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Hello hello. Just a post for people out there who are suffering from eczema... It is embarrassing for me to make this post (especially since I decided to make this public) but I wanted to do this to share my experience. Also, after seeing comments online about people suffering to the point of contemplating suicide, or bearing the extreme discomfort till they reach home, then breaking down in tears, I am hoping my experience can help someone out there. Personally I have done both and have been distressed to the point where my mind only thinks of overdosing to escape the pain. I am anti-suicide otherwise (because life is challenging/ interesting and there are family and friends who love you). But I understand that when your body goes into extreme discomfort-induced-shock, your mind just shuts down.

Am not a doctor so just sharing what worked for me. I know eczema is a very personal problem and what may work for one person may not work for another. Doctors usually give very generic replies like "moisturize" "put steroid creams" "swim/ don't swim" "exercise/ do only light exercise".. but so far their advice has not worked for me and I end up doing a lot of trail and error on my own.

Problem: Burning itch in localized, sensitive portions of your body that gets worse when you scratch/ rub it. This itch gets really bad at night and causes hours of sleep disruptions. The itching/ burning also gets worse after a shower.
To someone who does not know and thinks that eczema itches are like mosquito bites and can hence, be tolerated... the itch feels like someone has cut your skin and put a sheet of paper under it, or a fizzy candy. Then the paper starts to crumple slowly at first/ or the candy just starts to melt and you feel this itching/ burning/ shriveling just under your skin. Then the crumples come at a faster rate and no amount of scratching or rubbing would cause the paper to come out from under your skin.

Possible Causes: Diurnal hormone cycles causes the hormones we produce in the day, to be reduced at night. This lowers the "natural defense" against itching and results in eczema flare-ups around 2 - 4am. Also, using soaps with the wrong pH causes the itch to get worse, hence agitating the body after a bath. Water is actually too alkaline for people with sensitive skin (pH 6.9 - 7.5). So taking a shower would cause the eczema to get a little worse. Other causes could be due to food, sweat or stress.

Solution that worked for me:
Use the right soap pH for your body. Use pH 5.5 for skin. pH 3 for scalp and sensitive regions. There are specialized soaps out there for each body part (e.g. feminine washes, balance shampoos). Make sure the washes are for sensitive skin, and are soap-free and unscented. If you do not have the right pH soap for immediate use. It is better not to use soap at all. Sensitive soap for the body would not work on scalp or sensitive regions for serious cases. pH 5.5 soaps are not a one-stop solution. Getting the right products would hurt your wallet but its so much better than being stressed out. Try to minimize sweating after a shower and get yourself as dry as possible. Use a towel to pat yourself dry and do not rub the towel all over your skin as it causes even more irritations. Also take antihistamine before bed if the itch is bad. This solution should help to keep the itch under control but this is NOT A CURE. If you get eczema at a late-stage (after the onset of puberty), it is likely that the condition would stay for a long time, and even for life.


I came to this solution after months of going through all sorts of resources; from forums to journal papers. There are other solutions out there if this one is not for you. If you feel that you are the only one suffering from this, or that no one understands, you are not alone. Do reach out to someone and though this is cliched, google is actually a great friend for someone with a reasonably discerning eye. Hang in there yo!

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Hello from the middle of a storm. roflurface and I have had the good fortune to attend the tour final of the last series of Galneryus’ 10 anniversary celebration tours. And what a way to end it (and start a new era) at the Shibuya Public Hall! Again, before I forget, here’s another biased & long live report from my 3 hours of freedom:
Set-list:
1. DESTINY
2. CARRY ON
3. THE END OF SORROW
-MC1-
4. POINT OF NO RETURN
5. THE SIGN OF THE NEXT GENERATION
6. WINGS OF MISERY
7. EVEN IF THE DARKNESS COMES...
-MC2-
8. TOMORROW
9. A FAR-OFF DISTANCE
10. ALONE
11. MY LAST FAREWELL
12. TEAR OFF YOUR CHAIN
13. THE DAY OF RETRIBUTION

Encore 1
14. THE JUDGEMENT DAY
15. BASH OUT

Encore 2
16. SILENT REVELATION
17. STRUGGLE FOR THE FREEDOM FLAG
Encore 3
18. ANGEL OF SALVATION
19. RISE UP
This was the first time I was at Shibuya Public Hall. The location somehow conjures feelings of anxiety for me as this was the place where I failed to get tickets to Deluhi’s very last show (before their disbandment) and now, this place was to be the location where I would watch Galneryus make or break.  The venue was the band’s biggest to date and when me and Desmond arrived, we just saw a smattering of people around. Even when we were lining up to get into the hall, we estimated at best 500 people lining up with us and we were talking about moving up front if there were too many empty seats and wondering if the band would look demoralized at the sight of the few of us.

