Plank's Roland Factory Tour 2000 - Hamatsu Japan / Taiwan

Started by Elantric, May 17, 2011, 04:29:56 PM

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Fantastic.  I wasn't aware they made a VGA-7 amp with a hex-in and processing onboard - unreal!   

Great tour description and pictures.
My music projects online at

GK Devices:  Roland VG-99, Boss GP-10, Boss SY-1000.


thanks for finding that again... 8)
must've been years ago I fell over it somewhere..good to see the pics again!
Read slower!!!   ....I'm typing as fast as I can...


Good site with a History of Roland and pics of the official Roland Synth Museum in Japan

Posted on November 2, 2012 by Joe Stachowiak

Recently our Sales Director, Andy Legg, was lucky enough to visit the amazing Roland Museum in Japan, where he came into contact with a LOAD of classic Roland gear! Knowing that we would all be very jealous, he instinctively whipped out his camera phone and began taking snaps! We thought that you might also be interested to see some of the vintage treasures that he came across, so sit back, relax and enjoy...

However, let's start by introducing the history of the now famous Roland brand before we begin stepping through time and looking at gear!

Ikutaro Kakehashi was born in 1930 and was just two years old when both his parents died from tuberculosis. He spent most of his childhood living in Osaka, Japan and when he got older, he studied mechanical engineering whilst working in the Hitachi shipyards, where Japan's Midget suicide submarines were built.

Following World War II, Kakehashi failed to get into university on health grounds and so he moved to the Japanese island of Kyushu, where he became a geographical survey assistant. At the time he was just 16 years old, but as a natural entrepreneur, he noticed that there was great demand for repairing existing timepieces as there was no watch or clock industry in Japan following the war.

Interestingly enough, many now-famous musical companies were once related to clocks in some way! Torakusu Yamaha was also working as a watch repairer around the same time (no prizes for guessing what he went on to do) and the Hammond Organ Company was originally a small part of the Hammond Clock Company! Also, what do you think of when someone says Casio? Clocks and keyboards? Crazy!

Anyway, Kakehashi soon managed to get a part-time job with a watch repair business, but was soon asked to leave when he demanded to be taught the trade within the space of a few months rather than going through the usual seven-year apprenticeship! Despite the set-back Kakehashi was not put off so he went out and bought a book on watch repair and taught himself the skills that he needed before setting up his own business, the Kakehashi Watch Shop.

His business soon became very successful but Kakehashi was always keen to push himself and further his knowledge, so having taught himself the basics of how a radio works, he branched out and began to repair broken radios as well as watches and clocks, all-the-while working as an agricultural worker for extra income!!!

After four years of living in this way, Kakehashi liquidated the business to fund his entry into university back in Osaka. Having already achieved all of this, it's easy to forget that he was still only 20 years old!

Unfortunately, before his plans took full shape, Kakehashi contracted tuberculosis in both lungs and so was quickly admitted to hospital, where his ill health stranded him for a number of years. As treatment cost money, he soon found that the wealth that he had built-up was depleted and he no longer had the funds to enter university.

Again, this latest set-back would have put a temporary stop to most people's ambitions, but not Kakehashi's! Whilst in hospital he started up a mini-business by repairing watches and radios for staff and other patients.

Such was his health that Kakehashi had now been in hospital for 3 years and despite keeping himself busy with small personal inventions, his condition was becoming worse. Due to these circumstances, Kakehashi was selected as a guinea-pig to test a new drug, Streptomycin. This proved a stroke of luck, as within a year, his health had improved so much that he was able to leave the hospital! Had he not been selected and with deteriorating health, it is highly likely that the 'Roland' company would never have existed as the drug was very expensive and out of reach for most people, including Kakehashi.

In 1954 and struggling to find a job, Kakehashi opened his own electrical goods and repair shop, which quickly became very successful. However, in 1955 he decided that he also wanted to begin developing electronic musical instruments that could produce simple monophonic melodies.

