New Japanese alternative fashion mag: Underground Clothed’s

Awaking from my self-imposed exile  I see lots of exciting things happening in the alternative fashion world, one of which is the new magazine being launched by D’s ValentineArtism creator and Alamode Magazine publisher. I’ve carefully hung onto my issues of Alamode Magazine,  being snapshots in time of the current japanese underground gothic/alternative music scene.

Now D’s gone one step further and is about to release a new magazine featuring the FASHION of the japanese alternative gothic/lolita/cyber/fetish/akiba-kei scenes: Underground Clothed’s.

Note the sexy back of Kiki on the cover :) While Kikirara Shoten of Dangerous Nude is well known to lovers of Japanese gothic fashion, along with Takuya Angel and Kenzo-A of Rituals (largely thanks to Kera magazine), there are a lot of emerging labels that are barely known outside of Nippon. PureOne Corset Works and Pay *des* Fees I’m acquainted with, due to their ongoing presence in the goth clubs.  Strange Artifact, a steampunk band with an accessories line, I learned of during my last trip in November.  But so many are new to me : la Reinette, A closet of Alice, marchenmerry, Rouge, fake-fantasy…the list goes on.

Underground Clothed’s will be available at Takuya Angel, Dangerous Nude and Closet Child.  It is also available to order online at ARTiSM, or at Closet Child’s online webstore. I imagine in time it will be available at the various stores throughout Japan that stock Alamode Magazine.

Some pics to whet your appetite:

Japanese goth fashion, cybergoth, harajuku fashion

dangerous nude

(Doesn’t Kikirara look like blogger Cheesie here? Or is it just me?)

While I wasn’t going to return to japan for a while…I’m now considering a flying visit in March. If I manage it, I’ll definitely be bringing back copies of the mag, as well as more info about the various labels and stores in it.  (I also have an interview that I did with Kiki at her home last year, that will make its way to these pages).  Watch this space.

Tokyo Clubs & Events August 27th to September 4th

I always start to plan my nightlife soon after booking my flight, and this is what’s coming up in my next jaunt.

(If you’ve just started reading, I go to Japan twice a year to soak up the culture, check the gothic fashion, sample the food and nightlife, and catch up with old and new friends).

August 27th – Gothic Bar Heaven

Run by D’s Valentine, it’s one of those clubs where there are very few foreigners, so while it can be a little more daunting than, say Midnight Mess or Decadance, it definitely is authentic, by Japanese for Japanese.
Something I’ll miss the fortnight before, but sounds great is the Artism Festa – a 2 day extravaganza bringing together the people and sounds of all the various artism nights – Gothic Bar Heaven, Classic Alamode, Decora Alamode, Tokyo Cyber Monster and Club Theatic. Bands include GPKism, Calmando Qual, Suicide Ali, Velvet Eden, Iruma Rioka and the Cabinets!! (The Cabinets are a punk band with a sweet lolita as their singer)
The latest Alamode magazine no 7 is also out – must grab a copy while I’m there:
Check out GBH and the other clubs, events and publications at artism.jp
August 28th – Grim Rock Stomp
GRIM ROCK STOMP Vol.4 “HOLE”

Featuring the bands: GRAIS, CRACKS, THE PRISONER, and my fave +13th MOON+ (Singer Nao)

DJ’s:
DJ/MIYAKAWA(THE PSYCLOCKS),BAKABILLY,MASUMI(Dr.Martens)
 

And at the very end…

4th September all Punk festival - Shibuya Crash
as mentioned in this post.

4th September – Tokyo Dark Castle

And then on the Sunday I’ll be packing and heading back to Oz. In between these though, be sure I’ll be shopping (and checking out the latest trends), hitting some hotspots, interviewing some designers and bands and generally finding out what’s happening in the Tokyo alternative scene right now. As I always say, stay tuned!
What places would you go, if you visited Tokyo in the next few weeks? What would you like to see me cover in the blog?

Alamode Night November 08

Since I didn’t have this blog when I first went to Japan back in November 08, I thought I’d import some of my entries from my livejournal. Here is my account of the first ever goth club I went to in Tokyo, Alamode Night (not formatted very well).

