Last week, the news focused on the passing of radio broadcaster and lyricist Rokusuke Ei（永六輔）, a man who basically kept his songwriting just to the 1960s before deciding it was time to let the pen drop. Several days ago, another celebrity who was very comfortable in the milieu of television left this mortal coil. His name was Kyosen Ohashi（大橋巨泉）who was born Katsumi Ohashi（大橋克巳）in Tokyo in 1934. And according to his obituary on NHK, he had been known as Mr. TV for all of his appearances as a television personality and broadcast writer since the 1960s. In a time before household names such as Tamori（タモリ）, Sanma Akashiya（明石家さんま）, and director/comedian Beat Takeshi（ビートたけし）, he was probably one of the most recognized faces on the telly.
My time knowing him was pretty much at the very end of his regular appearances...at the end of the 1980s, but I did see him from time to time as the congenial emcee of the NTV late-night variety series, "11PM", and also as the host of the TBS game show "Quiz Derby". Plus, my parents told me that he was also the owner of the OK Gift Shop franchise, a chain of stores specifically catering to Japanese tourists traveling around the planet. He ended up setting up at least three stores in Vancouver, Banff and Niagara Falls in my country.
Now the news of Ohashi's passing coincided with my listening to one of the "Light & Mellow" series of City Pop/J-AOR CDs that I've been collecting over the years. I just purchased another disc in the series titled "Wave" and hopefully it will arrive in the next few days. One of the tracks on the disc that I already have, "City", is "Living In The City" by Judy Anton, who just happened to be a regular presence on "11PM" back in the heyday of the show. Along with her duties as a tarento, she was also a model and singer hailing from New York City. All that information was stuff I couldn't get from J-Wiki...I actually found it in the liner notes of "City".
I'm not sure how long her singing career carried on for, but "Living In The City" was originally a track on her 1980 album "Smile". Written by Takashi Matsumoto（松本隆）and composed by Ichizo Seo（瀬尾一三）, it's your typically smooth and full-bodied City Pop ballad about loving life in the metropolis, whether it be The Big Apple or The Big Sushi. The arrangement was by Makoto Matsushita（松下誠）so as soon as I saw his name, I figured it was gonna be some mellow urban contemporary. And hey, with those keyboards and saxophone, I could certainly use it as some traveling music while walking on the streets of West Shinjuku at sunset.
|Yup, it's West Shinjuku|