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.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Akira Kobayashi -- Koi no Yamanotesen (恋の山手線)

Over the weekend, a couple of my relatives from abroad came for a visit. The time spent with them was fun, especially since my uncle loves to share little anecdotes, recounts of incidents from way back in the days of yore when he had hippy hair, and an occasional quote from a prominent figure. The quote for this round of visitation happened to be from Chinese philosopher, Confucius, regarding one's age... sort of - we were talking about our ages when he thought of it. I'll share the bits of it that he had been saying to me.

San shi er li (三十而立)    
At thirty I stood firm

Qi shi er cong xin suo yu, bu yu ju  (七十而从心所欲,不逾矩)    
At seventy I could follow my heart's desire without overstepping the boundaries of what was right

Credits to Wikiquote for the proper translations to the quote. The translations provided by my uncle were simpler; the first sentence being something on the line of finding yourself and knowing who you are, the other one simply being, doing whatever you like. The reason for his constant reiterations of these two lines in particular is because they concern the both of us in one way or another -  I have yet to turn 30 and it will be a while till that happens, as for him... well, you can figure it out. "You still have a long way to go," he told me. A long way indeed.

Alright, coming back to today's main topic. Joining me in the "Haven't yet crossed the San shi er li mark club" is enka singer Yuki Tokunaga (徳永ゆうき), and I'm starting to enjoy seeing him on the music shows as he's been able to pull off enka classics really well. In the week before the last on an episode of "Shin Nippon no Uta", he appeared to sing a jaunty tune known as "Koi no Yamanotesen", and since the song features this JR line, Tokunaga was dressed as a train conductor and even made a couple of those train announcements (video got taken down).

It was quite an amusing song as places long the Yamanote line were featured like Shinagawa, Sugamo and Tabata. If my guess is right, the lyrics are about the protagonist either listing out some date suggestions to his lady (probably the cute girl from the office in Ueno) or about the couple hopping from town to town in search of a good time along the Yamanote line.

As the MC mentioned before Tokunaga tackled the song, "Koi no Yamanotesen" was originally sung by a current member of the "Qi shi er cong xin suo yu club", the husky Akira Kobayashi (小林旭). Definitely sounds like something right up Might Guy's alley. Listening to the playful music and how the stations are being mentioned one after another, it brought to mind another of Kobayashi's later single, "Jidosha Show Ka" (自動車ショー歌), which is basically the car version of "Koi no Yamanotesen". Y'know, from that video above with Kobayashi's performance of the song, I can see why many like to do impressions of him.

"Koi no Yamanotesen" was put together by Kuranosuke Hamaguchi (浜口庫之助) and Teiji Kojima (小島貞二), with the former taking care of the music while the latter handled the lyrics. It was released on 20th March 1964 and it was a big hit... or at least that was what the "Shin Nippon no Uta" MC said. But I wouldn't be surprised if it were well recieved since it's quite catchy.

Oh wow, look at that!

I took a look at the Yamanote line; it reminds me of the Circle line over here in Singapore.

1 comment:

  1. Hello, Noelle.

    I gotta say that I like the cover of the single that popped up at the beginning of the last video where Kobayashi appears as if he's challenging a rival: "Wanna a piece of me?".

    "Koi no Yamanotesen" is a pretty fun ride on Tokyo's most famous train line, and yep, the majority of those stations are the gateways to some interesting neighbourhoods such as Shibuya, Harajuku and Akihabara.


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