What an experience this was! On the one hand it was one of the strangest things I’ve ever been to. On the other, I felt warmly embraced by the gothic fraternity from the other side of the world. I’m just a big fangirl, I suppose, and was stoked to meet people I’d seen in the Goth Loli book and on various websites.

I’d arranged to meet up with Carmen, a Canadian Chinese expert in the Japan goth loli scene and author of a high-profile blog I’ve linked to before. Her account of the night is here:

On the way there, I was obviously looking lost and a girl rescued me. She could see by my gear that I was going to the same club as her, so off we went! Just a block or 2 from the club, Carmen herself appeared behind us.

Once inside, the first people I lay eyes on are the performers Rose de Reficul and Guiggles, of the Dark Marchen, along with King (chef by day, wing-hatted performer extraordinaire by night.) We also met the gaijin who performs with them as the Candyman. They all have characters, you see. There’s also a geeky clown (or otaku pierrot, as Carmen called him), and a clumsy gimp ballerina swathed in bandages. Rose and Guiggles you may have seen on the back cover of the Gothic Lolita book.

Before long, the organiser Dee’s Valentine came up and welcomed me (we’d exchanged a few mails on MySpace first). I felt really at home. People were nice to me, many many had dressed up immensely, and I was just soaking in all the weirdness. Unfortunately, tho I saw a cool looking guy with glasses and long dreads, I didn’t speak to him. I found out later he was DJ Chihiro, wearing really different make-up to usual. Doh!

There were a couple of singing acts – Pudding Alamode, and Noro, who weren’t really goth. But I guess anyone a bit weird can fit into this club. It was good fun when she sang “Take On Me” – Carmen and I were singing back-up in the chorus.

Then there was a fashion show, with a circus type theme and performers amongst the models. In between acts, I’d chat to a few people. One guy invited me to Midnight Mess, another goth club, but it was on after I left. Next time.

So, Dark Marchen. It’s a strange ethereal Victorian/Rococo mime act to music. A little is planned, but a lot of it is improvised. Dramatic and intense, I was spellbound by the act. Chatting to them afterwards proved that they were really nice as well as talented.

Their performance can be described as: “butoh-emo (underground/melancholic/angst), hybridized with Victoriana inflections of romanticism and sentimentality, dramatically infused with post Gothic dark-psycho-pathos.” Here is another item in Carmen’s blog about them.

Check them out here www.victorian666.com/ and on YouTube


I really didn’t want to leave afterwards, and it was with great sadness that I said my goodbyes. I’ll be back!!


d>
Carmen Carmen

She has a great blog all about goth loli fashion, Tokyo stores, clubs, etc. See La Carmina

Me at Alamode Me at Alamode

We camwhored near the lockers before heading to the 2nd floor for the club.

You lookin at me? You lookin at me?

Dee's Valentine the organiser of Alamode, and me. Dee’s Valentine the organiser of Alamode, and me.

Apparently he doesn’t usually allow photos of himself. You can see some normals in the background, who were there to see the pretty girls in the fashion show.

The amazing Dark Marchen group The amazing Dark Marchen group

They were sitting in this old-style circus booth – awesome!

Sometimes they smile :) Sometimes they smile :)

Me and the Candyman Me and the Candiman

He was from Vancouver Canada and has been with them a long time.

Me and ? from Midnight Mess. Me and ?

He gave me a flyer and invited me to the next Midnight Mess – but it’s when I’m back here :(

Rose de Refucil Rose de Reficul

She was lovely. Very friendly, and an entrancing performer as well.

Fashion Show Fashion Show

The label was Pays Des Fees.

Count de Sang? ???

Not sure who he was, but he looked great in his victorian garb.

the amazing mauve-haired girl the amazing mauve-haired girl

Noro Noro

No, she doesn’t look goth to me either. Her sound was synth electro, and we weren’t that into it until she sang “Take On Me”!

Me with my Kirin beer. Me with my Kirin beer.

Clown in fashion show, and DJ Chihiro Clown in fashion show, and DJ Chihiro

If you look at the person far left in the audience with the glasses and long hair, you see DJ Chihiro!! No, I didn’t recognise him either, and failed to meet him :(

DM DM

The wonderful King The wonderful King

You couldn’t even tell til the end, that one of his platform boot heels had come off. What a mover! What a trouper!

