Having put up the "Top 10 Singles of 1972" last night, I was curious about some of the entries in that Oricon list. I've already covered some of them since I've known them for decades, but I also wanted to take a try at some of the unfamiliar titles. I mention "titles" specifically since although I may not know or remember them, it's often been the case that the song itself is quite familiar.
And once again, I was proven right. I'm not sure where I heard Takuro Yoshida's（吉田拓郎） "Tabi no Yado" (Journey's Inn), but that really folky harmonica and the ambly guitar struck a number of memory chords within me. I knew Yoshida primarily through his much later appearances as a co-host on the variety show, "Love Love Aishiteiru" with The Kinki Kids during the 90s, and as the singer behind "Kekkon Shiyo yo", （結婚しようよ）but "Tabi no Yado", the tale of a young couple enjoying a tipsy night at a countryside ryokan, turned out to be the folk singer's biggest hit and his final No. 1 record. In fact, since its release in July 1972, it stayed at the top spot for 5 straight weeks and eventually became the 4th-ranked song of the year.
Composed by Yoshida, the lyrics were provided by Osami Okamoto（岡本おさみ） who also wrote the classic "Erimo Misaki"（襟裳岬）and one of my favourite songs, "Kawa no Nagare wo Daite Nemuritai"（川の流れを抱いて眠りたい）by Saburo Tokito（時任三郎）. Okamoto based the words on her own trip with her husband to the Tsuta Hot Springs in Aomori Prefecture.
"Tabi no Yado", Yoshida's 4th single, may be a short song at under 3 minutes, but it struck a very pleasurable nerve with music fans. I think it is because it speaks to the very universal (at least, within Japan) and intimate experience of going up to the onsen with that significant other. After partaking in that soothing bath, there is that enjoyment of dinner in comfortable yukata together and drinking down some of that sake. And nothing says closeness better than having the guy lay his head down...sideways...on his girlfriend's lap.
Note: as for all those songs, except for Saburo Tokito's hit, that I've mentioned above, Yoshida has sung all of them so you can just tap his name in the Labels section to your right.