By LunarSpotlight - September 2nd, 2017
This Summer, a few members of the GR staff made the cross-Pacific journey to live in Japan for more than a month and become immersed in the land and culture. Between exploring the incredibly vast city of Tokyo, spending time with folks like Nelson ("The guy who keeps getting photos with ZUN"), and taking bullet trains to various regions of the country, there were a few things we needed to take care of.
First, for those of you who follow us on Twitter or listened to our past few shows, you'll know that we had been posting our progress with a project whereby we helped Komeiji Records by producing their inventory for their first appearance as a circle at Comic Market 92. After production had completed and stock was shipped out, we had more work to do Japan-side.
For the sake of shipping costs, we sent the completed and printed CDs and labels ahead of time. After we arrived, we then had the task of cleaning and placing CDs and labels into jewel cases, and then wrapping them all up.
Following that, we needed to move 6 boxes to a hotel room more than an hour away by train, and then eventually move those boxes to a table in the Tokyo Big Sight venue about 40 minutes away by foot... in light rain.
Finally, we helped them at the table by setting up a preview station, creating some signage, and making sales. Getting to that state, sitting at our half-table next to Tatami Stugiwo, and following through with what DJ Koishi had originally signed up on a whim to do was one of the most logistically challenging tasks I've ever been a part of planning and executing. At the end of the day, we found some success in our hard work.
Beyond Comiket, we had also set out to run a Live show in Tokyo. I was joined by Nano and Xara in person around a microphone with another member of our Discord chat. DJ Koishi and a past special guest Bucky did not attend due to getting lost somewhere in dreamland.
The challenge with this show was that we ran a setup similar to the setup we used in the very early days of our live broadcasts. We had one microphone, a couple cables, a sound card, and an audio splitter, and we made it work.
Finally, there was one day where I had set out on my own, away from the group, to visit an area of Japan which had multiple ties to the Touhou Project series. I traveled 2 hours outside of Tokyo by train to the Nagano Prefecture in central Japan where one will find familiarly named geological features like Lake Suwa and Mount Moriya.
From Shimo-Suwa station, I visited two of the major shrines in the area plus several smaller shrines inbetween. Akimiya Shrine was on top of a hill and provided a really great view of the Shimo-Suwa and Okaya cities surrounded by a mountain range in the distance. I walked across town towards one of the other major shrines and found a few more inbetween before leaving town after the sun had set. I'll likely put a more detailed account of this experience on my separate blog over at lunarspotlight.com/blog.
Overall, it was an incredible trip filled with new and novel experiences which I'm pleased to have with me even after returning home. It was a long trip, and being back in the states is good. Now I just need to figure out how to wake up at a normal time again.
Thanks for listening!
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Posted by DMJ654, December 24th, 2016 @ 12:05pm UTC
This week was a hard one when it came to trying to get this review out. As I am writing this I am about two hours away from getting on the road to Cleveland to see family for Christmas. So I am going to keep the intro short in too the point. This week for most of the world it is Christmas time, so as you might guess this week is all about getting that Holiday spirit at MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE.
“Flandre's XMas Night” by Xe
When I took it upon myself to review Touhou Christmas music I knew kinda what I was going to get into. So it came as no surprise with the amount of “U.N. Owen was Her?” remixes that shown up on YouTube when I typed in “Touhou Christmas Music” in the search bar. The problem is, THERE ARE TOO MANY!! I understand, “U.N. Owen” is the gateway song to Touhou; the one Girl Scout Cookie before you eat the whole box. The problem is the song is over-mixed.
However, going into this track I was going to put that aside to focus on the main objective: Review the song based on how it fits in with the season. In that regard, this song hits high marks with its upbeat tone, wonderful tambourine, the nice little touch with the bells. I mean this song practically vomits mistletoe and holly. As for the mix, it sticks with “U.N. Owen” main tune. It does not feel muddled or sacrificed to add four more cups of eggnog. The only thing I can really knock it for is that strange intro of (I am assuming) someone walking into the Scarlet Devil Mansion on a cold night to be confronted with some ominous organs. It feels out of place with all the joy and glee in this song. The song is there, and it hits home with a lot of us so kudos to Xe for bringing this track to our world.
“U.N.Owen was Christmas? Holy Girl Remix” by AN
So here I am trying to find another good Christmas song when lo and behold! IT IS ANOTHER “U.N. OWEN MIX!” What is nice, is that this one is not “Christmas vomit” but rather it is a nice bouncy jazz piece. Where the Christmas comes in is the transition from “U.N.” over to “Joy to the World” than back then into “We Wish you Merry Christmas”. It does not feel forced or out of place, but rather it feels like it took away from some really nice jazz. I really started getting into the song then it broke out into another song I have heard a hundred times in my life. Granted so is “U.N. Owen was Her?” but it wasn’t something I listened to all the time during Christmas as a kid. This song does capture the feeling of the season but I feel like this song could have been much longer with more emphasis on Touhou.
Flandre Scarlet's Christmas Theme
Yet another U.N. Owen theme. Around this point in the review I was just about to lose it, but after scrolling through pages of songs I found this nice one. Only problem, no posted Artist or song title. Time to bring my insanity full circle trying to find this songs info. After two town sleepless hours after work trying to get this song together, I found nothing. Worse off, this track was uploaded eight years ago so the chances of finding any answers are very low.
Other than that this song is nice and bright. It feels like it could fit into some TV Christmas special. It feels like a nice day outside on Christmas Day. With the jingle bells, bouncy xylophone, and nice use of the organ to add a spacey feeling. I kinda like it.
“Hakurei Happy Christmas” by みかん箱
THE OASIS IN THE DESERT OF U.N. OWEN! A Reimu theme appears over the horizon. I wipe the blood from my ears as I snapped my reigns of my festive camel. I take a swig from my canteen of poly-rhythms and breakdowns and thank the gods that there is hope.
This is a weird one for me because it captures the Christmas spirit, it loses me with the use of MIDI instruments. There is one part that almost made me question if I was listening to a Christmas song or one of my other vaporwave tracks that someone decided to make orchestral. I mean I get where the track is going, but the backbeat doesn’t fit the grand feeling the song starts out with. It only comes back to that feeling when we get to a lovely rendition of “Jingle Bells” near the end of the song. Other than that, this song feels strange with the beat. It is not my cup of tea but I know someone out there will like it.
"あなたがプレゼント ～Merry X'mas Style" by J&B
Well near the end of my trek I ended up finding a nice rendition of Chen’s theme. The kicker, it was also arranged around the melody of “I’ll be Home for Christmas” which out of all the songs on my family’s Christmas record, that was the only song I can tolerate. I love this song a lot with its cute vocals, bouncy rhythm, and happy feeling. This is really nice to play when you wake up on Christmas day dressed up head to toe in Christmas garb ready to bring the joy to everyone you meet that day. Just stay away from me. As jolly as I am after Thanksgiving, Christmas day sucks. All the traveling, eating, and shopping can get to you after a while.
Well, that is it for this week. Tune in next week to get five more Touhou tracks for this winter season. So from all of us at Gensokyo Radio to you, Happy Holidays and stay warm.
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Gensokyo Radio is an internet radio station playing some of the best arranges of Touhou music from the global community.
The Touhou Project series of games has held one of the largest presences at Comiket in Japan for more than a decade, and the global community and fanbase for the series is one of the most prolific in the world. As such, there are hundreds of fan circles and thousands of fan-made albums in existence, and Gensokyo Radio aims to promote these circles and groups, the community, and the games themselves through music.