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, July 27, 2014

Miki Imai -- Tokyo Hachi-gatsu Sunglass (TOKYO 8月サングラス)

(excerpt only)

I'm breaking my non-official rule of not covering a singer in the same month since I wrote about Miki Imai's(今井美樹)"Pride" back on July 2nd, but I figure I'm only off a week and besides, this song, "Tokyo Hachi-gatsu Sunglass" (Tokyo August Sunglasses) rather relates to the current meteorological situation in all of Japan. I was talking with my student over in the wilds of tony Den'en-Chofu tonight via Skype tonight and he confirmed what I've been seeing on NHK News....that Japan is in the mighty unrelenting grip of heat and humidity, even more than average. Believe me when I say that I know how that feels. Any old-school Trekkie kayo kyoku fans out there? Know the expression "Hot as Vulcan"? Well, at least on Mr. Spock's planet, it's a dry heat.

"Tokyo Hachi-gatsu Sunglass" is the opening track on Imai's 4th album of 1989, "Mocha", an album that I wrote about almost a couple of years back. And in fact, I had written about that very song on the album complete with YouTube video on that "Mocha" article, but when said video was taken down by the powers-that-be, I figured that that was it for the song so I summarily erased the entire paragraph devoted to it and replaced it with another song from the album with description. Of course, that was before co-contributor nikala introduced me to (also dead now) as a potential source.

So, allow me to make amends here. "Tokyo Hachi-gatsu Sunglass" was written by Masami Tozawa (戸沢暢美)and composed by Jun Sato(佐藤準)as this zippy launch to this particular album of "Mocha". Compared to the oh-so-calming on the beach "Natsu wo Kasanete"(夏をかさねて)which started Imai's album of the previous year, "Bewith", the opening track to "Mocha" immediately rockets the listeners down into the steamy sun-reflecting glass-and-concrete of Tokyo. The singer quickly rattles off that understandable need to get out of the metropolis for most people while she's content to spend her days in a potentially empty city sucking back on a tea and looking through those shades. I certainly shared those feelings of hers whenever Golden Week came around although April/May were considerably less torrid.

I guess the other reason that I put up this one by Imai is that it's interesting to compare this album track from her early period to the aforementioned "Pride" which became one of her most beloved official singles nearly a decade later. The latter song had that more stately and mature sound that her future hubby, Tomoyasu Hotei(布袋寅泰), would imbue her music from the mid-90s, but "Tokyo Hachi-gatsu Sunglass" from the late 80s was more in line with the uptempo urban pop sounds that other singers from that time such as Kanako Wada (和田加奈子)and Kahoru Kohiruimaki (小比類巻かほる)adopted. I think the difference between Imai and those other two songstresses were those feathery pipes of Imai.

I'm not sure whether Imai sings any of her non-single album tracks from before the 90s at her current concerts anymore, but "Tokyo Hachi-gatsu Sunglass" has been one of the standout songs for me from that early era.

Inside the Tokyo International Forum

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