My interest in Japanese dramas has basically waned down to zero, but back in the day, I used to remember some of the big names from that age such as KimuTaku（キムタク）, Yuji Oda（織田裕二）, Honami Suzuki（鈴木保奈美）and who could forget the Double Asano?
As has been the case in North American TV and movies, below the A-list stars in Japan, there has been the layer of other thespians whose faces I could recognize but, for the life of me, could never remember the names. They usually get the roles of second-best friend or the friendly shop owner in the neighbourhood. No offense to her fans but I think Miki Sakai（酒井美紀）would probably be included in this cadre. Although even when I was watching J-dramas, I couldn't say that I was ever binging on them, I did see Sakai's face plenty of times since she was also appearing in commercials.
What I hadn't known was that Sakai was also a singer early in her career. In fact, she debuted with "Eien ni Suki to Ienai" (I Can't Say I Love You Forever) back in April 1993, a couple of years before she made her first foray into acting.
Y'know....by my estimation, Sakai wasn't half-bad as a singer. I think she had a pretty pure delivery, and "Eien ni Suki to Ienai" may not have been a hit, but it's a pretty pleasant tune with a couple of famous songwriters behind it, Masao Urino（売野雅勇）on lyrics and Tetsuji Hayashi（林哲司）on melody. The song is about the well-worn trope of kataomoi...that one-sided love for that kid in high school.
Sakai's singing part of her career was kept within the 1990s as she released 13 singles between 1993 and 1998. Plus, she released three original albums along with a BEST album.