|"I Love You Madam"; Captain Hachi; Guitar Hachi|
Did I wait till 8th August 2018 to do this? Yes, I did. And all that waiting for the sake of my nutso fascination for reiteration in cases like this. Here we go again.
As you can see, quite a while back I wrote about Hiroshi Itsuki's (五木ひろし) "Chikumagawa" (千曲川) on 5th May, because Go-gatsu Itsuka no Itsuki (Itsuki of May 5th), and I derived great amusement with the multitude of fives present. So I thought having a Hachi-gatsu no Hacchan (Hacchan of August) would provide me with just as much joy, just that this time it's the number eight, hence my year long wait to put this out (you read right, one year).
That said, since I put 5 pictures of Itsuki for "Chikumagawa", would you like to take a guess as to how many photos of Hachi I'm putting here? Yeah, I did go back to Marubell, and this time I got the bromide I'd been vying for since my first visit, the one on the extreme left - t'was only available the second time round; I call it the "I Love You Madam" shot. Also, I got Captain Hachi, and my new favourite on the extreme right which I simply call Guitar Hachi.
Anyway, coming back to the topic at hand, "Naa Hacchan" was one of Hachiro Kasuga's (春日八郎) singles from 1962, and the main draw of the song is that not only is the singer's name Hachiro, but so are the composer's and the lyricist's - Hachiro Matsui (松井八郎) and Hachiro Sato (サトウハチロー). Indeed it's a Hachi song! Oh, if only I knew what date it was released on!
I first came across "Naa Hacchan" around the time when I was trying to sample more of what Kasuga's discography had to offer, and this funny little title with one of his nicknames caught my attention while I was digging around through YouTube. Though not exactly what I was used to hearing from Hachi at the time, I felt that what I heard did match the vibe of its name: a swinging jazz ditty with a playful touch; I can almost imagine Kasuga swaying side to side in the Itsuki way! ...Well, almost. Hachi didn't move all that much on stage. But "Naa Hacchan" here was so catchy it latched onto my brain in no time.
However, I soon realised that what I was listening to was actually a live remake from his 1964 "Hana no Stage" (花のステージ) concert, wherein whatever hits he had then were rearranged into jazzy/pop numbers, when I visited another video with the same song. The difference between this and the "Hana no Stage" take was so jarring, with it having a considerably slower tempo and a strong old-fashioned Japanese flavour all the more accentuated by the strong backing vocals at certain bits of the song; it was as enka as it gets. Eventually I learnt that this enka-y version was actually the original, and admittedly I was disappointed because the fun and romping number I fell in love with was actually just a live and one-time remake of a typical enka tune. I wouldn't say I outright dislike it - I don't - but I just feel that it's a bit draggy for my liking... sorry Matsui.
Moving on, to me, this contrast in musical arrangements in the original and "Hana no Stage" version really changes the image of the lyrics, which I would say is about fancying the idea of getting an escort to accompany one when lonely (probably the Hacchans discussing amongst themselves for all I know). In the jazzy rendition, the image my mind conjures up is of a Hacchan in a snazzy suit with a lady in one arm strolling the streets and barhopping in an uptown, more westernized part of Tokyo like Ginza or Akasaka from dusk to dawn. The enka one, on the other hand, being more traditional and languid, has me imagining the Hacchan in a kimono receiving sake from his companion in a quiet, cigarette smog-filled izakaya in some uramachi of Asakusa.
Thinking of the difference in this way, it makes me appreciate the original "Naa Hacchan" a little more, but I still much prefer the 1964 live version.
|I'm sure Guitar Hachi is from the same shoot as the one 2nd from|
the left. Iwouldlikemorefromthatphotoshoot,please.
P.S. I found it very amusing that I have exactly 8 Hacchan bromides in my collection at the moment. I didn't even realise it until I counted them for this write-up - 5 from the first trip, 3 from the second. That adds up nicely, naa, Hacchan?