Over the last few years, Sukima Switch (スキマスイッチ) has been a band that I've kept hearing and hearing about since vocalist Takuya Ohashi（大橋卓弥）and keyboardist Shintaro Tokita（常田真太郎）have often appeared on shows such as "Uta Kon" (うたコン) and "Music Station" even when I was living in Japan. And for me, it's been one song that has symbolized the duo.
I can hardly believe that it's been almost 12 years that their 5th single "Zenryoku Shonen" (Almighty Boys) was first released. Whenever Sukima Switch has appeared on a show, I've often wished that they would perform this particular song since it is so uplifting and encouraging. Recorded for release in April 2005, it was apparently also used for some Nintendo DS game according to Wikipedia but as a general single, it was a bonkers hit and why not?
"Zenryoku Shonen" which was written and composed by Sukima Switch has that bouncy melody which can clear up an overcast sky. And folks probably couldn't help but look up at the clear blue and grin a bit on hearing Ohashi sing about getting rid of that adulthood angst and grabbing the childhood hope and ambition once more. You gotta believe and have fun!
Fans certainly did. The song peaked at No. 3 and went Double Platinum. It later became the 78th-ranked single for 2005 and earned Sukima Switch their first of three consecutive appearances on the Kohaku Utagassen. The single also appeared on their 2nd album "Kuusou Clip"（空創クリップ）from July 2005. It hit No. 1 and was the 34th-ranked album of the year.
There were a couple of questions I had about Sukima Switch. One was from reading the Wikipedia article on the duo which compared them to jazz/rock fusion group Steely Dan. I'm not quite sure about that since on hearing them, I think they tend more toward British band The Style Council. There is a bit more of a carefree and breezy feeling to Sukima Switch and The Style Council whereas Steely Dan goes for a bluesy coolness.
The other thing was that how Ohashi and Tokita came up with that name for the band. The duo has said that there isn't any particularly deep meaning to it, according to J-Wiki. Tokita had been living in an old wooden apartment during their paying-their-dues days with the wind coming through cracks in the ceiling and a light switch that was an overhanging string (hey, that was the same with me in my Ichikawa bedroom). And so as not to ever forget those early struggling days, they went with the combination of "sukima" (cracks) and "switch". Also the two of them felt that instead of going with a supposedly cool name that would possibly go uncool over time, they went with a name that they thought was uncool from the get-go to nip that problem in the bud.
Ohashi has a huge amount of respect for artists such as The Beatles, Mr. Children, Hideaki Tokunaga（德永英明）and Koji Tamaki（玉置浩二）. That last person, as many of you know, is the lead singer for Anzen Chitai（安全地帯）, another band whose name may have also had folks initially scratching their heads as well. Meanwhile partner Tokita admires singer-songwriter-keyboardist Noriyuki Makihara（槇原敬之）.