A few days ago, I wrote about my experiences at my friend's Japanese dance recital which involved the Kozakura Japanese Dance School whose members include her and her daughter. But what I had yet to include was the fact that there was a special guest from Japan. His name is Hiroshi Tayama（田山ひろし）and he has been an enka singer since 2003. In all honesty, I had never heard of him and my parents who are even more into the genre couldn't recognize him either. This isn't meant as a slight against him since like many a thespian in Hollywood, most of the folks in the acting industry never make the big time through a hit TV show or movie. I think that's also true in the music biz in Japan not just in enka but also in genres such as aidoru, pop and City Pop.
Thus far, Tayama has released 4 singles, two of them in 2003 and another pair in 2011. He sang one of the 2011 singles at the buyokai on Saturday and he did cut a dapper figure wearing those shiny enka suits that tickled the audience around me. The ballad happened to be "Tomarigi Banka" (Elegy to a Barstool).
Yup, the English translation of the title does sound somewhat silly but the lyrics by Daisuke Shiga（志賀大介）paint another sad tale of a broken man drowning his sorrows in sake by himself at a watering hole as he mourns the end of a relationship. Junpei Oda（小田純平）provides the bluesy melody filled with sax and pathos that could describe the sorrow-drowning at any nomiya in a regional town or at a fancy bar in the big city. Perhaps that title might be referring to the empty one where his beloved used to sit or the one that the guy will most likely vacate for good since the place must now hold too many painful memories for him.