This was a short chunk of the chapter, so I finished it relatively quickly. You can access previous portions from the Table of Contents.
This time, the tour takes us from a big city, Kobe, to the small towns of Yonago and Matsuyama.
June 26, 2002 Kobe Chicken George
Yesterday, the band members and I, who had returned to Tokyo for a day, headed for Kobe on a morning bullet train. Today would be the fourth secret concert of this tour.
We got to the hotel around 1 p.m., but since there was still a fair amount of time before rehearsals, the members, except for Ryu, went for a walk. Ryu went to take a nap in his room alone. Actually, it seems he’d been feeling ill since Nagoya, and I’d heard he’d been going to the doctor’s. He certainly had been lacking energy lately. There’s also the matter of this being his first time working with a Gackt tour. What’s more, he had to use different drum sets for the secret shows and the fan club events, because the stages of the secret show venues were too small for the full set. Even so, talk about a tried-and-true veteran! Watching from the sidelines, it was painfully clear Ryu was struggling with an impossible dilemma. I silently prayed for his recovery, and sent some positive energy his way.
Chachamaru and company returned straight away. It seems fans spotted them in the streets.
“They asked, ‘Where will today’s secret show be at?’ and I said, ‘That’s the one thing I can’t tell ya,’ and they were like, ‘At least tell us if it’s to the north or south.’ Ahaha!”
“If we told ’em, it wouldn’t be a secret! Ahaha!”
The Kansai Trio was all smiles as they told the story. Come to think of it, all the current band members grew up in the Kansai region.
Kobe: a city with a population over one million. It seems that many Gackt fans were making the rounds to the live houses dotting the city. It could be that, today, the audience will spill out from the venue onto the street.
Gackt, who had traveled by air from Sapporo to Osaka, got to the hotel a bit past 3 p.m. He sat down to eat immediately (minus rice, of course) and I went to thank him for his birthday phone call.
“Tell me the truth. What do you think of this tour?” Out of nowhere, Gackt lobbed this fastball of a question at me.
I spoke openly, listing a few of the problems, such as the overall inconsistency between shows and the lack of a sense of stability, but I also noted how the band members had become more aware of what they were doing on stage.
“I see…I think everyone can do a little better.”
The conversation naturally turned to the secret shows.
“Since we’ve come all the way out to these areas, I want to put on a show for as many young locals as possible.”
An interview from early spring popped into my mind. Gackt was talking about how, since the secret shows were, well, secret, he wouldn’t toss out a bunch of clues about them; he wanted the performers and the audience to end up on equal footing.
“In short, I want to perform before people who really had the drive to push on and find my show. That was the intent behind playing at live houses. I didn’t want to slight the fan club, so there are the publicly announced tour stops, and they are top priority. But as far as the secret shows are concerned, everyone is even. There’s no need to evaluate this as a good thing or a bad thing. I’ve thought about it like this since way back. People’s perceptions of what it is to be a performer or to be a spectator have changed so maybe I’ll be considered old-fashioned, but I’m just talking about what I think. That’s all. I want to perform, one man performing for one person. If I repeat that 1,000 times, the audience becomes 1,000 people; 10,000 times and there’s 10,000 people. That’s how things were originally. One man doesn’t take on 10,000 people at once. Performers are wont to lump everyone together and think of themselves as addressing 5,000 people or 10,000 people, but that’s not really how it is.”
A live house is a place where a performer takes on the audience earnestly at point-blank range. The fruit of that labor is performing live in halls and arenas. Gackt and the band were in the process of re-learning the meaning of performing. And their results were certainly getting better and better. Their physical and spiritual growth was visible to the naked eye. Now they just had to put on the finishing touches.
“We’re doing the secret shows now precisely because this is the right time to do them. If not, these shows would just come off as some sort of publicity stunt.1 And, we don’t like the idea that live houses are a venue to fall back on when you no longer have a lot of people wanting to see your show. Because live houses are very important to us. A live house is a place full of both fond and painful memories, and of friends who have gone away…I think we’re carrying all that inside our hearts as we go along. That’s the kind of place we’re performing in; there, these bands that you’d never imagine coming together put on this great show, and for the first time doing this type of event comes to have a special meaning. So, I don’t think performing in a live house is something anyone would do as a stunt, anticipating to draw a large crowd. ……We want to go back to our roots.”
