Interview with Munehiro Narita.
The following interview with Munehiro Narita originally appeared
in issue #4 of the New Zealand magazine
Opprobrium. It is
reprinted here with their kind permission.
Born in 1959. Joined Tokyo in 1979, and played at
Minor in Kichijoji. Formed Kyoaku no Intention in
1980. While that group was still active, he also participated in
Kosokuya as a drummer from 1981. Joined
Taco in 1982 for a recording session. In the same
year he formed Psychedelic Speed Freaks, the original High Rise, with
Asahito Nanjo on bass and vocals, and Ikuro Takahashi on drums. In
1984, they changed the name of the group to High
Rise, and their first album Psychedelic Speed Freaks
was released on PSF. The band is still extant, though it has
undergone many changes of drummer. To date they have released five
full albums, including one live one.
When did you first start playing an
In my first year at middle school. I started off playing folk guitar.
But I couldn't hold down the chords properly and I didn't like
instruction books or folk songs, so basically I never learnt how to
play properly. And I still can't.
What sort of music were you listening to then?
Rock - I listened to a lot of what they called "new rock".
Supergroups and stuff like that. My uncle had a lot of those records.
And The Doors, Pink Floyd, even Wilson Pickett. That was mostly what
I was listening to.
What about Hendrix?
I didn't listen to any Hendrix. Even now I haven't heard much of his
stuff. Very recently I've started to look at some of his videos. So
I'm a bit different from the normal Hendrix freak. It seems like
everyone who started playing electric guitar at school was into
Hendrix. Even now I'm more interested in the way he stood, or the
amps he was using, or his staging. I've absolutely no interest in his
studio recordings, in the way they were done. I like the live stuff
So who was the first guitar player who had a big influence on
you? The guys from the supergroups?
Probably Mike Bloomfield or James Garley, someone like that. I didn't
know anyone who was listening to that kind of thing. Everyone was so
into Zeppelin and Deep Purple that I deliberately stayed away from
rock. There was a time when I was just listening to enka and these
weird-sounding TV theme songs. When I went to
high school, I went through an avant-garde phase and listened to Syd
Barrett etc. But that was the hip thing to be into back then.
Everyone goes through that kind of a phase when they're kids, don't
they? Then I started listening to Captain Beefheart and free jazz.
And then Haino's Lost Aaraaff were on the scene at that time
So you were listening to free jazz and psychedelia at the same
I didn't have any special awareness of psychedelia, it was just
something that was around at that time that I took for granted.
Back then information about The Velvet Underground and The Doors
suddenly stopped appearing, and all the records from the late
sixties had been deleted. People laughed at you then if you were
too into psych. None of the records were available, and even if
you'd wanted to buy them there was nowhere selling them. So there
was virtually nothing you could listen to - people who were into
it had to spend their days trawling the secondhand shops. So I
suppose that free jazz had a greater impact on me, as it was all
happening at that time. Akira Aida was still
alive, and I saw some of those concerts at the Kido Airaku Art
Hall that he produced. They had a pretty big
impact on me.
Was this when you were in high school?
Yeah. I saw people like Kaoru Abe, Motoharu
Yoshizawa, Takehisa Kosugi...
Pretty unusual to be into that kind of thing in high
Umm, I suppose that I just happened to be in the right place at the
right time. And then there was the influence of this guy in my class
from high school. I don't know if I should give his name or
not...what the hell, there was this guy called [Jun] Hamano who was
the guitarist with Gaseneta and later he was also
in Fushitsusha. He'd been listening to Keiji Haino and Hadaka no
Rallizes since middle school. So I got into Haino through him. Then
he said that there was this sax player called Kaoru Abe who'd played
with Haino and who was pretty good, so I went to check him out, and
of course I was blown away.
Were you already playing electric guitar by this stage?
Not yet. My folk guitar was still sitting around with its strings
rusting. Back then it seemed like everyone around me was playing
electric guitar or was in a band, and I totally despised it all.
Rock had already become Japanized, and all the people who wanted
to be musicians were all the same. They all had long hair, high
heels and they were all in the same kind of cover bands. In fact,
not really that different from the guys you still see in guitar
magazines now; I wanted to stay away from all that. All the Japanese
rock bands you'd hear about back then were very dodgy. There wasn't
any indie scene like there is now, so all you'd have would be
this bands making their major label debuts - like cabaret rock.
All my friends were listening to stuff like Creation, Funny Company,
Carol. Stuff that I had absolutely no use for. So I thought that
jazz and theatre people, people who were totally going for individuality
were far better than that whole fake rock world. I was attracted
by jazz because it felt so much more free.
Before I got into jazz, I thought that preexisting instruments
were uncool. If you were really going after individuality then
you should build your own instrument. I'd been breaking microphones,
attaching guitar strings to an old pole, hitting a saw with a
plectrum and then recording this stuff onto infinite tape loops.
I'd play this stuff, stick a mike coil into a guitar with broken
strings and wail away. I had no interest at all in preexisting
instruments. And then I saw Kaoru Abe, and I was amazed at what
he was able to do on an alto sax - just a normal instrument that
anyone could play. I realized that it was possible to do amazing
stuff on normal instruments. So I thought that I'd try it myself,
and it just happened that I knew someone who wanted to sell an
electric guitar. So I bought it. I must have been 18 or 19. Anyway,
I hadn't played anything like that for a few years, maybe because
I hated musicians. Or what the world calls musicians anyway -
major-oriented musicians who have no idea what music is. There's
still so many of them - people who can play perfect copies of
something else. In my case I never even wanted to copy anything.
I just wanted to do something that would be different from everyone
You had that attitude from very early on then?
Yeah, from the start. So in that sense I didn't really practice.
Well, I did practice the absolute basics to a certain extent, simple
chords and so on. But I never tried to use those techniques as they
So you're not good at the guitar in a conventional sense? I
always had this idea of you as a guitar wizard.
At that time free jazz was a big influence on me, so all I was
thinking about was how to make my guitar sound like a sax. My sound
and what I was trying to do then was probably different from my sound
now [in High Rise]. It was all improvised. Like beginning and ending
from nothing. I've always had this idea of wanting to do free jazz
stuff through rock guitar.
Were you listening to any free jazz guitarists?
I went to see Derek Bailey and was very bored. I didn't really
understand what he was doing. I was trying to do something a bit
different to that. What Derek was doing may have been fine
conceptually but it didn't touch me.
Yeah. There isn't any hint of heat and convergence in his
playing, is there?