Kakehashi originally attempted built his own Theremin, but soon found that it was extremely difficult to master (try playing the one on demo in our store and you're likely to agree with him)! Noting that the Theremin was probably not going to have huge commercial success, Kakehashi now became interested in creating an instrument with playable notes, so he set his inventive mind to it and created a four-octave organ using bits of telephones and transistor oscillators amongst other things! However, this original prototype did not sound quite as he had envisaged and so it was never mass produced.

Despite dabbling in other areas such as guitar amplification, Kakehashi ploughed on with his interest in organs and in 1960 (a year that he rebranded his company as Ace Electronic Industries or 'Ace Tone'), he designed an organ that became the Technics SX-601, having been recommended to the owner of Technics via a friend of a friend. Ace Electronic Industries was now up and running and in 1963, they added guitar amps to their product range, but Kakehashi was quickly becoming interested in electro-mechanical percussion instruments.

In 1964, Kakehashi built the Ace Electronics R1 Rhythm Ace and decided to take it along to the NAMM show in Chicago, along with a monophonic instrument called the Canary. Unfortunately for Kakehashi, despite receiving interest, he did not receive any distribution deals.

He had been knocked back again, but once again, he just got right back up, improving the R1 by adding pre-programmed patterns with the addition of a diode matrix that determined the position of each instrument in the pattern. This upgrade was released with the FR-1 Rhythm Ace, which was introduced in 1967 and the technology was snapped up by the Hammond Organ Company and featured on their latest organs.

Over the next few years, Ace grew and grew, working closely with Hammond and the company, under Kakehashi's guidance, designed a number of new guitar amps, effects units, rhythm machines and combo organs, which included their TOP range and the dual-manual GT-7.

In 1971 Kakehashi helped develop the Piper Organ, which was the world's first single-manual organ to incorporate a rhythm accompaniment unit and it went on to become one of Hammond's most popular products EVER!

As Ace grew, so it became more and more attractive to investors and as such, Kakehashi eventually became a minority shareholder in his own company! However, for many years this was not a problem as the majority shareholder, Kazuo Sakata of Sakata Shokaim, also shared an interest in organs and the two got on well. However, things did not stay so rosey forever...

When an industrial company, Sumitomo Chemical, bought Sakata Shokai, they also acquired Ace, but having no understanding or interest in Kakehashi's work, he soon decided to resign from his own company having found working together intolerable. And so it was, in 1972 he walked out on the business that he built up and that was now turning over nearly $40 million per year. Another set-back... or was it?

One month after leaving Ace, on 18th April 1972, Kakehashi set up another business and one that you may have heard of - it was called 'Roland Corporation'. Knowing his quality, having worked alongside him for years, the Hammond Organ Company immediately put in an offer for a 60% shareholding stake, but Kakehashi had learned his lesson and had no plans to be a minority shareholder in his own business again, so he decided to go on on his own, using his own money to fund the business.

Kakehashi rented a shed and employed seven staff that had also left Ace Electronics. Using his reputation, Kakehashi manage to convince parts suppliers to offer 90-day payment terms and then aimed to design, build and export a rhythm unit before the bills were due and the 'money-people' came knocking on his door! So there you have it - Roland actually began life in a shed!!!

The decision to export was a clever move by Kakehashi. Yamaha and Kawai had built up huge reputations and were now dominating the Japanese music market. With such competition Roland would have found it nigh-on impossible to earn enough money to survive, despite Kakehashi's drive and ambition.

Kakehashi set out on his travels, firstly to Canada, then to New York and also to Denmark (where he spoke to a company with subsidiaries in the UK, Switzerland and Germany). His intention was to get orders for a rhythm machine based on his reputation and ideas because as of yet, no Roland product existed! In the end he managed to obtain a small number of orders from each company and so he now had the money to fund the design and build processes.

