When Katrin told me she was holding a ‘contest’ on her page in commemoration of hide, I was excited. Of course I didn’t know what to enter – it could be anything she said, as long as it reflected how much hide meant to us. I decided something resembling an essay would work best.
hide…has inspired me and changed me. I first discovered hide through X Japan, back in 2000 or 2001. To be honest, hide got me into X Japan. At an anime convention, I saw many people with these cute pink haired dolls walking around. I asked one of them what show the doll was from and was told he wasn’t an anime character – he was hide! Lead guitarist of X Japan – or he was. After learning that hide, a dead rock star, could have his own plush doll, I decided I had to learn more about X Japan. My first purchases were the Final Legend photo book, On the Verge of Destruction VCDs, and of course, a hide plush doll.
My love for X Japan is an entirely different essay completely but so much of my life with them is tied in with my love for hide. I was obsessed with all the members in turn; I listened to their albums over and over, watched the concerts and music videos until I had them memorized. I was obsessed and in love with X Japan. In 2002, I began to branch out in the member’s solo music. I love Toshi’s works, and I adore hide’s as well.
hide’s own music is energetic. It always makes me feel like doing something – running, jumping, playing air guitar, spinning in circles, anything! When I’m angry, hide has a song for me to rock my frustrations out too. When I feel more content, I can just drift away on some of his more mellow songs. While it’s been some time since I last listened to all of his songs at once, I find that I still remember the words, the names, and the feelings of past memories.
In 2003, I went to Japan for a summer study abroad program. By that time I was a full blown X Freak. I brought all my CDs with me and got my host family into X Japan. Tokyo Dome became synonymous with hide and X Japan. My self introduction could be summed up as “Hello I am Jessica. I’m American. I love hide and X Japan.” I made many friends while I was there, but the best memories are hide related. I was given several gifts that had to do with hide – pictures, zipper pulls, but best of all, a recording of one of his concerts. I treasure all of these and the memories I have of listening to hide and X Japan with my host mother in the car. Most importantly, my hide doll went with me and by the time the exchange was over, I had dyed my hair and cut it to look like him. I decided to do this because I aspired to be like him; I even bought hide jewelry and clothes similar to ones he would wear. At the same time, I joined live journal, with the screen name “hideincarnate.” In high school, I would talk endlessly about X Japan and hide, making up silly stories while jumping on top of the lunch tables. One day my friend told me “Jess, you sure act a lot like hide!” “What do you mean?” “Based on what you’ve said about him, you two are a lot alike!” “Huuuh…” “We should call you hide!” “But that’s his name!” “True…” “And I’m not his reincarnation; I was born before he died.” “…what about hideincarnate?” “Hmmm that sounds good!” So from then on, I was given the nickname hideincarnate. Now I use it online; I never plan to change it.
When I finished high school I wasn’t sure what major to pursue at university. I loved to draw and create, so I thought I could be an artist. But that wasn’t working out. I was also interested in learning Japanese. After buying CDs and books about X Japan that I couldn’t understand, I decided I wanted to become fluent in Japanese. My dream is to one day understand everything they say without a dictionary. I want to understand their messages completely, without outside help. I’m still working on this dream, but I’m much closer now.
My first two years of college were filled with hide plush dolls, endless conversations about him, and undying love. At times I would break down and cry over his death – especially on his birthday or the day that marks his death. Once, I could have sworn I felt a ghostly hand touching my shoulder. It was terrifying, especially since I knew it had to be him, for I had been crying for him as I felt it. In 2005, when I heard that the museum would be shutting down, I tried to save it with a donation program. But as the months passed, I realized it was impossible and returned all the money to the other fans. I bought a guitar – a B.C. Richman Mockingbird – so I could learn how to play guitar. It looks like a guitar hide would play, and yet I still have no idea how to even tune it.
September 2005 marked my return to Japan as I studied abroad at Keio University in Tokyo. Finally, I was able to go to the hide Museum. I went twice before it closed, and I enjoyed it. Yokosuka loves hide, and though the museum is gone, he isn’t forgotten. He still lives on in his friends, family, fans, and fellow townsmen. As 2005 passed into 2006, I realized I wasn’t as fanatic over hide and X Japan as I had used to be. When I visited the museum, something inside of me came to completion. I felt like I had finally paid my respects and said goodbye. For me, hide was not only a great musician, but a friend, a guardian angel. He guided me, looked out for me, and inspired me. Through his career and life he pushed me to do things I thought I would never do; I never dreamed I would travel to Japan, or learn the country’s language, or dye my hair fire engine red, or buy an electric guitar!
2007 was no different. Though my love for X Japan and hide was still alive, it laid dormant. My studies came first. Even the releases of re-mastered albums couldn’t distract me – though I wish I had bought them, just as I wish I could have afforded the hide single box set. With the release of “White Night, Blue Night” I felt the stirrings of my X Japan passion. But they were too expensive! Instead, I mastered the X Japan video game, and laughed over hide inviting me to go drinking with him. But when October came, I was surprised and delighted. X Japan – reunited! With a new song! A dream come true!! I realize for many, this reunion means different things, and everyone is entitled to their opinion. For me, it is wonderful. I love it. I love it so much that for a whole weekend I couldn’t focus on school work – I was back into X Freak mode!
If 2007 was a good year, 2008 has by far surpassed it. When X Japan announced their reunion lives at Tokyo Dome I just knew had to be there. My friend and I worked tirelessly to secure tickets – well that was the easy part really but we kept checking all our options just in case! And finally we were there! A sea of hide cosplayers…and the concerts….it was amazing. I relive those three days over and over and cry over how wonderful and dream-like it all was. I want to live in the concerts forever. Though hide is gone, he still performed on stage. Again, this controversial, but I thought the band did the best they could and I was satisfied with it – though the hide hologram was kind of scary.
Just recently, there was the hide Memorial Summit. I was so sad I couldn’t go but I knew I’d be there in spirit. On his day of death, I celebrated his life with a new friend. We made cakes, got drunk, and rocked out to hide and X Japan. Now that I can watch some of the summit on the internet; I love what I’ve seen, and I know hide received all of our hopes, wishes, and love.
Now, we’re at the present. I’ve been a hide fan for seven or eight years. Years well spent I would say. While I don’t own all of his albums, I know I am still a fan. There is always a hide poster on my wall. hide changed the course of my life. If it wasn’t for him and the music he made with the other members of X Japan, I would not be where I am today. I would not have the friends I have, or the memories. I would not be who I am. For all that he has given me; I can only continue to strive to live my life to the fullest, and to do great things. hide, you are forever my inspiration. I love you and miss you. When we finally meet, let’s drink until the sun comes up!
Jess, May 2008
In high school I did hide cosplay. I’m on the left, in the bad red wig.
The doll that went everywhere with me in high school.
My hair after I got it dyed the first time in Japan!
I was so excited to have hair like hide!!
My hide outfit. The people around me are Psycho le Cemu.
Me at the hide Museum with awesome cosplayers.
Again at the museum. I’m hide hahah!
Myself as Yoshiki and two friends of mine dressed as hide at the reunion concerts!
Another hide friend and me!
Really I took a lot of pictures with my friends dressed up as hide.
But it was fun!
hide, as a pirate captain. I like to draw X Japan fan art!