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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.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Arashi -- GUTS!


I've never really been into car racing per se but I can say that I have made room on my TV schedule on a certain May Sunday to watch the Indianapolis 500. There's just something very special about it. And the 2017 edition was even more special since I was able to see the first Japanese driver, Takuma Sato(佐藤琢磨), win the Indy 500 live. During that final lap before the checkered flag, I was quietly exclaiming "He's actually going to win this!!" Well, many congratulations to him.


So here I was thinking about how I would commemorate this. Well, a couple of the Johnny's groups came to mind, SMAP and Arashi(嵐). I was pretty sure that either one would have a happy song of victory in their respective arsenals.

Well, checking Arashi's discography, I found their 43rd single "GUTS!" from April 2014. And sure enough, it's a bouncy and inspiring tune that served as the theme for the NTV Saturday-night drama "Yowakutemo Katemasu"(弱くても勝てます...Baseball Brainiacs)starring Arashi member Kazunari Ninomiya(二宮和也)as the teacher who takes on a sad sack high school baseball team and makes it better. I haven't followed Sato's career too much but I recall him just missing out on the lead in the final lap of the 2012 edition of the Indy 500. Fans of the race commended him for his own guts.


"GUTS!" was written by eltvo and s-Tnk while SAKRA took care of the music. Not surprisingly, it hit No. 1 and ended up as the 6th-ranked single for 2014. It actually became the No. 1 single of the year for Billboard Japan. It also went Double Platinum, selling a little over 600,000 copies.

5 comments:

  1. Hi, J-Canuck.

    GUTS! is certainly a very appropriate song for Takuma Sato and indeed all the drivers who took part in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. They definitely need lots of guts to race at over 220 mph for 500 miles in a field of over 30 cars. For this 101st edition of the race, there were quite a number of heart stopping moments and one really horrifying crash (so glad to see Dixon walking away from it), so I really admire the bravery of all these guys.

    And Taku is certainly known for his gutsy, attacking style, even though he could be a little crash prone. I've read somewhere that his motto is no attack no chance, so it was probably why he was not contented to finish second in the 2012 Indy500 but instead took a risk the last lap which led to a mistake and him crashing out. All or nothing, I guess. I've seen Taku in person when I went to Suzuka a couple of years ago with my friend to attend a Formula 1 race. He was not driving in the race but being a driver in the Honda family, he appeared in a number of interviews. Seems like a pretty nice guy. My friend who is a big fan is naturally over the moon with this victory, as with probably the rest of Japan. She mentioned that Taku was on the front page of all the newspapers the next day, rightly so I'd say.

    I'm not actually an Indycar fan as I'm more into Formula 1 and a die hard Fernando Alonso fan. Alonso swapping his F1 car for this Indy 500 challenge got all of us F1 fans so excited over this big race. It was certainly quite an experience and Alonso didn't disappoint, showing great adaptability, speed and skill even though he only hopped into the car less than a month ago and had never driven in an oval prior to this. Alas his adventure ended with the Honda engine letting him down again. Trust me, when his orange car slowed with a puff of smoke, it was a moment of collective "NOOOO..." (...representing something not publishable since this a family friendly site :P) tears and heartbreak all around the world (ok, maybe that was a little exaggeration) . So my song for the Indy 500 would probably be a sad song of heartbreak, but perhaps laced with a sense of pride at seeing someone giving his all in tackling a tough new challenge with guts and determination. Can't think of any though, any recommendation will be appreciated :)

    Cheers
    Francium

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    Replies
    1. Hello, Francium.

      Yep, that was quite the 101st running of the 500. I was quite glad that both drivers from the horrific crash didn't suffer much of anything, but I gather that technology has gotten to that point in safety. If that had happened 20 years ago, I'm pretty sure at least one of those two wouldn't be around.

      I didn't write it up above but I was somewhat surprised at the lack of coverage about Sato's win on Japanese TV. One of my friends on Mixi reassured me that it was because the race had been held while Japan in the wee hours of Monday but still the media reaction later in the morning was far from celebratory in my estimation. I'm not sure whether Sato managed to tick off some bigwigs at the networks. :)

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    2. Hi, J-Canuck.

      Am surprised to hear about the lack of fanfare for his triumph. Had assumed that it would be a big thing since Japan is quite crazy over motorsports and he is the first Japanese to win the big race.

      Maybe they were waiting for him to come back for more of a celebration. I read that Taku had just returned to Tokyo a couple of days back and there was a warm welcome for him at Narita. Also saw that there is this huge twenty story video screen somewhere in Osaka featuring the man and his victory. Looks pretty cool. Maybe someone may write a song to commemorate his win too :)

      Separately, there is something that I'll like to check with you. I've tried to use a mobile device like an ipad to comment but somehow the comments did not get through. There is usually a message after clicking publish but on an ipad they just disappeared after I click publish. Just wondering whether there is a proper way to submit comments when on mobile devices? Thanks.

      Cheers
      Francium

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    3. Hi, Francium.

      A couple of days ago, I did see Sato come back to Japan to a hero's welcome through an NHK sports highlight. I guess it was a case of better late than never. But yes, I was still surprised by the lack of initial joy from Japan.

      As for the issue of commenting from a mobile device, I've been checking things out online and perhaps there might be something I can do on my end but it involves rewriting code. Unfortunately, the one person who had the solution on his website wasn't great at explaining himself to a lay person like me so at this point, I'm rather hesitant in effecting any changes.

      My question for you is whether you can see the comment box on your ipad.

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  2. Hi, J-Canuck.

    Yep, the comment box appears on the ipad. The format looks the same as on a computer.

    In any case, the current way is fine too. Just thought I'll check if I'm missing something :)

    Cheers
    Francium

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