That's right. It's like, I need an ending, a peak - I need that sense
of sexual climax. I need to have that kind of stimulation.
Who were you playing with back then?
Soon after I bought the guitar I joined a punk band called
Tokyo. They hadn't got a guitarist so they
asked me to play. That was when I was 18 or 19. They told me to just
play something suitable. No New York was popular just then, so I
played something close to that. [Tamio]
Shiraishi had an event called "Joyo Kachi
Bunkai Kojo" at Minor every month and the band
played there. So I was already playing live just after I'd bought a
guitar. There were a lot of people in that scene who helped me find
my direction in life. So I played there and got a pretty good
reception. I enjoyed it and everyone else seemed to get into it too.
There were all kinds of people in the audience, Haino was there too.
What was the Minor scene like at that time?
Minor had originally been a jazz coffee shop, then they started
having live jazz gigs there. Gradually people like Haino and Shiraishi
began to play there, and then some rock people too. Gaseneta and
Kosokuya played too. In time all these jazz
/ rock hybrid units started appearing, and that style became known
as the Minor-style. Looking back now it was a very exclusive scene,
but I was on the fringes of it all. I was soon fired from Tokyo
- I probably didn't fit in. My guitar- playing was really upfront.
How would you describe your playing at that time?
It was pretty close to the way I play now, except that I didn't use
any fuzz - it was just straight to amp. Everyone played that way back
then though. They all thought that using effects was like selling out
(laughter). Ah, the ignorance of youth.
I didn't know that.
Yeah, I'd have the amp turned up to ten, playing this freaky guitar.
At the time compact effect boxes had just appeared, and everyone was
really into lining up a whole train of them. I thought that was
uncool beyond belief and there was absolutely no way that I was going
to do that. So I wasn't using any effects at all then. I'd carry my
guitar around in this old beat up bag, sometimes even without a bag.
Were you already going to see Masayuki
No, not at all. Of course I'd heard of him and knew what people
were saying about him. But back then I was listening to people
who were a lot more obscure than that; I was listening almost
exclusively to those people that Akira Aida was promoting at his
events. But then I started doing all kinds of weird stuff at Minor
and I stopped even listening to them. Kaoru Abe and Aida had both
died. Umm, and then the people around me were more sort of rock.
Haino had started to play rock with Fushitsusha. That was just
before Minor closed.
Was Hamano involved?
Yeah, Hamano had left Gaseneta and joined Fushitsusha. I suppose that
Gaseneta had been a rock band though. Then I wanted to do some
improvised stuff using rock sounds, in a band context, so I started
playing with this fucked up group called Kyoaku no Intention.
This was your second band, right?
Yeah. I started Kyoaku no Intention with
Hisashi Yokoyama who played synth with Kosokuya back then, and a free
jazz drummer called Hiroyuki Usui was a member for a while. It was
totally improvised, no songs. We first played at the first "Tengoku
Chusha no Yoru" event. We came on after Kan Mikami.
I think that was in about 1980. After that we played at Minor. We
played there until it closed, at the "(Aiyoku Jinmin) Juji Gekijo"
events. What year did Minor close? Anyway,
after that it was like there was suddenly nowhere for anyone to play.
There was just no where else. Minor had been like this club house for
people who couldn't play anywhere else. Then, I've forgotten who it
was, but someone found this venue in Aoyama called Hakkyo no Yoru
where we could play. And everyone sort of
drifted over there. The live space doubled as an SM dungeon so there
were ropes and pulleys dangling from the ceiling. That was where we
played next. It had a real underground vibe to it.
What band were you in then?
It was still Kyoaku no Intention, but I sometimes played solo too.
Were you still using just an amp with no effects?
No, I'd borrowed a fuzz from someone just after I'd started playing
in Kyoaku no Intention, so I was using that. It wasn't possible to
buy fuzz pedals back then so I'd borrowed this one from a guy who
made instruments. Then he wanted it back so I asked him if there was
anything he could sell me instead, so I bought a wah-fuzz. I'm still
using it - it's a Maestro Wah Fuzz Fuzz-Phaser.
Had you seen some foreign musicians using them?
No. The guy at the guitar shop told me to take it off his hands
because it was just taking up space in the shop. Back then there was
just no one who was using wah-fuzz. Everyone was into compressors at
the time, and people looked at me like I some kind of a freak when I
told them I'd bought a fuzz pedal.
Everyone was into that super-clean fusion sound...
Yeah. I remember that before I bought the pedal the guy in the shop
told me that I could use it as a fuzz pedal but that I'd have to be
some kind of an idiot to want to use the wah-wah in this day and age.
But I started using it anyway, and it was like fate had brought me
and that pedal together. It was hard to work out how to use it
though. I guess that it took me about five years before I was able to
use it properly. I'd link it up with other pedals in Kyoaku no
Intention, and I was using it when I played solo as well but I had no
idea what kinds of sounds would come out when I started freaking out.
I wasn't able to control it.
You were using fuzzed out guitar and synth, weren't
At the start, yeah. Yokoyama played keyboards and synth at the
beginning but then he switched to drums. I'd just started listening
to Silver Apples - people seem to be getting into them again recently
in this techno revival thing. Haino would dig out all these weird
bands and let us know about them. So I was listening to Silver
Apples, so I suggested that we try it as a duo. So we did, and that
became Kyoaku no Intention. I'd been messing about on the drums
before, so I played drums and guitar. And that sort of lead to me
playing drums with Kosokuya. Back then Kosokuya was a three-piece,
with Kaneko on guitar, Mik on vocals and bass, and me on
drums. Mik was having a hard time playing bass
and singing at the same time, and she suggested that we ask someone
else to come in and play bass. So we got Nanjo, who plays with me in
High Rise, to come and play bass.
Was that the first time you met him?
Yeah, that was the first time. Nanjo had a band called Red Alert
previously, so everyone called him Red.
I didn't know that you and Nanjo had been in Kosokuya
It was just for a short time. Nanjo wasn't really a member - he was
just helping out on bass.
How long did the four of you play together?
I don't think we played out with Nanjo on bass. Then, a few months
later he left and started up a new band - he liked making all these
different groups. He's still that way. (laughs) And the band that he
formed then later turned into High Rise.
Did he use the name High Rise then?
No, that name didn't come about until much later. The original
members were Nanjo on bass and vocals, (Ikuro) Takahashi on drums, a
guy called Mitani who left before the record came out on guitar, and
then me. Before I joined they called themselves Conformist, and then
they changed the name to Psychedelic Speed Freaks. That was around
`82. I was helping out in another band at the same time - that was
Was Taco a real band?
