Due to the vintage instrument that Nao uses and the lack of official artwork on the entire internet, I figured that I’d show all the things that make MY VERSION of Nao, Nao. The Roland G-707 in the center is just awesome and the GR-700 Synthesizer pedal box that goes with it is just as cool. Also included are Nao’s current headphones and even her glasses. Send out the Nao love!
Keion!!!! K-ON!!!! “Dust in the Wind” Part 6.
Last time Nao and Sumire were joined by their band mates and began setting up for the recording of their album and taking the photos for their photo book. Now, let’s continue and see the outcome of “The Wakaba Girls” adventure.
“Well, this is it, I have no other choice but to go forward…” ‘Answer’ “The Wakaba Girls” Nao Okuda.
Jun always felt that apologies took too long—a lot of bowing and begging…Nao was fielding most of it because Azusa wasn’t going to be able to handle it. When it was finally over, Nao fixed her corset that had pulled up and introductions were finally made.
The photographer was Shinbo—the single name made him sound quite artsy; however he wasn’t outfitted too extravagantly. The engineer was named Ruri Shinatama, she was about the girls’ age and had long, straight black hair and wore a suit.
As Shinbo set up his equipment, Ruri began talking with the girls as she handed out a paper to each of them; the paper had a list of the schedule for the day.
“After your photo shoot, we are going to start the recording with ‘Answer’ and then continue with the remix for the single, this is to be handled by Miss Okuda, correct?” Ruri said.
“Yes Miss Shinatama,” Nao replied.
“Ruri is fine,” the engineer said and Nao replied, “no, its not…” “Let’s just do first names and Nao-Chan can be Naoko as always—Nao is Nao, let it be,” Azusa said.
Ui wrapped her arms around Nao and said, “That’s our obedient child—Naoko-Chan!” “Its ‘honest’ Miss Hirasawa,” Nao said blushing.
“You guys aren’t going to call her Naoko-Chan are you? Let’s be realistic, Miss Nao wrote all of your songs and the music for them, I don’t think you want to bully your Kohai producer,” Ruri said with a smile, she figured with Ui singing “Naoko-Chan” as she said it while wrapping her arms around Nao in a caring way was just her way of joking.
“I don’t think Sumire will tolerate it, she beat the shit out of three girls years ago for hurting Nao, I don’t think any one of us wants a piece of this German bitch!” Azusa said and Sumire broke out laughing.
“I like how all of you are so close, that seems to be a going thing between the groups we represent. You know, we are really pushing for you due to the support of ‘Black Frill,’ ‘Love Crisis,’ and ‘Gang of Girls;’ they all came to us and asked for Shinbo and I to take care of you all…I’m glad, this is fun so far,” Ruri said.
‘The Wakaba Girls’ nodded in agreement and began to get serious, so Ruri took the cue and finished with, “Ok, so, its ‘Answer’ regular, ‘Answer’ remix, the list of ten in the middle, then ‘Fuwa Fuwa Time’ regular and remix in the end. That will give you a twelve song CD and a four song single—nice…Just tell me when you guys want to take a break and we’ll do this right. I’m going to pass you off to Shinbo now, he’ll take the photos, you’ll check them out and approve them for the photo book and box set, and then we’ll get started recording; such a tight schedule, but we’ll make it. I’m going to get set up in the recording booth. Shinbo, they are all yours.”
Ruri left the girls and Shinbo came over after setting up a white screen in an open corner with his camera on a tripod and one around his neck. He said, “Well, ladies, lets start with your leader, Azusa, why don’t you come to the screen first and we’ll need your ax too, I want to take a cool shot of each of you with your instruments.”
Azusa rolled her chair to the screen and Jun followed along with her Mustang and said, “Do you want to change to the chair instead of the wheelchair Azu?”
“No, I think this will be fine Jun, the fans might as well know what’s what,” Azusa replied.
Jun helped Azusa pose with her worn red guitar with the body in her lap and the neck pointing upwards, Azusa wrapped her arms around the neck in somewhat of a hug and looked to the camera with a straight and serious look on her face as Jun did a touch up on the details.
Shinbo smiled and said, “Yeah, that’s what it is, very photogenic…”
Jun backed away making sure that Azusa had her balance and then Shinbo began taking a few photos instructing Azusa to change facial expressions and any upper body pose that she was able to. With Azusa complete, Ui was next.