Rose getting emotional Rose getting emotional

Rose Rose

King strutting, in his amazing hat King strutting, in his amazing hat

The man was constantly interesting to look at.

3 of the DM men singing an aria 3 of the DM men singing an aria

or were they howling at this point?

King, Guiggles & Rose. King, Guiggles & Rose.

Carmen and Otaku Pierrot Carmen and Otaku Pierrot

She had a strange crush on the geeky one, for some reason! (My eyes were elsewhere…)

Rose singing Rose singing

The King and I (geddit?) The King and I (geddit?)

Yes, I have a bit of a girly crush :)

I got his hat! I got his hat!

Candyman, having retrieved his chuppa chup from the floor, intimidates the parrot Candyman, having retrieved his chuppa chup from the floor, intimidates the parrot

 There’s more pics in my gallery of the night, if these aren’t enough. pics.livejournal.com/trashtastika/gallery/0003k8dh

Overall, it was one of the best nights, and I am CERTAINLY going back!

Theatic Alamode – Blood Stain Child and Calmando Qual

Resulting from my hangover and the quake, I was a tad late for Theatic Alamode last night.

I did get to see 2 really interesting bands, as well as checking out the gothic lolitas and metallers there, so I got my money’s worth. Unlike Tokyo Decadance, I was virtually the only westerner there – I *think* I spotted one other. But now, the bands.

BSC’s music is metal/screamo/electronic – Wiki calls them melodic death metal. There is a melodic electronic track underpinning each song, overlaid by big powerful riffs and fierce vocals.

Formed in 2000, they have released 4 albums, the latest being Mosaiq. Their influences range from In Flames, Children of Bodom, and HIM, to Soulfy, Black Sabath, Megadeath, Slayer, X-Japan, Trivium and Linkin Park.

The singer Sadew is fantastically charismatic, and with his dreads is very much the Japanese Jonathan Davis. Yes, he’s very pretty. Ahem. But also an amazing singer, whether vocalising melodically a la Serge Tankian, or howling like, well, pick your fave screamer.

 
The other members are Ryo, GSR, Violator, Aki and Ryu – the only chick in the band – who has blue hair!!
Although I’m not so much into screamo, I enjoyed the gig immensely, such was the vibe and the musicianship. The fact that all of them are nice looking doesn’t hurt. Check them out at the BSC website or MySpace page.
Following Blood Stain Child was a very eccentric band indeed.

If  I thought the BSC frontman was charismatic, I couldn’t take my eyes off Hibiki, singer of Calmando Qual. CQ is an experimental goth/deathrock band which formed in 2001.  Originally Visual Kei in appearance, there’s more of a weird circus/vaudeville/dandy flavour now, it seems to me, as if the carnies have escaped from the asylum.
Hibiki cackles maniacally whilst rolling his eyes and generally acting like he’s insane, with hair teased bigger than Robert Smith’s. Every facial twitch is mesmerising, as is his and offsider/bass player Kenka’s storyelling before each song. I had no idea what they were talking about, but it seemed to hold the crowd. Kenka seemed to be some ancient deranged pirate, while drummer Maya and guitarist Tak didn’t seem to have characters as such.
I found the music less accessible than BSC’s and vocally Hibiki wasn’t as strong, sometimes singing a bit flat. Maybe that’s not the point – Nick Cave in the early Birthday Party was pretty hard to listen to. But there’s no denying the band is intriguing to watch. Newly signed to the Darkest Labyrinth label, CQ has a new single “Doors” being released on May 26.
If you want to experience Calmando Qual for yourself, head to Calmando Qual’s website, the CQ MySpace page, or watch the videos on the Spirit of Metal website.
Both bands are touring now, so if you’re in japan keep an eye out for them.
As for the club itself, there was the usual array of lolitas and some cyber kiddies, as well as the more casually dressed kids there for the metal. I used to be surprised to see little lolitas throwing themselves around to gabba, but after a few of these clubs, the novelty wears off and it seems normal. There were no photos being taken, so I took my cue and refrained.

