Join Date: Apr 2005
Um so can someone find the source of this biographic stuff:
Googled from http://www.eggran.com/simple/index.php?t5099.html
After starting the bands, another big change appeared in Yumiko. Her male hatred disappeared.
Her first boyfriend was an older guy at her high school. Despite having said how much dating guys made her sick, now she wasn’t able to go on without having a boyfriend. A new guy every three months. Even if a guy she just met were to say, ‘I like you,’ she would end up kissing him.
Her type at the time was ‘guitarist,’ and it seems she’s never dated anyone but guitarists. With reasons like, using the same effecter as herself, or using an amp she liked, she continued to go through guy after guy.
‘Those kinds of people are just dreamers, just guys who can’t compete in the real world, right. I’m sick of it already.’ These are the words of the transformed Ringo Shiina, but at that time this ‘dreamer’ type was her standard for coolness. It seems to have been just like a ‘modern day Sid Vicious.’
It is also around this time that she wrote her first song. It was called ‘Aozora’ (Blue Sky), and would later be the accompanying song on the ‘Honnou’ single.
This song was written as a present to a friend she had since middle school. It was to Tai-chan (possibly Taizou), who was like ‘a second brother’ to her, and who she had been dating, family and all, and she entrusted all of the things she couldn’t say in person to this song.
She felt like this guy, with good looks and popularity, had the same kind of conflict she did. However he was living his life without expressing it, and Yumiko thought he was very cool for this. Tai-chan losing his eyesight (which he later regained) was also a big factor in her writing this song. But when he heard it he said, ‘Sounds like Dreams Come True.’ Yumiko was shocked.
One time while she was performing in multiple bands, doing covers of Western music, she read the lyrics to Mariah Carey’s ‘Hero’ and felt a strong sense that something wasn’t quite right. ‘Do people normally say stuff like this? ‘‘There’s a hero inside of you,’’ kind of cold, isn’t it? I felt like I really couldn’t sing something if I couldn’t accept the lyrics myself.’
Later on even after she became Ringo Shiina, in an interview she refers to the phrase ‘My love is forever’ from an ELT (Every Little Thing – Japanese band), and casts the doubt, ‘do people really say stuff like this in real life?’
Are there really people who write ‘My love is forever’ in their diary?
Even if one were to think of such a thing in one’s own head, there are probably few Japanese people who would spit it out as ‘My love is forever.’ In other words, she means ‘those words aren’t really real.’ Yumiko hates words that aren’t real.
Also around this time Yumiko was performing solo in the Iwada-shitsu Concourse at the 西鉄 Fukuoka Station department store.
Supposedly there was a rumor, ‘there’s a girl there whose singing is just incredible.’ There are still street musicians performing in the same spot., but Ringo Shiina having performed there is becoming a legend around those parts.
During this period Yumiko does something crazy that is totally unthinkable in light of her words and actions up until now.
She applies for a talent scout caravan sponsored by Horipro and has an audition.
She makes it through the regionals, and when she appeared in the August 26, 1994 final event, she hung a picture of Mariah Carey from her neck like a necklace and sung ‘Hero,’ the song she ‘couldn’t accept,’ during the singing portion of the competition. And this 15 year old Yumiko Shiina wore a very adult, very ‘uncool one piece’ in the swimsuit segment. I’m afraid this is probably one event the current Ringo Shiina would rather forget.
So what exactly was going on in Yumiko’s mind at the time?
Later on in an interview she relates, ‘I was troubled at that time about whether to debut or not,’ but that was the purpose of the talent scout caravan. It just so happens that Sakura Uehara won the Grand Prix with her audition. Supposing Yumiko had shone brighter in the Grand Prix, perhaps she would be the same kind of ‘talent’ as Sakura Uehara is now.
In the end Yumiko didn’t make it, but her application form from the event is quite interesting.
In her self-PR she writes, ‘I don’t like to follow the bandwagon. There aren’t many Western-music fans as devoted as me. But I translate the lyrics into Japanese, cry by myself, and copy the music by ear, all in my own unique way. I really want to meet Mariah Carey.’ Not something you would expect to see on the self-PR of a girl who has come to audition.
Even so, it seems Yumiko very much wanted to meet Mariah Carey. Even if the lyrics to ‘Hero’ were ‘cold.’
