Traffic Jams: Happy End — 'Kaze Wo Atsumete'

Traffic sucks, so why not start your morning off with some music? You provide the toast and we’ll provide the jams.

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Here’s another track from a film that’s set in Japan, but to say only this about Happy End’s Kaze Wo Atsumete does not do the Japanese rock song justice. Like many people in the U.S., I first heard the song when I saw Sofia Coppola’s movie, Lost In Translation. Because the song features in the film, it’s also in the eclectic soundtrack. But again, the song and the band deserve more praise.

The song is originally from Happy End’s 1971 album, Kazemachi Roman, which Rolling Stone called the “greatest Japanese rock album of all time.” And Kaze Wo Atsumete is reportedly the band’s biggest hit. I linked the album above, but track three is the one we’re covering here. To be fair, the whole album is gold!

I fell in love with the song on accident, more or less. I actually bought the Lost in Translation soundtrack because I needed to listen to another song. The band Air has one of the last songs on the track list, called Alone in Kyoto. It’s an electronic ambient track with a Brian Eno and Kevin Shields vibe. It’s great.


Oh, funny side note: Kevin Shields also features heavily on the soundtrack. But to be honest, Alone in Kyoto was the song I thought I would listen to on repeat. The song from Happy End was an unexpected surprise and quickly became my favorite one. It’s just such a happy song.

The title means “Gather the Wind,” and you don’t have to understand what the singer is saying to get the gist of that. The song is airy and up-lifting. It just floats completely over negative vibes and puts you in a good mood instantly.

Because of the band’s relatively small fame in the U.S., their music is pretty hard to find on streaming services. In cases like those, I’ll suggest going to Bandcamp, but Happy End isn’t there, either. You might be able to get their CD from Amazon Japan, but if that fails you could always try for the soundtrack.