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.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Tohoku Shinkansen -- Up and Down

The song isn't in this collection.

Yesterday, I had a commenter remark about how much he loved the works of singer-songwriter Etsuko Yamakawa(山川恵津子). I heartily agreed. And for this blog, she has mostly popped up as the songwriter but recently I only discovered of her participation decades ago in the duo Tohoku Shinkansen(東北新幹線)as not being just behind the pen but also behind the mike.

Not sure if Tohoku Shinkansen was ever meant as merely a whimsical dalliance/project as opposed to a full-fledged duo recording albums and making concert tours considering that Yamakawa and guitarist Hiroshi Narumi(鳴海寛)only created the one album "Thru Traffic" in 1982. Still, for City Pop/J-AOR lovers, this is one of the desired rarest of the rare. Personally, I would love to get my hands on a copy of the album but prices are now exorbitantly high. Realistically, I can only hope that one of the tracks has managed to get onto a compilation album such as the "Light Mellow" series or someday the recording companies decide to release a new batch of remastered CDs or digital downloads.

The one reason I've been quite keen on Tohoku Shinkansen is that the three tracks from "Thru Traffic" that are on YouTube are all very cool and classy numbers of the genre. I've already gotten "Tsuki ni Yorisotte"(月に寄りそって)and "Summer Touches You" up and running. The former is a duet between Narumi and Yamakawa while the latter is a solo by Narumi.

"Summer Touches You" was released as a single as well which leads to the topic of this article, "Up and Down". The song was the B-side to the single and also appears on the album. It is a solo concoction by Yamakawa in words and music, and is pleasingly breezy with a tight horn section and some light funkiness. Listening to the songwriter do her solo, I think it's a pity that she didn't show up more often in the recording booth rather than man the machines.

Note: The link to her website only gives out gibberish to me. You may have better luck.


  1. As said commenter, thank you :) I also get strange messages from her site ........ any recommendations for decent online translators? I use Google and MS to get some idea, but have found Babylon to be a bit strange and Systran almost unreadable.

    1. Hi, T-cat and it's a pleasure. As for the translation, I can't think of anything regarding any reliable online translators. The gibberish that I see on her site seems to have something to do more with some sort of app that I don't have.


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