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, November 13, 2018

Chakra -- Chotto Itai kedo Suteki(ちょっと痛いけどステキ)

Around any subway or train station in the Tokyo area, if a commuter flung a stone, there would probably be a 50% chance that it'll hit one of the following: 1) a McDonalds, 2) a pachinko parlour, or 3) a shiatsu clinic.

That was absolutely the case in my area of Ichikawa City, namely at Minami-Gyotoku Station on the Tozai Line. I frequented 1) a few times a week (miraculously I'm still alive), never went to 2) (my interest in pachinko died when I discovered a desire for healthy lungs and ears and financial status), and for a while, I even went to 3).

You got it...for a while, at least, I did make visits to the neighbourhood massage clinic just across from the south exit of Nangyo Station twice a month or so. I guess like a lot of other Japanese customers, I was a tad masochistic since those masseurs could really push down hard on tissue. One guy even managed to reach my chest...through my back. Like the video above at a channel that I subscribe to, Rirakuya, I often asked the technician to work out the kinks in my back and neck. For 1500 yen a session, I got to wear the massaging air boots on my feet, before the main course of real hands, and then the finisher on the roller bed. The treatments depended on the masseur but often I had that feeling which can be said in Japanese to be itakimochiii(イタ気持ちいい...hurts so good). And nope, there is no leather or whips involved.

That above anecdote was brought to you by Chakra's(チャクラ)"Chotto Itai kedo Suteki" (A Bit Sore But Wonderful), a track from their 1981 second album "Satekoso"(さてこそ...As Expected). This is the same release that has "Myun Myun"(ミュンミュン)which is probably how most folks outside of Japan got to know this rather eclectic band.

"Myun Myun" may be quite good for a drive on the highway which is how I first got to know it (thanks, Van Paugam), but "Chotto Itai kedo Suteki" just brings back all sorts of memories of a variety of 80s music from my youth. It's one happy march that seems to invite New Wave, ska, technopop for a big party. On top of that, in terms of actual artists, I get some Devo and Nina Hagen as well.

Plus, there's the fact that the song is over 10 minutes long! I have heard a few songs that did go on for about a sixth of an hour as performed by artists as varied as Stevie Wonder and Chaz Jankel. And though the latter's "Am I Honest with Myself Really?" is the only one that has truly been worth the time (and that depends on my mood at the time), "Chotto Itai kedo Suteki" does come close. But even by Mishio Ogawa's(小川美潮)musical admission midway through the song, break time is needed and she takes it midway for about a couple of minutes before she returns with a vengeance. I just hope that some of the breakables were taken away from the studio before the 6-minute mark. Still, I was some doing major bopping for a guy my age at the really good parts.

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