And then, a person she respects, ‘Bjork,’ whom she often listened to. Talent she also liked, ‘Lisette Melendez, Shanice, Eternal, Marvin Gaye.’
Favorite subjects, ‘Gym Class, Music, Classics (language/literature), Art.’ Sports, ‘the crawl, the breaststroke (diving also),’ with swimming as her special ability.
Her hobbies, ‘Ballet, drums, guitar, oil painting, dance, and singing & playing the guitar.’
Her favorite phrase, ‘Women have to have guts.’
It seems she wasn’t cut out for being an ‘idol’ after all.
According to this profile, at the time Yumiko was ‘164cm tall,’ and weighed ‘50kg.’ Her three sizes were ‘87cm 60cm 88cm.’ Her feet were 25cm, and her eyesight was R 1.2 L 0.8. Blood type, O.
Abandoning the idol route, Yumiko pours more energy into the band route.
Yumiko leads the bands, ‘Saimin Erekigitaa’ (Hypnotic Electric Guitar), ‘Kurubushi Hisuterikku’ (Ankle Hysteric), ‘Hachioji Garibaa’ (Hachioji (the city) Gulliver), ‘Koucha Kinoko’ (Red Tea Mushroom), and ‘Uchuu Antenna’ (Space Antenna), all at the same time, all while practicing at Kurasu Studio, a rental studio, among other places. Among this is also the band ‘Marvelous Marble,’ a band she later appeared in at the Yamaha Teens Music Festival.
During the summer break of her 11th grade, Yumiko died her hair red. It seems her parents encouraged her. ‘Looks good on you.’
The first live club she performed at was ‘JAJA.’ It was in the same building as the Kurasu Studio. The place she performed the most at was ‘Veeben’ (ヴィーベン), a live club underground in the 西鉄 Bibure. At present, it is no longer there, destroyed building and all. She also performed three or four times at the Tenjin club Heartbeat.
According to the staff at Heartbeat, Yumiko Shiina was ‘a cheerful girl.’ At the time she had her hair in a bob and she often wore army clothes. Cover songs were a big part of her repertoire, and she seems to have sung Mariah Cary here, too.
The name Marvelous Marble is credited in the Special Thanks section of Ringo Shiina’s first album, ‘Muzai Moratorium.’
Ringo was set on having the initial to the album be MM, and interestingly enough this band already had the same initials. During her Marvelous Marble time, she may have been feeling that they were her ‘Muzai Moratorium’ years.
There are songs on this first album written during her time with this band. And at the same time this overlapped with her happy life this ‘tadashii machi.’ You could even say ‘tadashii’ equals ‘muzai’ and ‘happy life’ equals ‘moratorium.
Yumiko was building up experience doing live performances with bands, but she also had a full school life, too. During her 10th grade (first year of high school), she planned the choreography for the original dance number at the athletic festival, took part in the marathon (taking seventh place), among other things. One would think of her as being weak from illness, but she seems to have been surprisingly quick. She also served as a class representative.
The Yumiko who was once introverted and would be teased, ‘apple apple’ for blushing when she stood in front of others was nowhere to be found. This is how much music changed her.
With her bands, school, being a class rep., Yumiko must have been very very busy during these high school years.
In 1995 Marvelous Marble appear in the Yamaha Teens’ Music Festival. They take first place for the Fukuoka region and moved on to nationals. Sadly enough, they weren’t able to take home the national title, but they did receive an honorable mention.
Learning of the results, major production companies, starting with the same Horipro who dropped her in the auditions before, swarmed the Shiina household with telephone calls, saying, ‘Why don’t you let us produce her?’ However, Yumiko herself was fed up, saying, ‘The Horipro route is totally different from what I want to be doing.’
Likely spurred on by winning the award at the Teens’ Music Festival, Yumiko took voice training lessons for six months at the Yamaha School of Music in 西鉄, Fukuoka. Instructor Hatae was in charge of her lessons, and also had a hand in training Chisato Morishita.
