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.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Yumi Matsutoya -- Surf Tengoku, Ski Tengoku (サーフ天国、スキー天国)

This isn't strictly a J-Xmas song since Yumi Matsutoya's(松任谷由実)"Surf Tengoku, Ski Tengoku" (Surf Heaven, Ski Heaven), as the title suggests, covers both winter and summer holidays, but I've played it often enough during the Holidays that I'm going to give it honourary Christmas status on the blog. And despite the 2nd verse covering the hot days on the beach, the song has been considered to be a winter contribution from the long list of Yuming creations.

Not quite as rollicking as her "Koibito ga Santa Claus"(恋人がサンタクロース)and not as contemplative and cozy as "Lodge de Matsu Christmas"(ロッヂで待つクリスマス), "Surf Tengoku, Ski Tengoku" definitely has that vacation atmosphere, though. Yuming's music and lyrics have that light cheerful air just like with those young folks when they head off to the slopes of Nagano Prefecture or the Shonan beach. Whether it's the wintry breeze or the summery wind flying past your face, this song just enhances that joy of getting out of the house and, more importantly, away from the job for a few days. Did anyone bring the snacks for the trip?

(special guest)

Although even now, Japan's beaches and ski slopes get filled with the amateur athletes annually, listening to the verses of skiing and tanning in "Surf Tengoku, Ski Tengoku" brings back those images of the economically happier days of the 80s. The song was a track on her 10th album, "Surf & Snow" which came out in December 1980 and hit No. 7 on the album charts.

Around this time in Japan, the airwaves there have probably been getting filled with commercials for the Naeba Ski Resort in Niigata Prefecture which often features Yuming tunes. The subject of today's article was probably one of the early examples. By the way, the above video features over 30 minutes of commercials that Yuming provided music for.

I was surprised that I hadn't put this one up before, considering that I had posted articles on the other two of Yuming's big Xmas triumvirate way back when. However, the bigger surprise came when I discovered that "Surf Tengoku, Ski Tengoku" wasn't actually an original song. It was a cover of another Yuming-penned number titled "Summer Breeze" that had been sung by radio personality Ryusuke Kawasaki(川崎龍介)as his first foray as a singer way back in 1978. The lyrics were completely different for that one and the theme was totally restricted to one season.

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