Anyway we were soon let into the hall in no particular order by staff members all decked up in spiffy tuxedoes.  The hall looked even emptier when we entered as people split up and took seats at different corners of the room. There was this sense of ‘smallness’ as the stage looked so recital-like in the relative quietness of the hall. Here’s a picture which captures a sense of things:
IMG_1774

I think we just woke up from a quick shut-eye (somehow we managed to do it =x I guess work/ daily fatigue + chairs really did it for us) when the lights were suddenly switched off. Then the people around us started to get to their feet with the usual cheer and then I realized… Hey, that is quite a big sound! And when we looked around, with the exception of a few rows behind the PA system kept empty due to protocol, the place was full!

There was no distinctive opening SE this time the stage was still misty with blue light when somewhat eerie timpani beats announced the arrival of the band members. Maybe everything from the new hall, the lighting, the recital surrealness, and the timpani, worked together to create a truly unique start if you like mentally slow-falling into a rabbit hole… only to be pulled up again with blazing white lights and a quick rush into Destiny.

And that was where Galneryus started! People were already on their feet and rocking out. The stage set up was different this time and the drums and keyboards were on elevated platforms. There was a high staircase leading up to the top of the platform (it was about 2m I think) which was to be quite a source of amusement later on.  And on the topic of amusement, I always find Galneryus to be quite the curious paradox. I never mention enough that though seem like metal gods when they play so technically; so effortlessly but become really laid-back and relatable when interacting with each other and the fans.

The lighting effects were on full blast this time. At times I felt like I was back at Agehea with my sis. At the start of the second song, there were these jets of mist that shot up from the front of the stage and it was dramatic, not to say the least XD We all finally caught our breaths at the first MC where Ono-san was thanking the fans who came, and saying that it has been a few years since he got to perform at a big venue and it was because of all of us that he could come here for Glalneryus’ 10th Anniversary. He also added that the acoustics of the place let the band hear the fans so much better this time and that was something that gave him goosebumps in a good way =)

Then he quickly announced the start of the next set of songs and the band went into the Phantom-inspired pipe organ introduction for the aptly named “Point of no return”.  Personally I really like this song so I was rocking out really hard! It was like a curiouser version of the concept of loss and hope as performed through a song of the same name in the Phantom of the Opera. The members were all rocking out as well, and for a while I forgot that Syu had a fractured leg. He tried to hide it the best he could though, still appearing very upbeat on stage and taking to half hopping around so no one would see him limp around too much.

As if to keep the band’s balance in movement, it was (surprise surprise?) Taka who used much more of the stage than he usually would.  It is always heartening to see a bassist take ownership of the songs and even, taking first stage at the solos. He did a lot more jamming with Syu this time as well. Both of them are always so polite about starting jam sessions that it is pretty amusing (they always end up playing great stuff in the end anyway).  So, Taka was also the first to go up the 2m platform XD I guess this was surprising to the rest of the band too and, in response, Ono-san quickly tried to block him from coming down (unfortunately he didn’t get stuck up there because he side-stepped in time).

Ono-san was the second up the platform and had this “Haha! I am taller than you now” moment with Yuhki, who was stuck on the keyboard platform.  On the topic of the vocals, Ono-san was especially enthralling tonight. I am still marvelled by the smoothness in his voice, the perfect high notes and the amazing stamina (I don’t usually say this about vocalists but tonight was p.w.h.o.a.r).

Then on the 2nd MC, Ono-san announced that the venue was Sold out! Everyone was cheering. Personally I didn’t think they could do it (I thought they’d achieve about 90% at best and the scene from the start of the concert seemed to foreshadow worse) but they did it in the end! And because of this, Ono-san said that the band remains always grateful to the fans because it is only with their support that they could sell out this venue… and, he said, now Budokan is in the works. [I wasn’t sure if he meant they could perform there or they would perform there in a few years but what Ono-san said was “within the next 5 years, we will be at Budokan”]. So here are the other things to look forward to: (1) Feb 2014 – DVD! And a tour (2) April 2014 – Another tour (3) Early next year – New original album.

