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, February 13, 2018

Yumi Seino/Jun Shibata -- Sky Restaurant(スカイレストラン)

Back in 2013, nikala was nice enough to write about one of her favourite tunes, "Sky Restaurant" by vocal group Hi-Fi Set(ハイ・ファイ・セット)which has ended up becoming a standard number in the kayo genre. No surprise there since it was written by Yumi Arai(荒井由実)and composed by Kunihiko Murai(村井邦彦). Especially back in the 1970s and 1980s, it just seemed that anything whipped up by Yuming(ユーミン)was gold. Listening to the original version, there seemed to be that languid and luxurious feeling of what folks could aspire to in the days of the Economic Miracle. Furthermore, as nikala also mentioned, there was that famous "Pa pa-pa pa-pa-pa" by Junko Yamamoto(山本潤子), the main vocalist for Hi-Fi Set, which could set off any nostalgia nerves.

As I said, "Sky Restaurant" has become a standard so I just wanted to reveal a couple of the covers done by other singers since it was first released back in 1975. Yumi Seino(清野由美)caught my attention almost a year ago as this obscure City Pop singer so I covered her "Katamuku"(傾く)from her 1983 album "Continental". She also did a splendid cover of the Hi-Fi Set classic for an earlier album, her 2nd titled "Natural Woman" from 1981 according to the Hip Tank Records website. Apparently, the album has been considered to be one of the representative City Pop releases.

Naturally, Seino's "Sky Restaurant" is less languid and slightly bouncier/breezier although the mood is still very much that of a good expensive dinner at the top of the Keio Plaza Hotel in Shinjuku (I'll have my steak au poivre medium-rare, s'il vous plait). Plus, the City Pop tropes are in there with the electric guitar and the saxophone. And I swear that the singer sounds a whole lot like another City Pop princess, Miki Matsubara(松原みき), performing this one.

Jun Shibata(柴田淳)is a singer-songwriter that I've heard about during my years in Japan but never covered on the blog. I will have to rectify that somehow. From what I know, she's usually in the J-Pop field but in the video above, she gives a nice jazz performance of "Sky Restaurant". Her version pops up in an album of covers that she recorded back in 2012 titled "Cover '70s" which peaked at No. 7 on Oricon.

No matter what the arrangement, though, "Sky Restaurant" is quite the masterpiece.



    One of the songs (The original Hi-Fi Set version) that got me into the whole City Pop thing in the first place. I even used the opening "Pa pa-pa pa-pa-pa" for my old, and now defunct, podcast back in the mid-aughties.

    Don't ask for the name of it. Nobody ever listened to it anyway and all copies of that show died with my dearly departed MacBook Pro several years ago.

    However, I'm thinking about starting up another one...

    1. Hi, Chasing Showa.

      I see that you've also become entranced by Yamamoto's onomatopoeia. :) By the way, I won't ask for the name of your podcast but was it about Japanese pop music?

    2. Only in the way I gave the other co-hosts (which were two others) a view into 70s/80s/90s/00s Japanese pop music. One was a DJ who loved to sample Japanese music (anison, Japanese game OSTs, and hip-hop) and the other was into Japanese pop culture in general.

      TBH, the podcast was into a lot of what the late CKLN Full Moon podcast was about. Dance, hip-hop, and R&B of the 80s/90s/early aughties including Japan. This was before I discovered the Full Moon Podcast a couple of years later.

    3. Morning, Chasing Showa!

      Before I started the blog, I had been wondering about doing a podcast on Japanese music myself and even got some literature on the topic via one of those "Dummies" books. There was even a small section on music involving podcasting and blogging. It was some pages but the authors basically boiled it down to a few words: DON'T. EVEN. BOTHER. DOING. A. MUSIC. BLOG. They may have been copyright lawyers for all I know, and obviously I didn't obey that chapter. :)


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