This is the first in the series called "Jrock Where You Live," in which Jrock Revolution staff writers chronicle what it’s like to be a Jrock fan in their community. In this installment, staff writer Kia shares what the scene is like in her hometown of Seattle, Washington.
Until the start of my second semester art class, I thought I was the only Jrock fan in the state of Washington. In response to an offhand comment I had made to a friend about Bou (formerly of Antic Café), a girl at our table told me not only did she know of the band I was talking about, but she was also a JRock fan herself. Soon after, I quickly discovered that not only was my new friend familiar with JRock, but so was the guy seated between us! With the knowledge that I was clearly not as alone in this as I had initially thought, I was far more enthusiastic about sharing my love for Japanese Rock with others where I live. It was a satisfying feeling to know that there appeared to be more of ‘me’ around than I had imagined, though I was never quite sure of just how many others there might be.
The common frustration about the accessibility of JRock events is one that fans here in Seattle share with everyone else. Understandably, the news of Dir en grey’s tour with the Deftones was the first time for most of us in Washington that it was actually plausible to consider going to see a JRock band play. It was exciting to know that we were getting a taste of a big band, even if they were not the main focus of the tour. For the first time, I had the knowledge that I could drag one of my friends out to see them with me. While I did not end up going, knowing I that I could was new and stimulating—it was a feeling I was not entirely sure I would experience again, as much as I was hoping for the best.
When I heard the news of the Taste of Chaos stop in Seattle, I was absolutely determined to attend. And it was at the Taste of Chaos, which I attended as a street team member, that I saw exactly how “not alone" in my Jrock fandom I was. While I handed out street team materials or waited in line for the band signings, I saw hundreds upon thousands of fans in line. It was clear that I had underestimated the size of the JRock fanbase here.
The big convention here in Washington is SakuraCon. In previous years, the con has hosted bands like Camino, LiN Clover and Ali Project, but it was not until the 2009 guest announcement that we truly received what one might call a big band for SakuraCon: girugamesh.
Looking through SakuraCon’s forum for all the 2009 guest requests, I was pleased to see how many people asked for JRock artists. In the same sense, it is gratifying to see people on the SakuraCon boards excited about the announcement that girugamesh will be among our guests next year. Certainly, I am delighted by the news and can only hope that April comes quickly. No matter what I’m still mildly surprised, to be honest, that there are so many other Jrock fans in this area and that there is so much interest for Jrock at SakuraCon. Nonetheless, the prospect of meeting even more fans, especially after Taste of Chaos, is very encouraging.
Recently I came across a Livejournal community for Seattla-area JRock fans. At least twice now there have been get-togethers at the Kinokuniya bookstore located in our beloved Uwajimaya in Seattle. I am excited that there’s a real possibility to meet local fans that share my llove for JRock, and there’s no place better suited for Jrock fans in the area than Kinokuniya—and Seattle, in general.
In the short three years that I have been in to JRock, I’ve found that I learn more and more about the extent of the “scene” here as time goes by. All I can wish for is that the fanbase here continues to flourish, and that some day it will not be hard for any fan to respond to a stranger’s “I like ___” with an equally open and enthusiastic declaration.
Written by Kia
Edited by Maria