Hatae’s first impression of Yumiko: ‘Anyway, I just thought, ‘this kid’s got a great voice.’ I mean, she was able to bust out 3 octaves without breaking a sweat.’ According to Hatae, there was also something special, something unique, about Yumiko’s voice. ‘It wasn’t just her register. Her voice has a special ‘color’ to it. The high notes aren’t just simply falsetto, and there is a ring in the lower notes. It was great working with her.’
The voice her parents took as being ‘dirty,’ Hatae took as being ‘unique.’ A difference of perception.
Yumiko was a good student who was serious about her lessons, and often asked for extra advice. But there were also times when she opened up with her troubles. ‘Nobody around me accepts me.’ However, being timid at times, she would soon turn calm herself and turn positive again. Being both timid and forward-looking is reminiscent of the later Ringo Shiina, ‘an artist constantly contradiction herself.’
As Yumiko gained attention in her bands, events that would corner her began to increase.
‘That was the age when I realized the people around me regarded me as a heretic. I think it was the first time in my life I had so many problems. Like, if I was in the newspaper for something or other, my teachers’ attitude(s – teacher/teachers – not clear) would change or something. When I started playing at clubs, there would be guys I’d never even met before claiming, ‘Yeah, I used to go out with her.’ There was a lot of stuff, but if I got started down the list I don’t think I’d be able to quit.’
Fed up with the nuisance, Yumiko wanted to drop out of high school and start to concentrate fully on her music. She wanted to practice more so she could continue with her music for real. In her mind, there was no way to combine that with schooling.
‘I want to drop out of high school and devote myself to music.’
It seems her mother didn’t object to her wishes in the least.
‘If you really want to do music, then go ahead and do it.’
When this came up, her mother confided in the mother of one of Yumiko’s classmates, saying ‘What am I supposed to do. Once she gets an idea in her head, she doesn’t give up.’
Gaining the understanding of her mother, her decision to quit school was fixed.
However, a friend held her back, saying, ‘at least wait until after the class fieldtrip, okay?’ And on top of this, right around the time she decided to quit school, she was hospitalized due to illness and was unable to go to school anymore.
‘I wanna’ go to school.’ If you can’t go anymore, that’s when you want to go.
Thanks to a monotonous and boring time in the hospital, she completely forgot about her decision to drop out.
After being released from the hospital, she found school fun again, and also had her hands full with supplementary lessons in the mornings, extracurricular lessons, and club activities.
And of course, she had a good time on the class fieldtrip.
Before she knew it, her decision to drop out of school and pursue music full time disappeared, too.
She also started thinking about moving on to college.
She even talked with a friend, saying ‘I think I want to go to a school that has a broadcast department.’ Her choice of the broadcast department was due to the fact that she belonged to the broadcast club at school.
However, at the opening ceremony of the third quarter of the 11th grade, Yumiko’s feelings changed big time.
At the beginning of the ceremony, the principal spoke: ‘Everyone, let’s go to Kyushu University, not Fukuoka University!’
In Fukuoka, where they were, the level of the public Kyushu University was said to be higher than that of the private Fukuoka University, and her school was a prominent stepping-stone (prep) school. He may have just been urging the students on, as principal (students going to a better college is better for the high school’s image), but when Yumiko heard this, she suddenly flew off the handle.
‘You should be able to go anywhere you want, whatever school it is! I don’t need to go to college! I’ll get a job and show you!’
The trauma, where she thought ‘I can’t go on living unless I find a profession,’ which had been dormant since middle school, suddenly rose back up again. During middle school she didn’t have a definite goal for her ‘profession,’ but now, in the 11th grade, Yumiko had the ‘profession’ of a being in a ‘band’ in her hand.
Angered at the principal’s comments, Yumiko spouted, ‘It’s totalitarianism! It’s so ‘Great Japanese Empire’!’ and settled on the resolution, ‘I’m gonna’ quit after all!’ This was Yumiko’s final defiance towards her teacher, who had convinced her not to drop out and even got her thinking about college.
‘I’m gonna’ sing back-up for Mariah Carey. Just you watch!’
After all, Yumiko was a big Mariah Carey fan. And a compulsive one at that.
At the end of the third quarter, 11th grade, she turned in her letter of intent to withdraw, and proceeded to leave school. The year was 1996. Of course, her education-minded father was furious. He was, however, unable to change her mind.