Roland's first ever product was the TR-77, a rhythm-box that allowed you to merge patterns, had independent volume controls for each instrument, plus two- and four-beat patterns and a fade-out feature. Also in this range (and released a little later) were the TR-55, which had a tabletop design, and the TR-33, which had a cut-out body shape for mounting underneath a piano or organ.

Along with the TR- rhythm boxes, Roland also developed a number of effect units, the first being the AF-100 Bee Baa (a fuzz box with four knobs on the rear panel) and the AS-1 Sustainer.

Over the next few years, Roland grew and grew, expanding their range as they went. They produced Japan's first synthesiser, the SH-1000 and are now known as one of the world's leading music companies, having designed and manufactured a number of instruments that have rightly earned the status of 'legendary' - think of the amazing Jupiter-8 analogue synthesiser, which is still considered by many to be one of the best synths ever made and has been immortalised by Arturia as a software instrument, the TB-303, which helped kick start Rave music with that famous Acid sound, the TR-808 and TR-909 drum machines, samples of which you will still hear in many chart tracks today, and their amazing modern TD electronic drum kits, plus loads more.

Now, let's take a journey through time and drool over a selection of their classic instruments...

Let's start with the Roland Slogans, which are displayed on a plaque in the museum. Just in case you can't make them out because of the reflecting light (and you can't read Japanese!), the plaque reads:

"Inspire the Enjoyment of Creativity."

"Be the BEST rather than the BIGGEST."

"The Roland Family - Cooperative Enthusiasm."


That is a good read.

I have an old Ace Tone Fuzz Master FM-2 that I bought back in the early 70's from my friend's brother who was playing bass in a band called Mariah as they were getting started. I paid $5 for it 'cuz it only worked intermittently, but it just had a bad foot switch so it turned out to be a good buy. It's really a nice fuzz if you like 'em wild! The VG-99 OCT Fuzz in the OD/DS effects is a stripped down model of it or a sibling.


Thanks for the link Elantric...
...I love the original tour though, with pictures of Roland employees when they used to smile....    :D
Read slower!!!   ....I'm typing as fast as I can...


Quote from: gumbo on December 28, 2012, 03:00:52 PM
...I love the original tour though, with pictures of Roland employees when they used to smile....    :D

Roland is the master of V-everything... V-Guitar, V-Piano, V-Drums, V-Accordion,..., V-Smiles  ;D


Read slower!!!   ....I'm typing as fast as I can...


Link to a free online magazine in English all about Japan - for those who want to plan a tour, or understand the Japanese culture of our Vguitar pedals


Plank's Roland Factory Tour 2000 -  Hamatsu Japan / Taiwan :


Fly from London Heathrow to Hong Kong. Although I had already flown down from Manchester. Change to the flight to Taiwan's New Taipei Airport.

11 hours non-stop with out a cig is NOT my idea of a good time. Yes I know I said that there was a hour in Hong Kong, but that new airport is also no smoking,(ARRRRRRGGGGGHHHH) my last cig was back in London about 12/13 hours ago. So all in all, it adds up to around 14/15 hours before any of us on this trip get to smoke. And what makes it more sad is the fact that if you look at your watch, it looks like even more time has gone by as all our watches have been set ahead by 8 HOURS, so your body feels like it's been 22/23 hours since it's last in take of nicotine. But "OH WHAT JOY!", upon finding our bags and heading for the exit to meet the coach to take us to the hotel, 6 of us RUN, and I mean RUN to the exit out side for a cig. Only to be hit by the heat of the night air.

Now you must understand that I am from England, and the North West of England at that. Heat is not something that I like at the best of times, the heat up where I am from is nothing like this, it was like running into a brick wall, full speed, head-on!. But it was like being back at school, the first cig in nearly 24 hours, now I am not sure if what happened next was down to the heat, the long time since my last cig or the flights, but all of us smokers were all walking and falling all over the place as if we had just had our FIRST cig EVER, it was a high, your head goes very, very light, you feel drunk, even more so if you smoke that cig in about one min. flat.

