10.09.2003 (Thursday), 02:26 AM

Let's Knife

I wanna be twist Barbie!

OK, it's late but I'm still buzzed from seeing two rock shows in the space of four days (a rarity for me these days...more on why that is later...).

Turbonegro was at Slim's in SF on Sunday and it was pretty good; tonight I saw Shonen Knife who are a band I started listening to AGES ago but only saw live for the first time tonight (er...which is really last night).

Shonen Knife are from Osaka, Japan and have been a fave of mine for a long, long time. They played at a small club here in San Jose and it was, for me, the perfect sized venue to finally see them. So all of that was good except that I realized two great truths about how I am now versus how I was "back in the day".

Number One: People who speak very poor Japanese really annoy me.
I have been studying Japanese for more years than I care to mention and have been told, in all seriousness, that my language skills are good with pronunciation and proper nuance being at the top of the list. However, I'm all for someone giving a good effort even if they kind of bumble about but when a person's vocabulary consists of three words learned from obsessively watching anime but ultimately have NO CLUE what they're saying and end up SCREAMING it in my (left) ear ALL FUCKING NIGHT I get a little, no make that VERY, ticked.

The offensive words: kawaii (cute), kekkon (to marry), daisuki (like or love a lot)
combined with
the band member's name: Atsuko, Naoko
shouted over and over and over
with the most obnoxious pronunciation EVER (fucking EVER!@#$)
which now accounts for just that little extra of my
HEARING LOSS for the evening
by a big, frizzy haired and very sweaty goofball
who decided early on that I was his
PERSONAL STAGE BUMPER tends to get me a bit more steamed than usual.

By the end of the night, I wanted to kick him in the stomach until he bled from the ears. A couple of people behind me made a valiant attempt but ended up throwing a highball glass at him both missing him and me and shattering on the top of Howard's left hand. (The good thing was that Howard wasn't hurt save for a potential bruise...but it could have been very bad and very bloody.)

Number Two: My tastes have definitely (duh) changed.
Shonen Knife was great, don't get me wrong on that one. They rocked harder than many of their American contemporaries can. I was really glad to see them after 15-20 years and they did some of my favorite songs: Twist Barbie, Riding The Rocket, Bear Up Bison. In short, they were amazing. I would (probably) see them again but they may not hold as much fascination the second time around.

Why? Let's just say that it felt a little like reliving the past tonight. Good memories for sure, lots of head-nodding, cheering after songs were over (I could have done without the shouting asshole though), sing alongs in Japanese to anything and everything I could but once I got to the car to head home, the strains of the Japanese pop music that is more or less a permanent resident in the CD changer started playing and that's where the past stopped and the present began (again).

At that point of the evening, I suppose I should have been elated, giddy and a bit awed to see Shonen Knife but I simply wasn't. The nostalgia had been fleeting, the new songs were great but I didn't feel compelled to buy the new CD and even though I found Naoko (their guitar player) after the show and spoke to her briefly to thank her for the show (in fairly perfect Japanese, 'natch) they just ended up being a "nice" memory once I was immersed in some pretty recent J-pop. All the way home, I sang along to something that holds more sway with me than old favorites did tonight.

When I got home, I told Jan that I felt a bit old because of this. She kind of begged to differ but I knew that she knew exactly what I was talking about. So it's reasonable to expect a person to change over the course of 15 years but when it slaps you in the face so bluntly as it did for me tonight, it leaves me wondering for the first real time if I truly feel older and if I need to start worrying about it a little bit as some of my best friends do. It's not a bad feeling per se (I have always been relatively unconcerned about my age) but it does cause a pause for thought enough to stay up even later to jot this down.

Posted by wjc