think I would be able to do my job?

      Also, translation work requires much deeper knowledge of both source and target language than the average native speaker has. It is a specialized skill requiring dedicated study on top of the study of simple language study. Beyond that, I work with Japanese clients on a daily basis. Business skills/client interaction skills are also part of a translator's job. I know there are a few pro translators who read Blog-Tick and they can back me up.

      So yeah, in fact, I do know the meaning and use of ご検討下さい. It's a stock phrase in Japanese business-speak, and it actually is 尊敬語 (respectful keigo), but we'll get to that in a minute (see other common phrases such as ご注意下さい).

      No, I wouldn't end a business letter with a quote from Buck-Tick's lyrics... but I wasn't writing a business letter, I was writing a note to Fish Tank. You seem to have enough of a grasp of basic Japanese to write a letter of your own, so I'm sure you know that in Japanese, context is everything. It's not a business letter - it is feedback, and we have nothing to apologize for (思いやり means nothing in this context, as it refers to offering unspoken common decency to those around you, and is generally used to refer to IRL situations such as offering your seat to a pregnant woman on a train, not the internet.)

      There is nothing rude about から、 it is used all the time. Also, to set the record straight for all the Japanese learners who read Blog-Tick: です・ます IS keigo. No, it's not the highest level of keigo, but that's not warranted in this context. Fish Tank, as a service provider, would use 謙譲語 (humble keigo for speaking about oneself and one's in-group) and 尊敬語 (respectful keigo for speaking to a person of higher status) to us, the お客さん (customers), because the customer/guest always has higher status than the service provider - this is part of the Japanese tradition of おもてなし (hospitality). As such, the customers have no need to use anything higher than desu/masu standard keigo toward service providers. (Blog-Ticker's studying Japanese: pay attention! Japanese teachers may not bother to tell you how keigo works but if you want to work in Japan you need to know!)

      Anyhow, I'm certainly not stopping you from sending whatever letter you like. Maybe seeing that foreign fans have made a certain effort to learn Japanese will impress them, if they're not the sort of Japanese people who sneer at any and all grammar mistakes (it's pretty mean to bully intermediate-level second language learners, but since Fish Tank seem to be pretty clueless these days, you never know.) Anyway, the more of us Fish Tank hears from, the better. It's not like you need my permission to write to them.

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    4. >>I'm a professional translator who's been in the business for years

      I see. It's cool. But please correct the translation mistake in Sabbat's lyric: なよ in あげなよ is not "don't".
      The simple idea I'm trying to convey here (in vain apparently) is just let's be sensibly thankful and don't spread negativity and controversial things about other people. About FT in particular.
      That's all I wanted to say.

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    5. Whoops, sorry about the mistake in "Sabbat." That's what comes of working quickly :)

      As for "spreading negativity" - kiddo,
      it's okay to be frustrated at things which are legitimately frustrating. Fish Tank are not gods and I don't understand why you seem to think they should be worshiped. If they were doing a wonderful job (as they used to once upon a time), they'd deserve our thanks. Right now, I think they ought to be trying a bit harder. Japan is a free country and I have a right to use my own blog to express dissatisfaction with bad management and bad attitudes - including yours, frankly. If anyone's been rude on this thread, it's you: you have been consistently rude to me. It looks like you were mainly doing it to get attention, and congratulations, you got it.

      But on that note, I'm closing the thread because I don't think there's anything more that's worth saying about this topic. Good luck studying Japanese :)

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  16. It's really sad that the management do not valuate this blogs effort to make BT more well known in all countries over the world, and it's incredible that in 2017 they're still being so close minded and not even understanding how rock bands business work!
    Tonight I'll send a message to BT Zone and ti FT management.
    PS: Cayce i'll sent you 2 e-mails last week, please look if you received them.
    Hugs and support from Argentina.

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  17. I noticed that this regrettable situation is spinning out of control. We should try to find a consensus before it's too late. I understand Cayce's view but also the view of Russian fans. I guess we just misunderstood each other.
    I've discussed this topic with fans on fb and the opinions are different. Some agree with Cayce, some think it's the management's right to cancel B-T Zone's membership, because she broke the rules. Regardless of my personal opinion, I reconsidered sharing fan club's materials in public, there's still an option to share them in closed communities.
    When it comes to sending emails, I agree with the Russian fandom that we should be careful about what we are going to write. But also I don't think Cayce was calling for sending complaints or that she wanted us to be disrespectful towards FT. I believe that things she mentioned in her article are just pure SUGGESTIONS to improve the international communication. Of course, it's up to them if they consider making changes or not. If you want to send an email, remember these 3 things: be friendly, make suggestions in a polite way, express gratitude for what we already have. Hope this will help calm down the negative emotions :)

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    1. "Spiraling out of control"? I hardly think so. Why are y'all so distraught by any sort of disagreement? Of course I am not encouraging anyone to be disrespectful, and anyone who's been reading this blog for any length of time ought to know that already. For the last time, constructive customer feedback is not disrespectful and I assure you it is completely normal in Japan as it is in other parts of the world.

      Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems to me there's a lot of excessive Japan fetishization going on here. Among the people who think it's a bad idea to write to FT, there's a strong insinuation that overseas fans are somehow less "worthy" than Japanese fans, and that Fish Tank is governed by some secret set of sacrosanct "inscrutable Japanese" rules. The fetishization of Japan by Europeans goes back to the 1800s if not much earlier, but now that it's 2017, isn't it time to get over it? Japan is just a country like anywhere else, and Japanese people piss and shit like everyone else, too. Japanese cultural expectations may differ from those in Europe and America, but I'm here to tell you right now that there's no unified hidden agenda or secret set of rules. I therefore encourage you all to stop exoticizing and objectifying, or you won't have any energy left to exoticize, objectify, and fetishize Acchan-chan... which would put Buck-Tickistan in dire straits indeed!

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    2. I agree with you, this seems to be getting a bit out of control.

      Honestly, I felt like this was a good way to maybe give the band our love, remind them that they have fans overseas that are desperate for their music, and maybe suggest at bare minimum to consider international digital sales of music.
      I mean, Imai and Sakurai's solo works are available on US iTunes, part of Catalogue 2005 is on Spotify now (the second of which will not be as profitable as direct sales sadly)
      And I don't think that is an entitled request in the SLIGHTEST because there are many acts in Japan and throughout the world that may not have goals to ever tour outside of their own home countries that know that through the internet, people far and wide may come to know them. So why not allow these fans the ability to enjoy their work easily and in a manner that would support them much better than trading mp3 downloads would?

      Not sharing FT photos, ok, it's fine and ultimately understandable to me (I am not in FT but am in other Japanese band fanclubs where there is even an unspoken rule to hold off on even sharing the cover until the delivery month is over, and to even not spoil the birthday card until the end of the year)

      But why is it a bad idea to remind them that we exist and would like a middle ground between exorbitant shipping and import fees for a ~4000 yen CD and simply pirating?

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    3. Cayce, I got the point exactly. I completely understand that many fans strive for innovation and Japanese people are not superior to us. A constructive feedback is nothing that can hurt their feelings. Of course you're not encouraging aynone to be disrespectful.
      I'm just trying to explain that sometimes the way you express your opinions may seem quite demanding and a bit confrontational. Don't get me wrong, please. I like your sharp sense of humour and I know you just wanted to point out what's important without sticking excessively to social niceties. But in this case it can lead to misinterpretation and make some people feel concerned. But the main problem here is that some fans think it's strange to ask for something more than we already have right after one of our fans (btzone) was caught red handed. Although in my personal opinion the act of sharing photos is not such a big deal, even Japanese fans share them from time to time and does it really hurt the band's income? I don't think so (oh, I am such an anarchistic pirate :D ) But I also understand that Japanese people have usually a great respect for literary property and copyright, so probably it would be changed in a close future.

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    4. Blog-Tick is my blog. Yes, it is a place where I snarkily express my opinions, fact-check erroneous statements, question stereotypes, and level criticism as I see fit... and I know y'all like the snark, otherwise you wouldn't be reading. It's kind of hilarious that despite the fact that this is the internet, famous for flame wars and ungrammatical vitriol of all kinds, people still bother to get butthurt over lil' old Cayce. You want confrontational? Go read some YouTube comments, my friend. It's too bad that modern society no longer places value on rhetoric, civil debate, and reasoned arguments - skills which formed the foundation of education in classical societies from Ancient Greece to Ancient China and provided the basis for all academia today. There's a big difference between civilized discourse about an issue (which, by the way, is what's going on on this thread for the most part, so bravo to y'all for not flaming), and "being confrontational." Recognize that, and grow a thicker skin - it'll serve as a valuable asset out there in the big bad world where few people care about tiptoeing over your feelings.

      So you're upset that I disagreed with your opinion? Then offer me a rock-solid, evidence-based argument for why you're right and I'm wrong. That's how this is supposed to work. I get it, politicians are setting a terrible example, but I think we can all do better, don't you?