Having dropped out of school, Yumiko got a job to pay for her studio rental fees. She had a job baking pizzas at ‘Pizza Cook Fujisaki,’ a chain home-delivery pizza joint near her home. She found this by searching in ‘Daily an,’ and she got \680 an hour, working seven hours per day.
‘I just really wanted to work. Thinking back on it, maybe I just wanted to be out of the house.’ Her choice of a pizza parlor may have been influenced by the song by Blankey Jet City (one of her favorite bands), ‘Pink no wakai buta’ (‘A young pink pig’). In it is the line, ‘Pizaya no kanojo’ (pizza joint chick), and later on she sings ‘ピザ屋の彼女になってみたい’ (I wanna’ try being a pizza joint chick) in the song ‘Marunouchi Sadistic.’
At the time, she had a female co-worker at Pizza Cook whom she often went to clubs with, but this woman relates the following about Yumiko: ‘She was real serious about her dream to become a pro musician, so it was kind of hard to just lightheartedly invite her to go out to clubs.’
Upon hearing about Yumiko’s success at the Teens’ Music Festival, she says, ‘Doesn’t surprise me, knowing Yumiko.’ This is how ‘serious’ Yumiko’s dedication was towards her music. But what could Yumiko have been thinking as she made pizzas on the assembly line?
Yumiko had quit school, but she often showed her face after school, at the music club. She also used the broadcast club’s equipment to make demo tapes.
Now focused on her bands, she re-listened to Todd Lundgren, Led Zeppelin, and the Beatles’ ‘White Album.’ She was blown away.
‘This is so new!’
This was probably the influence of her guitarist boyfriend at the time. A girl who listens to the Chili Peppers or Rage doesn’t just switch to Todd Lundgren all of a sudden. And I doubt she would listen to the ‘White Album’ all over.
It is a well known fact that the hit song ‘Koko de Kiss Shite’ was written during her time with Marvelous Marble.
Supposedly it didn’t go over too well with her band mates. The people in another band she was leading, ‘Hypnotic Electric Guitar,’ were also against performing the song.
‘They totally made fun of me, like ‘this might accidentally sell!’ or ‘this is hella’ catchy!’ or like ‘Just because you write it doesn’t mean you should play it.’
It’s funny that the word ‘sell’ was a way of putting the song down. For amateur bands, the catchy-ness like that of mainstream music was commercial and therefore not good.
Hypnotic Electric Guitar was a punk band, so they told Yumiko, we gotta’ do something more edgy.
Among those band members was also Yumiko’s boyfriend at the time. He was embarrassed about being the guy in the song, which is probably why he didn’t want to play it. How childish.
He supposedly said, ‘If you sing that around here, people are gonna’ know!’
Seemingly, Yumiko’s hatred for males was cured, but on the inside, she was also trying to eliminate the ‘female-ness.’ As best she could, she tried not to wear clothes that were ‘girly.’ She had her hair red, very punk, and didn’t wear skirts.
In other words, any guy who would go out with her, pants, bright red hair, and all, was accepting ‘something besides the female-ness’ in her. This was her way of thinking. Her look, with the pants and red hair, was like her armor in a sense. Only guys who could accept the parts other than the female ones were allowed to get close to her.
However, even though she was eliminating all things female from her outward appearance, she also played up to the guys she was dating.
‘I’d just make up a character that I think the person would like. I’d play out different characters for different people, and I just got worn out.’
A barren love. Even while rejecting the ‘female-ness’ inside of her, there is a part of her that tries to get people to like her. While there is tough armor on the outside, on the inside is a ‘weak body of flesh and blood.’
A mental conflict. An unstable mental state. Yumiko supposedly gets angrier and angrier with her boyfriends.
Yumiko appeared in a five person band in the 1996 Japan Music Quest, Fukuoka Convention. This event would lead to her change of gear from part of a band to solo artist.
The director of Music Quest found the musical scores Yumiko had written in order to teach the other band members their parts. At this time, Yumiko was a one-person-music-making-machine, teaching the other members their parts. The drummer how to drum the drum part, the bassist how to play the bass part.
‘The image of the whole arrangement put together would come to me at the same time as the song, right from the beginning. It’s just that, I didn’t think of doing a multiplex recording. I just had to take the material to the other band members and express it to them somehow, so I wrote the scores. Going over things again and again, no one followed along, so I’d just write the whole thing down for them.’