It was at the start. After Gaseneta split up, the remaining members
- (Harumi) Yamazaki and (Toshiharu) Ozato - formed Taco. I remember
them playing at Minor. I wasn't a member then, but I can't remember
who else was in there. Shiraishi and Tori (Kudo)were
in and out of the lineup. The people who played on the record
and the people who played live were different. By the time I joined,
the band had already split up. It's probably better to say that
I helped out on the recording, rather than that I was a member
of the band. When they split up, there was a record contract outstanding,
so I just joined to help out on that. I could play a bit of guitar
and drum a bit, so they asked me along to help out. I'd known
Yamazaki from the time when he was in Gaseneta. Anyway, the record
came out and we played live a few times, and the band just drifted
apart. I was already in High Rise by this time and we'd played
out a couple of times. Yamazaki asked us to play a few Gaseneta
tunes as well.
Had you already started calling yourselves Psychedelic Speed
Yeah, that was the name we were playing live under. Just before that
"Hakkyo no Yoru" event stopped, a new venue called Gyati opened in
Kichijoji. We played there a few times as Psychedelic Speed Freaks.
Who came up with the name?
Probably Nanjo. Anyway we wanted to play speed music, or the kind
of music that speed freaks would be into. (Laughs) We didn't have
any big plans or anything. But the name was too long, and it was
too direct, and we thought that some places might not book us
because of it, so we started trying to come up with a new name.
Then Takahashi said that he'd read this book recently and it'd
been great, so we changed our name to High Rise.
From the Ballard book. So Takahashi was the one who came up
Yeah. I didn't care one way or the other. But we decided to go with
that. But we came in for a lot of flak from Ballard fans, and from
people who hated him too! While all that was going on, Nanjo took a
rehearsal tape that he'd mixed down over to Modern Music.
Had you been going to Modern Music even before you joined High
No. I wasn't interested in new records. (Laughs) All I was buying
was 2nd hand psych. So I was only going to normal used record
shops. At that time Modern Music wasn't stocking much psych -
in fact they didn't have much stock at all, so there wasn't any
reason for me to go there. (Laughs)
Nanjo was a regular customer though, wasn't he?
Yeah. Nanjo was really into putting something out at that time. I
guess he wanted to leave something behind for posterity. He probably
was talking about that, and one thing led to another - I don't really
know that much about how the first album came to be released. Anyway,
How long did it take you to record it? Where was it
At some rehearsal studio somewhere probably. (Laughs) We don't
spend money on expensive studios or any of that shit. (Laughs)
So did you just record with one mike straight to
It was a one-point stereo mike, I think. Direct to cassette tape.
If the music is good then it doesn't really matter what kind of
tape you're using. You can use as many tracks as you like - but
if the material isn't up to par then it doesn't change a thing.
(Laughs) All it does is cost you money - money and time. Of course,
if your material is great to start off with then it might make
sense to spend money on it. I've never really understood this
whole thing about recording studios - all you're doing is making
crap material even worse. That's all they're for really, aren't
they? In the end, one-take recording is always going to be the
coolest. If you listen to our stuff you can tell that we never
Don't you record the vocals separately?
As a rule, no. Doing that totally destroys the feel of the song.
You lose any true sense of balance between the guitar and the
vocals. That was why we started off by recording direct to cassette.
We have no idea what was recorded where. (Laughs) We just picked
tracks off our rehearsal tapes for the first album.
How did you come up with the songs?
Basically, we just messed around in rehearsal until we came up with
some riffs. Whatever sounded cool we went with. At the very beginning
Nanjo would bring along various bass lines and we'd build it up from
there. Or we'd come up with a theme and jam on that. That's still
what we do now. I just play what I want and try and fit it into the
phrases. The bass lines are all fairly simple so it comes down to the
guitar. In a way, I'm almost like an arranger within the group. We
come up with the basic songs in a matter of minutes, but they evolve
constantly as we're rehearsing - and new drummers always make the
songs sound different. That's the way we've always done it. The first
album sold pretty well - we got a bit of coverage in various
magazines, like Doll and Fool's
Mate and that was probably a factor. We had
what they called a "strong style".
That's a phrase that brings back memories!
Of course no one had heard of us, so Ikeezumi had to basically
force a lot of people to buy the record. (Laughs) "If you don't
buy this you're a loser. It's great." That kind of thing. I suppose
that that evaluation of the band comes from him.
Some of the people who bought must have been shocked.
Well, it's like being hit by a hurricane . . . . .
We're used to that kind of sound now, but back then . . .
And since it was an analogue record, when we went to cut it at the
factory, the cutting needle kept slipping because there was so much
noise on there. It would keep slipping off the acetate - they told us
if we didn't reduce the levels they wouldn't be able to cut it. You
hear these records where the bass has been shoved to one side of the
mix, and they always sound really wimpy. You've got to have the bass
in the middle to get any real volume kick. We had a lot of trouble
getting it cut. But in the end we came up with something that they
told us couldn't be done.
[Ikeezumi: People who bought it made cassette copies for their
friends, and gradually word started to spread, even overseas. There
was a lot of improvisation on there, so free jazz fans got really
into it - they even seemed to be more interested in High Rise than
the rock people. We heard from people in London who were printing
fanzines, collectors, maniacs from all over the world - and they all
Obviously High Rise had played live before the record came
I think the first time we played under the name High Rise was
probably about the same time as the record came out. By that time
Takahashi had already left the band, and Ujiie had joined as our new
Where did you play first as High Rise?
At the Kido Airaku Art Hall. Then we got asked to play all over the
place - with YBO2 and Hanatarashi. We played in Osaka a few times
too. Yamatsuka bought a copy of the record and
spread the word all over Osaka for us. That's how we got in touch
with the Alchemy crowd. Just after the first album came out we
appeared on that Alchemy compilation. Renkinjitsu. That was
the first recording with Ujiie on drums. He'd been in Execute and
then had left that to join a metal band. Basically he was a hard-core
metal drummer back then. When he joined the band, the whole sense of
speed suddenly accelerated.
Yeah, there was a real change in the sound.
We suddenly got a lot faster. Like we just kept on accelerating.
That's when we really became true Psychedelic Speed Freaks. There
was a lot of confusion over what was the title and what was the
band name for the first album. We had this track called "Psychedelic
Speed Freaks", which was virtually our anthem. Anyway, in the
end we changed the name of the band, but we still play that song.