1 hour later we were in the centre of Taipei for a meal and some beer, then on to the hotel for even more beer.

Date line is now MONDAY, 4th SEPT. around 8 P.M. at the restaurant, do not remember much after that, apart from the fact that the 'HARD ROCK CAFE' is next door to our hotel, and I do mean RIGHT NEXT DOOR.


Now I am what most people would call a musician, that is I do not know that there are two 6:30's in a day, as for the one in the AM, that is the time I'll normally go to bed, NOT GET UP!. And I'm still recovering from the night before, Taiwan Beer for the first time is something strange, to me it's much like Bud. But this stuff comes in bottles 3 times the size of Bud. And it IS a lot stronger.

First stop on the tour is at the RTC Factory, [see photo 1]

(Roland Taiwan Electronic Music Corp.). It is so strange to see this place for the first time, it's not what you think it would look like. It's small, and I do not mean that in a bad way at all. It's that I always imagined it to be a big spiralling site in some out of the way Industrial Park in the countryside or on the out skirts of a city.

Boss pedals are made by hand, yes 'BY HAND',

[photo 2]

we were soon to find out why all Roland and Boss gear is so reliable. They do not use a 'Batch Test' on parts that they use, ALL parts are tested, every single one, so NO duff parts ever get through the system and onto the production line. Now we know why they can offer the 3 and 5 year warranties.

In this same plant all the KC amps are made(all the amp cases and all of the amp it's self), and now the VGA-7's as well

[photo 3]

, they are then shipped to Japan to meet the amp cabs and speakers for final assembly.

It's amazing to find out that so much of the boards on things like the GT-5/GT-5 is all hand made, the chips that we are so used to seeing being fitted by computer controlled machines is done by hand at Roland and Boss, this includes the big main and smaller chips on the board,

[photo 4+5].

Each and every Boss pedal is tested by hand before being passed on to the packing line

[photo 6].

Even the Compact pedals cases are put together by hand

[photo 7],

the only part which uses a machine is where the bottom of the case is screwed to the main case after testing, this machine loads 4 screws at a time onto 4 air driven screwdrivers, and then screws on the bottom plate, the pedal and base are loaded and removed by hand, this was the ONLY form of automation I saw at this plant.

As the pedals are getting ready to go in the box's we all see them in at the shops, just think on this as you open the box for the first time, there are 3 women cleaning it after one woman puts the battery in,

[photo 8]

from left to right, battery in and foot lever screwed down passed to the next person , hand cleaning with a cloth and thinners(that is what it smelt like, or some thing much like it) passed on, all the knobs are placed to the same place, i.e. pointing up and rubbed clean and shiny again passed on to the last women on the line, here they are all put into the nice box's we all know and love, placed into a large box for shipping. So next time you use your Boss pedal, just think on, it's hand made.

In the shop think on, as you try that new Boss pedal, there were 3/4 women just making sure that it looked nice as you open the box, not a machine like WE( and I include my self in this) all thought.

The thing that hits home is the sense of pride that all the workers and the management have in the gear that they make. To them, WE are people that they... dare I say it?.... love. And it is that love that is in their work, that is in every unit they make. They were really very happy and pleased/PROUD to have us there and see what it is that they do, and how they make gear for us.

There are other parts to this place, inc. the fact that all the plans and diagrams to build all the units at this plant are all done 'in house'. New Boss prods are designed here as well.

As we left the plant, it was nice to see how it was all done. For years I have used Boss pedals, right from my first OD-1 and CE-1. Never had I given a thought to them, only that they work, and that is only after years of use in the fact that they STILL work without problems. Nowadays it's a different story whenever I turn on my GT-5 and pedals.

It was on to RTW

[photo 9]

, this is Taiwans main agent for all for the Roland/Boss product line inc. the printers, cutters etc that Roland make. It is the same as Roland UK or US, the main sales office to the shops in Taiwan.

Off to lunch.

