Happy Canadian Thanksgiving! A lot of turkeys heading out to the restaurants and houses....although in my family's case, it will be a Chinese restaurant (except for me, my family isn't exactly too impressed with the big bird).
Of course, when it comes to giving thanks and Japanese popular music, the one song that always pops up in my brain is "Arigato" by the duo of Yosui Inoue and Tamio Okuda（井上陽水・奥田民生）. I first heard it as the commercial song for Sapporo Beer, and I'd say it was a match made in heaven since the lyrics and music by the two would perfectly match a scene between two good buddies in an izakaya. The song is kinda like the musical equivalent of "I LOVE YOU, MAN!!" and "You's the MAN!" Bromantic, happy and jangly, indeed.
The first meeting between the two occurred thanks to Inoue's son, who had enjoyed listening to Okuda's old band, Unicorn, when they performed their Xmas song, "Yuki ga Furu Machi"（雪が降る町....The Town of Snow）. The son sent a fan letter over to Okuda which sparked the meeting. After that, their joint efforts produced songs such as the hit debut tune for Puffy, "Asia no Junshin" （アジアの純真）in 1996. Then in February 1997, out came the boisterous "Arigato", which peaked at No. 10 on Oricon. The single also came out on the duo's first collaborative album, "Shopping", released in March of that year, which managed to climb as high as No. 4 on the album charts.
As Inoue and Okuda trade platitudes of gratitude to each other, I've always thought that this would also make for the ideal tune to play or sing at the annual year-end parties or wedding receptions, and sure enough, I found one.