      As to "Japanese people have an unusually great respect for copyright"... dude, お願いだから, stop it with the "Japanese people" statements already. You know who are unusually obsessed with intellectual property and copyrights? The companies who make money off them, that's who. Japanese pirates pirate just as much as the rest of y'all, and there's not a one of you who hasn't shared pirated content at some point so none of you have a right to be sanctimonious over this, because we all know that piracy is actually a good thing for bands in Buck-Tick's situation, and none of you would even be here without it.

      For the last time, this issue is NOT about Japanese culture. It is about corporate cluelessness. Buck-Tick's management appear to mistakenly believe that cracking down on photo sharing helps the band, when it fact it probably does more harm than good. The reason for this mistaken belief probably has to do with the fact that many bosses at big Japanese companies are totally out of touch with how modern global marketing works, but as I already explained at length, Japanese corporations are only one part of Japan. Furthermore, there are many critics of Japanese corporate culture within Japan and even within the sphere of Japanese big business. Stop trying to make this about Japanese culture just because you are still laboring under outdated Orientalist Western stereotypes of Asia.

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    5. As I said before, I personally don't have a problem with your writing style or the way you express your opinions. I didn't say you are confrontational, I clearly stated "it may seem" like that to some fans. I discussed this topic with many of them across the fandom and some agree with you ,some (who also understand Japanese language) think your open letter to FT is impolite and your approach towards the current issues can be contraproductive. Also the statement about "Japanese people have.." was not my opinion. It's theirs. I can agree with your arguments. Especially "You know who are unusually obsessed with intellectual property and copyrights? The companies who make money off them, that's who. Japanese pirates pirate just as much as the rest of y'all.." - exactly my thoughts! I agree with Nickolay, too. I just wanted to bring different views and bring more light and mutual understanding into this case. Thank you again for your time and attention. I did what I could to help the situation, I tried to stay as objective as possible but it seems that no matter what I say, people will continue arguing. I'm leaving "the battle" now, I have to take a rest :'D

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    6. I'm glad to hear you don't have a problem with my writing style. Thank you.

      As for other people's opinions... let them express them themselves, if they wish. If they have something they want to say but don't have the guts to speak to me directly, that suggests to me that they either aren't actually very interested, or they have so little confidence in their own opinions that they can't bring themselves to defend them. Either way, not my problem, and not yours, either.

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  18. I just want to say that I agree with you Cayce, I know there're a lot of people saying the kind of things this russian's fans are commenting on this post (I saw some of the same comments on latinamerican communities too). But also there're a lot of foreign fans who support you and who believe that this is a way of making FT to notice us, to make visible what this type of blogs do for us, the non-speaking japanese fans and how this has motivated us to buy cds, dvds and try to attend concerts (specially for the review of concerts and cds,
    "The Cacophony of Mortality" changed my life) . I'm a FT too and I agree with everything you wrote.

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    1. "The Cacophony of Mortality" changed your life? Aw, shucks. You're gonna make me cry now.

      Delete
  19. It's kind of sad to see that there are people who didn't understand the main message in here.
    People, Cayce didn't say we should start a i-hate-you-more war against FT, but write to let them know that we, international fans exist, that we love the band, and that we would appreciate to have more options (being able to purchase original material through iTunes, for example; or an English version of the newsletter (that wouldn't take a lot of money from them since the newsletter isn't released every single month of the year)).
    I also think you're taking this too far. You don't like the idea? then don't send anything. You did actually understand the message and want to help? Please do, but remember that the main point is to try and make things better, not worse.
    I know we appreciate Fish Tank for letting international fans get a membership, but the issue here is to make suggestions to improve this. And we also need to support our fanbase, some are saying that is ok of Fish Tank to remove Buck-Tick Zone's membership because she shared info/photos from the newsletter on Twitter and that's against the rules; but we all know that those images are also shared on VK and closed communities on Facebook, so I'm seeing a double standard in here..
    To finish this thing, I've been an international BT fan for 12 years, and in that time I haven't seen a single time in which Cayce has do nothing but help; please stop saying that Cayce is doing something that can be negative to us, because I don't see where you could take that from.

