Friend and reader of "Kayo Kyoku Plus", Lorence, asked me during my trip about which bands, singers or duos in Japan that I felt needed more appreciation or attention from the masses. I'm pretty certain that there are a number of artists out there whose fans feel that they have been vastly underrated. As for myself, there aren't too many I know that I believe have been left out in the cold. Perhaps PSY-S to some extent but then again, I have a sneaking suspicion that PSY-S and their fans were quite happy with their situation without having to worry about rankings and profile. I can also mention Atsuko Hiyajo（比屋定篤子）who I just wrote about a few minutes ago.
There's that iceberg analogy that I've often referred to over the years here about chipping away at the lower hidden 9/10ths of Japanese pop singers. That's not just me but there are performers who have been unknown to the vast majority of the population.
Lorence then introduced me to this duo called Humbert Humbert（ハンバート_ハンバート）. Never heard of them before but they do have a J-Wiki entry in which I found out that they play pop, rock and folk. Currently a husband-and-wife duo consisting of Ryosei Sato（佐藤良成）and Yuuho Sano（佐野遊穂）, Humbert Humbert started out as a 6-member unit with members coming from Wako University and Waseda University. The call of permanent employment then whittled the band down to the duo.
The first song I've heard is "Onaji Hanashi" (Same Ol' Talk), their 4th single as a major act released in February 2005. It's a very folksy and heartwarming tune about a couple who have obviously been around each other for a good long while and are now completely at ease. Sato provided words and music with the lyrics showing a playful back-and-forth conversation between the two. The talk comes across as so familiar that I could imagine translating the lyrics would come out with plenty of contractions such as "What'cha doin'?" and "Where are ya?"
"Onaji Hanashi" didn't appear on Oricon and for that matter, none of their singles so far have shown up on the charts. I only know the one song so far but not making any dent on Oricon is a bit of a pity. It's a nice refreshing tune made for neighbourhood walks and cafe musings. Then again, I think a lot of these so-called underrated and underappreciated acts probably feel that they don't need Oricon or invitations to the Kohaku Utagassen for approval. As long as they have a dedicated fan base and they themselves are enjoying the journey (and are making enough money), that's good enough.