So there’s no outfit pic for the night, lthough I snapped a self pic for the record. I
toned down my make-up a bit for this club, seeing as I had to get a train to Ikebukuro and knew I’d be asking for directions numerous times. It was cold enough to warrant my fake fur scarf, and I paired it with my icy blue “Angelic” contact lenses. Yes, the Takuya lashes came out again :)

Next up…my visit to an amazing accessories exhibition at the Bunka Fashion College in Shinjuku.

More upcoming Tokyo punk & goth gigs. My great big Tokyo itinerary – clubs and bands galore.

So I’m off to Tokyo again in a month - woohoo!

Last year I went for 3 weeks and had the BEST time (see my post on the Wild Rover punk festival here and Tokyo clubs here).   But onto this upcoming trip.  As usual music and clubs form the skeleton of my itinerary, with fashion, friends and sightseeing all fleshing it out, as it were. This time it’s just over 2 weeks, from ~12th to 28th March.

 So this is how my dancecard is looking (actually it looks like a lot of club posters).

13/3  King of Evil 13 gig (and possibly Decadance?)

Starring:
 Baal (I’ll be doing a post shortly on this band, who are great people to boot), Auto-Mod – of Tokyo Dark Castle fame, P.I.M.P and Destruct System, as well as DJ’s Raveman (from Aural Vampire, also here), and nAo12xu (from 13th Moon -  on whom I did a post earlier)

Unfortunately I won’t be there for March 6th, but for those who are, remember the next Tokyo Dark Castle:

14/3 Theatic Alamode Sunday 4.30 – 10pm

With the usual  array of bands, performers, dancers, DJ’s, it is also the Alamode Magazine Vol.06 Release Party.

So I’ll be picking up the new Alamode Magazine. The previous one looks like this (with friends GPKism on the cover):

20/3 Club Walpurgis

This isn’t a Visual Kei type gothic club in the way the others are, but is definitely one that plays alternative music, probably much closer to what I hear in clubs at home. It began in Shinjuku in 1983! So it’s pretty bleeding authentic.

Every Saturday was UK Alternative Positive Punk Nite.
Every Sunday was UK Alternative Hyper Kitsch Nite.
Every Wednesday was Psychedelic Nite.

 

The resident DJ’s and what they play: 
  • Zinny Aerodinamica (GOTHIC/UK/US/GERMAN PUNK, THROBBIING ELECTRO, DARK FRENCH WAVE, BATCAVE & More/a.k.a.ZIN:Vocalist of ZEUS MACHINA, ROMEO MIRROR, Madame Edwarda)
    (Mixture of Gothic & 80′s Dark Pop & Underground Negative/Positive Punk, GLAM)
  • Sato M. (WAVE, POSTPUNK & More/Ex: UK Edison, Paranoia Night)
  • Naoto (BATCAVE, DEATHROCK, INDUSTRIAL, GLAM & More)
  • TAIZO (GOTHIC/GOTH, COLDWAVE, FOLKLORE & More)
  • NARIKI (POST PUNK, 80′s Goth ) Ex: Phaidia, Coma, Mephisto Walz: a Christian Death side project

This will be a first for me, and I can’t wait!

22/3  Wild Rover - Monday from 3pm

Paddy Punk, here I come! See my earlier post on the Wild Rover festival.

26/3  Gothic Bar Heaven – Friday night midnight til 5am.

I don’t think I’ve been to this club before either, but it’s run by D’s Valentine, who also runs Alamode.

27/3 Midnight Mess - Saturday night midnight til 5am.

Maya and the MM crew are fantastic, and I know I’ll have a fab time.

On top of that, Japan Fashion Week is 22-28 (not that I can attend – could I crash something?), and Hanami should happen around then as well.

The last Sunday I was there last year saw a HUGE number of Hanami parties/picnics happening all over, and especially in Yoyogi Park.  Sisen invited me to the Decadance Hanami party last year, but when I arrived I was too late, and he and Takuya were going back to the shop, and Adrien was filming his big dolls for the next event. Next time, gadget!

I’ll fly out Sunday night the 28th, very tired from all the clubbing, probably hungover, and definitely with too many clothes and boots stuffed in my bag!

Do you know of anything on in that time that I should get myself to? Anything you’d particularly like to see pictures of ? Let me know, and I’ll pencil it in :)