Q & A
Can you share with us what had inspired you to create Mountain Research?
A small village located in the depth of mountains where anarchist or existentialist residents (who are believers/followers of individualism) carry their quiet life. And their lifestyle is like … they only make an occasional visit to town for some kind of protesting. This is my imaginary story of my mountain folks and the story is the inspiration.
We found that you started under the name General Research in 1994, but later on had it changed to Mountain Research in 2006. What made you change the name?
At some point I realized living in downtown with going out every night to clubs will take me absolutely nowhere. This “finding” made me desperate for a new playground (other than night spots) produced/created/made by our own hands which is to take me out of city into mountains where I was to focus my attention on a new research i.e. Mountain Research.
What made you focus on mountaineering garments?
I’ve always loved wearing outdoor and sport all mixed up together since my General Research period.
You and your designs are very synonym with the nature. Any particular reasons as to why the nature appeals to you so much?
I personally feel that life in a city is like living under some kind of authority’s permission who will not let me stand on my own feet whereas going out on the “wild side” to seek drinking water or to cook with open flame makes me realize that I’m living my own life thus fun.
You recently collaborated with Reebok on 2 projects; Alien Stomper & DMX Trail Shadow. Can you share with us how these projects came about and the stories behind them?
I got to know well with the Reebok team once a friend of mine started working for Reebok.
“I PERSONALLY FEEL THAT LIFE IN A CITY IS LIKE LIVING UNDER SOME KIND OF AUTHORITY’S PERMISSION WHO WILL NOT LET ME STAND ON MY OWN FEET WHEREAS GOING OUT ON THE “WILD SIDE” TO SEEK DRINKING WATER”
“I HAVE ALWAYS LIKED THIS PLACE LOCATED BY THE SMALL RIVER OF MEGURO GAWA (MEGURO RIVER). IT WAS LIKE A HIDDEN LAND OR UNEXPLORED DISTRICT WITHOUT ANY CLOTHING STORES BACK THEN”
How do you keep yourself inspired? Do you seek it or it just comes naturally?
Yes, it comes suddenly without any expectation and you only realize it because you’ve been out for it for days and nights beforehand with deep and thorough thinking. It is very much similar to trying to find the correct piece to finish up your crossword puzzle.
Why did you choose Nakameguro as the location for your store?
It’s been 25 years since I settled here with my store in May 1995. I have always liked this place located by the small river of Meguro Gawa (Meguro River). It was like a hidden land or unexplored district without any clothing stores back then despite its location so close to Daikanyama, one of the hottest Tokyo’s fashion spots.
Other than Mountain Research, are you involve with any other project or activity?
My only activity in town is motorbike riding with my 20 year old Harley Davidson XR750 (MOD).
“Anarchy in the Mountain” – care to elaborate more on this slogan?
It is one of my mountain parodies of Malcom and Vivian’s slogan that they posted during their punk era. Along with Holiday in the Mountain or Pretty Vacant in the Mountain, it’s all about an imaginary scenery where punks live in mountains.
We are sure you have your own favourite nature retreat. Care to share with us where and why it is your favourite?
Riverside location in Nakameguro where our store is and mountain retreat where we cultivated with our own hands. These two are the only spots of my favourite where we had spent and committed long span of time.
Any recommendations of good documentaries or movies that you would suggest to us?
Grateful Dead’s documentary series “Long Strange Trip” available at Amazon Prime was one the best.
We can see many elements you’ve incorporated into your works, one of it is music. Might sharing with us your favourite musicians or bands?
The Beatles, Phish, Wilco, Grateful Dead, Haruomi Hosono.
We have always enjoyed your exhibitions and most of the quotes/statements are very intriguing and interesting. Can you recommend us any good reading materials or literatures?
Henry D. Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience” and “Walking” are strongly recommended and 1are the big influences on me.
How is the current pandemic affected you and your daily routines?
Wearing a mask and quitting to go out for (socializing) dinner are some of significant changes in my personal life. As “it” is still on-going, I obviously expect that I will be forced to carry my living to cope with the pandemic though I have no vision on how. I’m just one of the billions trapped inside the chaos.
“SPEND YOUR WEEKENDS AT MALAYSIAN OUTDOORS INSTEAD OF NIGHT CLUBS AND ENJOY STAYING IN THE MOUNTAINS OR IN THE WOODS SEEING THE STARS IN YOUR HOMELAND.”
What is your thoughts on the current global situation, specifically in our industry and what you think is in store for the industry in the near future?
As commented above, I’m like a chicken running around with its head cut off without any vision on how to overcome the situation.
Any last word for us and the Mountain Research fans in Malaysia?
Spend your weekends at Malaysian outdoors instead of night clubs and enjoy staying in the mountains or in the woods seeing the stars in your homeland. I can’t wait for the day to come when Mountain Research garments/gears fit well into such Malaysian sceneries, just as we did in our home when launching the project i.e. to go and stay outdoors bringing whatever the fashion of your favourite.
Interview: Jem | Translation: Khalisa Johari | Photography: Mountain Research & Yuma Yoshitsugu | Graphic: Adrian Nunis
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