I came across an old draft from 2012 that was never posted a while back. It was written on November 20th, the day X Japan’s Yoshiki was born, emotionally scribbled down as I was watching live DVDs, celebrating by myself.
I don’t know why I didn’t post it, but once the day had passed I supposed there was no point to it?
Today however, marks 27 years since X Japan’s debut album was released, and I can’t not re-write that old draft. Because this band has had such a profound role in my life and perhaps more than anything, in my writing.
The first time I heard an X song, I was around 17 and although the lyrics were mainly in English, the words were broken and hard to decipher, but it didn’t matter, I still found myself overcome with emotion, and like the name of the song itself, I was overcome with tears.
When I started working on SNOW, X were a natural part of the process – largely thanks to those heart-wrenching and emotional lyrics, which were a perfect backdrop to the scenes I was writing down, but also because of Maaya.
When Maaya first appeared before my inner eye in 2006, he had pink hair; it was cut short, but I knew that he’d used to wear it long. I think from that moment, I knew he was a hide fan.
At that point, the connection between the music and the novel was made.
I didn’t make him a fan because I myself am a fan, but because it all seemed to fall into place so easily, so obviously. But this connection has been deepened by some really striking coincidences .
Maaya’s birthday is March 15th. I picked it for no particular reason, but as with all my characters, I spent a lot of time mapping out their personalities and matching zodiacs.
March 15th 2011 was set to be the release of X Japan’s single Jade – a song played at almost every show since their 2007 reunion, but which had yet to see an official release.
Jade means an enormous deal to me personally, but the fact that it was scheduled for Maaya’s birthday with the name that it had, and the message it carried… It was almost a little too coincidental.
Due to the tragedy of 3-11, Tohoku and the subsequent tsunami, the single was postponed, and not released until about a month later, but that didn’t change anything, least of all the way Jade was a bridge between my two novels, between Maaya and Aki’s stories.
At the time, I was mid-Jaded, and at a crossroads. For the longest time I had no idea what I was doing, or how the story would turn out. I was struggling with an element that no longer seemed to fit into the story, but which I had been holding on to for years already. I didn’t know if I should keep holding on, or if I should just let it go and let the story evolve into the new direction I had staked out. Somehow, the decision was made – albeit unconsciously.
I’m going through the old draft as I am writing this post, and being reminded again, of how deep this connection runs. It’s almost a little freaky, I think to myself as I sift through the lines and find facts long forgotten.
Apparently, the night I finished Jaded’s first draft, though nowhere near completion of anything but the overall story, was on this day, the anniversary of Blue Blood.
When the album came out, I was 9 months old. I wish I could say I grew up with this night, but at this point that’s what it feels like. I didn’t, but my writing certainly did.
On the date of the original draft, November 20th 2012, I announced the release date for Jaded. I wrote the following: “Seems only right that events would drag out long enough for the announcement to be made on Yoshiki’s birthday.”
Today, I’m having a day off, and by chance this first day off in months falls on the anniversary of Blue Blood. At the end of the original draft, I wrote that I was watching them play Joker while smiling crookedly. Four years later I am listening to Celebration, and I hope that this strange connection my writing has with this fantastic band will never let up.