Gackt thus expressed his love for live houses. Today’s venue would be perfect for getting those feelings out: Chicken George, one of the most historic venues in Kansai. In all Japan, really. It had a standing room capacity of 500 people. The ceiling and the stage were both high; the openness of the layout, liberating.
Gackt and You were both walking about on stage restlessly, checking their positioning. They looked like they wanted to jump off.
“Umm, if you stage dive right now you’ll hurt yourselves. Aha…. Let’s start the rehearsal, shall we?”
The stage director, Mr. Ikeda, had picked up a microphone. Thanks to his exquisite message, no one was injured during the rehearsal.
Afterward, Gackt was panting for breath.
“This is…really…hard on me, but…I like it. Pushing myself to the limit. I can’t get enough.”
Once again, Gackt was enjoying walking the tightrope of his body’s limits. Since that’s how it always was, all I could do was pray that today his attitude would bring forth good luck.
The band returned to the hotel and went into make-up. Gackt, who had had a meeting about a commercial in the lobby, came up after 10 minutes or so. After getting massages and making final preparations, the party set out once more for Chicken George at a little bit past 8 p.m.
Today, Gackt and company would again be the last of three bands. The performance of the second band onstage was audible from the dressing room on the second floor, but hearing just a snippet was enough to know that it was a fairly talented ensemble. The audience was also pretty hyped up. The members of Gackt Job, perhaps feeling the same, looked as if they were just roaring to go.
To get to their positions on stage, the members had to go down by some stairs connected to stage left (Chacha’s side). Since the members were clearly visible to the audience as they descended the stairs, every time someone came into view there was an eruption of cheers from the crowd. I captured the scene with a camcorder. The secret shows were understaffed, so Gackt’s agency had asked me if I could film the show for them.
Just as the voices crying out for Gackt reached their peak, with “Noah” in the background, the man himself came down the stairs right next to me. He slowly walked across the stage, radiating the essence of front man-ness. He was, without a doubt, the very definition of cool.
There were about 300 people who looked like Gackt fans, and they were already pushing on, aiming for the front row. They woo’ed loudly while jostling about. There was a good vibe.
However, during “death wish,” I noticed that Gackt looked as if he were having a hard time singing. I wondered if his throat was bothering him and zoomed in with the camera, but that didn’t seem to be the issue. I paid closer attention to the sound and realized that Ryu’s drumming was one beat off the synchronization signal.2 This was his first mistake on this tour.
Once a song goes off-beat it’s hard to fix it. Even so, Gackt and the other members immediately concentrated on continuing the performance as if nothing was amiss.
Then, Gackt stood up on the railing before the stage during the bridge to “Lu:na.”
“Ah! Is he gonna stage dive?!” Just as I was thinking that, the people in the audience pulled on him before he could jump, and Gackt went down in a second. He was immediately pulled back up, but after the show, one could see the red scratches around his neck.
“You men, you want a piece of me?! Come to the front!” Gackt, having noticed that there were many men in the audience, tried to rile them up further. There were even some guys moshing during “ANOTHER WORLD.”
Tonight’s show dashed forward wildly. You and Ren teased the railing as they jammed on. This was undoubtedly the stop where they were most able to blow off steam while performing.
After the concert, the party returned to the hotel, showered, and waited for the chartered bus. They would be on the road to Yonago all night. Since this was certainly the longest stretch of continuous travel during the tour, deep down, the members were probably pretty scared.
I was waiting in Chachamaru’s room. After showering, he gave a sigh, and struck up a conversation.
“Do you think the meaning for doing this tour is clear yet?”
Chachamaru nodded silently, but then whispered, “I’m worried about Ryu……”
After having trouble once again today, Ryu was probably drowning in shame.
“Ryu was off during ‘death wish.’ The same thing happened in Sapporo during ‘Doomsday’……”
Gackt had had a worried look on his face too, but all of them also seemed to be thinking, “Ryu can surely land on his feet.”
When Ryu got on the bus, he sat down without speaking a word and downed a can of beer in one gulp. He seemed to be internally setting his resolve. His chance to make things right would be tomorrow in Yonago.
At 11:11 at night, the completely ordinary bus pulled out.