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  20. Hi Cayce,
    As an overseas BT "fan" who cannot speak/read/write Japanese to save herself apart from maybe shouting "tasukete!", I relied very heavily on sites like yours and also BT-zone's. In fact, I have a number of links stored as favorites like this one, NGS, btzone, nopperabou and bt-livejournal. Without these, I would never be able to obtain any information, news, pictures, videos, BT goods (new and old) or collector's items on my own. I would never be able to obtain tickets to watch BT live (a once in a lifetime experience though I still hope I get another chance), thanks to your shopping services.
    The amount of money I have spent for all-things BT is way more than what I had spent on other bands or hobbies. The only reason I did not join FT is because I do not see it worth the return of my "investment" (aka not rich enough). Since I don't live in Japan, I cannot partake in any of the FT "benefits/events" and their newsletter is only in Japanese.

    Translating-apps can't always relay the thoughts of the writer as accurately as possible compared to a real person.

    Hence, I am always, always grateful and thankful for translated news/articles, live reports, images shared no matter how grainy and any BT related stories, even if it is about 1 cute bunny. It is people like you who helped mould me from being a fan of only Acchan-chan's face & voice to also learning more about him and BT, philosophically and musically. Thus appreciating them more as "artists" and not just mere "wallpaper eye candy".

    Regards from hot and sunny Malaysia.

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  21. I am Nickolay from very cold Russia. Does country mean? Music has no limits.
    Cayce, I Agree You! I know about my favorite band B-T from one video wached in vkontakte.
    (if there was not any free information in web, I probably have never knew B-T! Never!)
    What FT wants? Interrupt the influx of fresh blood?? Make a closed community? For what? Music of B-T is real NICE!
    And this music is not local, it is understood not only by the Japanese. (If only the Japanese understand this, would Russian Nikolay listen for B-T?)
    So firstly FT forbids watching scans, secondly what? Interviews to read? I am afraid of..
    And magazine scans (and other things in web) will not affect the sales and number of members of the club.
    Who wants to buy, will buy one way or another! Why FT wants to make B-T less popular? wakaran desu..
    (my English is styly (Imais' English is more styly), but I'm not native speaker) From cold, dark and brutal Russia, ai wo komete, Nick.

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    1. Mainly I think Fish Tank made a misguided decision because they're so wrapped up in the tiny bubble of corporate Japan and whiny Japanese fangirls that they are incapable of thinking about the situation from a wider perspective. Also, as B-T Zone already pointed out, they can't read English, and therefore cannot connect with the international community well enough to understand what they're missing. They need us to offer feedback and nudge them in the right direction. Maybe they'll ignore us out of bullheaded stubbornness, but I think it's worth a try anyway.

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  22. Hi Cayce,

    First of all I want to thank you for the site and efforts, they are really helpful to foreign fans and some posts just make my day.

    But about the pirate thing, personally I think it is one thing to share images and subbed songs, but something totally different when people upload whole live discs in high resolution within a week of debut. Even if anyone benefited from piracy, the later truly hurts.

    And if foreign fans are asking for an english platform, maybe writing to them in English would make the proposal more persuasive? At least there's more chance to them and band members understanding the mails than trying to figure out a dozen languages.

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    1. Well, this post is about FT going after B-T Zone, and B-T Zone was not uploading HD live videos, so that's not really what's at issue. But as far as it goes, personally I don't have a problem with any sort of piracy so long as people continue to support the band. Not everyone can afford to spend 10,000 yen on a DVD, but if pirating that DVD convinces them to spend 3500 yen on a CD, then the band still gets money, you know? A lot of times, the people who pirate the most are also the people who spend the most on music, and there's no question that without piracy, much of the Japanese music beloved by Blog-Tickers would never have made it overseas, so that is clearly a net gain for the artists.

      Furthermore, for what it's worth, a lot of artists have been trying to cut out the middleman in making their songs available to their fans, through platforms such as Bandcamp, SoundCloud, Patreon, etc. Do artists deserve to get paid for their work? Absolutely, but as technology changes, it's looking more and more like setting up a new system that connects artists directly with fans is going to be better for artists in the long run. I question the way our society is currently in love with this neoliberal hierarchy of wealth ("if you can't pay for it, you don't deserve to listen to it"). I think we can develop other, more democratic means of distributing art, that benefit both artists and fans, though maybe not record companies :P

      Whatever language people choose to write to Fish Tank in is fine, I think. They can't read much English so they'll be using translation software, I'm sure. I just don't think it's necessarily a good idea to write to them in Japanese if you speak Japanese at a decently high level, because it reinforces their current belief that Japan is the bellybutton of the universe out of which God's own light shines, and that other countries aren't actually real except on TV.

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  23. What a mess, and the fact that this seemingly happens without the band's knowledge, as well as out of their range of influence, is just deeply upsetting. I'll definitely join the swarm of e-mails.