A total one-person-music-making-machine. Seeing the scores, with the tab scores and music sheets, the director was astounded, and gathered the band together for a talk. ‘She’s doing all of this on her own, but going on with this band like this, Yumiko can never advance beyond the level you guys are at now. If she was on her own, she could possibly aim a lot higher.’ He persuaded Yumiko to go solo. The five band members, all good friends, couldn’t help but break out in tears at the words of the director.
However, they couldn’t go on crying forever. For her ‘profession,’ she resolved to go ahead and make music her life. And upon finally being accepted, recognized like this, she all of a sudden became really motivated. ‘If I have the talent to get this far and do this much, I have no choice but to keep going!’ Following the advice of the director, Yumiko went solo for the Music Quest finals. The song she sang, the song rejected by her fellow band members, a song that would go on to be a huge hit, ‘Koko De Kiss Shite.’
Yumiko took the Award of Excellence.
However, even at this time, Yumiko was playing up to the tastes of the ‘other.’ Just as she made up characters to please her boyfriends, she made up a character that would please the judges.
This character was none other than ‘Ringo Shiina.’
Yumiko appeared in the finals under the name ‘Ringo Shiina.’ However, at this time Ringo Shiina was actually ‘hollow,’ for ‘Ringo Shiina’ was simply a character created to win over the judges. This character was able to walk on its own, but the person herself was really empty on the inside. It has to be impossible to go on like that. She even thought so herself.
And once again Yumiko felt leery about the male point of view. This is because of the judge’s comments: ‘For being 17, she has quite a sexiness about her, a coquettish attraction.’ Yumiko was furious when she saw an evaluation of her in a music magazine that read ‘she has a boyish sexiness.’
‘I was like, this is so rude, so messed up. All the things I didn’t want to be noticed for, all of the things I didn’t even try to do I guess, that’s what they picked out, and it was really unnerving. The male point of view, it was just so dirty, or like, it made me sick. Like, even though I got all those votes, they’re all from guys like that, that’s all they see in me. Women aren’t worth anything at all and stuff.’
To Yumiko, just having it pointed out that she is a woman meant that she was being judged one level below everyone else.
But with winning the award, her debut was set in stone. Toshiba EMI would be her record company. She says that she settled on Toshiba EMI as her label because her idols, the band Blankey Jet City, were under the same record label.
‘Blankey Jet City, Original Love, the Beatles, etc., that’s about the ratio of why I went with EMI.’
But she would soon face disappointment with EMI. Almost impossible to believe, the staff assigned to her were people who had never even heard of Spitz (http://www.universal-music.co.jp/pol...itz/index.html ) or Elephant Kashimashi (http://www.faith-group.co.jp/ElephantKashimashi/ ).
And on top of that, they criticized her songs, going down the list of everything she had written before then. Having the lyrics to ‘Tadashii Machi,’ the song that would be her first single, disparaged, Yumiko broke into tears in the meeting room.
‘Why did they have to say stuff like that? This isn’t how I wanted it to be!’
The EMI staff said things like, ‘The lyrics are negative, they’re not right for a single,’ ‘you’ll never sell,’ and so on, driving Yumiko into a corner. Before the release she came to hate everything. ‘Things are already set as far as the album coming out. But I just might quit after that.’
Living alone in Tokyo, working at a record store in Ueno, Yumiko spent her days in a depression. And her inferiority complex was intensified by Takashi Taniguchi （谷口崇 fan site:
http://www.geocities.co.jp/Broadway/7104/everythi.html ）, a Fukuoka native who took the Grand Prix at the same Music Quest finals.
‘My everyday troubles become my music. Like a diary or something. But I thought Takashi was a real genius, saying stuff like, ‘It ain’t cool to write about your personal life in your lyrics.’
Yumiko and Taniguchi had been in the same band, Uchuu Antenna (Space Antenna, also listed in the ‘Thanks’ section of the ‘MM’ booklet) in Fukuoka, but they had very different predispositions. It was a big, and yet typical, difference, the difference between male and female artists.
Even among novelists, there is a strong tendency for female writers to draw upon personal experience for material, while male writers tend to construct careful and detailed fictional worlds. Although it was nothing more than a difference of what nature gave them, Yumiko was tormented by this.