June 27, 2002 Yonago Belier
Having departed Kobe, the bus got on the freeway and headed straight for Yonago, hardly stopping at rest areas along the way. The band members and staff, who had all been eating with a beer in hand, were now mostly asleep. Gackt, occupying the backseat, was asleep as well. Since he loses sleep so often, I can’t help but pray that when he does get the chance to sleep, he get plenty of it.
The clock gave the time as 1 in the morning. It seemed the bus was speeding along the Chūgoku Expressway. The only things visible through the gaps in the curtains were mountains and more mountains. Little by little, I got sleepy, too. But then, Ms. Kotake, who was sitting in the seat in front of me, suddenly turned around and pointed out the window.
“Hey, look. The moon’s so pretty, isn’t it?”
I pulled the curtain back and looked up at the sky. She was right. An eerily large moon was casting its beams upon the Earth. On that mountainside, which was almost completely devoid of houses, the only light was the moon…….
It’s said that the moon, which exerts great influence over that mother of all humanity, the ocean, also has an effect on the human body. It seemed as if the tour bus was being led by that moon, enchanted by its profound magic.
There were no signs of any other vehicles on the expressway. Going along in the moon’s wake gave the illusion that we were crossing the night sky on the Galactic Railroad.3 As I gazed at the moon from the gently rocking bus, I noticed it wasn’t quite full; it was turning dark. It seemed to be waning, in other words.
“Like the name of the upcoming tour,” I whispered, laughing to myself.4
That probably came to mind since I’d already grown accustomed to the words “kagen no tsuki.” Come to think of it, it’s said the waning moon has the effect of cleansing, evaporating, and causing perspiration; in other words, it improves one’s metabolism. So if Gackt is in good shape tomorrow, I’ll say it’s thanks to the waning moon…….
The bus entered Yonago City around 3 a.m. We had time for a little break and some shopping in a convenience store. This shady group of men casually made its way into the otherwise empty shop. You was rifling through the magazines, in that hairstyle. The store clerk was looking at him very suspiciously. Ahaha!
We arrived at the hotel about half an hour later. Gackt had slept through the detour to the convenience store, but now opened his mouth to speak, directing himself to the local event coordinator.
“Yonago is in Tottori Prefecture, right? I wanna go to the sand dunes. Are they near?”
“A-ah, no, the sand dunes are about a three-hour drive away.”
And so, no sand dunes for us. If they had been only one hour away, Gackt would have surely had us all go. He seemed to be in rather good spirits. I guess that was a waning moon after all, huh?
Rehearsals for the secret concert wouldn’t start until 2 p.m., so there was plenty of time for sleep; however, when laying down to sleep on a different pillow and a different bed every day, you can imagine, dear readers, that it isn’t easy to sleep well. Everyone trudged off to their respective rooms.
In the morning (which was noon, actually), Gackt left the hotel a little before everyone else, heading to a local FM station. When he finished recording for the program, he met up with everyone at today’s concert venue, the live house Belier.
The rehearsal started after the sound check. Gackt and the members moved with all the energy they’d use at the actual show, making the snug stage look more spacious than it actually was. Everyone seemed well, but it was obvious Gackt was refraining from taxing his throat. He didn’t raise his voice needlessly.
Everyone returned to the hotel to make preparations for the show. Since they would be performing last yet again, there was plenty of time to get ready.
“I need a change of pace. I’m gonna go space out,” Ryu said, then left to shut himself up in his room. He probably wanted to save all his energy.
Gackt went out for a business lunch with some people from the record company. He was busy as always.
The entire party returned to Belier at 8:20 p.m. Their set would begin shortly. In the second floor lobby next to the dressing room, the four band members stood stock-still before Gackt, who was saying something with a piercing gaze. The young people from the other bands would probably come up to greet them soon, but the members were nervously backed away from Gackt.
Looking at each band member in turn, Gackt started speaking in a calm, low tone.
“Stick to the rhythm, be consistent throughout the performance. You’re starting to get out of step with the sync signal, so pay closer attention to your own senses. Be more aware of the rhythm, the performance, and the audience. If we don’t become one with the audience, there’s no meaning to what we’re doing. Just getting hyped up isn’t enough. We have to come together properly.”
What he was saying was extremely simple and, indeed, fundamental, but hearing it from Gackt in that tone—so composed as to be frightening—it felt like an attack. As if to withstand the force of Gackt’s words, the members’ faces took on the sharp expressions of warriors setting out to battle.
