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.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Naotaro Moriyama -- Sakura(さくら)

This is the first full day of spring, and yet, the temperatures aren't quite there yet. The chief meteorologist has asked us all to keep our patience and endure some of the unseasonable weather for another two weeks. No problems with me here...snow is largely gone and it's not like it's minus 30 degrees out there. Plus, Toronto is far better than places like Washington DC and New York City which has been getting socked with nor'easter after nor'easter this winter, and even Tokyo got a surprise by getting snowed under just a few days after someone officially declared the annual Cherry Blossom season in full swing. I wonder if there is an official word for "snow cherry blossoms" in Japanese. Yukizakura(雪桜), perhaps?

Yesterday was another "Uta Kon"(うたコン)episode with the appropriate theme of spring songs although the weather didn't seem to cooperate in the Kanto (mind you, it looked nice in Osaka where the show was broadcasting from that night). Of course, with that theme in mind, there were the usual tunes of optimism and graduation songs.

Ironically enough, I already have a couple of Naotaro Moriyama(森山直太朗)tunes on the blog but neither of them is arguably his most famous ballad. "Sakura" (Cherry Blossoms) has probably now become a standard for this time of year in Japan as Moriyama sings about friends departing on their own paths and then meeting up again in the future. I wouldn't be surprised if "Sakura" were being used as an actual graduation song to be sung at the annual ceremonies.

"Sakura" was released as Moriyama's 3rd single, his 2nd as a major artist, in March 2003. According to the J-Wiki write-up, the singer-songwriter had initially created the song along with poet-lyricist Kaito Okachimachi(御徒町凧)as a tribute to a friend who was getting married but somehow the song was given a soft first release of 1200 copies which debuted at No. 80 on the charts. Then, the sky was the limit as the song gradually hit No. 1 on Oricon and stayed there for 3 straight weeks, becoming the 4th-ranked single for the year, followed by a No. 32 ranking in 2004. As of 2006, it managed to sell about 1000% of that original pressing. And before I forget, the Kohaku Utagassen did come knocking for him to perform on the 2003 show.

Hopefully, things will be warmer and more pleasant for the ohanami parties under the trees this weekend. I will have to check with my English student this weekend to see if the weather has become more seasonal.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, J-Canuck.

    This little bit of autumn is still looking like summer here in Brazil, but I hope the heavy rain just goes away in a few weeks.

    About "Sakura", it's really a modern classic. Coincidentally, I've been listening to this a song a lot recently, but not the original version.

    Remember Takuya Nakazawa, a fresh enka/Showa pop singer I introduced a while ago? Well, he released a mini-album comprised of covers last year, and, among gems like a cover of Frank Nagai's "Kimi Koishi", there is "Sakura".

    Here's a link to a live performance, if you want to listen to his version. Sound is not great, since it's not a professional recording, but it's possible to hear his lovely voice. I'm probably a fan of this guy right now, so maybe I'm biased.


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