I was into motorbikes too - and that wah-fuzz sounds just like
a bike. Not like one of those Harleys that everyone's into now,
but one of the old racers with the massive acceleration. It gives
a real sense of speed. Like there's a bike roaring around in your
skull. Someone told me that every time they get on a bike the
sound reminds them of High Rise. You shouldn't listen to High
Rise when you're driving - someone else told me that it makes
them drive totally recklessly and that they almost caused an accident.
(Laughs) That was the kind of sound that we were aiming for from
the start. The music itself is totally the opposite of so-called
black (dance) that makes you feel up and positive. Our sound gradually
became something that drags you down into the dark, into closed
and dangerous directions. There's no feeling of liberation. If
I had to put a word to it, it's more like oppression and danger.
Do you aim for those kinds of feeling when you play
People talk about self-annihilation and destruction - it's something
close to that. Anyway, I'm aiming for an extreme, whether it's
a low or a high extreme doesn't matter. Though the name of the
band does have "high" in it. (Laughs)
Getting back to the sound - the first album has a drone feel to
it. There are tracks where you keeping repeating the same loop,
getting deeper and deeper into it. Then that changes on the second
album. . . . . .
Hmm. I reckon that was because of the change in drummers. The drummer
on the first album was really rock-steady. It was like he wasn't at
all suited to improvisation or anything freaky. So it sounds like I'm
just totally freaking out over this really solid drum base.<
But even if you're freaking out, there's still proper riffs,
the song structure is rock hard. It feels like the total rock `n'
But surely that's because riffs are the foundation of it all. If you
don't have them then there's no differentiation between the different
parts. Just totally going for and freaking out all the time doesn't
work, does it? Plus, we enjoy playing the riffs in and of themselves.
I totally dig riffs and rhythm guitar - they're one of my favourite
things about guitar playing. The riffs in black music, that funky
rhythm guitar - that's cool. People get at us about always playing
the same one pattern songs, but our attitude from the beginning was
that as long as it's cool it doesn't matter what you play. Of course,
we tried all sorts of different songs, but in the end we kept coming
back to that one pattern.
What else did you try?
Playing stuff slower. All I was ever thinking about was just blazing
ahead as fast as possible - so that didn't work for me.
The 3rd album, "Dispersion" , sounds like you were trying
Yeah, we tried playing slower on that album. That's one example of
the stuff we tried.
You're even playing arpeggios.
I tried playing that kind of thing, but in the end I realized that I
wasn't that suited to it. Probably because I started off playing
differently from everyone else. Even if I try to play normal rock
guitar, it always ends up sounding different - even my solos.
Everyone usually prepares their solos to a certain extent, they
basically know what phrases they're going to play. I'm not like that
at all. Of course I play something close to chords, but I never know
what phrases I'll play. It's not something you should be thinking
about. You see these guys who work in guitar shops looking all smug
as they play someone else's phrases, and they never think it's
strange. I've tried to duplicate my own phrases some times, but it
didn't work out too well.
Phrases that you'd played before?
Someone asked me to play something that I'd played before, so I tried
but it didn't come out right. They're just things that come out there
and then. We're a live band, so that's what's most interesting about
us, isn't it?
Tell us a bit about the track on Tokyo Flashback 2 that
We'd played together several times before that. That night we were
playing on the same bill at Crocodile - and as it was a special event
we thought we'd play together. We came up with the song on the spot,
using an old riff. It's a pretty easy riff, so Haino just came up
with some vocals to go over the top of it.
Is he totally improvising the words?
Yeah. We asked him to do it because we knew that he's capable of
coming up with stuff like that off the top of his head. And then he
makes us go for it even more too. It was a great night. Sometimes we
really need that kind of tension to feed off. Once you know the
songs, then that kind of tension begins to disappear. Sometimes we're
disappointed in the way we play, but it's really hard to do anything
about it when you're playing. Some people come to hear certain songs,
and some people come to hear something new and weird happening. If
push comes to shove, we'd rather cater to the latter kind of people.
After the Flashback 2 track comes the 3rd album.
Before the third album came out we had another change in the lineup.
Ujiie left the band temporarily. He left kind of suddenly and
we had to ask Yoshida (Tatsuya) to join. He was pretty busy at
the time, so he only played live with us once. Then Shimura (Katsuji)
came in to take his place. He's in White Heaven now. There's been
a lot of changes in the drummer. High Rise needs a physically
strong drummer, so it's pretty hard on them. Most normal drummers
couldn't handle playing with us. That said, it's not like the
bass and guitar have an easy time either!
Was Ujiie's leaving the reason why you stopped playing for a
time around then?
Yeah, basically. Everything was sort of uncertain. I don't worry
about stuff like that anyway. If we play, we play, if we don't we
don't. Besides, Nanjo was busy with another one of his bands. Can't
remember what I was doing. Then, just when someone asked us to play a
gig, Ujiie decided to rejoin the band.
And then you cut the third album?
We recorded that album differently from the way we'd done the
previous two. Of course, it was recorded in analogue, but what we did
was to mike all the instruments and then also record over the PA. And
we recorded it all onto a multi-track recorder. What we were aiming
for was to make it sound as live as possible. I'm pleased with the
actual sound on that record. It's got a real blurry live feel to it.
When it comes down to actually turning your sound into a
record, are you and Nanjo pretty much in agreement about how it
We have differences of opinion. Nanjo sometimes says that we should
go back to the sound of the first record - some of our older fans
want us to play that way again, but as I see it the times have
changed and the power of our performances has changed as well. Since
the second album my guitar sound is recorded just the way it comes
out of the amps. I've worked hard to get that sound, so I don't think
that there is any need to play around with it afterwards. Another
thing you have to be aware of when recording something is changes in
the way people listen to the sound, and changes in the type of
playback equipment people are going to be listening to it on. For
example, the sound on the first album is perfect for people who have
20cm woofers and big stereo systems - because that was what people
had back then. So there are these changes in the way the listeners
actually hear the sounds, and now you have smaller component systems
and more people tend to listen by themselves on headphones. So you
have got to take that kind of thing into account when you're
recording. People who are listening on CD Walkmans or MD players are
only hearing the sounds themselves, there's none of the outside
interference and air sounds you get with other types of playback. So
separation becomes even more important.
That became really apparent on "Disallow," didn't it?
Yeah, that was recorded digitally which is why it sounds different.