Jun had helped Azusa to the “staging” area and they watched as UI posed with her Fender Stratocaster in front of her, she looked so pretty—her feet were apart and she simply looked like a rock star. The most noticeable thing about Ui was her genuine smile, she just looked so pretty.
After Ui was Jun, Jun gave the appearance of a bad-ass Bass player and used different positions to show how awesome she was in a sexy way.
After Jun was Sumire who looked like a model, standing taller than the rest of the girls, with long blond hair in pigtails and a beautiful face she simply took over the camera and with only her best pair of drum sticks she posed stealing the show.
To finish was Nao, or for today, Naoko-Chan the Raver; Nao took her Roland G-707 and her green headphones and went to the screen where she dressed herself and looked at the camera, at this point, Sumire—the model of the group helped Nao pose, she had Nao hold the cord of her headphones with the large gold jack in her right hand and positioned her Synthesizer guitar ideally and had Nao spread her legs a bit and look dominating over her instrument. Sumire gently slid Nao’s glasses forward a bit on her nose and said, “Don’t move, look right at the camera, you look perfect, don’t move.”
Shinbo was impressed and snapped a few shots then Sumire reposed Nao with her gripping the right cup of her headphones and looking up in a bored sort of way. For the final pose, Nao removed her guitar and gripped both cups of her headphones with her small hands and leaned her hips to the side, Azusa said, “That one is for the back of the box, period, I don’t want to hear any buts about it, got it Naoko-Chan?”
Nao took off her large headphones and held them in front of her and said, “Yes Miss Nakano, thank you.”
“Shinbo, nothing blocks that shot of Nao, not the wording, not any logos, nothing, put it to the left or right and keep it clean, ok?” Azusa said.
“Yeah, front woman, I got it. I have to agree, it is gold,” Shinbo replied.
Shinbo and the girls took many more photos, a lot of group shots and even a few shots in the parking lot using both Nao’s and Sumire’s cars for props—very rock and roll!
The girls looked over the photos and chose what they wanted then took a full copy of the digital images for themselves and that was where Shinbo took his leave…however, he was stopped by Sumire who handed him an envelope with two hands and a disposable Bento, he said, “You girls are all paid up—“ referring to the envelope.
“This is from me personally, I want to thank you for your professionalism, and the Bento is because you won’t be joining us for lunch,” Sumire said.
“Don’t let the jive fool you baby, I’m all business—and honest to all that be good, I think you all are the coolest band I’ve ever seen—you all are real…your front don’t hide her chair, your producer is who she is and even though some people might say you look like some stuck up model, I think you are one cool chick. As for the others, well, your guitarist is just a sweetheart and your Bassist is so full of the love for your front woman that I wish you all an eternity of togetherness, ya got me baby,” Shinbo replied.
Sumire smiled and said, “Then enjoy your reward, and do a great job, this is for all of us, but it’s mostly for Azusa, she needs this more than the rest of us.”
“And that is why I’m going to do my best and get it complete for you ladies in a week, record time baby, I know…long nights, but it’ll be worth it to see your smiling faces, ya dig!” Shinbo replied.
“I dig…you should be using English words with Nao, not me, I did well in my classes in high school, but you are really making me struggle here,” Sumire smiled.
Shinbo smiled his reply and gave a bow in which Sumire followed suit he waved to the girls and took his leave.
It was now time for the recording of their album and Ruri was prepared and ready for them to begin.
“OK girls, lets get ready, and we’ll begin with ‘Answer;’ but I want to mention that you did great with the photos, I saw a few of them and I think they are really going to pop on the book and box set,” Ruri said coming from the recording booth, she wore a large headset with a microphone beneath her chin that was attached to the left cup of the headphones.
Jun assisted Azusa into the chair at the front and Sumire lifted the black isolation headphones from her throne and sat, she then checked the drum kit and after she was satisfied that nothing had changed from the time she set up she held the pair of sticks in her lap and double checked the position of the brush that she had set aside.
Ui took up her Surf Green Stratocaster and powered up her amp and looked over her settings, she then wrapped the AKG headphones that Nao had put at her station around her neck, she then adjusted her microphone and turned it on, she then waited for the start.
