The other night, I was watching a special via TV Japan which featured some of these unsung craftsmen who had the ability to make miraculous restorations from supposedly lost causes. What was interesting was that it wasn't just about tables and chairs. One fellow who might be someone I would call a forensic culinary researcher was able to re-create a lost beloved curry sauce recipe for a lady whose late father ran a small restaurant but never wrote down how to create any of his dishes by asking some of his old regulars and checking the remains of the curry levels in the old pot.
What wrapped up the special was the appearance of former 70s teen aidoru Agnes Chan（アグネス・チャン）. She brought her old guitar which is most likely the one you see in the above picture. Tenderly referring to it as her companion and security blanket of sorts in her early years in Japan, she came on the show to find out if someone was able to restore the guitar since it had gotten a good amount of fuzz in the sound over the past number of years. The master guitar repairer checked it out to realize that the bracing inside the instrument had cracked thereby causing the undesired roughness. Several days, some glue and many vice clamps later, Agnes' old friend was back as she tearfully and gratefully played a Stevie Wonder song on the guitar. It was actually the first time in my life that I got to hear her sing in English.
With that happy prelude, I bring to you Chan's 8th single from December 1974, "Ai no Mayoigo" (Love's Lost Child). It's kinda ironic since the song by lyricist Kazumi Yasui（安井かずみ）and composer Masaaki Hirao（平尾昌晃）is about a poor woman trudging through an autumn forest (and nothing says lost love more than a lot of dead leaves in kayo kyoku) after her beau decides to stop the romance and head back home, although near the end of the song she admits that she is wiser for the experience. And for a sad ballad, Hirao made quite the galloping melody which contrasted interestingly with Chan's characteristically sing-song vocals.
"Ai no Mayoigo" peaked at No. 2 on Oricon and ended up as the 19th-ranked single for 1975. The song was also able to have Agnes appear on the annual Kohaku Utagassen for a 3rd straight time. It would be her final time at the Kohaku, though, since the next year, she would start studying social child psychology at the University of Toronto for the next couple of years although that apparently didn't stop her output of singles. In terms of her singing career in Japan, I think the heyday most likely started fading from that point but obviously she's been able to go on to bigger and better things since then such as a UNICEF ambassadorship, a professorship and appearances as the occasional tarento.