It wasn’t only competent male artists that tended to aggravate her inferiority complex. Yumiko also held feelings of inferiority towards the band Heart Bazaar. Satsuki Ishii, who writes their lyrics, once said to Yumiko, ‘I had an inferiority complex towards you,’ which very much perplexed Yumiko. For, in Yumiko’s way of thinking, Satsuki Ishii, as a musician and as a person who wrote lyrics, and who was born in the most ideal environment, was a presence that stirred up her own feelings of inferiority.
Yumiko felt that she was in too happy of an environment, whereas the female Satsuki Ishii had no father, was constantly alone, and was quite an awkward girl growing up. Yumiko thought that what people who grow up in that kind of environment express was ‘easier to accept.’
‘That’s an environment that anyone would affirm. And her lyrics are just so good, too. She writes stuff I could never write. I cry just from humming the tunes.’
Yumiko seems to think that, ‘an unhappy childhood is inseparable from an artist’s talent.’ This is simply her subjective impression, and surely just being unhappy isn’t the key. But for Yumiko, coming from ‘tadashii machi’ with her ‘happy life,’ she was unbearably jealous.
From January to March of 1997, Yumiko Shiina did a home stay with a regular family in London England. The family she was staying with was a mother and child family. She made a friend who was a vegetarian and through that influence she started drinking soy milk, and has been into it ever since.
The reason Yumiko went to England was a manifestation of her complete denial of her 'Japanese self.' However, just the opposite, she ended up gaining self-confidence in England. She rediscovers the groove of Japanese, and found the ability to affirm herself as Yumiko Shiina, a Japanese person. She discovered her own charm and how to best express it, and learned from the experience.
Even though she was in England, she was in no way separated from music.
She took in a ton of shows, and was writing songs everyday, tinkering with the piano they had at the house. It was a refreshing experience for her.
The piano was old and way out of tune, but Yumiko liked the nice antiquated sound. She supposedly got interested in the piano again, after a long hiatus. In this environment she supposedly was able to write a lot of music and a lot of lyrics.
During this period there was an interesting episode. While she was in London, she got a message from home. 'I got a message from the mother of one of your friends here at home, she said 'Yumiko's out under the name Bonnie Pink!' Is this true?'
Of course, Bonnie Pink isn't Yumiko Shiina. However, at the time Yumiko had short red hair, and a similar mole near her mouth, so it's not a stretch to say they looked alike.
Yumiko had her mother send her Bonnie Pink's CD from Japan. She liked her music. And she was also relieved that the music was different than the music she was writing herself. 'I was making songs that didn't sound like her style, so I could get by without worrying. I was totally okay. Like I had my own stuff. I was like, Bonnie Pink would never say anything like 'Kabuki-chou no Joou.''
Nope, she wouldn't. She has a sophisticated sound, singing 'Heaven's Kitchen.' And later she would sing in Japanese, but the fact that she mostly sung in English was a big something that differentiated her from Yumiko.
You could say that Bonnie Pink was shouldering a part of the 'Shibuya-kei' image. To rebel against that, Yumiko thought of the catch copy 'Shinjuku-kei.' Yumiko thought that even if she was fashionable, it probably wouldn't suit her anyway.
The way she sang 'Kabukichou no Joou' also changed.
On the demo tape of this song, Yumiko was already singing with rolled r's.
And also, she ultimately succeeded in accepting her own self.
'In high school, I was able to look on the bright side of things and stop thinking like, I just hate myself, and I was able to clear up the things I was neglecting. It was like, I was just able to accept that I am the way I am.'
This was a totally normally growth process for her during this time. And she knew it, too.
'Ya' know, it's like just a normal part of adolescence. Securing your identity, and stuff.'
If Yumiko had been collecting minus 'complex' cards up until then, this time in England enabled her to just flip over all of those cards to pluses.
During her time in England, Yumiko Shiina died a death.
And then she came back to life, and opened her eyes.
As Ringo Shiina.
(cut three lines)
When she opened her eyes on the asphalt, Yumiko Shiina had transformed into Ringo Shiina.
Ringo, the Shinjuku-kei Self-Writer Self-Performer.