The rest of the day was spent on a tour of Taipei and it's sites

That night was spent in the 'Hard Rock Cafe' till closing time, then into the hotel bar till very, very early in the morning(Taiwan Beer, here we go again!).


This day was spent on the eastern side of Taiwan.

A flight from Sung Shan Airport, Taipei ( this is their domestic airport) to Hualien airport (domestic) about 30 mins. Just as soon as the plane gets up and levels off it's going down again.

This day was all sightseeing, so I will not bore you with the details,(unless you want me to, if so e-mail me). The thing that amazed me is the way that their domestic airports are also their military airports(so no photo's), but I was hoping to see some 'MIG's', you know, with this being the republic of china and all that, but no, just F-16's of all things, and C-130 J's.

Night time, drunk, again!!.


Fly from Taipei to Nagoya Int.Airport, Japan.

God I hate flying with a hangover, it's even more goddam sickening with a lot of turbulence, and that's just what we got!. "Never again will I drink", that's what I said, how long did that last?.......about 3 and a half hours.

Upon arrival we were met by Mr.Roland himself.

Mr Ikutaro Kakehasi is the head man, the top of the tree as it were, there is no one higher than him at Roland/Boss. He was on his way to the USA for a trade show, and had stayed to catch a later flight than that was booked for him, so that he could meet us upon our arrival in Japan.

The meal that night was at the 'MEIN SCHLOSS' Beer Hall , now this is Japan's take on the German beer hall type of thing. You know, lots of beer and German meats and sausages, more beer and potatoes, fries and more beer, all different types of beer, and then some more beer , just for good measure. Then it was back to the hotel, where a private room had been booked by Roland, for what you ask, well this is Japan!.

Yes, you got it, 'KARAOKE', and yet more beer, and because of what we were about to do, 'A HELL OF A LOT MORE BEER', to say the least.


8 am.

We met the President, Mr Katsuyoshi Dan in our hotel, as he was to come with us on the tour of all the sites here in Japan.

We arrived at the Hosoe Factory

[photo 10+11]

for the tour and product demonstration, which inc. the VGA-7 and two new Boss pedals, the AW-3 Dynamic Wah and the PH-3 Phase Shifter.

[photo 12]

The hall in which this was done in is part of the Hosoe plant, and this on it's own is just amazing.

[photo hall]

The walls and roof have wooden slats that are moved by remote control. To this end they look and work like 'window blinds', they are used to 'CHANGE' the rooms acoustics, from dead, to LARGE hall, and anything between. Just as you would with a reverb unit. To sit there and be shown this in action, is something to behold, to say the least. It was impressive, and that was before any of the gear we were there to see was turned on.


To say that the VGA-7 was impressive, is not doing it justice. I have a VG-8ex, and yes I know that it's spec. is better, but that's not the point. Here is a unit that I would love to have, I can see my self gigging with it. I have no fear in leaving my GT-5 and VG-8 at home if I had one of these, with it stereo inputs on the back for a GR-30(or 33)and AD-5 via a small mixer, it would be just the thing. They only showed off the VG part of the VGA-7, but still, I was impressed with it's sound and what it could do. Just as a test, Nick Cooper turned it up a bit, and I moved to the back of the hall, just to see how good it sounds from afar, and yes it STILL sounded good, no loss in it's tone at all to my ears, just as good as right in front of it.


The tour of the plant was just as good as the Taiwan tour, seeing things like BRD-8's, XV-88 and XP-60/80's being made is good fun. This is also where we got a sneak look at the new EF-303 Groove Effects

[ef-303 photo]

mind you there were some box's that I did not know what they were, CPM-800 any one!, or was it 300. Anyway, according to the rep from Roland UK this is down to the fact that not all of Roland/Boss's gear goes to the UK, as it is hard or just impossible to sell at the price that it would come in at in the UK, compared to the competition.

Next stop the Miyakoda Factory and Testing Laboratory.

