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, March 22, 2015

Mami Yamase/Ami Tokito -- Melon Tameiki (メロンのためいき)

Ah, behold the textured musk melon. Y'know, I have appreciated the sloppy wet wedges of green that have appeared before me as a summer dessert over the years. I mean, they are juicy and refreshing and all, but melons have never really usurped my favourite fruits, apples and peaches. Nowhere close. But in Japan, the musk melon may as well be re-named as the God Fruit considering how much one can cost (all due respect to the King of Fruits, the smelly durian) in one of those well-to-do supermarkets below the department store in Tokyo. $100 a pop? That melon should be lined in silk when it gets put into that wooden crate. And I haven't even mentioned the various melon-based products such as melon sodas and melon bread that are so popular over there.

All that foreground to introduce "Melon Tameiki" (Melon Sighs), Mami Yamase's(山瀬まみ)debut single from March 1986. Yamase has been a regular figure on television since her aidoru days via variety shows and commercials, and she's notable for that babyish face and a speaking voice that sounds like Betty Boop with strep throat (supposedly an affectation in front of the cameras only according to J-Wiki). I've only known her as a tarento and for one song whose video got onto "MTV Japan", "Go" (a completely whackadoodle tune by Tamio Okuda of Unicorn screamed out by Yamase), so listening to "Melon Tameiki" was a breath of fresh air....or a sigh of melon proportions.

Written by Takashi Matsumoto(松本隆)and composed by Yuming (ユーミン)under her aidoru-friendly Karuho Kureta(呉田 軽穂)pseudonym, Yamase has that slightly off-tune but pleasant enough delivery which characterized the average 80s aidoru. In fact, her singing voice sounds practically mellow when compared to how she has spoken. In a way, she sang it like how a wedge of musk melon would taste.

On Thursday nights here, TV Japan broadcasts "Tameshite Gatten"(ためしてガッテン)from NHK, a program that features the latest food trends and remedies from all sorts of ailments. The Saitama-born Yamase has been a weekly presence in our household as the one permanent panelist on the show. When she was an aidoru, I remember that she had a bit of a reputation as being somewhat flighty and sensitive (perhaps again just for the cameras) but on "Gatten", she's often been the more stable rock of reason compared to the vaudevillian male host.

Ami Tokito(時東ぁみ)is responsible for the first time that I ever heard the pop-culture term "Meganekko"(眼鏡っ娘...Glasses-Wearing Girl). Born a year after "Melon Tameiki" made its release, I remember her popping up on the telly as this petite and ever-smiling teen in the spectacles. Again, like Yamase, I didn't know too much about her singing sideline but she was appearing on the variety shows and in the magazines as a pin-up girl.

However, she did a cover version of the Yamase debut as one of the songs on her debut album from December 2005, "Sanagi no Bathrobe"(さなぎのバスローブ...Pupa's Bathrobe). Considering how much she was flirting with the musk melon in the video, she probably was fully aware of the prestige of that particular fruit. And she didn't have a bad set of pipes on her either.

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