Credits

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.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Apple Pye -- Calpis Soda no Natsu (カルピスソーダの夏)


Man, I thought I was just merely going to be talking about a pleasant summery contemporary number that I discovered on YouTube, but it looks that I can go personal with this (as I usually try to do) from two different angles.

First off, during my very first trip to Japan as a little kid in 1972, I fell hard for the manna from heaven, the elixir, the ultimate Japanese summery tonic known as Calpis. I didn't know what it was made from...it just came in this nearly opaque brown bottle wrapped in blue-and-white and was this thick white syrup that was mixed in with some cold water and ice to provide instant refreshment. Couldn't get enough of the stuff while I was staying in Wakayama with the grandparents. It would be several years until I had my second culinary epiphany in Japan during the 1981 trip when I discovered the joy of unagi!

Next, early in my life, as an avid TV watcher, I used to see the famous singing family, The Osmonds (Donny & Marie, Jimmy) in various guest appearances on the old variety shows, notably "The Andy Williams Show". Of course, for those of a certain age, Friday nights were made for "Donny & Marie" on ABC back in the 1970s. However, the littlest Osmond, Jimmy, made it big in Japan at the veteran age of 5 with his first Gold Record, "My Little Darling". So, of course, commercials came knocking, including the one above for...yep, you guessed it...Calpis. The Osmonds do appear and even the matriarch has a go at the jingle. Ahhh...those crazy Japanese ads.

All that preamble to introduce a very nice and soothing (just like Calpis) song titled "Calpis Soda no Natsu" (A Calpis Soda Summer). To be honest, I'm not quite as big a fan for the fizzy Calpis as I am for the straight stuff, but I digress. The song is a track on the debut album of a group called Apple Pye (and yes, that is how they spell it in English). The album "Apple Pye" came out in 2012. And the interesting thing about the university-born unit is that according to a Japanese-language article, they've likened themselves as a 21st-century version of the New Music group, Sugar Babe.

The author for the article said that Apple Pye(あっぷるぱい)was a Sugar Babe with "...a  young, cool and cynical feel...". Not quite sure about that last adjective but I have yet to hear the whole album. Still "Calpis Soda no Natsu" has that breeziness which reminded me faintly of Taeko Ohnuki(大貫妙子)when she performed "Itsumo Doori"(いつも通り)on the lone Sugar Babe album, "SONGS". In fact, the two vocalists of Apple Pye have paid further tribute to the old band by taking on the names of Tatsuro Yamashita(山下達郎)and Ohnuki, the two main vocalists on Sugar Babe. The guy is Yamashita while the woman has taken on a moniker variant of Ohnuki's nickname of Ta-bo(ター坊)by going with Da-bo.

I haven't exactly gotten cold sweat cravings for Calpis since I returned to Canada in 2011, although I was more than happy to guzzle down the stuff when I went to Japan last year for a 2-week vacation. Still, it's times like these when it's hot and humid that I do appreciate drinking down a plastic bottle or can of the white stuff. Mind you, Calpis is indeed available here in Toronto at different places such as an anime and manga shop in Chinatown, but at about $3 a pop (no pun intended), I have somehow been able to resist its considerable charms.




The mixed fruits-au-lait version. Not too bad, either.
Took this photo at work years ago.

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