It's here that Roland build their Printers and cutting machines as well as the Roland pianos. Some of the cutting machines are used to make tooling for the plant itself. Roland have started to use a new system on the production line called, 'The Cell System'.

[photo 13]

This 'System', is were one person builds one unit from start to the finished boxed unit that we will buy in the shop.

So it's ALL hand built, again. They say that it gives a real sense of 'pride' in the work of the people that build the units. It has made the units themselves 'better made', with less faults( if any at all). If a unit has a fault due to how it was built, then they know just who to blame, as just one person, and only just one person has anything to do with that unit from start to finish. Also the number of units per day is up due to the 'Cell System', as each unit is done by one person, they never get bored, doing the same thing all day. Each day may also be something new, one day they may be building XP's, the next the new VX's or A-70/90's.

It's nice to see that this style is also done to the utmost with the KR pianos. All the wood panels are cleaned and sanded by hand.

[photo 14]

It's all down to the attention to detail and all the work that is done by hand that impressed me the most.

Next stop, the Hamamatsu R+D centre.

[photo 15]

The Hamamtsu Lab is on the edge of Lake Hamana, it's a great setting. Upon arrival, we were treated to a demo of one the Rodgers 'Church' organs.

[photo 16]

Just looking at it was imposing, standing between two windows that look out onto the lake and the hills beyond. Sitting down in front of the organ you see something that's just not right, "is that an MT-120 on top of the organ?, just to the left hand side!". Yep, it's a MIDI Church Organ, and I do mean 'CHURCH ORGAN'. you do not even have to close your eyes with this big beast, it looks the part, and god, it sure sounds the part. You cannot tell that you are not in some big church in Rome or London. It's LOUD, and I mean LOUD, with a capital LOUD!!!. After hearing this, this beast, to find that it's, ALL DIGITAL, is a shock to the system. That big cab with the pipes sticking out the top at the back, it's all speakers, no pipes at all. Now if I ever get my numbers to come up on the Lotto, it's a big house for me, just so I can fit one of these in!. Next it's on to the studio itself


This is were all the samples for ALL the Roland gear is done, for keyboards, synths, modules, sr-jv boards and the GR's. If it has a sample in it, it was done here. Every room has a door that looks like it came off a bank vault. To the side of the main studio is a room that is two rooms high,

[photo 19]

it is in this room that all the samples are taken from the 'REAL' instrument, be it piano, harp or whatever is placed on the white stand in the middle, and then recorded downstairs in the studio, note by note. It looks strange, and when the door is closed it's even more strange. You talk and all you hear is the sound coming from your mouth, then to top it all they turned out the lights!.

Now for anybody who has never done this before, I'm sorry, you just can not explain this in words at all. It's pitch black, you cannot see anything, nothing at all. When somebody in the room talks, you can tell where they are, sort of, where they are from you, sort of , in front and to the left of centre, behind you, to the right, maybe?. But how far!, no way to tell. Distance is no longer attainable, they could be 5 feet away or just a few inches. It is very, very unnerving to say the least.

After this it was on to another room for a demo of Roland's R.S.S. system. Just two speakers and a data tape, again very impressive. All the tricks you can think of were done, and some new ones too. Having just been in that 'Dead room' as I call it,(can not for the life of me remember it's real name) the RSS effect was out of this world. One part that had me thinking was where you heard an acoustic guitar was playing away, and it move around to the left as if someone was walking round to the left of the room to stand behind you, by walking along the walls. Then back to the front of the room and then off to the right along the wall to be behind again. "Fine" you say "nothing new there", but then it's back to the centre again, but this time they are walking towards you, passing through you, behind you and then backwards to the front. Ever wondered what it would be like to move 'THROUGH' a guitar as it was being played?, moving up to the strings, through the sound hole, into the body and out through the back of the body of the guitar and then back again!. The next part of the RSS demo was a video, the sound track was left untouched, but the action(a skier) was treated with RSS as he moved around in 3D( well the sound of the skier moved around).