Jun made sure that Azusa had her balance and helped her with Muttan, after turning on the amp, Azusa checked the tuning on her old guitar and nodded her satisfaction, she then adjusted her microphone and looked over to Ui who was paying more attention to Ruri than to the rest of the band.
Jun prepared her Bass and amp, she then checked the tuning and looked to Nao and said, “Do you have everything you need set up Nao-Chan?”
“Yes, I just have one adjustment to make and I’ll be ready,” Nao replied.
Nao looked to her computer screen after setting up her Roland and then tapped a few pedals and then brought her attention to Ruri as the rest of the girls did.
“All right girls, headphones on, I want to do a sound check and then I’ll head back into the booth and we’ll get to recording,” Ruri said.
The girls clamped their headphones on and Nao made another adjustment after strumming her Roland once, she turned a knob on the body of the G-707 and then looked to Ruri for her instructions.
“First, can each of you girls hear me?” Ruri asked and was replied to with nods from each of them. “Good, now I need Sumire to start, just do a basic test of the kit and then we’ll move on to the guitars.
Sumire produced a quick beat using all of the drum heads and cymbals and then after Ruri approved, Sumire settled the cymbals. Next, Jun created a quick beat with her bass and Ui did a few riffs with her guitar. Azusa did a quick show off of her skills with her Mustang and finally Nao did a run through with all of the synthesizer tones she would need for the first song.
“Good; OK everyone, once I’m in the booth, listen for my instructions, Nao, use setting one on your ‘phones’ so you can hear me and your equipment. Ui and Azusa, you two use setting two so you can hear me and your own voices for accuracy. Jun and Sumire, use setting 3 so you can hear me, you’ll all find the switch on the junction boxes—Nao, you know what to do with yours…” Ruri said and then left the studio room and returned to the recording booth, she then checked her settings and said, “It’s time, begin ‘Answer’ when you are ready, I will give a thumbs up when recording has started, there is also a light in the room above the window.”
Ruri signed the girls and Sumire counted the band in by clacking her drum sticks together in a beat and each played their part well. Azusa and Ui sang the words that Nao wrote beautifully as the band as a whole kept in tune together with each other until the end of the song when Ruri signaled them that recording has ended and she said, “Excellent job girls, it was perfect and on the first try too!”
The next song would be the remix of ‘Answer’ for the single, the song was going well, but most of the changes were all performed by Nao, she began using a tool called an Ebow or electronic bow which was a small, handheld device that allowed the user to play guitar and bass strings like a violin. Between all of the changing of tones and mixing while the band was playing Nao couldn’t keep her concentration on using the Ebow and accidentally made a mistake and Ruri called for a cut.
After the studio went quiet Ruri said, “it’s ok girls, we’ll start again from the top, its not live, so you can make mistakes.”
“I’m sorry, I have the timing down for making the changes, but…” Nao began but was interrupted by Azusa who said, “It’s ok Nao-Chan, like Ruri said, this isn’t live, we’ll start again and get it right, don’t be nervous, just play, do what you do best!”
Nao smiled and Ruri signaled for the start, once again however, Nao messed up the bow action and they had to stop. Azusa spoke up, “How about, we do some other songs for now and then go back to this one later?” Nao looked like she wanted to cry, but ‘The Wakaba Girls’ all agreed with their leader and gave words of encouragement to Nao and they moved on with more of their playlist. After about half of the album had been completed and the mood was restored, Azusa finally said, “I think we need to stop for lunch. Ruri, you are joining us, we have plenty, go get the guy at the counter too, I don’t care if he can’t take a break right now; and I think all of us want to get these uncomfortable headphones off!”
Jun smiled and said, “What are you talking about uncomfortable, I love them, so snug but so gentle…” Azusa said “…but it was YOU who was complaining that you had the ‘big ones’ earlier!” Jun made a face and the girls laughed. Nao over all of them was relieved to uncover her ears and as she powered down all of her equipment except for her computer the girls gathered and left the room with Jun transferring Azusa into her wheelchair and pushing her out of the room to eat at the tables in the main room with Ui and Sumire taking the large Bento boxes with them.
After getting all in the recording studio together, even the guy at the desk—his name was Ryoji—they ate and talked and enjoyed the rest together. Nao excused herself from the group to no ones questioning and Azusa suddenly froze and said through gritted teeth, “Jun, I need you to take me to the bathroom.”
