When I came back to Toronto for good after so many years, I finally got the gumption to visit the St. Lawrence Market. I had been hearing about this place since I was a kid but never made it there in my life, sorry to say. But I finally did make my visit to this emporium of food and souvenirs on Front St. a few months later.
I've made a few visits there since and I've always enjoyed it for lunch such as juicy porchetta sandwiches (do not tell your doctor about this one!) and chicken parmigiana sandwiches. Still, I was surprised to find out that at least for one year, the St. Lawrence Market was actually labeled as the best market in the world! I guess it's rather Canadian to do so but I couldn't quite believe that our Toronto emporium would actually be selected as the best. After all, there is the Pike Place Market in Seattle, Chatuchak Market in Bangkok, and even Ameyoko（アメ横）in Tokyo. I almost felt like apologizing to everyone on the planet "Hey, sorry....it wasn't my decision!"
But in any event, I think a lot of us were quietly happy and proud that we would get the honour, and the St. Lawrence Market is a pretty decent place for eats and stuff.
Well, on that note, I would like to happily introduce "Fuyu no Market" (Winter Market) by Miki Imai（今井美樹）. Over a year ago, when I wrote up the follow-up article for her grand album "Retour" (1990), I mentioned that this particular song and one other had been the remaining tracks not to be covered by me due to non-availability on YouTube. Luckily, that is no longer the case as far as "Fuyu no Market" is concerned.
My neighbourhood in Ichikawa was well stocked with supermarkets and convenience stores so seeing actual lively markets from the old days was simply not to be during my time. Probably the closest I got was traipsing through the aforementioned Ameyoko. I know now through my translation work that there are some famous farmers' markets in areas of Japan such as Niigata Prefecture with that bustling and homey atmosphere as the locals come down to get some fresh fish and vegetables. I might try to partake in one myself someday when I head back to the nation for a visit.
Imai's "Fuyu no Market" definitely has that contemporary sound (for 1990, at least) in the arrangement, but the atmosphere of the setting is very homey and comfortable as I could see Imai walking through the local market and searching for some goodies to make dinner when, lo and behold, she bumps into an old flame doing the same. There is a combination of that bitter and sweet as the two former lovers decide to chat and partake in some coffee to keep the chill away and maybe stoke of that warmth from the old days.
Yuuho Iwasato（岩里祐穂）provided the lyrics and Akemi Kakihara（柿原朱美）composed the music for this song which was one of the 12 reasons why I love "Retour" as one of my very favourite albums in Japanese pop music.