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.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Yoko Kuzuya/Miyuki Hatakeyama -- Romance wo Mou Ichido (ロマンスをもう一度)

I didn't make it a habit of traveling too much outside of Tokyo during my years in Japan but I was able to get out to the onsen area of Hakone once or twice with friends although we never spent the night at one of those ryokan. Although there were plenty of accommodations in the area, the expense of spending even one night out there and the fact that Hakone was quickly accessible from Shinjuku meant that a day trip was good enough for us.

Nope, not particularly romantic of us...or me, specifically. But hey, I was never much of a traveler to begin with. Therefore, it's a bit ironic that I am introducing "Romance wo Mou Ichido" (Romance Once More) which has been the long-running campaign song for the Odakyu Romance Car Express originating from Shinjuku Station. And yep, I never got to ride the train since Japan Railways was supposed to be the less expensive option (although from what I see of the rates on the official website, they are not too bad), but I had always wondered about hopping aboard one of those Odakyu trains to get over to Hakone. Naively, I had thought that the Romance Car was truly just for the couples, with love seats installed in lieu of the regular seats, but it is just a more luxurious form of train.

Still, I remember the commercial song playing whenever the ads for the Romance Car popped up on the telly. I didn't find out about the title or the singers until last night. Five singers gave their own versions of "Romance wo Mou Ichido" between 2002 to the present day but I still remember the original version by Yoko Kuzuya(葛谷葉子)who composed the song with Hiroaki or Yasuaki Ueno(上野泰明)providing the lyrics.

My impression of a theme song for a trip out to summery Shonan Beach would be something appropriately rock n' roll a la TUBE, but I speculate that Kuzuya was looking for a tune that was more freshly green, soft...and well, more romantic. More strolling, less running. And "Romance wa Mou Ichido" has that melodic feeling of a traipse through the woods almost as if it were Alice in Wonderland. Over the past year, I've translated a number of articles about parks and forests in Japan, and this particular song would make for an ideal theme tune for those places as well.

Kuzuya provided her original version for the commercials from the summer of 2002 to the spring of 2003 and then between 2007 and 2008, although it didn't come out as her official 7th single until July 2007. Between the fall of 2003 and the winter of 2004, though, Miyuki Hatakeyama(畠山美由紀)gave an even more laidback cover of "Romance wa Mou Ichido".

To finish up, the above is a video of some of those Romance Cars gliding through the crossings.

Maybe I ought to try one of those Romance Cars out the next time I hit Japan before I get a little too old.

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