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.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Tanpopo -- Otome Pasta ni Kando (乙女 パスタに感動)

OK, the above is not the greatest photo of my Spaghetti Bolognese; it's actually before I put the leftover pasta into the microwave. It is the pasta that has been cooked in my family for decades. However, my life in Japan not only had me finally trained to drink beer but it also introduced me to the various other forms of pasta other than the above family pasta, lasagna and macaroni & cheese. Even in my supermarket, I came across take-home servings of Peperoncino Spaghetti and pasta with Carbonara sauce. The Japanese love their Italian cuisine. In fact, I can say that any one person can throw a rock anywhere in Tokyo or my old digs of Ichikawa and the odds are that it will hit a place that serves some form of pasta. We have Chinese takeout here in Canada...Japan has Italian to go alongside their McDonalds and ramen joints.

Well, I gather that it wasn't too much of a surprise that there would be a J-Pop song with the word "pasta" in the title. And tonight, it's "Otome Pasta ni Kando" (The Girl Excited by Pasta) by Morning Musume (モーニング娘。) sub-unit Tanpopo (タンポポ).

Talk about natsukashii. When Morning Musume was in its really big heyday around the turn of the century, there were all of these different sub-groups popping up from the mother group and even mixing in with some of the other groups under the Hello Project roof. It was the Marvel Comics of aidoru-dom!

One of those units was Tanpopo which was the first of the MM sub-units to start up in 1998. With tallish Kaori "Johnson" Iida(飯田圭織), diminutive Mari Yaguchi(矢口真里)and medium Aya Ishiguro(石黒彩), I remember that the first incarnation of Tanpopo was going for a more mature and perhaps downright sultry image compared to the main Morning Musume gang. But then, with Ishiguro's departure after the big hit of "Love Machine", there was an influx of new musume and accordingly an increased number into Tanpopo. Now, there were the additions of Ai Kago(加護亜依)and Rika Ishikawa(石川梨華)to the veterans Yaguchi and Iida.

Plus the style changed in my estimation according to what I saw of the music video for Tanpopo's 5th single, "Otome Pasta ni Kando" from July 2000. Written and composed by Tsunku(つんく), the song was lighter and poppier. According to the Wikipedia article on the group, their songs started to sound closer to the usual Morning Musume material but with "Otome Pasta ni Kando", I believed it stood out for what sounded like a mix between 70s pop and French pop right down to some breathy vocals by the members. The video was also interesting for the four members strutting about in some vaudevillian get-ups designed by Dr. Seuss in what appeared to be the interior of the Vomit Comet.

It was quite the frothy delight about a girl leading a footloose and fancy-free life without a care in the world. The song hit as high as No. 3 and later became the 76th-ranked song for 2000. It was also a track on Tanpopo's 2nd album, "All of Tanpopo"(All of タンポポ)from 2002 which hit No. 4 on the album charts.


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