At that point in time, "BS Nippon no Uta" was still a fascinating program for me and I yearned to see someone I liked during its "Special Stage", so I was watching it frequently. Then it so happened that one afternoon the Special pairing was the late cool-guy composer Masaaki Hirao, whose name I had seen many times by then, and Rimi Natsukawa (夏川りみ), whom I was unfamiliar with. As per usual, a baraage of kayo was sung, but then came an all too familiar tune by Natsukawa. After at least 10 years since I heard that commercial, I finally knew what the song was called: "Nada Soso". Oh, it was sweet catharsis!
With the island twang to the melody and Natsukawa's crystal clear and tender vocals, one would think that "Nada Soso" was made for this Okinawa native. However, when I looked this song up on Wikipedia, it turned out that it originated as a collaboration between folk singer Ryoko Moriyama (森山良子) and the band BEGIN in 1998. Apparently, Moriyama had requested BEGIN to come up with an Okinawa-themed score; they did and gave it its current title which means something on the line of "falling tears". Moriyama then built on this by writing lyrics that revolved around the memory of her late brother. This was then included in her album "TIME IS LONELY". However, "Nada Soso" wasn't within reach of the spotlight for quite some time as the album didn't do particularly well, and neither did BEGIN's self-cover on 23rd March 2000. It was only until Natsukawa decided to do her own rendition after hearing it at the 26th G8 Summit in Okinawa that very year.
Exactly a year later in 2001, Natsukawa's version came out, along with a couple of other songs BEGIN had composed for her; it was only then did "Nada Soso" receive the acclaim it is now known for. Moriyama then re-released her rendition as a single that December, and in 2003, a special version with her, Natsukawa and BEGIN was released. Incredibly, "Nada Soso" stayed on the Oricon charts for a whopping 5 years, peaking at 8th place on the weeklies, and selling at least 1.2 million copies. Of course, it also came with TV tie-ups. In 2005, TBS created the "Nada Soso Project" for their 50th Anniversary which had 2 dramas, titled "Hiroshima Showa 20 nen 8 Gatsu Muika" (広島・昭和20年8月6日) and "Nada Soso Kono Ai ni Ikite" (涙そうそう この愛に生きて), with "Nada Soso" as their theme songs - the former with Natsukawa's version and the latter with Moriyama's. Furthermore, Natsukawa sang this tune 4 consecutive times on the Kohaku from 2002 (her first appearance) to 2005.
Besides that mandarin version I had briefly mentioned earlier, which was apparently sung by Singaporean Mando-pop artiste Joi Chua and titled "Pei Wo Kan Ri Chu" (陪我看日出... Watch The Sunrise With Me... probably), "Nada Soso" has a whole baraage of renditions that spans multiple languages and instrumentals of various kinds. This is truly a global phenomenon! I'm quite curious as to what Moriyama thinks about its success.
I enjoy "Nada Soso" quite a lot as it's pretty nostalgic, however, this is probably the only song I listen to where I have to deliberately ignore the words, otherwise, well, the title will happen. While Moriyama's sweet yet heart-rending words have the memory of her brother imbued in them, I get reminded of my own grandpa.
Every so often I would wonder what it'd be like if he were still around and what would've been different. Well, a lot. For one, I'd most likely be in the States now because I'd force him to come along with me, and knowing him he'd be more than willing to do so. I suppose, in that respect, I'd be more spoiled too, haha! I also wonder what he would think of me now... The old enka bit will definitely be criticized (considering my current taste) but he'd still get me records or CDs, surely.
If there's any phrase from him as told by Mom that I am currently holding on to in this frustrating period in my life, it's "If you really want it, you must be willing to do anything to get it." (Or something like that.) Yes, I get it now. Well, I'm close to a month late for my annual tribute to him as I was trying to sort my life out (along with being lazy), but it's something that I want to keep doing.