At least before the encore, I was personally happy that they had a few songs to form a “ballard” section. Ono-san really showed his perfect voice control when he sang “A far off distance” and “Alone”.  When it came to the Encore MC, Ono-san wanted to bow to the fans but he ended up bumping his head on the microphone stand XD Then he introduced the goods quickly before telling the fans to call for each member (he could be a really good comedian actually). Yuhki came out first, followed by Junichi who expressed that he was really grateful that the fans made tonight very memorable for him.

Everyone was in either the red or black tour shirts at that time but when Taka came out, he was still wearing the rather tight (and surprisingly quite flattering) sleeveless shirt that he wore at the start of the concert.  He was holding one black and one red tour shirt instead. Then he went up to Ono-san and asked him to choose one. So in the end, he wore the red one (which Ono-san chose) while the black shirt ended up as an audience give-away =)

Syu was equally grateful when he limped out to thank the fans. He was all “thank yous”,“幸せ” “ありがたい” . Though he didn’t say what happened to his leg, it sure looked like it didn’t hurt much when he went about the stage (slowly though) doing the guitar solo at the last encore =) And what a surprise it was when the back curtains lifted to reveal a 30-piece string ensemble, who accompanied him on a rendition of Adante religioso (Berlin Philharmonics). Syu’s solos are always perfectly controlled and this was no exception. The notes just sang around and around the hall. With the strings backing, it was a thing of beauty.

The string ensemble stayed throughout Angel of Salvation and it was very nice hearing the song done with the whole group! I wonder how much they had to pay the string ensemble to play though…  I thought at that point, the live was over (because the lives usually end with AoS), and the band was already applauding the ensemble and the fans for just, playing and cheering our hearts out.

And I guess that was enough distraction for Yuhki to go to the grand piano (where did that come from?) and start the introduction of Rise up (the new, New Legend).  The song got so touching somehow… when the strings joined on the introduction. And everyone was on a rainbow high again when the band played the song through. When it ended, I believe the crowd was still on a high as the band bowed in thanks. And what a finish. For this time, I think the old title would have been more apt. I do hope that this would be signal bigger things to come for this talented group =)

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Translated a short interview from the special issue of Rittor Music Magazine and am posting it here to share. Taka is the bassist of Galneryus from 2009 - present and IMO, the interview was surprisingly honest. Life's indeed not a bed of roses but I'm glad that he's where he is now =)

Q: After graduating from college in America, you entered a music university in Japan. How was it that you decided to go into music?
Taka: Sekima II (聖飢魔) got me interested in rock and I started on the bass during my middle school days. But it was hard to find serious practice time when I was abroad in America during my high school days for language studies. Although my music progress had a halfway feel to it at that stage, I was not willing to give it up. However, my parents were of the opinion that I must enter a “safe-route” job and it just happened that during the lunch break of a mass-company seminar, I dropped by a music store and found the bass that I had always been searching for. This timing, and these series of events had a great coincidence that I can’t explain (laughs) especially considering that I would have stayed on in America if not for respecting my parents’ wishes of coming back to Japan. At this point, I was mainly practicing bass on my own and did not even have experience in a copy-band; consequently I had the vaguest idea of how to become a professional musician.

Q: After returning to Japan, you proceeded to enter MI Japan (Osaka). How were things there?
Taka: Basically, I had a very blatant realization of how much I was lacking. Even if I gave myself the ‘consolation’ of starting from a point of being completely self-taught, in the most optimistic of views, I was probably at the middle-lower end of the class (laughs) and I came out of lectures feeling like I needed to re-learn a lot. Also, because I was 23 at the time I entered the school, I felt that my age-gap made me closer to the lecturers in age as compared to the other students. This made my skill disparity even more worrying on a personal level. Course-planning became very important and I was actively going for more classes which would help me quickly improve my form and style. I also had to consciously pull out of other classes that had little-relation to my goals. Even so, I had very little track-record and during the months leading up to graduation, I was trying hard to get people to form a band to gain more live experience. Although I tried really hard to get better, I still faced a lot of rejections from bands because I was not up to their standard. So it became a vicious cycle: How would I get the experience to become a better bassist if I couldn’t get into a band in the first place? But at that time, with school support I managed to put together 2 bands and we continued working together but disbandment happened a year after our graduation and I decided to head to Tokyo.

