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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.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Anzen Chitai -- Ano Koro e (あの頃へ)


As I mentioned in the article for Anzen Chitai's(安全地帯)"VIII ~ Taiyo" album from 1991, I think Koji Tamaki's(玉置浩二)band started losing their appeal for me with "VII ~ Yume no Miyako" in 1990, although I liked a number of their tracks on that later album. Since then, it hasn't been quite the same so for me Anzen Chitai has been more the band of the 1980s.


Having said that, listening to the band's 22nd single from December 1992 "Ano Koro e" (To That Time) is a wonderfully moving experience, thanks to Tamaki's incredible voice. It's a well-titled ballad since the music and vocals easily brings me back to the time when Anzen Chitai was one of the top bands in Japan.

As usual, it was Goro Matsui(松井五郎)on the lyrics and Tamaki on the music. "Ano Koro e" sounds as if it were a love letter by the band to their home in Hokkaido. A big sloppy heart is on everyone's sleeve as Tamaki starts off with words like these:

The snow falls in my faraway hometown
They become tears of nostalgia
I wait for the spring. My memories
Can probably make someone happy

That sky, those winds
They still unfailingly stay in my heart
If I can take you
To that heartwarming time someday

If I'm not mistaken, I think the song was actually used as a campaign song for tourism somewhere, probably Hokkaido itself. "Ano Koro e" could sell it. Tamaki makes the whole scene epic and intimate at the same time right down to the keyboard putting forth those sounds of snowflakes falling softly.


I don't think the ballad ever made it onto an original album but it did get onto at least one BEST compilation since that is where I first heard the full version. Anzen Chitai's best days may have been behind them by the early 90s but the band could still come out with the one big amazing tune. And Tamaki will go down as one of the best singers that Japanese popular music has ever seen.

2 comments:

  1. Hi, J-Canuck. I'm back (again).

    I have to say that Tamaki's powerful, heart-wrenching vocals is what I love most about "Ano Koro e", especially the way it echoes to create that feeling of loneliness. As for its Asian-inspired melody, I was reminded of it when I heard enka singer, Takeshi Matsubara's version of Stardust Revue's "Mokuren no Namida". You can check it out in the link.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTG0GXqxZHw

    Yup, "Ano Koro e" did make it into the band's GOLDEN BEST album I got back in my secondary school days. The song does bring me back to that time, more specifically when I had to wait for a less frequent bus in the scorching heat of the late afternoon with a bag heavy with books. Unlike Tamaki, I can't say I'd like to go back to that warm (definitely not heartwarming) time.

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    Replies
    1. Hello, Noelle. Good to see you back from your Canadian caper! Thanks for linking me to Matsubara's take on "Mokuren no Namida". It has quite the mystical quality.

      Yeah, I think "Ano Koro e" is probably more for the colder climes. And there's nothing better than Tamaki's voice to provide some comfort from the winds.

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