“Everyone has to feel the groove on stage together, in the same way, and put more effort into getting the message across to the audience. Up till now, I think there have been parts where we were feeling different grooves. Anyway, you’ve got to get into the groove, and stay in it. It’s okay if other aspects of the performance fall apart, because it’s important for everyone to be in the same groove, first of all. Even if the performance comes to have a generally good feel to it, the audience won’t get anything out of it if we’re not all in the same groove.”
There was no need to hold a severe evaluation meeting; for the members, hearing Gackt’s calm judgement was enough.
When they went up on stage, the groove they let fly was the best this tour. They drew the excitement from the jam-packed venue like magnets. Many men in the audience cheered wildly for Chachamaru’s all-out tapping during “death wish.” The staff also showed a surprising level of stability, resulting in today’s performance being tremendously focused.
If the performance is good overall, Gackt becomes even livelier. Randomly sprinkling water here and there, Gackt spoke to the audience in a way he’d never done before.
“I hear the voices of many men in the audience tonight. Come at me, you bastards! Oh! ……That’s the spirit! Hahaha!” Drawing breath pant by pant, Gackt prodded the conspicuous, energetic men in the crowd.
Without thinking, I called out to the sound technician Ryō, who was operating the soundboard, next to me.
“This has a good feel to it, doesn’t it?”
“Yeah, the best so far, probably,” Ryō said with an air of satisfaction.
But what judgement would the demanding Mr. Asano, who couldn’t make it today, have passed on this show?
The band jumped into “ANOTHER WORLD” with Gackt yelling out, somewhat unusually, “Let’s sing this one together!” The exchange of “Oi! Oi!” at the end went for twice as long as usual, and with that, the show wrapped up.
It was a performance that made me realize once more that a concert truly is a living thing. Gackt had scolded the members at the appropriate time, and helped bring out the synergy between them that made for tonight’s fantastic show. It was the best of all the secret concerts this tour. The best fan club event thus far was, I think, the second day in Tokyo, but I got the feeling that I could expect the performances coming up in Matsuyama, Tomiyama, and Sendai to surpass it.
The band went to the hotel immediately after the show. Thirty minutes after the end of the performance, and Gackt was still breathing rather hard. Even so, he started speaking with an air of conviction I had yet to see after a show.
“I think today’s show made us move one step forward. Everyone has to forget about their particular personal affairs and focus on what has to be done in the moment. In that sense……we became one……. It was rough…….but…we’ll keep on trying hard from now on.”
Gackt stuck out his right hand and gave me a firm handshake.
“From now on” didn’t refer to the remaining stops on this tour. Rather, these words referred to the Kagen no Tsuki tour, and to the as yet unrevealed Jōgen no Tsuki tour. The days of fighting would continue endlessly.
A little bit past 11 o’clock at night, the band members and staff boarded yet another ordinary-looking sightseeing bus, leaving behind Yonago, the city whose population of just under 140,000 was the smallest to ever see a Gackt show. I wondered if Ryu had been able to get over the previous performance, even just a little bit. Gackt was glued to his laptop. It would take about two and half hours to get to our accommodations in Okayama. So began another night on the road.
June 30, 2002 Matsuyama Salon Kitty
A costume fitting and photo shoot for MOON CHILD promo pictures was hastily added to the schedule, so Gackt and part of the staff got on a plane from Okayama to Tokyo early in the morning on the 28th. When he wrapped up his work, he didn’t go home; instead he stayed at a hotel in the city, and went to Haneda Airport from there. He arrived in Matsuyama, the actual tour stop, the night of the 29th.5 There was no way around it, but for Gackt, what with his current bad condition, it was a difficult boomerang trip they’d worked into his schedule. I couldn’t help but imagine Gackt entering the venue with a look that screamed bloody murder.
The members who had already gotten to the venue and I waited for Gackt. Matsuyama was drenched in a downpour on the 30th. Even so, that didn’t stop a large group of umbrella-toting fans awaiting Gackt’s arrival outside in the rain. The front entrance was the only way into Salon Kitty, so if they waited there, they’d get to see Gackt. There were probably even fans who, unable to get a ticket, were there in hopes of getting just a glimpse of him as he entered the venue.
A swell of cheering erupted as Gackt arrived around 2 p.m. Gackt waved back in response. I caught myself trying to control the surging crowd, yelling out, “Please don’t take pictures!” Apparently I had been completely assimilated by the tour.
