Wednesday, June 3, 2015
Junko Yagami -- Mellow Cafe
I think by the time Junko Yagami（八神純子）released her 15th album, "Mellow Cafe" in September 1992, she had been in the music business for close to 20 years. She was still releasing some fine upbeat songs and creamy-smooth ballads, and when it came to this album, the one song that has stuck out is the title track itself.
Written and composed by Yagami and her husband John Stanley (who also produced the album), the song "Mellow Cafe" really lives up to its title as the lyrics talk about that favoured coffee house with the silent all-knowing master while the lady invites a suitor (past, present or future?) to meet up over a cuppa. The music is nice and dreamy, almost resembling the wisps of vapor curling up from the hot java. I think it would have been even better if it hadn't relied so much on the synthesizer.
Over the years that I was in Japan, the nation, and especially Tokyo, became quite the coffee area with chains like Starbucks and Seattle's Best Coffee making inroads and making things interesting for the local joints such as Doutor and Renoir. I visited all those places but the one place I remember was called The Museum Tea Room in Ichigaya, Tokyo. It had that style of an old-fashioned cafe with some of the finest tuna salad sandwiches I've ever had, many different kinds of tea and coffee and even a proper tea service. Great staff, too, including a very kindly manager who would always call me "Sensei". Unfortunately, it had closed its doors for good some years before I left Japan, and I've yet to find anything similar here in Toronto. So for right now, there is still the local Tim Horton's.