You can really hear the difference between digital and analogue. When
you record in analogue, it's a lot easier to balance out all the
sounds, and make it sound live. But the digital makes it sound
totally different from the live.
All the engineering and production work on that album was by
the band, wasn't it?
Yeah, Nanjo has all the gear so we used that. I checked all the
levels too myself, and fixed a lot of stuff that way.
So Nanjo engineered it?
Yeah - because it's his gear. But it's still pretty true to my
methods. I produced the second and third albums, so I get touchy if
anyone criticizes them. It's like they're criticizing me. Nanjo
produced the first album by himself.
It sounds like you've tried to highlight the vocals this
Umm. The songs have a special atmosphere to them. But I never know
what people are going to like anyway.
Does Nanjo write all the lyrics, not just on this
Yeah. I don't have any complaints about that, and I don't really
mind what he does. It's funny, but we just sort of evolved into
a rock band. I don't know how to put it . . . . . maybe his vocals
are necessary for me to be able to play my full role in the band.
Or you could say that we're like a full-course dinner - there's
a dessert, and a main course, and a starter, and all those courses
have their own separate existences. (Laughs) You can fill yourself
up on just a main course, but you've got to have a dessert to
make the whole thing work.
(Laughs) On "Disallow" it sounds like you've got back to having riffs as
the basis of the sound.
That's High Rise's style and we have no intention of changing it.
Either that or blazing full-speed ahead.
The last track, "Grab", sounds a bit different from anything
you've done before.
Yeah. There were a lot of arguments for and against that track. I
wanted to have it on the album. I wanted to show people that we can
do this too, or remind them that this is where we started from.
Are you totally improvising on that track?
Yeah. So I think it's close to what we used to do.
Do you think that the fact Pill was the drummer there was
That's true. Ujiie doesn't play that kind of thing. I guess we were
aware of that dynamic. I'd like to do something like that with Pill
Your last gig (February `96) was amazing.
We wanted it to be even better.
You weren't happy with it?
No, we had equipment problems and so on. That sort of spoilt my
impression. I couldn't believe it, that it would choose that moment
to blow up. Right in the middle of my solo. But it was fun to
fix it too. (Laughs) The pedal just gave up the ghost. I must
have changed that switch more than ten times already. I buy a
new one every time it breaks. I've got so many spares. I'll have
to go over everything more thoroughly next time. I've made my
own adjustments to my pedals - it's interesting to tinker around
I might have guessed that you'd be into electrics.
I can usually put things back together again. I guess I do have a
feel for it. I used to make radio kits. That's probably where my
interest came from. It was good learning practice for understanding
sound. Even now I fiddle around with electrical testers. I really get
into the electrical supplies shops any time I go to Akihabara, more
so than the computer shops. They're all
clustered down below the tracks - I love it in there. But there's
some things that you can't get any more. So I have to build up my own
supply. Sometimes things just blow up without any warning. I don't
think that any of my favourite transistors are still being made.
So you do all that yourself?
Yeah. I probably spend more time at home checking the electronics
than actually playing. I'm always running around with a soldering
iron in one hand. I take a lot of pains over that aspect of it.
Because I know that the way I use the equipment is likely to break
it. Though there are some things that no matter how much you tinker
with them you just can't get to work again. No one looks upon effects
pedals as being as important as I do. Mainly because no one uses them
to their full capacity. Everyone just uses one aspect of what the
pedal can do and leaves it at that.
Can you imagine a performance now where you wouldn't use any
My guitar sound isn't really that far away from the plain, unaltered
sound of the guitar. Even with the fuzz I use it on the lowest
Come to think of it, you're right.
The unaltered sound of a guitar is nice, but I don't take it as far
as saying that that's the only sound I'll use. Because you're using
electrical amplification you've already gone beyond that unaltered
sound. You get a lot of novice guitarists talking about how they
don't use any effects, straight into the amp - but so what? It might
be OK if you have phenomenal technique, but it's not going to do some
crap beginner any good at all.
You seem to have done almost everything.
I've tried most things. But that doesn't matter. What I'm doing now
is different from all of that. I'm even open to using fuzz,
everything really. In the end what it comes down to is that the
guitar is a sound that's made electronically. To me it feels
different when you starting turning it into digital though. We're
still really developing digital sound. I also think that there is a
need to be exacting when you're choosing equipment as well. You do
need that kind of knowledge now to get the sound that you want. Well,
I guess that for me at least, there's no real need for fuzz. But the
sound of those fuzz pedals . . . . . I bought a heap of them but in
the end there was only one that had a sound I liked.
How many effects pedals do you own?
I've got several wah-wahs at home. Maybe seven, from various
companies. Then I've maybe got five or six fuzz pedals.
Wow. That many?
I've tried using all of them, but I've eventually settled on the ones
I use now.
There's hardly anyone who plays like that any more.
Yeah. Recently I think more people have started using wah-wah,
haven't they? But I have no idea at all why they choose to use
it they way they do. Guys at instrument shops are always telling
me to use it that way too. I wasn't up for it so I sat down and
came up with my own way. (Laughs) If everyone follows the instruction
book then they all end up sounding the same. There's probably
even somewhere that tells you how to move your foot! Fuck off,
I'll work it out for myself. There's also a sense where I've blended
several different kinds of technique. But there's also things
that I just can't do - sometimes because of the equipment. There
are ranges where it distorts and ranges where it won't.
So you're not just putting some feedback on top of
No, that's not it. I'm not just using distortion either.
There are times when the feedback and the fuzz just lock
together into this amazingly weird sound.
Yeah. If I just wanted to get some feedback then I set everything up
differently. But when you do that the sound always turns out thin,
there's no body to it. I hate that - I suppose it's something that
bugs every guitarist. In a way it's unavoidable when you use as many
pedals as I do because their tones are all different. But everyone
has these kinds of problems.
Do you have any set pedal settings that you use?
Recently I pre-fix them to a certain extent. But if I forget to
switch them on at the right moment then I just say fuck it, and do
without. I've been trying to find a setting that'll generally work
for most things that I want to do. Any setting. If you totally fix
the setting for each song then it's like fixing the phrases you're
going to play. I like to leave it up to the moment. I don't go around
exchanging pedal settings with other guitarists. I reckon that what
I'm doing is too different to what everyone else is doing anyway.
Even when you're totally freaking out colliding into walls and
the amps, looking like you're about to fall over, your fingers and
your feet seem to be very controlled.
