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, November 8, 2015

Kiyoshi Maekawa -- Yuki Ressha (雪列車)

Ah, my favourite Mae-Kiyo stage... ...

Despite having the word for "Snow" in its title, I find that "Yuki Ressha" has a comfortable and warm feel to it rather than cold, and I think that's due in part to the mellow and moody music. The soft strings and rhythmic thumping of the drums makes you feel as though you're watching snow flakes drift down on a chilly day from the safety of your home heated by a crackling fire, or just a heater.

Renowned musician Ryuichi Sakamoto (坂本龍一) had done the composing for Kiyoshi Maekawa's (前川清) first solo single from October 1982 (when he had that awful perm), and it is not so much of Mood Kayo as it is Pop, but there seems to be a slight touch of enka to it. My guess is that Mae-Kiyo was trying to deviate from the genre he started with and go with something more contemporary. After all, Mood Kayo popularity was starting to wane in the 80's. Shigesato Itoi (糸井重里) penned the lyrics, and they seem to be about our protagonist reminiscing the enjoyable times he had with a past lover on a winter's day.

Just to share a little something with you guys: "Yuki Ressha" had served as inspiration to one of my narratives I had written more than a year ago. As you can see, every time I have this forlornly delivered song playing, it has me picturing a lone figure seated by the window on a train all while the frigid, dreary snow-covered landscape topped by an equally as grey sky zips by before his wistful eyes. So on one of the mornings on the way to school, I just so happened to not be as groggy as I thought I'd be - that was still during my first year at college and classes started at 8.30 am sharp and I didn't have the pleasure of living close by and I'm not a morning person by nature - allowing my creative juices to flow and formulate something substantial out of that little scene from my mind's eye.

The writing process for this story also went pretty smoothly and I doubt I'd forget ever forget it; I wrote the "Yuki Ressha" bit in school (the module I had that day was lax, so was my teacher) and the remaining three-quarters of it at home over the weekend. While at home, I restarted the project near midnight when, oddly enough, my creative juices flow best, and typed away for hours until I was done... at nearly 4 am the next day. It was my first time pulling an almost all-nighter doing something remotely productive. It quite the experience.


  1. Just imagine a future Oscar winner/member of YMO and an eccentric copywriter creating an enka-tinged pop song for one of the Mood Kayo greats. Definitely an interesting piece to write about, Noelle. And the arrangement has some of that technopop feel to it while not forgetting where Maekawa came from.

    I know from where you speak about getting that inspiration to write. I've always found that when I've been able to effectively link a personal story with a song, the words seem to flow much more naturally and the article is quite a bit longer.

    1. Hmm, now that you mentioned the element of technopop, no wonder I found that "Yuki Resha" did not seem completely "normal pop".

      Yeah, I have to agree with you in saying that adding an anecdote into the article does help in the writing process. I was having quite a bad case of a writer's block last week and had trouble writing anything that wasn't fish-science-related, but having that personal story to write about for this article sure helped to get rid of it.

    2. I've also had my incidents of writer's block as well when it came to this blog. Usually letting things go for a while helps to unblock things, but I always try to find a personal hook of some sort for the song.


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