I was surprised to hear back on Friday about the fact that the Studio Ghibli movie "Omohide Poroporo"（おもひでぽろぽろ）known here by its English title "Only Yesterday" (yes, much better than the direct translation of "Memories Plop") only got its first cinematic release in North America last weekend. It was originally released all the way back in 1991 but I never saw it on the big screen. Actually, I caught it one Friday night on TV in my Ichikawa apartment years ago. NTV always showed some sort of motion picture at 9pm on Fridays, and I could say that about once a month, there would usually be a Ghibli movie on.
As a lot of the critics are describing it, "Omohide Poroporo" is the one Ghibli movie without really any fantastical elements despite the main character of Taeko Okajima (played by singer-actress Miki Imai) having her reminiscences of her childhood. It was truly a drama rendered as an anime as Taeko takes a good hard look at her current life in Tokyo and wonders if she is truly happy while helping out a relative in rural Yamagata Prefecture. I only saw the movie once but I still remember a few scenes such as the one where the family is sampling a real pineapple for the first time, Taeko as a child marching to some old kayo, and the scenes of the adult Taeko working in the fields.
One of the annoying things about the TV broadcast of an NTV movie is that because the time slot was strictly set at 2 hours, chunks of the movie and the ending credits got cut out. So I never heard the finishing theme song which turned out to be a cover of Bette Midler's "The Rose", a song that I have heard a ton of times at various karaoke facilities including Kuri. For "Omohide Poroporo", the original Amanda McBroom song was given Japanese lyrics by the director of the movie Isao Takahata（高畑勲）, re-titled "Ai wa Hana, Kimi wa Sono Tane" (Love is the Flower, You are the Seed), and tenderly sung by enka chanteuse Harumi Miyako（都はるみ）. I wouldn't be surprised if a number of folks in the audience during the movie's original run got a bit teary-eyed with the stately arrangement.
The thing is that "The Rose" was covered many years earlier by balladeer Ruiko Kurahashi（倉橋ルイ子）. And I think she was the ideal singer for this song since she just has that way of wringing a good deal of emotion out of her balladry in concert. However, a recorded version of "Rose" wasn't provided until her 1999 BEST album "My Name Is Ballad", and then as a coupling song to her 2005 single, "Hirenka"（悲恋歌...Sad Love Song）. The Japanese lyrics were different here, being provided by Machiko Ryu（竜真知子）.
I have to reveal another side of my geekiness when I remark at the surprise and amusement I felt years ago on finding out that the creator of "The Rose", Amanda McBroom, also starred on an early episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" as Starfleet JAG Captain Philippa Louvois in one of my favourite episodes "The Measure of a Man". Not quite sure whether there is an outtake of Data crooning that particular song as he was awaiting his fate, though.
|Sorry, no roses...just tulips|