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.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Mika Nakashima -- WILL

(karaoke version)

As my family usually does on Friday night, we caught the latest episode of "VS. Arashi" with the friendly folks at Arashi(嵐). Well, perhaps I shouldn't say the latest episode since that particular episode was actually broadcast back in August of 2015. It was the usual hijinks between the guys and their special guests which were the Japanese men's volleyball team. At about 5 minutes into the show, I realized how out of touch I was with contemporary Japanese pop culture I have been when I found out that one of the strapping young lads on the team, Kunihiro Shimizu(清水邦広), had gotten married to singer Mika Nakashima(中島美嘉)back in December 2014. Good on them both. Considering some of the unhappy stories I've been hearing from the geinokai recently, it was nice to hear that news even though it was very belated.

And just by pure providence, I stumbled across what was supposedly the first meeting between Shimizu and Nakashima at a volleyball match back in 2011, I believe. Apparently, the singer had been a huge fan of the lug. It's not everyday that I get to see a popular singer who usually has to face squeeing fans become a squeer herself.

In any case, let's hit the music. Now, I wasn't totally sold on Nakashima until I heard her jazzy "Love Addict" from 2003 and then I ended up getting her BEST compilation some time afterwards. However I have to say that I should have listened a little more closely and often to her earlier single "WILL", her 5th release from August 2002.

It's a lovely ballad created by Yasushi Akimoto and Daisuke Kawaguchi(秋元康・川口大輔)given plenty of soul. And I should have figured it was arranged by Tomita Lab(冨田ラボ), the master at the soulfully mellow. It's just the song to listen to while viewing the city lights at night from the rooftop of some brownstone. "WILL" managed to get a bunch of accolades such as hitting No. 3 on the Oricon weeklies and becoming the 88th-ranked song for 2002 as it went Gold. The song was also the ticket for Nakashima to give her first performance on the Kohaku Utagassen. "WILL" also became the theme song for a Fuji-TV drama "Tentai Kansoku" (天体観測...Searchin' For My Polestar).

July 7 2018: Sad news to read but earlier this year, it was announced that Shimizu and Nakashima had gotten divorced.

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