As expected, Gackt wore a tense look on his face as he entered the venue.
Keeping his high-strung emotions in check, Gackt went to the bar behind the main floor and started goofing off as if to distract himself.
“I bet if I stayed over here the whole time, the fans wouldn’t even notice.”
Those who heard him laughed at the silly comment. Had there been someone to play the straight man to Gackt’s funny man, he would have said “Of course they’d notice, stupid!”6 Ahaha!
Since there was still a bit of time before the rehearsal would start, for the time being, Gackt headed to the dressing room. But for some reason, there was a huge 100 kg [220 lb] punching bag in the hallway. Gackt’s eyes lit up when he saw it. It was a tool to fix his bad mood. Completely in his element, he started hurling punches and kicks at it full force. I was holding the punching bag on the other side, but I couldn’t withstand the violent impact, and had the sturdy bodyguard take over. He was experienced in combat sports, but even he let slip an “Oh!” here and there, a testament to the pro level of Gackt’s punches and kicks.
That reminds of something that happened quite a while ago.
Gackt came up to me and said, “Hey, we’ve got some free time, so why don’t we spar? No face hits. Only punches to the torso, and guarding is okay.”
I took a fighting stance, but after taking Gackt’s tremendously heavy punches for about 30 seconds, I was about to pass out in agony. I thought he’d broken my bones, no joke.
Gackt’s mood lightened up a bit after he’d punched the bag for a while, then he went to get the rehearsal started. He got his sound together in between gargles.
There was the usual live house echo, which made getting the proper sound a bit difficult. But at the same time, it heightened the experience of being at a show in a live house, so it became a good sound.
“Everyone’s rhythm is on point today. Let’s go over the choreography one more time in the dressing room. ……Hm, the melody during ‘death wish’ is a bit off. I think everyone’s perception of the song might be different. We’ll check that too.”
The rehearsal ended with Gackt’s brisk instructions, but after this, there was a small event in the works. Today was the birthday of Mr. Katō, the head of the tour staff. As usual for these occasions, there was a surprise party. Everyone made a circle around the birthday cake and Mr. Katō, who was teary-eyed as we took a picture. The friendly atmosphere pervaded the venue until show time, then everyone put their game face on.
Outside, the rain was still going strong.
Today would be the second fan club event to be held at a venue other than a Zepp. Max capacity was 400 people with no room to spare, and the humidity from outside got in, too. It was bound to be an extremely muggy show. During the rehearsal, the air conditioning had kept the venue on the cold side, but would it be enough with a full house?
Once Gackt finished his make-up, he was on edge. He put MOON into a CD player and turned the volume all the way up. He concentrated on “Speed Master” while sitting perfectly still, but then he got up and started running through the choreography. Without a word, the band members also stood up, and matched Gackt’s movements, exchanging glances every now and then in confirmation.
“Three minutes before show time!”
Gackt quickly gave each member a brief piece of advice, and they had their pre-show huddle.
Like at Kobe, the band members descended from the second floor to the stage, their resolve visible in their firm footsteps. The audience roared and the show began.
I’m starting with the end, but, it was a really good concert. It felt like the show was speeding forward, and was the most impressive performance of the tour. Even though it felt like they were rushing on, since they were making use of the synchronization signal, the tempo didn’t really speed up. The reason the performance felt faster was because it had become tighter, more consistent, letting a unique groove come through strongly. The members had unified their groove in Yonago, and here, it was perfectly clear they’d mastered it. The strong live house echo also had the effect of making the show more powerful.
They had been sprinting onward, but as might be expected, things got rough in the second half of the show. Gackt said so after the performance:
“I couldn’t get the pitch right during ‘rain.’ I think my singing was horribly flat.”
That said, a concert is a living being. There were elements of this show which more than compensated for such negative factors, so all you can do is take the whole thing as good.
The band was soaked in sweat when they returned to the dressing room after the performance. Gackt tried to go in to change, but he kept stumbling, on the verge of losing consciousness. Each time a staff member would catch him, and when Gackt was finally able to stand, he changed out of his costume.
However, even though he’s always drifting in and out of consciousness after a performance, when it’s time to go back out on stage for the Talk Corner, Gackt is yelling out “Woo!” and otherwise showing so much energy, as if nothing had happened at all. It’s a mystery how he can do it.
