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.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Miyuki Nakajima -- Mise no Namae wa Life (店の名はライフ)

Nope it's not Life but a Place...a coffee & tea place.

Having taken care of "Kayo Kyoku Plus" for as long as I have, I have cottoned onto some patterns over the past 5 years, and those include which YouTube videos get taken down faster. Often but not always, videos of songs of the more obscure singers tend to stay up for a very long time (I think one video has been up for 8 years). On the other hand, there seems to be a raging battle between record companies and uploading fans of Johnny's Entertainment boy bands.

The same seems to be true for any videos involving Miyuki Nakajima's(中島みゆき)huge body of work. The karaoke and other cover versions are certainly up there but anything with the actual singer-songwriter has often disappeared after a short while. So, don't be too surprised if you scroll down the Nakajima file in the blog and see a lot of ash gray squares where videos used to be or perhaps those cover versions. After I finish this article, I will probably do my own maintenance of this area.

(cover version)

As a consequence, I've been a bit gun-shy about at times about putting up a Miyuki Nakajima video. However, I just had to put the spotlight on this particular ballad by the singer since it's one of those occasional discoveries that had valentines popping up over my head. Usually when I come across a song for the first time, I listen to a good part of it before I decide whether I want to talk about it on the blog. This one, though, had me listening to all of it...twice!

"Mise no Namae wa Life" (The Shop's Name Is Life) has the sort of title that I would expect Nakajima to concoct. It was a track on her 3rd original album "A-R-I-G-A-T-O" released in June 1977. Right from the get-go, I was intoxicated by the languid arrangement of the melody which perfectly set up the singer's story of the life and times of the Life cafe right down to the description of the second cranky manager of the coffeehouse, the bicycle shop next to it, and the overly spicy curry on the menu. The piano and guitar are great but there are also the strings and other additional instruments, and these very light puffs of brass that waft in later in the song.

And the crazy thing is that Nakajima based the song on an actual cafe called Life which was located by the main entrance of Hokkaido University. In fact, there was indeed a bicycle shop next to it as well. J-Wiki reports that it even made a transformation into a manga cafe with the name also being changed to New Life. However, all things come to an end and Life came to its end in 1992. I wonder whether there was a rendition of the song to commemorate its closing.

Again, not sure how long that original video at the top will last but the one right here (and it has indeed been banished since the uploader's account has also been taken down) is a cover version so it should be OK for the time being. The album itself made it to No. 6 on the charts and eventually became the 26th-ranked album of the year. Incidentally, one of the musicians taking part in the album was Ryuichi Sakamoto(坂本龍一).


  1. You're right, the top video is not available for viewing anymore. Maybe it's a testament to how popular your blog is, that it is taken off once you feature the song ;)

    The cover version is quite nice. Just the type of song to listen to on a lazy Sunday afternoon.


    1. Hi, Francium.

      If you like the cover version, I think you should like the original even better. As I write this, the original video is back. The uploader's name is Sagittarius and he/she usually closes down his channel for the night at around 7pm EST.

    2. Hi, J-Canuck.

      I tried to view the video again but unfortunately the channel has been shut down :(

      Separately, hope the wet weather has cleared over at Toronto and it hasn't affected you too much. Stay safe and dry!

    3. Hi, Francium.

      He`s got a couple of channels left but I don`t know how much longer those will stay up. It looks like the good weather is coming back. I must have brought it back from the cruise. :)


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