As I had said on my other tributes to my grandfather, I've always wondered what his reaction to me liking enka would be. Well, after getting to know his personality better through Mom, I'd figure it'd go something like this if I were to show him some performance of an enka/kayo singer I like:
Me: I like this song. What do you think?
Grandpa: *Stares at video for a while, then at me, then at the video again* Why do you like this sort of music/such old singers?
Me: Why not...?
It'd probably end about there for me, but then he would proceed to give my mom an ear-full. Yeah, Grandpa wasn't hot about Japanese music or its singers, to put it lightly. However, I think my weapon of choice against the unamused reactions and tutting would be to bust out "O-Saraba Tokyo", and then I'd be gloating over the fact that the original version of one of his favourites was actually by one of my favourites, Michiya Mihashi (三橋美智也). He's eyes might probably be rolling so hard they'd roll out of the house... but I think from there he'd warm up to the idea of me listening to good ol' Japanese oldies.
Moving on, "O-Saraba Tokyo" was something I'd least expect to be Grandpa's favourite. While I did mention that he enjoyed one of Hibari Misora's (美空ひばり) works, somehow it did not strike me that he'd be a fan of anything from the Yonin Shu. Perhaps it's because I always had the impression that their songs are quintessentially Japanese and so I just assumed that the likelihood of Chinese covers would be much lower. Turns out I was wrong the whole time and it's actually the complete opposite.
As J-Canuck mentioned in his article for the song, this jolly sounding tune was one of Michi's many big hits and was incredibly popular in the titular city. Apparently, its popularity had extended out overseas as well, judging by the number of Chinese renditions made. The one version in particular that Gramps adored was this Mandarin cover titled "Liang Xiang Yi" (兩相依... Two Together... or something like that) done by Taiwanese singer Yao Surong (姚蘇蓉), and its lyrics are not as sad as "O-Saraba Tokyo" (if I'm not wrong) - seems more like the character is simply missing a loved one rather than mourning over him/her. Well, personally, I still prefer the original. To be honest, I am being somewhat biased here - because Michi - but at the same time I'm not used to listening to Chinese music, especially covers of Japanese songs which I mostly find sounding strange.
I'm not sure if this Michi Best album has "O-Saraba Tokyo" in the track list, but I think it serves as a good visual representation of my face in that scenario I mentioned at the start of the article.