Now, Gackt went down to the stage again with unsteady steps, but once he was before the audience he let loose some peculiar gags.
“How are you? How are you? How is You?”7
Just how is Gackt’s brain wired that he can go from half dead to bursting with life in a matter of seconds? I can only think that he’s achieved a level of self-control that would be impossible for an ordinary person. Well, “Gackt can do it because he’s Gackt” is already the stuff of legends.
There were a few people in the audience who left, unable to withstand the heat, but overall the event moved on to the Talk Corner with the crowd still in high gear.
“The first time I came to this venue was back in my indie days, so…six years ago.”
“I was at that show!!”
One fan had yelled out in immediate reaction to Gackt’s comment. Slightly turning in the direction of the voice, Gackt continued.
“That show had the lowest attendance of the whole nation-wide tour. There was barely anyone in the audience. I think there were just three rows of people. But I was so happy to be able to sing for them……”8
This past history of fighting earnestly, and his current ongoing battle with the live house tour, is proof that Gackt’s present came about as the result of taking on the audience not one vs. ten thousand, but one on one.
Having brought up the topic, Gackt’s battle history must have been flashing before his eyes. “The joy of being able to sing for them,” the people in Salon Kitty that day six years ago, was equal to the joy of being able to sing before all the people who went to see him back then. He surely felt the same happiness at today’s concert.
Next, during “ANOTHER WORLD,” the band threw a bunch of autographed beach balls into the audience, and the crowd once again went wild. With that, the curtain closed on the frenetic event.
After this, the band would return to Tokyo for one day, then set off for Nagano. The members, having felt the response to the steadily progressing show, looked very relaxed during dinner. Seeing them like that, I was confident that the concerts after this would go smoothly.
[Chapter concludes in Part 5]
1. There is a possibility I’m misinterpreting this. I’m sure of the passage’s first sentence: 「シークレットは今だからやる。」(“We’re doing the secret shows now precisely because this is the right time to do them.”) But then we have the second sentence: 「そうじゃないと、どうしてもイベント的に捉えられるでしょ。」To translate literally: “If not, these shows would just come off as some sort of event.” That’s weird, right? What’s wrong with events? I got to thinking, is the word 「イベント」(ibento, from the English word “event”) ever used in a derisive way, as in “publicity stunt”? Googling around, I found a fan site with a list of “Basic Visual Kei Vocabulary“. The author does warn that everything written is her particular take on things, but under the item イベント she does say that an イベントライブ (ibento raibu, “event live show”) is a show sponsored by record companies, magazines, etc., and that a show put on by a band booking itself with a live house would “absolutely not be called an ‘event.'” So, I went ahead and assumed that Gackt meant “event” in a negative way, and translated it as “publicity stunt.” ↩
3. 銀河鉄道 (ginga tetsudō, the “Galactic Railroad” or “Night Train” depending on the translation), was originally from a novel by Kenji Miyazawa. The novel is, perhaps, the inspiration for Leiji Matsumoto’s Galaxy Express 999. ↩
4. “Waning moon” is, in Japanese, 下弦の月 (kagen no tsuki). I think it’s a poetic way of saying it, as looking up “wane” in the English to Japanese dictionary doesn’t even yield this word as a result. ↩
5. The show was in Matsuyama City, which is in Ehime Prefecture on the island of Shikoku. But in between that stop and the one in Yonago, the band had rested in Okayama City, which is in Okayama Prefecture on Honshu. Matsuyama and Okayama are across from each other on the Seto Inland Sea. ↩
6. I love comedy shows & movies, but I’m not terribly familiar with the jargon of the industry. Indeed, I learned the terms “straight man” and “funny man” as translations of tsukkomi and boke. Even though comedic duos are by no means unique to Japan. ↩
7. I took the liberty of turning this into a pun that would work in English. What Gackt really said was 「元気〜、元気〜……電気」(genki, genki,……denki), which, translated literally, means “How are you? How are you? Electricity,” and isn’t funny at all. So, I came up with “How are you? How are you? How is You?” Ahaha…honestly, since I became a fan in the pre-YouTube era, I always thought YOU’s name was romanized properly, and that it should therefore be pronounced Yoh (like the character Yoh Asakura in Shaman King). Imagine my surprise when I finally saw a video on YouTube and realized that his name, if properly romanized rather than stylized, would be Yuu. I’d been saying Yoh for years…. ↩