I just let my body go - I'm not thinking about playing something one
way or another. My hands are just moving of their own accord. But of
course I'm more careful with the pedals. If I don't move around that
much then I don't feel like jumping on all the pedals. My left foot
is generally rooted to the ground, but my right leg is all over the
place. Pretty much like I'm dancing!
On stage you go totally crazy, but the audience just sit there
totally still, clutching their DAT mikes.
Sometimes it feels like a wake. (Laughs) Even when we've finished
playing, there's never much reaction from the audience.
So you wouldn't mind if everyone started moshing like at some
alternative grunge gig?
It'd be better than them just sitting there.
So is there a difference between the way Japanese and foreign
audiences appreciate music?
People who've been to gigs abroad tell me that there's a difference.
But there's also a tendency for foreigners to look upon all Japanese
as being the same. Though of course I have no idea at all how they
hear High Rise. We were interviewed by an American fanzine and they
were coming from the Mudhoney thing. Still we do occasionally get
approached by other places.
You've never been abroad as a band, have you?
No we haven't. I really want to go but it would be complicated in
terms of equipment. I'll ask Nanjo about how things went with his
Musica Transonic tour of Europe. A lot of other bands have done their
groundwork and gone abroad, so I feel that we should be doing the
same. But I'd have to quit my job if I wanted to go on a long tour. I
reckon me and Mikawa are the only ones doing this kind of
If you were to go over to the States and play for about six
months, stuff could really start happening for the band.
That would be interesting to try - to try living there for a while. I
think the other members would be up for it. I may be getting on in
years but I'm still up for doing that kind of thing. Nanjo seems to
have various contacts abroad and there was a lot of interest in our
music, especially the early analogue LPs.
What about the more recent stuff? Is that selling?
Seems to be. Only problem is that the yen has been so strong recently
that the records have to be priced too expensively. The only real way
around that would be to put out some records abroad. I think there
are some people interested in doing that. Then fans abroad could get
hold of them much more easily. There've been a few offers, but Nanjo
deals with that side of things so I don't really know.
Someone told me that you'd been to the States and that you
played with the Dead Kennedys.
It wasn't you who went to Jello's place and . . . . .
That was Ujiie, a long time ago. He gave Jello one of our videos, and
then there was a letter from him later. Seemed that he got pretty
into it. I've never listened to the Dead Kennedys properly, so I
don't know if that's anything to get excited about.
Have you played with any other foreign bands apart from
No. Is there anyone worthy to share the stage with us? I don't listen
to much stuff so I don't know. Even for the Mudhoney gig we'd never
heard their music - they asked us to play, so we only heard their
stuff then. I'd never even heard of Sub Pop. I'd heard of Nirvana
because they were popular. But I've never listened to a Pearl Jam
record. You think I'd like them?
So you don't know anything about the current American rock
Nothing at all. I don't think I've listened to a single new record in
the last ten years. I don't even feel like I should. What we're doing
is the most important. Doesn't matter what other people are doing.
Do you go to see any gigs, recently?
Not very often. Oh yeah - I went to see Wayne Kramer. That was
the last gig I was at. I was a big fan of the MC5 up until then,
I'd buy all their records. For some reason I stopped after that
gig. (Laughs) I felt that I'd finally reached a conclusion regarding
their music. I also went to see Big Brother.
Big Brother and the Holding Company!
Yeah. Two years ago. They weren't very good at all, but it was a
great gig. It moved me.
So what kind of music do you listen to at home? Do you even
I hardly have any time. Just on the train on the way to work. I
listen to my CD Walkman. I think Faust was the last thing I listened
(Laughs) That's what you listen to on the way to work?
I buy Faust and Silver Apples and stuff like that just to listen to
as I'm commuting. I don't know - what does everyone else listen on
their Walkmen? I like Faust 4. I've stopped listening to Guru Guru
though. If I were them I'd have given up by now.
Yeah. Did they have a great impact the first time you heard
Yeah. Back when I was still in high school.
There's a definite blues base to their sound. I've stopped
listening to a lot of krautrock stuff too. What about progressive
stuff. Do you listen to much of that?
No, I've no special liking for it. But what do you mean by prog?
Gong? I only listen to their first album, "Magic Brother". That's the
only one I own. Pink Floyd? I listen to their first as well. I guess
you could say that I just don't like prog.
What about more out-there things? Do you listen to
I don't really understand noise - that's my position on it. The sound
that I get out of my amps when I have them up full has a lot of noise
in it and it's distorted to fuck. . . . . But as far as I'm concerned
it's just one more kind of sound. I guess that I must hear it
differently from people who listen to noise. I don't see any reason
why you should just separate out those sounds and listen to them.
Do you listen to any Japanese musicians?
Umm. I haven't been to any gigs for a long time. And anytime we play
with other bands, there's no one who really makes me sit up and
listen. This is going back a while, but I was really shocked the
first time I saw Kosokuya's Kaneko play. I was just totally taken
aback by his, what's the best way to put it . . . . . his
originality, I suppose.
His playing isn't as over-the-top now.
Yeah, I suppose you're right.
But he's got a unique sense of phrasing.
His phrasing is very different from other people's. There's no young
guitarists that I can think of who have something that unique.
Everyone just seems to be copying some so-called first-rank player.
And I have no absolutely no interest in Clapton etc.
There was a time when every guitarist in Japan seemed to be
influenced by either Clapton or Jeff Beck.
Yeah. Or else they just copied a blues structure. There's no one
who's really serious about what they're doing. From that point of
view, it really comes down to whether a player has originality or
not. That's the most important thing. And that's not something that
can be imitated, probably.
Is there any young guitarist who you've especially got your eye
I don't listen to enough to have a real idea. But none of the bands
we've played with left a strong impression on me. There's no one
who's made me shout, "yes, that's it!", and no one who's surprised
me. It's a shame in a way. I get a weird sense of tension when I see
someone really good play. I haven't had that feeling for a number of
years now. Yeah, it's a pity.
So there's no one who's appeared recently who's excited
Umm, that's right. No one inside or outside of Japan. Maybe it's
just because I'm getting old though. There's no one who scares
me enough to do some hard practicing. There used to be times like
that. I got that sense of tension when I saw the video of Jimi
Hendrix at Woodstock. That's the best. I
didn't get that kind of feeling when I saw Wayne Kramer play.
