Back on Christmas Eve last year, I wrote about the song "Yodel Tabehodai"（ヨーデル食べ放題）, a musical ode to the love of yakiniku dining since it was featured on the end-of-year NHK special, "Osaka Melody". And during the performance of that song by Sachiko Kobayashi（小林幸子）, a rather dapper if immense tarento popped up to ham (no pun intended) it up. This would be Hikomaro（彦摩呂）, the ultimate foodie TV personality in Japan.
During my years in Japan, I would see the fellow appear on many a segment noshing happily on the grand variety of dishes served all throughout the nation while giving his thoughts. As the template for all tarento sampling the fare in the myriad restaurants, Hikomaro would be extremely loud and ingratiating...and that was even before he took a single bite. When he did, though, he would look like as if he were having an orgasm (man, I hope his pants were sturdy) and declare a whole ton of analogies as compliments such as "Aji no IT no kakumei ya!"（味のIT革命や〜）which translates as "This is the IT revolution of taste!" The above video has him explaining very much tongue-in-cheek about how to behave as a properly appreciative foodie tarento with the dish of choice being gyoza.
Hikomaro is about the same as me at about half a century. It's time for the shocker. Back in the late 1980s, the above video is what he looked like back then. Yep, he was a hunk back then instead of being a hunk of Jabba du Hutt now. So that you readers don't end up hurting your necks pulling multiple double takes between the two above videos, let me reassure everyone that both folks are indeed the same man...just in different times and weight classes. I've heard that whenever a retrospective is done about Hikomaro, the hosts always show the before/after photos of the fellow just to screw around with everyone's heads.
Back then, Hikomaro was Yoshihiko Hara（原吉彦）who was a member of a street performance team-turned-aidoru group called Bakumatsujuku（幕末塾...Bakumatsu Cram School）which had nothing to do with Johnny's Entertainment. The street performers based in Harajuku was scouted out one day and 11 of them decided to become a bona fide boys' aidoru group in 1988. Hikomaro became the 2nd leader of the group.
In April 1989, Bakumatsujuku debuted with "Come on Let's Dance", a high-energy and synth-heavy tune written by Norie Kanzawa（神沢礼江）and composed by Tetsuya Komuro（小室哲哉）. As an aidoru tune, it's actually not too bad in execution. However, only three more singles were released with the last one coming out in late 1990 and 2 albums. Apparently, although there was no official declaration of the group breaking up, Hikomaro and any other members who have still remained in the geinokai have referred to themselves as former members of Bakumatsujuku.
"Come on Let's Dance" by Bakumatsujuku is actually a cover of the original 6th single by TM Network (there is that Komuro connection). This version is one that I actually like better since there is even more guitar-driven oomph along with Takashi Utsunomiya's（宇都宮隆）percussive voice. The single came out in April 1986 (peaked at No. 19) and was also laid down as a track on the band's 3rd studio album, "GORILLA" from later in June. The album got as high as No. 12 with a little under 420,000 in sales.
Let's finish things off with another orgasmic performance by the legendary Hikomaro!
|Curry Tonkatsu at Haneda Airport|