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.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Keisuke Kuwata -- Naminori Johnny(波乗りジョニー)

A couple of weeks ago, I caught someone singing this on NHK's "Nodo Jiman"(のど自慢), and as soon as the real singer was identified, I simply went "Ahh...naruhodo."

After all, wouldn't it be just the thing for Keisuke Kuwata(桑田佳祐)of Southern All Stars(サザンオールスターズ)to sing about surfing? This was indeed Kuwata's 6th single (and according to J-Wiki, his first one in 7 years), "Naminori Johnny" (Johnny The Surfer), and yep, everyone bought into the inviting tune to let go of the work togs and head straight for the ocean.

(short version)

Perhaps not every cog in the working machine will want to grab a surfboard and hang ten, but the sentiment is certainly there to get away from the office and enjoy some form of recreation, and Kuwata tapped into that when he came up with "Naminori Johnny". I can certainly feel the summer sun and wind through the melody. The only thing missing is the rest of the Southern All Stars....well, actually his wife Yuko Hara(原由子)was on the piano when this was recorded.

Released in July 2001, the song was also used as a campaign tune for Coca-Cola, and I'm sure it was quite a coup. One of J-Pop's ambassadors of summer fun matched with a summer drink. It hit No. 1 and eventually even became the 4th-ranked single of the year, selling 1.1 million copies. It was also placed as a track on Kuwata's 2nd BEST compilation, "Top of the Pops" from November 2002 which had a 2-week stint at No. 1 and like the single, it also ranked in at No. 4 for 2003.

I appreciated the fizzy goodness of Coke during the torrid summers in Tokyo. However, another drink that I craved during the hot season in Japan was Georgia's Max Coffee. Coffee connoisseurs and physicians would probably have me tied down in irons but that was also one satisfying drink. Basically it is coffee sugar in liquid form.

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