Waking up was a bit of a somber expirience. You can feel it in the air. Everyone knew it was the last day and they didn't want to admit it. The plan for the day was that everyone was gonna go to the convention, Fu~ki and Kiwamu were gonna sign autographs and sell merch with the girls and I, Kaede was going to do stuff backstage, Yuu and Noa were gonna do some shopping with Antonio, then one true last live, and finally, judge the female cosplay contest. The guys didn't want to get in full costume. They wanted a mainly casual show, so they got into make-up, but some..... kinda normal clothes. As we waited in the lobby for our ride, I snapped some photos.
In the following phots, see if you can guess what thefave band amoungst BLOOD and staff is:
I gotta work on my ugly poses
From left: Shelly, me, Miwa, Leslie
Just kinda wiating around
I want cool red hair extentions!
He's mine.... that's right
We got to the convention and slowly set up shop. As we did, some fans started stoping by, asking for autographs, photos, hugs, proclaiming their love for the band, ect. Soon, it was like working the booth any normal day, only alot bussier! Once people noticed that BLOOD was actually there, they started coming more and more, sometimes multiple times! The guys loved posing for photos with the fans, signing autographs, giving hugs, and even kisses! I've heard some American fans complain that Kiwamu's not too fan friendly. After seeing this, I beg to differ. He had a great time reaching out to the fans, being all dark and evil, signing autographs, and never once seemed bothered or adgitated. Infact, he was really enjoying it! Soon, for some reason, some fans even started asking for MY autograph! I tried telling them in Spanish that I wasn't important and wasn't in the band, but they didn't care... so for the first time in my life, I signed autographs!
After a while, Fu~ki tugged on my shirt and said he wanted to walk around the convention and for me to be his bodyguard! I had never been a bodyguard before, but I agreed and we went out into the dealer's room. At first, no one stopped us. We walked around, looking at all the stuff on sale. At one point we turned to eachother and comment about how so much of of the stuff on sale was bootlegged. I wondered how the vendors could get away with this. However, soon enough, people started stopping him and asking for the usual. I had to play crowd control. As the groups gathered, I pointed at who was next and took photos for those who had no one to do it for them. At one point, we made our way up to a weapons booth. Fu~ki was very interested in this. He kept picking up different weapons and trying them out.
He kept asking for prices. I thought he was gonna buy something! But alas, he did not. After strolling around a bit longer and having wave after wave of fans approach us, he decide to go back. Besdies, it was almost time for the true last live!
BLOOD decided to do this final live as a surprise to the fans. It wasn't schedualed, but they were given the opportunity to take the stage again and they wouldn't pass it up. Kiwamu said I didn't have to film this, so I took the opportunity to enjoy the show from the crowd. Before I did, I caught BLOOD's usual before show ritual, however, this time, they brought Antonio in for it! The guys all grew really close to him, and to see them bring him in on such an exclusive ceremony was very heart warming. I emerged from the backstage area and fitted in with the now gathering crowd. After the organizers did a good job of hyping the crowd up, BLOOD finally took the stage. After being on stage with the band three nights in a row, it felt weird to be in the crowd, but at the same time, a bit better. It was really great to actually enjoy the show for once! However, I think I wasn't aware of proper crowd etiquette. See, usually at show, I like to go crazy ape-shit nutz, which I did here. I was screaming the words of the songs, jumping up and down, and banging my head like a motherfucker. The people around me, though, seemed rather alarmed. But, instead of getting pissed off, they seemed amused by me and gave me space to flip out! One really nice girl in particular offered me her water bottle! If she is reading this, thank you very!!!!
The actual show was something very very different. Other than the obvious lack of costumes, this show was a complete parody of the shows before it! Things like Kiwamu going to bite Fu~ki during Funeral, then Fu~ki doing a karate move to block him, to Fu~ki being melodramatic and half stripping, then the other 4 jam their guitars straight up his ass... it was pretty hillarious! The concert still managed to pack the same amount of energy as the last three too, despite it being at noon. The band was able to get people off of their feet, jumping in the air, clapping along, waving along, and all the usuals just as if it were a normal show! They concluded with an encore, as usual, and taking their bows.
