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.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Ichiro Toba -- Shigure Tabi (しぐれ旅)

I find it quite amusing to see Ichiro Toba (鳥羽一郎) perform on stage. To me, the stocky fellow with the huge round nose and thick rectangular blocks for eyebrows that always seem to be in a slight frown, looked like a grumpy old bear standing on two legs. Y'know, the type that you may see in cartoons. He also bares some semblance to fellow Enka singer Eisaku Ohkawa (大川栄策) - must be the nose.

Anyway, I had seen Toba on my 3rd 'Nippon no uta' episode performing on the show's 'Special stage' with the elegant Aki Yashiro (八代亜紀) by his side. Well, sorry to say that I paid no attention to him whatsoever at that point in time and was more tickled with the fact that Yashiro looked taller than him. It was only until a month back when I watched an episode of 'Kayo Concert' did I actually have a proper encounter with the gruff-looking Enka singer.

He got to sing two songs on that night, and when I checked the song lineup on the show's webpage I spotted Toba's 'Shigure Tabi', which would be the one to round off the show. I'd seen the name a number of times but never really bothered to check it. I'd wanted to, but I did not have a good impression of him - I didn't like his hit debut song 'Kyodai bune' (兄弟船), thus the hesitance. However, I eventually got over it from pressing curiosity (I wanted to know what I was in for).

Happy to say that I liked it on the first listen. Rather catchy and you'd be able to tell its an Enka song immediately once you here the music that was written by Genda Kanou (叶弦大); the lyrics were by this fella by the name of Makoto Kitajou (喜多條 忠). Somehow I'm quite sure that I've seen these two names together for a couple of other songs. It was also Toba's most recent single released on 2nd July 2014 and from what I've seen on the Enka rankings on Oricon's website, it actually did pretty well, peaking at 6th place in one week in August. Not bad, not bad at all.

Is it me or are these scarves a thing now?

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