Q: And how was life like after you went to the Capital?
Taka: I had no active band status when I went to Tokyo and spent my initial time getting familiar with the livehouse scene there and also searching for a band. If the livehouse booking manager was free, I would spend time discussing possibilities with them. I also spent the rest of my time pasting up notices to get into, or form a band wherever I could. Apart from band sessions, I would also be trying to meet people to get studio jobs here and there. Anyhow, in-between all these activities, those were times where I got about 2 hours of sleep a day.

Q: I guess all that hard work paid off and in 2009 you entered Galneryus.
Taka: Junichi-san, Galneryus’ drummer told me “why not audition and think of it as an experience?” and with his help I got a chance to try for the bass auditions. Junichi-san was a lecturer at MI Japan at the time I was a student and I received a lot of good advice whenever I consulted with him. However, Galneryus was a band of really high technical skill, and that level was so abstract for a person like me. So, of course I was really surprised when I was officially accepted as a member. But it got harder from then on. Even from (watching) the rehearsals, I already got the sense that Galneryus was a band that continually sought to surpass themselves. So it was with this sense of impending crisis that I devoted myself to nothing but full practice into improving my sound and rhythm. Although I am not one who would hide completely in a mental shell, I am also not a natural at performing, so that taking on a bigger stage was something I had to consciously prepare myself for. And after the first few lives, I had to give it everything and I was totally worn out. After that we headed straight into recording “RESSURECTION” and the level that a professional band operated on was totally different from the levels that I was preparing for when I got the demo. But from then on, practice somehow became something I found really pleasant to keep at doing. My case is not one of those “I sacrificed everything to turn pro on my own” kind of story, because there are so many people who I am grateful for. I am also really lucky that the band and the fans have accepted my style of playing.

Q: After you entered Galneryus, did you feel that you improved a lot?
Taka: Everytime I can see areas where I am lacking in and improvement is something that I have to work on, and not just little by little. But I believe my sense of drive was something that changed. At the auditions and the times before, I did not have much confidence. But I feel that this sense of confidence has more-or-less returned in my playing now.

Q: Lastly, is there anything you would like to tell students who are thinking of going to enter a music school?
Taka: Music schools are places where you get to learn from actual professionals. However, you could also see music schools then, as places where you inevitably come into contact with potential rivals in the music industry. But I would like to say that there is no disadvantage in enrolling. There’s so much more learning and experiences that would be opened for you in a music school, as compared to just doing things on your own. Just one thing of caution, it may be comforting to see so many like-minded people chasing the same dream, but music is really not all play and there will be times when the fun is over. So when things get hard on the route to becoming a better musician, remember that there are people going through the same things and looking at the same goal. So, keep going through school while never being negligent in hard work; and these qualities would certainly become your weapons.


Disclaimer: ,翻訳やりましたけど I’m not a native Japanese speaker, nor am I a good musician by any measure. So if you spot any mistakes in both language and terminology, please feel free to let me know!
Bringing together two bands that inherit the blood of true-metal
Interviewer: TakeshiYamanaka
Matenrou Opera – a band that has successfully straddled the fields of Visual-kei and Metal. And Galneryus, the existing forerunner and standard-bearer of the J-Metal scene. Though offering differing forms of expression, the music and activities of these two bands have their ultimate uniting point in “metal”. Despite the different nature of activities surrounding Visual and Metal bands, what draws these two bands in similar paths? In this interview, we’ll hear more from Matenrou Opera’s Anzi (Gt), Sono (Vo) and Galneryus’s Syu (Gt).

“Staying true to “our own style” is something of utmost importance to us, and that style is created by thorough research and development along with all the members.  Accordingly, we are careful to make it consistent that our Band name embodies exactly the sound that we want to produce” – Sono

“I would like to convey the message (through my music) that “metal is not a bad thing” also, another message I hope to show is “Visual-kei is not about appearances without musical quality”” – Anzi

“It seems that, in general, there exists some prejudice against Matenrou Opera from the viewpoint of Galneryus’ audiences. And the opposite seems to be true as well. Those prejudices are something I want to break one by one.” – Syu


sono03-300x280Anzi03-300x267Syu01-300x200

Full interview under the cutCollapse )

Disclaimer: ,翻訳やりましたけど I’m not a native Japanese speaker, nor am I a good musician by any measure. So if you spot any mistakes in both language and terminology, please feel free to let me know! This interview was very conversational so I took out a few lines of repeats or just general acknowledgement comments to improve the flow.




The banana song in proper parts is actually really good. I used to love singing before having an experience in a choir where we sang so much (we had to miss lunches and weekends to sing and sing and sing). I think I fulfilled my singing quota for the rest of my life.

