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.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Yumi Matsutoya -- Cinderella Express (シンデレラエクスプレス)

I think within the vast discography of Yumi Arai/Matsutoya(荒井由実・松任谷由実), "Cinderella Express" is probably the most snuggly-cute romantic little ballad that the singer-songwriter has ever written that I know about (I don't have all of her studio albums so there may be some hidden gems that I have to yet to hear). And once again, she had her fingers on the pulse of Japanese pop culture when she created this one for her 17th album "DA-DI-DA" (November 1985).

I'm not sure whether it was Yuming who came up with the actual phrase or she learned of it while overhearing kaffeeklatsches of young women in those fine trendy cafes of Aoyama or Omotesando, but Cinderella Express most often referred to the Japan Railways Shinkansen (Bullet Trains) running between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka Stations. Due to the demands of work, a romantic couple may find themselves separated by hundreds of kilometers for which the only temporary cure is the weekend commute by one-half of the couple for that 48-hour long-term date (if they can get even that much time). Now, J-Wiki only talked about the last train leaving for Shin-Osaka from Tokyo which departed at 9 p.m. I could only assume that there were probably a ton of tearful gals and guys frantically seeing off their significant others on the platform (while the married middle-aged station staff smirked at the naivete of youth, no doubt).

As for the song itself, in spite of the frantic chase to get to that last Bullet, Yuming's "Cinderella Express" seems to musically describe a languid and girlish walk through the park. And it also reflects how high and nasal the singer's voice had been becoming over the years. Perhaps in a way, the singer was expressing her thoughts as a married woman after years have gone by to reflect in a more relaxed manner at all of the craziness surrounding this specific form of commuting wrought with her and her beau every Sunday night.

Well, it took Japan Railways long enough, but the corporation finally picked up on this phenomenon and released a series of commercials to promote itself in 1987. As for the album "DA-DI-DA", it hit the top spot on Oricon and became the 4th-most successful album for 1986.


  1. As someone who was just introduced to Yuming last year through her 40th anniversary album I have to say this was definitely one of the tracks that stood out to me! Such a sweet song with a catchy chorus!

    1. Hi, Cazo. Thanks for your comments. I've got a lot of singers represented in this blog, but Yuming's discography alone will keep you busy for months! I've been buying her albums for years but still have yet to complete the set.


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