Too bad. I think I've probably gotten more blase as the years
have gone by. There's no one who I can honestly praise to the
skies. There's a lot of people who I should probably mention,
but to be honest with you, there's none of them who are all the
way there. But there's also a sense that I'm sitting back and
waiting for some youngster to impress me. I guess my likes and
dislikes are old-fashioned now so there'll never be anyone who'll
impress me. We're looking at a new generation with the eyes of
an older generation. Younger people obviously see and hear the
new music differently. It's sad in a way, isn't it? We're older
now and we'll never get the same sense of shock that we had back
in our teens.
Talking about thrills and excitement, there seems to be a
biking influence on your sound.
I guess that I'm a speed freak at heart. I used to think that I
wanted to go as fast as humanly possible. But I came close to death a
few times and that cooled me down. I don't like speed as much now.
There's a sense of speed from your guitar, maybe a sense of
acceleration would be the best way to put it. Especially when you
switch from riffing into a solo.
Yeah. To me if feels like the light has suddenly turned to green and
I put my foot down. Like my stomach gets left somewhere behind me. I
love that feeling. It's like you've left your brain aside and just
gone ape-shit. The music flies on ahead. And on stage when I've got
some huge amps turned up I can feel all kinds of stuff, not just the
sound of the guitar - noise and feedback and the wind from the
speakers. That's pretty close to the thrill I get from riding a bike.
There's a lot of rock musicians who are into bikes but must of them
won't bring it into their music. I think I'm just honest and let it
all come out in my sound.
Japan just doesn't have that whole outlaw biker culture, does
it? Compared to the States. That whole genre of music associated with
bikers. I don't know that much about it though.
The American thing is all Harley-based. That means that the rhythm
is slightly different. Blue Cheer and Steppenwolf are all biker
music bands. The drumming in Blue Cheer is exactly the same rhythm
as an idling Harley. That low rumble. That's the sound of a V-twin.
You slow that down and it's exactly the same as Blue Cheer. The
High Rise sound is more like a higher-pitched engine. Like the
sound of some kid who's remodeled the mufflers on his scooter.
That sound was strongest at the beginning. I mean, we've credited
the guitar as "motorcycle fuzz tone"!
Yeah, right beside your name.
Nanjo wrote that. People got really into it. But I had the same
impression. That was the kind of sound that would appear in my head
while I was playing.
Like the world seen from a speeding bike? Those kinds of
And the sound of the bike. Whenever I'd be playing I would hear
sounds in my head like I was on a bike. That's where it's coming
from. My sound comes from motorbikes, and then from living in Tokyo
where you have all this constant background noise. The underground,
the rightists' sound trucks. (laughs) The High
Rise sound comes from all of those things melded together. I've
stopped riding bikes now, but I want to do it again.
If you started riding again your sound might change
It might do. It'd be a bit different. A bit faster maybe.
Faster? But High Rise isn't just speed, is it? There's
something else there, something I can't express.
Just in terms of speed there're a million bands faster than us
- hardcore bands and so on. Our sound is totally different from
theirs, where everything is in balance. High Rise feels more like
seeing a traffic accident happen right in front of you. (Laughs)
Or someone topping themselves in front of you. That's the kind
of feeling we're going for. Metal and hardcore bands feel more
like riding a rollercoaster at a funfair, that's their world.
There's no sense of the now or reality, maybe.
If you're going to the trouble of making music then you've got to
give something to the people who hear it, or else it's meaningless.
There's got to be a shock they get from the music. Something that
makes them want to get violent. Or go crazy. That's the best kind of
music, isn't it.
Finally I'd like to ask you about your future plans. You got
some dates coming up?
Yeah. We haven't played live for a long time . . . . . I don't know
if I'll be physically capable.
What would be your ideal pace for gigs?
It'd be good if we could play once every three months. We need
that amount of rest time to get our bodies back to normal. And
to keep the music fresh. If we play gigs on consecutive days then
we end up playing on autopilot. Plus there's not enough places
for us to play. I don't think that we'll radically increase the
number of times we play. That's the just the kind of band High
Rise is. (Laughs)
If High Rise took an extended break, would you play solo or
with other bands?
If I wanted to play, then solo would be the easiest. If someone gives
me an opportunity and I don't have to think too much about it then
I'll do pretty much anything. When we play as High Rise we need a
whole van's worth of gear - I'd like to be able to play without all
that much equipment.
Do you play any other instruments? Or do any portastudio
I don't have any plans like that at the moment. I've no intention of
playing the drums again. And recording means that I have to lock
myself up in a room - though a lot of people are doing that now. If
I'm going to do something I don't want it to be a lie. I want to play
music that communicates its own truth at that particular moment in
time. Recording is always a lie. I guess that I'm going against the
flow of the times.
Does High Rise have any plans to record?
Not at the moment. At the moment Nanjo is going through all our
old tapes and some of that might be released. We used to record
all our rehearsals. There's quite a few of them where the sound
is pretty good quality and we might be able to release some of
that. With our old lineup. I especially like the stuff from around
the time that "Tokyo Flashback 1" came out. Then we also released
a couple of cassettes back then. It might be good to reissue those
I'd love to hear that. Are you ever going to reissue the first
I don't mind one way or the other. It's nothing to do with me.
(Laughs) We didn't make too many copies of that to start of with
so I suppose we should reissue it. Might piss off the collectors
though. (Laughs) All 300 of them would probably get totally pissed
Things were obviously very different back then.
There were so few records available compared to now. There's so much
more information now and you can listen to most anything you want.
Compared to twenty years ago, there's so many things that have been
reissued. It's normal now to be able to go to a big chain record
store and be able to pick up indie releases. There's even so much of
it around now that it's impossible to listen to all of it. And it's
so easy to skip tracks on CD - you can really pick and choose which
tracks you want to listen to under which conditions. There's so much
information around that it's becoming impossible to digest it all.
You go to Shibuya now and you can pick up
virtually any kind of music you want.
It's just as easy to find one kind of music as another. There's
no more differentiation between them.
The speed of information exchange is so fast now that I even feel
that people don't have the time to sit down and spend a lot of
time coming up something. They just come up with one sound and
that's the whole thing finished for them, "right we've done that",
or "someone else has already done that." Information finds a way
in, even if you don't want it. In the past, even if you were doing
something roughly the same as someone else you could follow it
through to the end. Now the flow of information is so rapid and
there's so much of it that it's no longer possible to be original.
It's like you're making music only within predefined limits.
Now people can see the end result of anything before they've
Yeah. And ultimately that's destroyed the will to start something
and run with it to the very end. Take effects pedals for example
- in the past there's wasn't much information and there was no
one who could teach you the finer points. Everyone had to experiment
and find out for themselves. Now your told where you can use it
and if you want to get this sound then you should be using this
setting. And people don't try to go beyond that. Instead of experimenting
with different sounds they just go out and buy another pedal.
