Posts Tagged ‘Japan’

Come in from the rain,
This is a shrine of Nigi-Mitama,
You are safe here,
We are protected by our Komainu,
Our stone canid sentinel,
Our leonine hound in pride of place,
He ever watches over these steps and pagodas,
Keeping yokai from our door,

In his mossy coat of armour,
He has stood here for eons,
The forest too accepts his stewardship,
See how the fireflies dance about his maw,
Daunting he may be,
His form is that of a predator,
But he is a guardian,
So kneel by his side,

Feel the fervour within his jasper eyes,
His glower won’t allow the dark to chill you,
His roars shall stifle even the tempests,
No evil spirit shall touch you,
His growls shall affright even them,
You are welcome here,
You may remain under his gaze,
Until the sun sees fit to guide you on.

In lands far away,
They repair pottery with gold,
Embracing the imperfect,
All of those cracks and chinks,
Vases and lacquerware,
Gnawed by the fangs of time,
Becoming streams of halcyon,
Legacies emblazoned with platinum,

It’s an artform all its own,
Perhaps mankind too could be repaired,
Imagine the sight of it,
Replacing the damaged history with aureate metal,
Yet it begs the question,
Would gold be more valuable than our storied dents?
Are they not too,
Worth their weight in gold?

The mists of the village welcomed a new visitor,
A monk of the road,
Tsugaru shamisen in hand,
Ragged in his very being,
Skeletal and mute,
A man whose eyes had never seen,

He played for rice and water,
His instrument his only possession,
Aside from the soiled cloth on his back,
The shamisen continues its mournful twangs,
Each pluck unleashing a tale of spirits,
Mystifying the villagers in its sad tones,

The old monk persisted,
With his music magic seemed real again,
Not a single eye remained dry,
Even the skies above acknowledged his rueful tune,
Falling in dismal sheets,
The village walked beside spirits once more,

And the shamisen continued its mournful twangs.

Upon the sea we rest,
Callused hands upon nets and scales,
The winds rise in warning,
Waves lashing at our hull,
Begging us to flee to shore,
The storms know what approaches,
The monster the waters try to hide,
Teeth like tantos approach,
Ichthyology turned to nightmarish design,

The shadow cutting betwixt waves,
This is no shark,
No animal of biological leaning,
But a yokai,
A dread spirit of myth,
A barbed tail like a typhoon,
Ready to impale fleeting lives up on deck,
It could be our briny and thrashing end.

I am Gaki,
I died once,
A life spent in overindulgent opulence,
Now I suffer in spirit,
Doomed to unlife existing in eternal famine,
All is fodder,
Unclean or otherwise,
But no myriad feast can cure my paucity,
All of the kings men,
And all of the kings flesh,
Couldn’t sate this demons hunger again,
Nothing can fill this distended belly,
It is hell I assure you,
The pain has dulled all other sensation,
Hell of a worse kind.

Hello there inmates!

Having a good week there my friends? Keeping your hands clean I hope. I’m glad to hear that. It’s been a reasonably eventful week here at the asylum. I’ve been in the really irritating process of getting new identification documents. I won’t go into specifics, but it involves getting new photos taken and filling out forms. Always a drag but I suppose that’s modern living eh? On a slightly more positive note, I have received my first jab for COVID today. I barely felt it at the time, but my arm felt slightly more sore as the day has gone on. Here’s hoping for no side effects and suitable protection!

Enough about me though, you’re here for music aren’t you? Well, I decided to go for a more straight forward theme for todays music. Instead of esoteric and fluffy subjects like love and happiness, I’ve gone for something much more “flesh and blood” today. So, for those who haven’t seen the clue on social media, I’ll spill the beans. The theme for todays music is Japan.

Oh yes, that fantastical land of the rising sun! It’s a place that I’ve personally not yet visited and I have to admit it’s likely to be at the top of the bucket list that I just decided I have. So much media from this proud nation has inspired me (and others of course), from countless video game franchises to anime. From the traditional artwork and history of this old country, to the various art styles of manga. Japan has inspired many artists all over the world I’m sure. Not only in subject matter, but also in style. I’ve even known some Scandinavian metal bands who have taken to using some traditional Japanese instruments and instrumentation in their songs. I’m going to attempt to have the majority of songs today be from actual Japanese artists as well, but I may include an abroad artist… Let’s see what we get today eh?

