I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Machiko Watanabe -- Kamome ga Tonda Hi (かもめが翔んだ日)

After getting that great launch to her career with the jaunty "Mayoi Michi"迷い道...already profiled)in 1977, Machiko Watanabe(渡辺真知子) may have felt a bit let down with her 2nd single, "Kamome ga Tonda Hi"(The Day That The Seagulls Flew). Or to be more accurate, she may have been more disappointed with her recording company's reaction to it. Although "Mayoi Michi" was a megahit in sales with over 800,000 records sold, "Kamome"was apparently treated as a relative failure since it "only" did half as much business. According to J-Wiki, Watanabe was somewhat crushed when some of the staff remarked at the time that the song should've been relegated to the B-side.

Surprisingly, though, a lot of kayo kyoku fans and myself see it as one of Watanabe's most representative works. It may not have broken the Top 100 of 1978, but after its release in April of that year, it did earn The Best Newcomer Prize for Watanabe at the Japan Record Awards, giving her some vindication, since she did compose the song., while Akira Ito(伊藤アキラ) wrote the lyrics. As for the lyrics, they talk of a relationship going sour as Watanabe sings about walking along that harbour alone while the seagulls fly and squawk about. One doesn't usually hear about seagulls getting such a lyrical treatment, especially when they're usually seen as the rats of the avian kingdom.

Along with the fact that "Kamome"has now entered the annals of kayo kyoku legend, it has also become immortalized in some other interesting ways. For one thing, at Horinouchi Station in Watanabe's hometown of Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, an excerpt of the song is played as the warning chime for passengers to get on the train.

And for a bit of Japanese baseball trivia, the song is the mascot's theme for the Chiba Lotte Marines, the regional baseball team when I was living in Ichikawa (and it had been Bobby Valentine's old team before he entered....and fled....the Boston Red Sox last year). In the above video, it looks like the real singer dropped by to sing her old chestnut right at home plate itself a few years ago.

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