Hard to believe that after first watching the adventures and misadventures of one Momoko Sakura（さくらももこ）on TV in Gunma 25 years ago, I'm still watching the show with the family here in Toronto on Sunday nights. "Chibi Maruko-chan"（ちびまる子ちゃん）is that nice slice-of-life anime about Sakura's childhood in 1970s Japan but it can also have quite the level of spiky snark in it among the characters including Maruko herself. She is often the sympathetic heroine but can also be the sneaky little brat who gets her comeuppance at the end of the episode.
For a few years, I was accustomed to seeing the ending credits featuring Maruko's voice actress, TARAKO, and the comic duo Bakusho Mondai singing that loony tune. Therefore, it was a bit surprising to catch the new ending credits with the Ohanami setting and a happy laidback song by none other than Southern All Stars' leader, Keisuke Kuwata（桑田佳祐）crooning "Hyaku-man Nen no Shiawase!!" (A Million Years of Happiness!!) who even appears in the credits.
Composed by the singer and written by the creator of the original manga, Sakura, unlike some of the more frenetic themes from the past by folks like Hideki Saijo（西城秀樹）and B.B. Queens, "Hyaku-man Nen no Shiawase!!" is just a sunny hammock-friendly piece which is well illustrated by all of the characters in the ending credits enjoying their respective picnics on the grass. I never imagined I would ever hear Kuwata doing a "Chibi Maruko-chan" theme song but I guess we are all mellowing. The song was released as a track on his July 2012 BEST album, "I LOVE YOU -now & forever-" which hit No. 1 and later became the 6th-ranked album for the year, going Triple Platinum.