Now on to meet some more of the R+D people on the floor above. Now these guys take the raw samples and map them out for each unit, and then make the patches for the machines, while some others do the software for the opp.system.

[photo 20].

There was a 3rd floor to this place, but there was no way that we were going up there, which is just were I wanted to go, "could the new 24 track VS be up there", I asked. No answer, just a knowing look and a smile. What was strange was that in some of the rooms on the 2nd floor where the programmers are all in the rooms that each of them have, not only is there Roland gear, but also gear for other Major and minor players in the same field, is this how they get some of the 'copy cat sounds'?.

Next we're off to the Boss Corporation Factory, in Hamamatsu.

[photo 21]

This is where all the VG-88's and GR-33's are built,

[photo 22+23]

Along with things like the MC-80. Roland amps like the KC's, JC-120's and the VGA-7 are also assembled here, the amp chassis meet the speakers and cabs, then final testing, before being boxed ready for shipping to the world.

[photo 24+25]

The feeling in this plant is just like the others,clean,orderly, yet friendly. A feeling of belonging. Happy to have us there, and proud, very, very proud of what they make.

They were also very happy to take the disk that had all the e-mails that were sent to me from members of, for things that they would like to see or see fixed in the software of the VG's (you all know who you are), this is the place where things like bugs are found, or tested for bugs we and dealers tell them about. They said that they will look at and into the things that we ( members) have said in the e-mails. Roland UK also took a copy with them.

There are more factories that we did not see. This was a trip for all the guitar products, but mostly for the new VGA-7 and the two new Boss pedals, I was the only 'End User' on this trip, all the others were from UK dealerships or from Roland UK.

That night was the 'Mongolian B.B.Q.', now I will not tell you about it, it's all too long to explain (if you need to know, e-mail me). But what I will say is this, if you get the chance to go to one, do it, do not pass it by!. you'll thank me. And yes more beer. Then back to the hotel for more beer!.


It s time to go home.

But with a stop over in Hong Kong at the Shangri-La Hotel, Kowloon, for 10 hours.

Again this was sightseeing, but we all had a last meal together at the hotel where we had two day rooms to change and wash-up. All I can say is this is one meal I will never forget.

The food was top notch, the people that were on the trip with me are some of the best I have ever had the pleasure to meet, eat, laugh and drink with in my life. And the view from the window on the top floor of the hotel in the Nap Restaurant, was.... well just look at the photos,[photos 26+27+28+29] need I say any more?.

Then it's on to the airport for the flight home to England.


Back in England, at London's Heathrow we all say our goodbyes as we pick-up our bags and each head for home, for me it's just one more flight home to Manchester.

Now I add this to the end of the story.

There are just too many people to thank.

Paul Blease, Peter Heath and everybody at Roland UK for letting me go in the first place.

Susie at the travel company for being 'Mother' with all the wake-up calls, the sweets on the planes and coach's and for making it all click together, well done Susie (Top Job).

Berol our tour guide in Taiwan.

Wing our tour guide in Hong Kong.

To Yoshitsugu Nonomura(Yoshi) for putting up with us all, all the way through the trip from when we first landed in Taiwan, to when we left Japan. To Shaw Uei-Yuan and all the staff at Roland/Boss Taiwan.

To Katsuyoshi Dan and all the staff at Roland/Boss Japan.

A big thank you to Mr. Ikutaro Kakehasi from Roland, for waiting for us at the airport on your way to the USA, just to say "Hello" to us. To all the other guy's on the trip.

If I have missed anybody off this list, I'm sorry, this last 'Thank You' is yours.


I need this in my house if I ever get rich

The walls and roof have wooden slats that are moved by remote control. To this end they look and work like 'window blinds', they are used to 'CHANGE' the rooms acoustics, from dead, to LARGE hall, and anything between. Just as you would with a reverb unit. To sit there and be shown this in action, is something to behold, to say the least. It was impressive, and that was before any of the gear we were there to see was turned on.