Along with discovering new old songs via "Kayo Kyoku Plus", another one of my pleasures from my pet project has been discovering new old songs because commenters or my fellow collaborators wrote about or inquired about them.
The former is indeed the case here with Kaientai's（海援隊）"Omoeba Tooku e Kitamonda" (I've Come So Far When I Think About It). Commenter Ranawaka Aruna asked me about it on the one other song I wrote about the band, the graduation season favourite, "Okuru Kotoba"（贈る言葉）. Veteran actor Tetsuya Takeda's（武田鉄矢）folk group released "Omoeba" as its 2nd single under the Polydor label (they had 11 previous singles with 2 other recording companies since their debut in 1973) in September 1978, more than a year before their most famous hit, "Okuru Kotoba" came out.
To be honest, I had thought that the go-to song for graduation ceremonies would be the only song by Kaientai that I would ever add to KKP. Happily, I am wrong. "Omoeba" was written by Takeda and the wistful melody was composed by Yasuyo Yamaki（山木康世）, who was one-half of the folk duo, Fukinoto（ふきのとう）. In the song, Takeda sings about a man at the ripe old age of 20 as he remembers what he was like 6 years previously when he was still living in his small town. He reminisces about that train track which ultimately led him away from home and that love he left back there, although he also states that he now has a wife and kid(s) and has been hitting the booze at night. Man, middle age already?!
Still, the sentiment is there and I'm sure that there a lot of businessmen in their 40s or 50s who would hear this song and get all swoon-y. And there is something about that melody that gets me all sepia and nostalgic for all those old J-Folk ballads. Incidentally, "Omoeba" was the theme song for a TBS drama of the same name starring Takeda in which he played a substitute teacher straight from Kyushu who had to teach at a school up in the northern prefecture of Akita...perhaps this was good training for him before he got that even more famous teaching role later on.
The song was also included on Kaientai's first album on Polydor, "Tsuirakuhen"（墜落編...Falling Edit）, which came out in November 1978. One other thing...on how the group decided on its name. Apparently, Kaientai (Maritime Support Group) came from the first modern corporation in Japan founded by Ryoma Sakamoto in 1865. Sakamoto is one of the most famous folk heroes in Japanese history as he attempted to overthrow the Tokugawa feudal government in its last years.