There are even books that tell you what settings to use to get
a Jimi Hendrix sound. (Laughs bitterly) In the past people had
to really experiment for themselves, and that struggle gave birth
to all kinds of music. That sense of experimenting has been lost.
I feel that's what's happening to music at the moment. In Japan
now there's so much information flying around that it actually
becomes impossible to do anything - there's no time to think.
The only way you could possibly do it would be to ignore all the
information around you.
That's a choice that the consumer or listener can make - not to look. But
what does it mean for the performer, the person who's sending
out the signals, to make music in that environment?
There isn't any meaning, probably. (Laughs) That's a sort of discrimination
though. It's a difficult problem. Maybe younger people who came
to see us 6 months ago will stop coming. The speed with which
their interest moves from one thing to another is really fast.
Maybe age has nothing to do with it, maybe it's the times. I have
the feeling that most young musicians now feel that it's uncool
to keep on doing just the one thing. All we can do is try to ignore
those people. Though they obviously have their own reasons and
goals in making music. Maybe they want to communicate through
self-expression, or maybe they just want to play guitar. Then
there're people who just want to make money, and the music they
make will reflect that. Everything moves so fast now. Last year's
music is already out of date. I'd prefer to concentrate on making
something that has some universal appeal, something that isn't
tied down to time. I want to steer clear of trends. I want to
keep on making music on my terms.
Footnotes to the Narita interview
1. This interview was originally published in
Japanese in 1996 in the PSF-published magazine, G-Modern, issue 13.
The interview was conducted by Toshi Sasaki and Kuniaki Satoh, and
translated by Alan Cummings.
2. Enka has been described as the country-and-western
of Japan, but with more songs about fishermen than truck-drivers.
Nostalgic, sentimental, and overwrought, enka is a postwar phenomenon
caused to a large extent by a rural to urban population shift.
A great favourite of middle-aged men in karaoke bars.
3. Keiji Haino's original "out" unit. Vocals, sax,
piano, drums. Documented on the eponymous PSF CD and on the first
disk in the Soul's True Love 4CD retrospective set.
4. Free jazz writer and promoter, responsible for
introducing much of the European and American free movement to Japan.
For information on his role in bringing Derek Bailey and Milford
Graves to Japan see Stefan Jaworzyn's interview with Bailey in
Resonance Volume 4, Number 2. Aida died in his early thirties.
5. Legendary Tokyo venue on the second floor of an
art gallery, about two minutes walk from Modern Music in Meidaimae.
The venue was home from home for Masayuki Takayanagi in his later
years, numerous avant-garde and free jazz / noise events in the
eighties, and more recently to Che Shizu and Masayoshi Urabe etc.
Dark and spacious with a unique atmosphere, it's currently rumoured
that it may be demolished when the whole area is redeveloped. It
would be a great loss.
6. Late free altoist. Tokuma have recently
unearthed and released on CD three recordings from his classic `71
7. The doyen of free bassists. Has been playing
since the sixties, and is now best known for his astonishing work on
his 5 -string effects-heavy bass. Recent recording ("UZU") with Barre
Phillips on PSF.
8. Founding member of Japan's first free
improvisation group, Group Ongaku, in the early sixties (documented
on "Music of Group Ongaku" HEAR sound art library CD). Also founded
the Taj Mahal Travellers. Associated with Fluxus etc.
9. The original Japanese punk-psych-noise group.
Their only documented recording is on the PSF CD.
10. Documented on a tape on the Daiyon Kobo
subsidiary of Nanjo's La Musica tape label.
11. Ultra-sonic altoist. Involved in the Minor
scene from early on, played in an early incarnation of Fushitsusha
etc. A worthwhile Pataphysique CD of his work exists.
12. "Surplus value dismantling works". This event
continued monthly throughout 1980 and featured performances and
concerts. Members of Japan Fluxus such as Yasu Konishi and Fumiaki
Motome appeared. Among the musical acts were Tori Kudoh's Noise,
Michio Kadotani's Rotting Telepathies, Gaseneta, Tako, the original
Kosokuya, Keiji Haino etc.
13. Long-running psych band. Their only recordings are on
a long-gone LP, a CD on Forced Exposure, tracks on Tokyo Flashback
volumes 1 and 2, and a recent collaboration with altoist Masayoshi
Urabe, The Dark Spot, on PSF.
14. Influential Japanese "jazz" guitarist, whose
work with his New Directions Unit and many other solo and group
incarnations remain a burning inspiration. Perhaps the best
introduction to one aspect of his work can be gained through the
"Call in Question" and "Live Independence" CDs on PSF.
15. Again documented on Daiyon Kobo.
16. This series of concerts (lit. "The Lust
Citizens' Ten o'clock Theatre" - so named because they began at 10
o'clock after the main show had finished) organized by Tamio
Shiraishi, was documented on an eponymous Pinakotheca LP. The LP
featured solo tracks by Haino and Shiraishi, along with the Tori
Kudo's Machine Tango, amongst others.
17. Aoyama is an upscale area in central Tokyo
with a lot of expensive restaurants, boutiques etc.
18. The only surviving recordings from this era
of Kosokuya have been issued on two cassettes from Daiyon Kobo.
19. Tori Kudo of Maher Shalal Hash Baz "fame".
Another longtime face on the scene.
20. Both "Doll" and "Fool's Mate" are still
published. "Doll" tends to focus more on punk and big-name foreign
indie bands, while "Fool's Mate" concentrates on the big hair and
dreadful gothic romanticism of Japan's so-called "visual shock" scene
of bands like Die in Cries, Lunar Sea, Gilles de Rais and about a
zillion other painted losers.
21. Currently known as Yamantaka EYE - he
apparently changed his name on the advice of a Chinese shaman.
22. Akihabara is the large electrical goods
wholesale area of Tokyo. Legendary for all sorts of bizarre, new
gadgetry at cheap prices.
23. Narita works for a major securities company.
Mikawa for a large bank. Not exactly the most typical of underground
24. Invariably abbreviated to "Jimi Hen" in
Japanese rock circles.
25. The red-sun flag flying, gloss black trucks
mounted with massive loudspeakers that patrol the streets of Tokyo
broadcasting right-wing political polemic and old military songs at
26. Major teen centre in Tokyo on the Yamanote
loop line. Has lots of clothes, record shops etc.
HIGH RISE MAIN