Just yesterday I had finally got myself to watch 'Bridges of Madison County' after months of procrastinating, the one with Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep. It was pretty good, but you can't compare what you see on the silver screen (or in my case, the laptop screen) to the real book. But then, there's just so much detail in the book that it's practically impossible to condense it all into the movie. Well it's possible, just that the movie would be 3 hours long then! And the best part of 'Bridges of Madison County' was seeing Eastwood, a man known for his roles in gritty cowboy movies with his sandpaper-like voice, showing his soft side while his face seemed like it was being sewn on to Streep's in the later half of the film.
Since the story kinda revolves around bridges, why not do an article on a song about a bridge? And the first song that came to mind, despite the fact that I don't listen to it often, was Yutaka Yamakawa's (山川豊) 'America Bashi'. Well, it sticks to the topic... and it has 'America' in it, and Iowa's a state in the USA.
It was the first song I had heard from Yamakawa and it was alright, but the music wasn't of the type I enjoy the most plus the guy has a rather strange voice - somewhat high and nasally. But over time and repeated listening, I had gotten used to it and I think it's going to be playing in my head for a while.
'America Bashi' is Yamakawa's biggest hit and was released in 1998. The lyrics were taken care of by the late Yoko Yamaguchi (山口洋子) - who had also recieved the Japan Lyricist Award on the same year - and Masaaki Hirao (平尾昌晃) did the composing. Hmm, when those two worked together, it seemed like the likelihood of spawning a hit increased by 10 fold! Yamakawa also sang the song twice on the Kohaku consecutively in 1998 and 1999.
Contrary to its name, 'America Bashi' isn't referring to any bridge in the USA, or any bridge in any part of the two American continents. Instead, Yamakawa is singing about a blue bridge - an overpass/flyover to be exact - in the Shibuya area in Tokyo. It's proper name is called Ebisu-minami bridge. The place looks quite nice... no wonder the song's about a pair of lovers meeting and saying the farewells there.