Credits

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 2, 2017

Michiko Maki -- Machi no Tomoshibi (街のともしび)


For all of the love I have for various aspects of Tokyo's architecture, one thing that never really impressed me about the megalopolis was its nightscape. I mean, looking at it from Odaiba, it's OK; Tokyo Tower is there along with Rainbow Bridge but I think New York's nightscape beats it by a country mile and even Toronto has a better looking view.

Part of the reason is probably because of the ever-present fear of earthquakes. Japan might have the best quake-prevention measures anywhere on the planet but the expression "earthquake-proof" was quickly stricken from the dictionary after the 1995 quake in the Kobe area. And besides, all those gleaming skyscrapers pressed together over several city blocks might look really pretty at night but I certainly wouldn't want to be among them if a Shindo 7 were to ever strike. Take it from someone who dashed out of a Shinjuku building on March 11 2011 with dozens of other people to see all of the buildings around us swaying like palm trees with a wayward crane helplessly swinging about next door. And I think we were very lucky compared to what happened in the Tohoku area.


All of my commentary on earthquakes and architecture was just to introduce a Michiko Maki(牧美智子)song titled "Machi no Tomoshibi" (The Lights of The City). I most likely have written it before in her previous articles but I think Maki is one of the underrated singers in the general kayo genre. She has a lovely crystal voice so it's a wonder that I had never heard of her before until I was well into writing the blog.

According to the description of the above video on YouTube, "Machi no Tomoshibi" is Maki's 4th single from April 1975 (apparently she didn't even merit an article on J-Wiki) and was created by Kazuya Senke and Koichi Morita(千家和也・森田公一). In addition to those wonderful vocals, I've liked the song because of that ballad-style 70s guitar and the strings (automatically induces nostalgia). Plus, there is that amazing electric piano in the middle.

(starts from 1:59)

The lyrics, though, are rather melancholy if somewhat hopeful. Senke weaves a story for Maki to sing about the big, bad and lonely city but with little bits of redemption popping up in the form of flowers. Not surprisingly, "Machi no Tomoshibi" was the ending theme for the cops-&-robbers drama "Tokyo Detective: Futari no Jikenbo"(二人の事件簿...The Case File For Two)which had its run from April-November 1975. There were some pretty big names guesting on the show as well including Momoe Yamaguchi(山口百恵), Agnes Chan(アグネス・チャン)and Akiko Wada(和田アキ子).


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