This is a bit of an indirect sequel to Saburo Kitajima's（北島三郎）"Ohkami"（狼）from the other day where I was talking about my friend's performance at her buyokai at the Toronto Buddhist Church. We were actually conversing about which song she could base her next performance on when she mentioned some of the selections from the legendary Sayuri Ishikawa（石川さゆり）. Of course, I thought of her early hit "Tsugaru Kaikyo - Fuyu Geshiki"（津軽海峡・冬景色）.
And since I had yet to put up my anison for the week, I immediately remembered the enka entry from "Shirokuma Cafe"（しろくまカフェ）which has some influence from not only "Tsugaru Kaikyo" but also my old karaoke song, "Yukiguni"（雪国）by Ikuzo Yoshi（吉幾三）. As all "Shirokuma Cafe" fans know, the ending themes were all crafted by Saki（紗希）. Is there a genre in Japanese music that this singer-songwriter does NOT handle?! I say, nay!
"Michinoku Shiiku Blues" can be translated as Michinoku Breeding Blues but I think that sounds a bit dicey so I have decided to go with Michinoku Zookeeper Blues. After all, it is sung by the character of Handa-san, the kindly zookeeper where Panda and Llama work. As portrayed by seiyuu Wataru Hatano（羽多野渉）, Handa-san is a beloved miracle worker when it comes to his animals but he seems hopelessly out of his depth when it comes to the matters of the heart.
Hatano truly puts his heart on his sleeve like all true enka balladeers with "Michinoku Shiiku Blues" as he croons about wanting some of that tonic called love. He could be holding that mike right at the bar with a tumbler of Old Parr in his other hand. All Handa-san wants is some sort of positive response from the congenial waitress at Shirokuma Cafe, Sasako-san, while holding off the amourous advances of Panda's little sister, Mei-Mei. Mind you, near the end of the series, there looked to be some hope between Handa and Sasako. I almost forgot that the song also has that bit of Mood Kayo through that backup chorus which sounds reminiscent of The Cool Five.