I never really got into the 15-minute morning drama serials on NHK (known as asadora), but for some reason, I made the exception for "Ume-chan Sensei"（梅ちゃん先生）which was shown here via TV Japan for the majority of 2012 (can't believe it's been 3 years). I guess it was because it took place during a period of Japanese history that I was the most interested in during my university years: the postwar era from 1945 into the 1960s when the nation began its economic rebirth. Also, I enjoyed the characters on the show since they kept the usual histrionics to a minimum.
The one other interesting thing about the show was the theme song by SMAP, "Sakasama no Sora" (Upside-Down Sky). When I first heard it in the opening credits, I thought it was a bit jarring since it sounded like a mellow semi-disco tune out of time with the setting of "Ume-chan Sensei". However, as I started enjoying the show, I also started to get used to the theme and even ended up liking it by the end.
"Sakasama no Sora" was released as SMAP's 47th single in April 2012 and became the group's 14th straight No. 1 song going all the way back a decade to "freebird" in 2002. It also stayed in the Top 10 for 47 straight weeks right from the get-go, becoming the 37th-ranked song for the year. Tetsuro Anjo（麻生哲朗）provided the lyrics while Yoko Kanno（菅野よう子）composed the melody. The tune was also a track on SMAP's 20th studio album, "Gift of SMAP" which was released in August 2012 and also hit the top spot on the charts. It would later become the 19th-ranked album for the year going Platinum.