After this, I went back to the booth, where Shelly was feeling rather sick. I went around to the officials pleading for help as she seemed really really bad, and while they all said they would do something, nothing ever came of it. I decided that the only way I was going to provoke any reaction was if I adgitated the snake. So, I ran backstage as the band was preping for the contest and told Kiwamu the situation. He rushed out to her and made sure something was done. However, when Kiwamu confronted TNT officials, they said there was nothing they could do, so I offered to take her back to the hotel in a cab. Kiwamu gave me all the cash he had and told me to take care of her. With Antonio's help, we flagged down a cab outside of the convention. Antonio had to stay behind however to help the band with the contest. Being in a Mexican cab with a sick person with me was kinda scary, however, I lucked out by getting a cab driver who spoke English, which made things a bit easier. He got us to the hotel faster than Daniel ever did, and I gave him a handsome tip. I brought Shelly up to her room and went down to the front desk to try and get her some meds. They were very helpful and offered to go out and get them themselves. Luckily, these things really did the trick for her! After she felt better, we chatted a bit about the band and some past expiriences. She really had some funny stories to tell (none which I will repeat), but after a while, she wanted to lie down, so I retreated to my room. I turned on Fox News, which was the only thing on in English.
Have you ever fallen into a deep sleep in the middle of the day, didn't know it, and then wake up and have a sudden sense of alert as you don't know where time went or why? This is what happened when I woke up at 9pm to the sound of Kaede's voice. My eyes opened facing the window, which was pitch black. I was like "WTF happened?! it's 5pm!" Then my next thought was "Why are their people in my room?!" I turn around and there's Kaede talking with Miwa. He notices me waking up and says something to me playfully in Japanese and giggles a bit. I partially ignore it and look at the clock, and as if I didn't believe it when I woke up looking outside, it was nighttime! I started chanting "Oh shit" to myself as I decided to find out what I missed. Turns, out the guys had just got back, and were about to go out to dinner, so I kinda tried to wake up by splashing water on my face. Luckily, on the way to the car, just because Yuu was being Yuu, he woke me up real quick when he jumped Daniel. I snapped these photos:
Don't ever try to explain to Yuu in English how to operate a camera
Well, we went to a resturant in a really old section of town that was made of cobblestone streets. The resturant was pretty big and rich with 19th century style architecture. The place looked like it was closing, but they took us in anyway (I imagine we had a reservation), and took us to a private, yet spacious room on the third floor. There we sat a long table and were given menus. I sat across from Kaede, with Yuu on my left, and Shelly and Leslie on my right. As we were ordering, Kaede and I got into this weird game where we kept making funny faces at eachother. I don't know what brought this on, but it was pretty amusing for a while. I figured "While in Mexico, eat like a Mexican" so I ordered some chicken fajitas. After we ordered, Kaede and I tried to have a conversation, but the language barrier made it difficult. So, I started teaching him some English phrases. Then Yuu decided he wanted to learn some stuff too. However, when I was teaching him, I turned into a 2nd grader and was making him say stuff like "I suck big dick" or "My asshole hurts".
Yuu is one crazy mother fucker
At one point, I tried to teach to say "I have a small penis" but it came back as "I have no penis". The girls and I started dying laughing, and everyone else, since most didn't speak English, looked at us like "WTF?". So, Kaede started taching me some Japanese phrases, but the girls start giglling under their breath again. I knew Shelly knew a little Japanese, so I though Kaede was doing the same thing to me that I did to Yuu! I look over at him, and he's eating some soup. I keep repeating what Kaede's saying, and the girls start laughing more. I ask them "What's he making me say?" and they just shook their head. I turn over to ask Yuu, who's still eating soup, then I was like "Oh yeah", and just kinda sat there like "Kaede? Bad words? Naaaaaawwwwww".
I found out a month later that when Kaede was teaching me the phrases, Yuu was behind me making crazy faces and flipping me off.
I owe him now.