Ringo (apple) conjures up a lot of different images.
The 'fruit of knowledge' apple that corrupted Adam and Eve.
The poisoned apple that put Snow White to sleep.
The apple that helped Newton discover gravity.
The apple from the apple cider that kids in America make.
The apple from Apple, the record company formed by the Beatles.
Ringo, from the Beatles.
Ringo says that she named herself Ringo because she was a fan of Ringo Starr. And because she was really shy, her cheeks getting bright red like an apple. And she also states, 'People in England could pronounce it, too.' But there is something even more interesting. 'I wanted people to say 'That's your name? What're you, stupid?' This is a good example of her sense of humor that's not pointed out very often.
(cut out a few pages, then a section on her feelings about the music industry after her debut single, Koufukuron)
Her first single was 'Koufukuron,' but she seems to have been thinking about releasing either 'Keikoku (Warning)' from Muzai Moratorium, or 'Gibusu (Cast),' a song that would later go on to be a big hit.
''Gibusu' was a song from my early days, and I thought it was a really honest, pure song. I just kind of thought it would be perfect. Maybe that if I debuted with 'Koufukuron' that I would have this stigma of being this warped chick. Like suddenly throwing a curve ball, or like I was just fronting like a goody-two-shoes saying hello and stuff.'
Ringo Shiina seems to be constantly thinking of how she wants to be seen.
She even states that debuting with 'Koufukuron' or debuting with 'Gibusu,' 'My status after that would have been totally different.' She also says in another interview that the coupling song 'Suberidai (Slide),' or even 'Kabukichou no Joou' would have been good for her debut single.
At any rate, in other words Ringo Shiina herself didn't have her heart in releasing 'Koufukuron' first.
'To tell the truth, that was a demo tape. I recorded it a long time ago, and I just had it for submitting at the business meetings.'
If she could have had it her way, she would have liked to record it differently, but at the time, the director at EMI, who wasn't on the same wavelength as her, threw up a go-sign and 'Koufukuron' was released that way.
(she got a new staff from about the time of the Koufukuron promotion and things started to change for the better)
(while Koufukuron was a positive song for her, she balanced that out by lamenting with Suberidai on the same single)
September 9, 1998, the release of the second single, 'Kabukichou no Joou.'
Staying faithful to her self-made 'Shinjuku-kei Self-Writer
Self-Performer' label, this single is total fiction, a made up character, in contrast with the relatively straight forward experience of love on Koufukuron.
Right when she came out to Tokyo, she seems to have been approached many many times for omizu jobs (hostess clubs, etc). Among this was a very persistent scout for an S&M club, and even when she flatly rejected him,
'There's no way I would do anything like that!' he supposedly tried desperately to hand her a business card. Maybe that scout felt that her spunk in rejecting him was very Queen(dominatrix)-like. He told her, 'You could be a 'Queen' right away, baby.' Having also had lots of similar experiences in Fukuoka, she wrote 'Kabukichou no Joou' on the way home from work, inside the train.
'Right now somewhere in the world, I'm sure there are people in there bloom, I just think they are so great. I mean, they're like that because they are prepared to have people see them deteriorate. Gracefully.'
People deteriorate, and they also die one day. So, Ringo says that she has to think of herself as a woman, this inescapable fact, as being happy.
The Yumiko, hating herself for being 'female,' is nowhere to be seen.
(cut out section on Unconditional Love song)
(during a radio interview, the interviewer said 'You've got a ghost writer, haven't you. You don't really write your own stuff,' and Ringo was infuriated)
On October 7, Ryoko Hirosue's single 'Jeans' was released. 'Private,' the coupling song on this single, was written by Ringo Shiina. The credits for the song, music and lyrics, are 'Ringo Shiina' (in katakana not kanji).
According to Ringo, in the beginning 'I just wanted to test myself as a professional songwriter.'
At that time, she was troubled, wondering if she was really a pro, or maybe that she really didn't have any talent as a pro at all. So she wanted to see if she could write a song to order.
'If I was asked to write a certain kind of song, I just wondered if I really could. I did work for Rie Tomosaka and Ryoko Hirosue and everything, but I ended up really liking them in the process, so writing the songs was no problem at all.'
(she connected with Hirosue and they seem to think similarly)