FoolsMate November 2012 photos

Thought of just sharing some photos from the latest FoolsMate (November 2012) edition. *Am having some problem with uploading images to LJ.. It keeps stalling. And also, the pictures are taken by phone camera and not a scanner so apologies for the lack of quality >_<*

Pics this way!Collapse )

Artists are (in no particular order): Gackt, Sugizo, Kotaro + Angel Taka (Uchuu Sentai NOIZ), Galneryus, Girugamesh, Moi dix Mois, Morrie (Creature creature) and Matenrou Opera.

Would also be working on translating the Galneryus interview! So far it looks like all of them are pretty close to each other (to the point of kind of throwing questions at each other XD But that's great to read!) Will be posting it to the Galneryus livejournal community later on! Gomen if it takes long >_<

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Updates in point

- The department presentation is just over! It wasn't too harsh and so far there no setbacks yet (thank God) so I'm clear to move on to the 2nd part of my project.

- I got a new desktop in the student room now so that means that I'll probably (and I ought to) spend more time in school. That also means more joking around in the student room and more caffeine.

- Bought a blank A6 notebook to practice drawing. So far the first few pages are filled with sketches. Hope I don't ruin it >< I always end up not completing my older drawing notebooks because the sketches just got too ugly so I couldn't bear to continue =x Those discontinued old books then get turned into rough paper and gradually get filled up with equations and workings and to-do lists instead of drawings.

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A9 picspam!

kurainanimo ordered the Alice nine's picture/ interview book which was nicely delivered to my hostel. I am sure that the pictures are up somewhere around the interwebs but perhaps not all? Took some pictures as a preview of sorts but they are all of not of good quality as I don't have a scanner =(


Do find the rest under the cut (so I don't spam up your friends page). Hope you guys enjoy the 'preview'!


Alice Nine pics this wayyyCollapse )

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Here's one media-laden Dethpost

The post-lag has seemed like forever! Have officially survived the research-defense session at the end of April and yeah, just really thank God that my supervisor seems cool and is keen to try and expand the research. If we had infinite money and time and of course a better brain then it won't be a problem but I'm still stuck with my brain which has gone into Metal music-mode >_<

Over a super-rainy golden week, I had the chance to re-discover the brutality which is Dethklok. In a nutshell, Dethklok is to band-people what PhD comics is to research students i think XD

There are just too many funny and awesome and relatable moments, including one where (unfortunately) William Murderface finds it so hard to gain credit among the fans cos he's well.. the bass player. There's the classic always-growly-voiced gruff lead singer (Nathan Explosion). Not to mention, the stereotypical sibling-like rivalry between the lead guitarist (Skwisgaar Skwigelf) and the rhythm guitarist (Toki Wartooth) who well, doesn't practice that hard. But really he does, but catch-up is hard because Skwissgar doesn't ever put his guitar down so there's no way he's budging from the guitar-god position (why does this remind me of Syu? He never puts down his guitar even on TV features, backstage shots etc and he's also a guitar god). And then there's Pickles Nickles (Dr) because someone has to be the drunk awesome druggie in the band right?

Anyways, too many words is boring, so... people who know me (even a bit) know that I like anime/ manga art. So I did a manga version of Skwisgaar because he "ams a Gods". Also, his sweeps/ runs are awesome and so is his 'English'. I have a Swedish classmate who speaks in roughly the same accent. For future seminar presentations, I'm going to think that Skwisgaar is presenting.



Urgh I know my art is far from anything prefect. But here are some inspirations for this work that kurainanimo would be familiar with too =) I did the dragon-chair/ throne thing because 1) Skwisgaar said in "prafractly clears English that I wants to flies in on a Dragons, okays?" 2) Dragons are such a power-metal thing 3) I had a great time visiting Bedrock boutique below the Forbidden Fruit Cafe in Omotesando with Kurainanimo and the deco there was so rock and roll! I told Tessa that some of the bedrock-inspired designs would find their way into my drawings sooner or later and... here's the chair! Secondly, the boots are the cool 12-holes from a section in KERA Boku ^_^

Anyway below the cut are some of my personal Dethklok fav moments (and songs and PVs) =)

- Too many to choose from, frankly -Collapse )

Anyway I'm watching them streaming when I can on Sundays. This Sunday is also Galeryus-sunday at Shibuya O-East. Can Sundays get any more metal than this?