Credits

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, July 17, 2018

Machiko Watanabe -- Hoshi Furu Yoru ni Ki wo Tsukete(星降る夜に気を付けて)


I actually heard this on YouTube's J-Channel last week and I was rather glad that I could find it elsewhere on the site.


Not knowing too much of Machiko Watanabe's(渡辺真知子)material after the 1970s, it's great to know that she's been behind songs such as "Hoshi Furu Yoru ni Ki wo Tsukete" (Be Careful on the Night When The Stars Fall) which was a track on her 1987 album "Soi".  Written by Watanabe and composed by Minoru Komorita(小森田実), the song is an appealing mix of that late 1980s sophisticated City Pop, sultry Latin and perhaps even a hint of Matt Bianco. It's pretty darn classy; I can only see this in the setting of some of the more expensive parts of Tokyo, and Watanabe's voice gracefully adorns any imagined couple tripping the light fantastic on the tango floor.


It's too bad that the original recorded version can only be heard as an excerpt at iTunes or on the J-Channel radio if you're lucky to catch it when it comes up. Still, I've heard it and now I want to get it.

7 comments:

  1. She's very good and smart composer and what I liked about her songs is that words are often very nicely rhymed. Japanese lyrics fits extremely well with songs so I can get it perfectly without looking at sheets.

    NHK hosts the annual Tohoku concert next week and this year Watanabe Machiko is on the bill.

    The show is on TV
    July 28th, 18:05 pm to 18:43 (NHK Sogo 1 Channel, Japan Time zone).

    I checked the Japanese website and she will play "Kamome ga Tonda Hi" and a song called "Beautiful". I am curious about "Beautiful" as I think that's not her song and most likely (Japanese) Superfly Cover.

    - Hanibo

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    1. Hello, Hanibo.

      Yes, I have a feeling that Ms. Watanabe has been somewhat underrated all these years in terms of her songwriting abilities. I figured that for the Tohoku concert she would sing either "Kamome" or "Mayoi Michi", but that's good that she's also going to sing something different as well.

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  2. Heya! Midori here.

    PART 1

    Sorry in advance for my lengthy comment ^^"" Kinda reluctant to share my Watanabe Machiko fangirling story as I find it a little bit embarassing but here it is:

    I used to like JPOP from Anime Songs and OSTS. It was just recently (like 2 months ago) that I discovered Kayo Kyoku and City Pop... thanks to City Pop Radio and youtube recommendations.

    At first, the artists that interest me were Junko Ohashi and Junko Yagami. The latter I kept searching on google. Machiko Watanabe kept appearing on "People Also Search For" but I used to ignore it.

    It was just last month that I discovered her thru the FM Broadcast (I commented on your other post) featuring Junko Yagami and her. I really don't understand japanese but based on the title and since I recognize Junko's voice I realized they were covering each other's songs.

    Junko's rendition of "Blue" sounds so sweet (especially when she hits the high parts with her vibratro) and though I liked the end chorus "Senaka Awase no Blue", I felt like something was missing. The 4 notes where Junko was supposed to curl on the "Blue~" parts were kinda mellowed down as compared to the fast-paced original curly 4 notes on the original Blue~. The latter version I liked better. Also the arrangement on Junko's side was more simplified as compared to the original's dramatic intro, interlude, and ending that made me think nothing beats the original when it comes to striking the listener's emotions.


    then I heard Machiko Watanabe say "Husky Voice" on the radio (Maybe she was saying she has a husky voice? irdk) Anyway as she sang the first line of "Omoide wa Utsukushii Sugite" I was like... Whoaa! What a sexy voice! Even though Machiko sang the song on lower key. I think her voice texture was quite seductive as compared to the original and it really complements with the accompaniment (especially the electric guitar). Though I can sense she struggles with high parts to which I admit Junko can sing even higher with ease, like I said, Machiko's singing voice was sexier.

    With that, My personal bias switched from Junko to Machiko instantly.

    Blue was my favorite. It was so hard to find a digital copy not from youtube to mp3 sites. But I managed to get her 2000 Best Album that includes "Blue" from jpop80ss site. To my curiosity, I listened to her other songs and that made me thirst for more. I ended up going through all the trouble of making a Japanese iTunes account and buying Itunes JP Gift cards from outside sources online since I'm not japanese and I don't live in japan. I subscribed to Apple Music and I'm so happy to see that most of her albums were there! I discovered lots of her songs that interests me: About 30 songs, I say.

    Speaking of Hoshi Furu Yoru ni Ki, though it's not really my favorite, I also downloaded it and Soi along with the rest of her albums available on itunes and ripped them all to mp3 with a software I willingly paid for.

    I tried to compare the original one to the ripped one. The difference is barely noticeable. If you don't mind a ripped digital copy, I can send you the song, and if you're interested I can send you her 20 albums since 1978 to the present. Out of these 20 albums only 2 were partial albums (meaning some songs on those albums cannot be ripped out since they were not made available to itunes.) Just ping me through the url attached to my name if interested.

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    1. Good morning, Midori. Yes, I remember you from the "Blue" article. Thanks for your Machiko Watanabe reminiscences since that is what I've always been hoping for on the blog. Watanabe has always had one of those unique voices and sometimes I wish she would appear on TV singing some more of her other songs rather than "Mayoi Michi" and "Kamome ga Tonda Hi". Mind you, they are what she is remembered most for, but she does have other good tunes.

