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.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Nanase Aikawa -- Yume Miru Shojo ja Irarenai (夢見る少女じゃいられない)

"Yume Miru Shojo ja Irarenai"(Can't Stay A Dreaming Girl) was another song I discovered through the wonders of commercial tie-ups. It was the song for what was once my former employer in Japan, the NOVA Corporation, once the largest English-teaching company in the country. NOVA was expanding like the proverbial spill into areas far beyond its original mandate: travel, real estate, computer software, and yes, even auto racing, as you can see above (much to its later detriment). What got me hooked me about this song was the synthesizer imitating some of the rock organ used in songs decades ago both here and over there. There was also the percussion pop that you can hear on the above video at about the 24-second mark that finally said, "J-Canuck....time to head out to the CD shop."

Found out the singer was 20-year-old Nanase Aikawa(相川七瀬)from Osaka. When I saw the video one night, she kinda reminded me of Joan Jett from the early 80s....though in a less dangerous mode. Still, I probably wouldn't have wanted to run into her in a dark alley in Namba City. In any case, her debut song was released in November 1995, and was written and composed by Tetsuro Oda(織田哲郎), who had helped out on a number of songs by TUBE back in the 80s. It peaked at No. 12 on Oricon and helped in making her a household word for much of the latter half of the decade. Her debut album had even more success. "Red" was released in July 1996, and made it to the top spot as well as becoming the 10th-ranked album of the year.

A few years back, my student's family took me for lunch to a restaurant near Komazawa Park, a nice area for the well-to-do in western Tokyo. As we were having our lunch, my student's wife pointed out that Nanase and her husband and kid were at a nearby table. I couldn't spot her since my back was turned away from her and I really didn't want to make a spectacle of myself and bother the poor woman by doing so. I guess I can't even approach her in a well-lit dining establishment.


  1. Thanks J-Canuck for this post on 相川七瀬. I agree, she does have that Joan Jett vibe about her but I liken her more to 浜田麻里 or アン・ルイス (Aikawa even covered 六本木心中 in one of her albums). I wonder if 土屋アンナ was influenced by Aikawa as their styles are somewhat similar. My favorite Aikawa Nanase song is バイバイ although her later songs aren't too bad either. Lot of interesting trivia about her over at J-Wiki for instance she got her stage name "Aikawa" from 相川駅 in her hometown of 大阪府大阪市東淀川区. She was also a big fan of the comic series 『パタリロ!』 and even became friends with manga creator 魔夜 峰央.

    I didn't know you worked for NOVA. I assume that was before their financial problems in late 2007. I thought they went bankrupt but according to Wikipedia, they are still around but aren't nearly as big as they were before and primarily operating in the Kanto region (they even are said to have a branch here in Hawaii). I have a couple of friends that are doing 英会話 now and their experiences have been mixed. Perhaps in the past these jobs were thought of as good experiences for foreigners to live/work teaching English in Japan but nowadays the focus has shifted from cultural exchange and language sharing to more competitive business and selling course packages to business professionals and students. The pay too is not as good as it once was. There's so much competition now. I know of the big guys like AEON, Berlitz, ECC and Nova but some of these others I haven't heard about like Coco Juku, Dean Morgan, Dela Cruz English Club, Epion, Gaba, Peppy Kids Club and Seiha.

  2. Hey, JTM. Yeah, if I were to compare Nanase to Ann Lewis, I could see the latter being Nanase's mellower elder sister. Lewis has a somewhat richer voice. I've got one single by Aikawa, "Cosmic Love", which seems a bit poppier than her usual stuff.

    Oh yes, I was recruited here in Toronto by NOVA back in 1994. Even in my first few months, I had the impression that these guys were overreaching and spreading themselves out too thin....putting up schools at just about every station on the line, for example. When I first saw the banner at one of the subway kiosks stating that NOVA went under, I just had to run to the nearest branch to confirm it. Yep, the place was bolted shut with a piece of paper at the front stating the situation.


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