|2012 Released DVD Set Cover - Image courtesy of http://trend-news311.com/1692/|
|Image courtesy of http://www.officiallyjd.com/archives/267255/20130718_summernude_23/|
|First Kiss - Sena (Kimura Takuya) and Minami (Yamaguchi Tomoko) - Image courtesy of http://girlschannel.net/topics/51411/|
|Minami (Yamaguchi Tomoko) and Sena (Kimura Takuya) at their favorite ramen hangout|
|Don't Worry - Outside their shared apartment in Tokyo - Image courtesy of http://girlschannel.net/topics/17532/|
|Sibling Rivalry - Shinji (Takenouchi Yutaka) and Minami (Yamaguchi Tomoko)|
松たか子/Matsu Takako is from a prestigious traditional Japanese Buyo (Japanese Theatrical Dance ) family with her father, uncle and elder brother all being famous Kabuki stage actors. Matsu (who took her stage name to honor her family's Buyo House) debuted as an actress at age 16 in 1993 taking parts in Japanese theatre. Her first TV role came a year later when she appeared in the NHK Taiga drama 『花の乱』/"Hana No Ran". "Long Vacation" was her first major role and her likeable portrayal of 奥沢涼子/Okuzawa Ryoko led not only to other roles in popular drama series such as 『ひとつ屋根の下2』 (1997) but also began her longstanding partnership with fellow castmate Kimutaku. They would play an onscreen couple twice more, first in 『ラブジェネレーション』/"Love Generation" (1997) and later in the hugely popular drama 『HERO』(2001). In subsequent years, Matsu would be voted by fans as one of the most popular drama actresses. An accomplished singer, Matsu would also release several music CD albums and singles.
|Part-Time Lovers - Ryoko (Matsu Takako) and Sena (Kimura Takuya)|
Model and actress 稲森いずみ/Inamori Izumi has had an interesting upbringing. Born and raised in Kagoshima prefecture, Inamori studied abroad after graduating from high school. At her Aunt's urging, she studied English at a school in Arlington, TX (just outside of Dallas) for a year and a half. After finishing up her ESL courses there, she returned to Japan to pursue her dream of becoming a model. With her alluring looks, tall thin frame and newly acquired English proficiency, she was signed by the prestigious Blooming Agency and did modeling work primarily in the Kagoshima area. While modeling she was asked to appear in a number of TV variety programs and it was during these appearances that she was approached by talent agents with the famed Burning Productions Talent Agency (who represented other talents/stars such as 小泉今日子/Koizumi Kyoko, 郷ひろみ/Go Hiromi, 小柳ゆき/Koyanagi Miyuki and 藤あや子/Fuji Ayako). Inamori soon transitioned to acting and had previously appeared with fellow model and castmate Yamaguchi in 『29歳のクリスマス』/"Nijyu Kyuusai No Christmas" (1994). Inamori certainly steals the show in "Long Vacation" as the ditzy but absolutely adorable 小石川桃子/Koshikawa Momoko, best friend of Yamaguchi's Minami character. Her cute and fun role is in stark contrast to some of her later roles in dramas such as 『ビーチボーイズ』/"Beach Boys" (1997) and the live-action movie adaptation of the popular 80s manga 『CAT'S EYE』(1997) where she portrayed lead heroine Kitsugi Hitomi.
|Best Friends - Minami (Yamaguchi Tomoko) and Momoko (Inamori Izumi)|
The enigmatic りょう/Ryo (real name 宮田ゆみ子/Miyata Yumiko) has previously worked as a model and appeared in numerous magazine ad campaigns and CMs. "Long Vacation" was her first foray into acting and she does a pretty amiable job portraying 氷室ルミ子/Himuro Rumiko. With her cryptic name and exotic looks, she certainly stood out among the beautiful cast and captured a lot of attention in her role. However, unlike her castmates, Ryo choose to not ride the fame and success that came from "Long Vacation" opting to continue her work in modeling and CMs, not really appearing that many dramas in the subsequent years after. While she did appear in small roles in such films as 『CASSHERN』(2004) and 『GOEMON』(2009) she has stayed pretty much low key. Like Matsu, Ryo has also released ventured into music and released a few singles.
|Troubled Lovers - Rumiko (Ryo) and Shinji (Takenouchi Yutaka)|
As with 『東京ラブストーリー』/"Tokyo Love Story", "Long Vacation" certainly benefits from its choice of theme song with the very catchy tune 「LA・LA・LA LOVE SONG」.
As J-Canuck mentions in his informative Dec 2012 post for the song, 「LA・LA・LA LOVE SONG」 was a mega-hit for R&B singer/songwriter and "King of J-Soul", 久保田利伸/Kubota Toshinobu, selling 2 million copies and becoming his 1st No. 1 single.
Kubota grew up in Shizuoka where his family ran a farm that grew and sold fruit. Growing up he was very much into sports especially baseball. All throughout Elementary and Junior High School Kubota played baseball and was on the baseball team for his school. However, during his first year in High School, he was exposed to the music of Stevie Wonder and instantly fell in love with his music. Throughout High School, he continued to expand on that interest by forming a high school band and singing primarily R&B and Soul songs. After High School, Kubota went to a local University where he studied Economics but also continued his interest in music by joining a friend's band - 「HOTTENTOTS」. After one year, Kubota eventually left the band to try his hand at singing solo and sang at various bars and clubs in Tokyo. Kubota gained some fame when he entered a local Yamaha sponsored amateur singing contest - the East West '82 and won the award for best Male Vocalist.
Encouraged by this success, Kubota entered the music business after graduating from University and found work as a Music Producer position at Kitty Music. There he helped compose and produce songs for a number of artists. Some of the songs he wrote for other artists include - Tahara Toshihiko's/田原俊彦 「It's BAD」, Koizumi Kyoko's/小泉今日子 「MOONLIGHT」, Oginome Yoko's/荻野目洋子 「LAZY DANCE」 and ANRI's/杏里 「TIME OUT」.
In the mid 80s Kubota would release his first single 「失意のダウンタウン」/"Shitsui No Downtown" (1986), which was a minor hit. His song non-single 「流星のサドル」/"Ryusei No Sadoru" (1986) would also become very popular however it would not be until a year later that Kubota would finally find success with the first of a string of hit songs for him - 「GODDESS ~新しい女神~」/"Goddess - Atashi Megami" (1987). He would follow up with the singles 「CRY ON YOUR SMILE」 (1987) and 「You Were Mine」 (1988) which would become hits as well.
It was during this time period that Kubota would relocate to New York city to further evolve as an artist. "La La La Love Song" would one of the fruits of his labor in New York.
There have been a number of covers of this great song including version by BoA and SOUL'd OUT, an all English version by Holland Jazz singer Laura Fygi, a version by Korean pop singer Park Yong Ha, a Malaysian version by singer Karen Kong, singer/musician 三浦大知/Miura Daiichi, Rebecca lead singer NOKKO, British singer Stevie Hoang, a concert version by EXILE, Jazz singer Julee Karan and singer 絢香/Ayaka. My favorite cover however is J-Pop singer BENI's soulful English rendition which I thought was pretty nice.
|Going To Get Married - Images courtesy of http://matome.naver.jp/odai/2125670011396341637|