    My Japanese skills are far from fluent, but even so I was easily able to recognize that your letter's wording is clearly everything but rude. I'm quite astonished by the amount of fans who seem to think differently. As you said, in the first place the management consists of people, and placing them on some sort of pedestal surely won't convince them of a global equality between fan bases.

    I only got into B-T a few months ago, and since then, Buck-Tick Zone's detailed fan page and devotion has only enhanced my appreciation and enjoyment of their music. Same goes for NGS, especially the humorous reports and informative lyric analysis.
    Suddenly, going to Japan and seeing them live doesn't seem like a pipe dream anymore, thanks to helpful fans like you spreading information and love for the band.
    心から ありがとう!

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    1. I suspect someone out there thinks they know more about Japan than they actually do, and thinks they speak Japanese better they actually do. Or maybe Google Translate rendered the letter as a string of Russian swearwords, I don't know. It's not as if Buck-Tick are the first or last band to have management problems. Sadly, high-level artists often don't have as much control over their work/circumstances as they'd like.

      Anyhow, it's great to see B-T are still attracting new fans. Make sure to mention that you're a new fan when you write to Fish Tank. The fan base in Japan is growing, not shrinking. It's worth telling them that overseas, at least, the band are still bringing in new blood. And also, welcome to Buck-Tickistan! I hope you have a long and happy stay :)

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  24. C.,
    I'm Russian too (in fact, you might remember me from earlier this year), and since this giving-her-a-piece-of-our-mind situation has gotten completely ridiculous, I just felt like I must say it out loud in public that in Soviet Russia we do not all think alike. So there. Check.
    Using bucktickzone as a selective target is wrong on so many levels.
    However, I don't think there's any point in mailing FT with anything as I'm absolutely sure it will fall entirely on deaf ears. It just so happens that foreign opinions are not of any value in this whole arrangement, and I'm afraid we just have to deal with it using the "take it or leave it" paradigm.

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    1. Of course I don't think all Russians are the same! That would be ridiculous. However, I encourage you to be a little less fatalistic. Yeah, probably FT won't listen to us... but if we don't do anything they're sure not to, whereas if we tell them our opinions, there is a chance, however small, that they'll listen, and it's not like taking action actually causes any harm, so I say, why not?

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  25. Hi Cayce,
    Long time, no see:)
    The last time I wrote you, I couldn't imagine this would be my next answer (and when would it be ><), but life's tricky.

    I'm just wondering - maybe I somehow missed the details while reading hot discussions on this topic - does FT has any evidence proving that BTZ owner did share FT content? I got an impression that they don't. And if they really don't, their threatening BTZ to withdraw her membership is merely a demonstration of their "force" with her being a scapegoat.

    Yes, FT has rules. Yes, FT has the right to demand from fans to obey these rules as they agreed when joined FT. But accusing a person because he's the easiest victim to find, while you don't have a reliable evidence is, erhm... let's not name it.

    I've never been an FT member. My interest in the band has never been strong enough for that, but I remember people who promoted the band by sharing all kinds of materials - BTZ's owner, Morgiana, Tigerpol and Maldorora on LJ, you of course. I'm still grateful to all of them and it's disappointing to see such attitude from FT towards the person who brings them an audience. On a free basis, btw. Usually, companies pay money to marketing agencies for that.

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    1. Hi Devalmy,

      Thanks for weighing in! Honestly I have no idea how they found out about BTZ... I mean first off, they'd have to match her internet handle with her Fish Tank info. I figure they must keep up with fansites to some extent, especially since Imai took the name for The Dazzler off Blog-Tick... but you'd think that their socks would have been knocked off by what a comprehensive treasure-vault of info BTZ's site is.

      I've heard of FT members getting banned for scalping tickets, but up till now I'd only heard fan whingeing about sharing content, never any actual cease and desist from FT. Your guess is as good as mine. It just seems so self-sabotaging on their part.

      And yeah, Maldorora and Morgiana were champs for scanning all those obscure magazines (even when you live in Japan, they're a bitch to track down.) Tigerpal's photo comics made me laugh.

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  26. I coincidentally found BUCK-TICK through an online forum years ago. If it weren't for the English fan-sites who translated lyrics, interviews, etc. then I wouldn't enjoy BUCK-TICK as much as I do now.

    The pictures, interviews, lyrics, etc. translated mean a lot to me. They show sides of the band that I wouldn't see otherwise.

    Again these fan-sites mean a lot to me just as BUCK-TICK does.

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