      Thanks kindly for the offer of the digital copies but I'm actually a bit old-fashioned and prefer to get the hard copy of CD or, if it's necessary, the LP.:)

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  3. PART 2

    I'm quite furious though as a new fan that most of her other live videos on youtube were deleted due to copyright and that I have to try digging up on archive.org and have courage to get in touch with a certain japanese fan who I discovered had quite a number of her early live concert videos and TV appearances. And using google translate (cause I have little knowledge of japanese), it was so hard to make him get what I really mean as much as I get what he says lol. Still, I managed to make him upload some her videos. I'm not sure if he's willing to upload all he had but I'm still grateful! Whenever he uploads her TV shows (that only i can view, due to copyright issues), I could not comment because I didn't understand T_T. I can only say Arigatou and click on like/heart/wow as sign of my gratitude. If I were on his shoes, I'd stop uploading cause I don't see a constructive comment that I can consider as a source of my motivation to share more. But who knows? Maybe he's a kind-hearted man haha. (Though there was a time another fan of her blocked me on twitter when I followed his account to get updates and I commented on his tweet in English) I can only hope. There are more Junko Yagami uploads though and even hour-long uploads of her live compilations! I still like her and her songs especially "Mizuiro no Ame" and "Omoide no Screen" that I downloaded the videos too for my own entertainment before copyright shuts the video down. Seems like she's more popular than Machiko-san even in the west.

    Obviously, it's impossible for me to get a ticket and attend Machiko's current live shows so I only depend on current media posted on the net.

    Other struggles I have as a foreign fan is I couldn't fully understand what she says on her blog and on her fans' blogs! I only use web translators and web dictionaries combined. Sometimes, I get the rough idea. Most of the time, they didn't make sense!
    Makes me want to study japanese but I believe by the time I can reach fluency, it would be already too late. I'm a very slow learner after all.

    I've learned on her blog that she's a regular on radio on FM Setagaya every Tuesda 1:00 pm-5:00 pm JP time. The segment is "Afternoon Paradise", a community radio segment. Luckily, I can listen via internet! Since it's spoken Japanese, I don't understand a single word whenever they discuss things and read messages and song requests from fans. I only know that every week they have a certain theme/topic and they talk about it with fans' messages via mail and fax. I tried sending mail once just to request one of her songs to be played and tell her I just became her fan and made effort to write it in japanese as simple and comprehensible as possible but it was not read. I already expected it but still I got dismayed a bit. Based on translating fan comments, if the mail has interesting content or discusses the theme of the day, there is a high possibility your message would be read on air and your request be fulfilled. I gave up sending messages from then on haha.On broadcast, they also introduce various guests who were mostly musicians to promote their songs/albums/concerts. Still, I record the radio while listening with little to non-existent understanding for 4 straight hours! I could only save and archive as much info from various sites for offline viewing so in the future I can access them even if the original sites were taken down and that if ever I get fluent, I can go back to these and finally get what they all mean. Again, I can only hope. Haha.

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    1. It's been an eternal battle between uploaders and YouTube/record companies about the videos. My role as a custodian for these articles is that I have to regularly check them to see if any of the videos have been taken down and find replacements. Depending on the artist and his/her popularity, the videos disappear very frequently (i.e. anything by Johnny's Entertainment groups), or they can stay up there up to a decade or more. I guess it depends on how much the artist and his/her representatives care.

      Junko Yagami is one of my favourites and she's one of the first Japanese singers that I discovered that wasn't an aidoru or an enka singer. I'm wondering how she's been taking the news that she's been "re-discovered" in a way because of all that Vaporwave/Japanese Future Funk craze. Then again, I also wonder how Mariya Takeuchi is considering her own newfound fame in the West.

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  4. PART 3

    I don't really know much about her but based on all the media I gathered so far, I think she's quite wacky, jolly, and has good sense of humor [my hearing instincts on the radio... cause most of the time after she speaks (probably making a funny remark based on tone), I hear her assistant and staff on background laughing.] She's an animal lover as well and she has a dog name Pit, her companion for 15 years!

    I may be wrong as google translate is inaccurate. I forgot the pages where I read the story though but as far as I remember,

    ::::Around 1987, after her album "Soi" she decided to quit singing (spiritual issues) and after her concert at the end of that year she went to Arizona to study in an international school in Phoenix. There came an event there where she and other students were asked to sing. At first, she sang "We Are The World" but the reception was so-so as the audience wanted to hear her own song (somehow, it got known there that she is a professional singer with several albums released, despite her efforts to be discreet about it) so she sang her hit "Kamome Ga Tonda Hi" and even though people did not understand the meaning, they gave her a standing ovation as the voice quality (and perhaps the charisma of the song itself) carried her over-all performance rather than the language. She was overwhelmed and that made her come back to the music industry and continue singing and making songs. When she was asked what genre she would like to focus on, she said "Latin". From then on the album "Tahibali" was released and so are the succeeding albums.:::

    Her voice may have changed over time (well, we all change when we age), but she's still active... I can sense her complete devotion to singing and performing for as long and as much as she could. The cause I think is, aside from the Arizona event, there was an instance when she was inspired by a female Cuban singer who was still singing at the age of late 60s. The then 40-year old Machiko-san was watching live (in Cuba) and tears started flowing down her eyes (in complete awe and appreciation to the foreign artist perhaps).

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    -Midori

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