Jun got up and quickly excused them both and pushed Azusa towards the bathroom where Ryoji had pointed, she then took Azusa in the single room and closed and locked the door.
“I don’t think you soiled your diaper, what’s wrong?” Jun asked concerned, she sniffed and shook her head.
“Take it off and check me…and I’m really in a lot of pain, I need something for it,” Azusa replied.
Jun lifted Azusa out of the chair and lay her on the floor, she pulled the long zipper of her skirt and removed it then removed the plastic panty and opened the thin diaper, there was blood in the absorbent lining and Jun looked at Azusa’s vagina, she then took a bag from the wheelchair and opened it, she took pads and other sterile items from it and began cleaning Azusa carefully. “Do you feel anything?” Jun asked. “No, but I know something is wrong and like I said, I’m in a lot of pain,” Azusa replied.
Jun stopped the bleeding that was coming from Azusa’s urethra, then inserted a bullet shaped medication—if Azusa could feel it, she would be screaming, the nerves were all dead, so it was easy to administer.
“I’m going to use a tampon, just in case it starts bleeding again, while the diaper is off, do you think you need to go, how does your stomach feel?” Jun said.
“I’m fine really, the food was great, just do something about the pain,” Azusa replied.
Jun sighed and said, “Needle or nose?”
“There are too many people here—nose,” Azusa replied.
Jun took out a vial of white powder that she kept very well hidden within the framework of Azusa’s wheelchair; she then opened it and prepared a short straw and an exact, small amount of the powder. After doing so she put it to the side and redressed Azusa and put her back into the chair. After doing so, Jun hid the vial back inside the chair and set up Azusa to take the powder.
“I think this was a fad in the 80’s where rich business idiots would put coke up their nose in club bathrooms—this isn’t a club, and you will ONLY take what I give you with the understanding that it is left between us at all times, do you hear me Azusa?” Jun said very firmly.
“Yes Jun, I hear you, you say the same thing every time we do this, it’s not like I want to be a coke addict, but after your injected painkiller weakens it’s the only thing that works. I don’t want to be a druggie rock star, but the pain is crippling—besides, cocaine was in everything generations ago, it works and I will never share this secret with anyone,” Azusa replied.
“I know, I just hate giving this to you, but I know what you went through start to finish, half your body is held together with rods and screws and you were broken into a million pieces when you came into the ER, so here, do it and we’ll get back out there,” Jun said laying the set-up in front of Azusa and handing her the straw, she put it to her nose and…
Nao clamped her headphones on over her ears and powered up all of her equipment, she took the Ebow in her right hand and holding it out of the way with a pick held between her thumb and forefinger she played her part in the remix of ‘Answer’ right before where she would use the Ebow. Nao then exchanged for the bow and began practicing over and over again until the group returned—they all had a feeling that this was where Nao got to.
Nao looked to Azusa, she could quickly tell that she was not all herself and recognized the symptoms quickly, she shook her head at Jun and said, “I’m sorry, it must be hell for you.”
Jun smiled gently, she knew Nao would notice where the others didn’t. No one made a comment on the small conversation as they set up to finish the album.
A few hours passed and everything was going perfectly, something that was very rare. Nao had been successful with performing the remix of ‘Answer’ and ‘Fuwa Fuwa Time’ went well too. It was finally over, the CD was now created, it just had to be edited and pressed and added to the box set, single and full length album.
The girls were tired and Nao offered an envelope to Ruri as they all packed up, she also gave her a boxed single piece of fancy cake. They bowed and smiled and said their farewells and once they were all packed, ‘The Wakaba Girls’ left the studio to take advantage of their private reservation at the restaurant in which Nao and Sumire were going to take care of everything; Karaoke would come afterwards.
Azusa was watched carefully by Jun, the effects of the cocaine still were present, but it was the blood that she found that really worried her. Azusa told Jun not to worry too much about it, she was feeling fine and didn’t want to disappoint the other girls, especially their precious ‘Naoko’-Chan who proved to be the backbone of the group after all.
The girls had, had a fun yet busy and tiring day, it was dark out and warm, but it would be a fun night as they had a mini party to celebrate the creation of their album.
Next time: ‘The Wakaba Girls’ go out for a night of dinner, drinks and singing and Ritsu runs into an old friend. Be here next Thursday for Part 7 of K-ON!!!! “Dust in the Wind!!!!”