After dinner... well, I'll let the photos explain themselves. You can blame Yuu for this too:
When we got back, Fu~ki told me he was not going to sleep, but stay up all night so he can sleep the whole plane ride home. Considering my nap earlier, I decided to join him. Yuu, Noa, and Kaede had the same idea, so we all kinda hung out in Fu~ki and Kaede's room. Fu~ki and I were just talking about what we had going on and what we wanted to do in life, that kinda talk. I didn't talk to the other guys too much because I didn't feel like dealing with the language barrier. We talked a bit too about how the Japanese public don't really see them as a goth band. Our conversations were short lived as Kiwamu soon appeared in the door way with all of his stuff and must have said "It's time to go".
We met Daniel and Antonio down in the parking lot. Shelly and Leslie were awake too to say goodbye to everyone. It was sad. No body wanted to say goodbye, but we had too. I shook everyone's hand and told them it was great to finally meet them and wished them a safe trip home. Then, Antonio turned to me and extended his hand. I said "I'm not going to see you again" and he said "Probably not". So, I took his hand , gave eachother a one armed hug and told eachother "It was nice knowing you". As they all piled into the van, Kiwamu said to me "I will see you on Wednesday". I was a bit confused, and then he said "On the MSN". I said "Oh", and gave him one last hug.
My last sight of the guys is the van driving off, and Yuu climbing over the luggage in the back, sticking his tounge out and flipping us the bird. The three of us let out a sorrowful laugh, and went back up to our room. The three of us just crashed in my room.
The next morning felt like we were soul survivors or something. We packed everything then and caught a cab to the airport. I gave the driver a tip that was larger than the fare, and we went in. We had lunch in the terminal and bought some suveniers for our family members. We met up with Becky and Calla again, and I had a good, long chat with them. Our flight was called and we all piled in. Soon enough, we were off back to the United States. Other than me having to haul major ass as there was only a half hour between flights in Chicago, it was a pretty smooth trip home. When we got back at about midnight, we called all of our family memebers to tell them we landed safely and we went to go get my car... which wouldn't start. Luckilly, the shuttle driver was really cool and gave us a jump. I dropped the girls off at 2am and they offered to let me spend the night, but I respectfully declined because I just wanted to get home. I should have taken them up on it because I was battling sleep sooooo hard on I-95 on the way home. I wound up pulling into a Wal-Mart on 322 and grabbed a half hour. I woke up and finished my trek home, concluding the night like I did almost every night during the tour: flopping on my bed and simply passing out.
Even though I didn't make the PV, I'm really glad I went. As you can tell, it kinda turned more into a vacation for me, but it wasn't just that that made me happy... it was the friends I made. With all due honesty, I went down there with the mentality of this being a business venture, viewing Shelly, Leslie, and Kiwamu as more like business partners, and Kaede and Fu~ki as celebrities who needed their space. It was nothing like that. Shelly, Leslie and I wound up getting so close that we talk almost regularly now. The same goes for everyone else. Yuu and Noa have since left BLOOD and are now forming their own bands. Yuu quickly went to work and formed his new band called Suicide Ali. Noa's band is still in the works, but I promise you'll hear more about his project in the coming months. Fu~ki, at this point, is cemented as BLOOD's deffinate lead singer as he has also taken the role as the band's producer. There will probably never be a 4th Period for BLOOD. Keade contiues to be shy and sweetly play bass for the band. And Kiwamu.... the work-a-holic that he is, he continues to write songs, plan events, schedual foreign tours, create art work, and find new ways to reach fans, gain new ones, and break out into the mainstream. One such innovation is mine and his joint creation of the official BLOOD Myspace, making them one of the few J-Bands to truely embrace this pop culture phenomenon.
As for me, as it stands right now, I still have the job as BLOOD's PV director. I have been invited to tour with them again to make this, and I will probably take this opportunity. I am also working with Kiwamu and Shelly on a few other projects to help BLOOD reach out to it's American audience. I hope these projects come to light as I have never seen a J-Band as committed to its international audience than BLOOD.