Arigato gozaimasu!

Join me as we delve into the musical minds of eastern artists the world over!

Gackt – Returner

Babymetal – Da Da Dance

ONE OK ROCK – Clock Strikes

Sayuri – Mikazuki

Whispered – Strike!

And there we have it!

See? I wasn’t joking about that Scandinavian band! That aside, I hope you enjoy some of these choices and check them out as well. I wish I could have included more music forms, such as Taiko or Koto, but this list would go on forever if I threw out every band from Japan I could think of. I also don’t really know any artists in particular who focus on traditional oriental music. So again, I urge you to check out all of these artists. It would be nice if they could receive more recognition outside of Japan.

So, let’s throw out some social media spiel! The asylum has a page over on Facebook, an account on Instagram and an account on Twitter. I always forget to mention it, but there’s a page up the top that includes all of my social media links, including deviantART. Also, if you enjoy what I do here at the asylum, please consider supporting me over at the Ko-Fi page. Thanks for everything!

Until next week, have a very crazy day inmates!

I took a jaunt along a forest trail this morn,
And immediately I start to feel their eyes,
Tiny eyes like fireflies all about,
The Kodama,
Infantile spirits of the boughs,
Bodies of moss and sage,
Slinking trunk to trunk,
Trees all bound by shimenawa,
Homes of woodwork and onmyo,
Lithely they rush around in innocence,

I do not interrupt their games,
They mean no harm to a traveller,
But only to romp amongst the jade,
But as I have been told before,
Dare not nick the trees skin,
Lest their mischief becomes your misfortune,
A curse of a yokai perhaps,
Instead they whisper a prayer to this respectful walker,
A blessing from the spirits,
I leave the forest rejuvenated,

Their frolics continue amidst the mystical leaves.

The eve grows fatigued,
And your eyes along with it,
The shapes in the corners grow contorted,
Monsters hiding in the periphery,
Raving as you sweat bullets,
Shudders in your limbs,

You feel dark eyes upon you,
An undeniable weight,
Your heart rate begins to sprint,
But you dissuade your own chills,
T’was merely fear of the night,
You lay your head down,

Something sees from the rafters,
Not a revenant,
But a ghost of flesh,
An adept of a grim mantra,
A bladed shadow,
And it seems you’re the mark,

Sleep keeps its distance,
Shudders radiate in your marrow,
You clench your eyes taut,
Something drops to the floor,
Black garb flowing like water,
A shadow approaches its prey,

Eyes and edges behind obsidian silk,
Sleep of a kind is here.

I kneel here out of the rain,
Beneath this temple canopy,
The walls wretch with the stink of an aramitama,
A structure corrupted in purpose,
The only soft light from rascal wisps amongst the bamboo,
Even the moon has forsaken this place,

The kami rise in angst,
They shriek to me in warning,
I hear it coming,
Heavy feet upon damp wood,
Demonic growls between drops of ichor,
The malevolent prescence of a yokai,

The dark sound is directionless,
A shroud approaching from all around,
Spiritual energy turned awry and malignant,
A hulk materialises,
An imposing figure with rage in its eyes three,
A dread oni,

My resolve is shattered at once,
I consider fleeing in to the rain,
Its stout feet impose closer,
The yokais horns shall feast well this night.

When the dark times descend,
And storms of spite form,
One must protect oneself,
So I put on my kabuto,
Crimson like blood pumping,
Crimson like pride,

It is armour,
A guard of the soul,
Of lacquered wood,
Iron plates,
To defend this anima,
The spirit of the artist,

This mengu,
This mask,
The face of the oni,
A visage of destruction,
But also honour,
Strength of spirit,

Detracting mosquitoes swarm,
Their critical barbs primed,
So I take my stance,
Sanguine blade ready,
Kabuto O Nugu?
I shall never surrender.