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.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Yuji Mori and Southern Cross -- Suki desu Sapporo(好きですサッポロ)

Though I did make that one trip to Sapporo on the northernmost major island of Hokkaido many years ago, that was in June since I was trying to make some attempt to escape some of the humidity of Tokyo. I loved the city but one thing that I've regretted is that I never got to attend the annual Sapporo Snow Festival in February. My experience with it has merely been through news highlights with the festival highlights being the massive and expertly carved ice sculptures. I can only imagine that reservations are scarce and prices are pretty high during that time which has fairly blunted any keen desire to attend it.

Apparently this song was used as the theme song for the Sapporo Snow Festival way back when and became a huge hit for the Mood Kayo group Yuji Mori and Southern Cross(森雄二とサザンクロス). Released in 1981, "Suki desu Sapporo" (I Love You, Sapporo) is a pretty jaunty example of the genre. Often when I think of Mood Kayo numbers with famous place names in the titles, the music is somewhat languid introspective and even sorrowful, but "Suki desu Sapporo" has a beat and a boss horn section which remind me of some theme songs for tokusatsu shows. Indeed it works as something advertising the merits of a festival.

Written by lyricist Tetsuro Hoshino(星野哲郎)and composed by Hiroyuki Nakagawa(中川博之), "Suki desu Sapporo" has become one of the trademark songs for Southern Cross. You can also take a look at one other song by the band, "Ashide Matoi"(足手まとい)which had also been created by Nakagawa a few years earlier.

Hiroko Moriguchi -- Sumire no Kimochi ~ TRY ME AGAIN(すみれの気持ち)

Yup, couldn't resist putting up another video of impressionist, tarento and singer Hiroko Moriguchi(森口博子)plying that first trade...this time, it's Ringo Shiina(椎名林檎). I mean, her most famous target has been 80s aidoru Shizuka Kudo(工藤静香)so it was nice to encounter this video for the first time.

Now, let's go all the way back to Moriguchi's own aidoru career in the 1980s. And this time, it's with her 2nd single "Sumire no Kimochi" (Feeling Violet) from February 1986. It didn't rank too highly when it was first released, only getting as high as No. 87, but hearing it now, I don't think it's a bad song at all. Written by Chinfa Kan(康珍化), the melody is by singer-songwriter Akiko Kobayashi(小林明子), one of my personal favourites when it comes to the mellower side of Japanese pop and she had her own breakthrough hit with "Koi ni Ochite"(恋に落ちて)the previous year.

As I said, "Sumire no Kimochi" isn't too bad. When I first realized who was behind the composition, I went "Ah...naruhodo". It's got that very pleasant AOR vibe for an aidoru tune and I can easily imagine Kobayashi herself covering it, although I don't think that it's ever been covered by her. I may not particularly feel like violets while listening but the sun is out in my feelings.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Angela Aki -- Tegami ~ Haikei Jūgo no Kimi e(手紙 ~拝啓 十五の君へ~)

As I mentioned long ago in the article for Akai Tori's(赤い鳥)"Tsubasa wo Kudasai"(翼をください), when I was teaching on the JET Programme in Gunma, one of the major events during a junior high school year was the annual school chorus competitions. During one of the two years I was there, I went with the teachers and students of one grade for the day to watch our choruses compete against their counterparts from other schools in the prefecture through songs that had been practiced over and over again daily. "Tsubasa wo Kudasai" was one of the mainstays as a go-to chorus song along with "American Feeling", originally by Circus, and then "Die Moldau" as seen above. "Die Moldau" is actually the German name for the original "Vltava" as one of 6 symphonic poems in the set known as "Má vlast" by Czech composer Bedřich Smetana.

In the years since my time in Gunma (1989-1991), there probably have been multiple additions to the chorus song slate. One that has been added is singer-songwriter Angela Aki's(アンジェラ・アキ)"Haikei Jūgo no Kimi e" (Letter: Greetings to a 15 Year Old) that was her 8th single from September 2008. And as you can hear in the video, it's a perfect fit. According to the Wikipedia article for the song, her single was a self-cover for the original version that had been created by Aki at NHK's request for a 2008 national school chorus contest that the national broadcaster was sponsoring.

The whole premise behind "Tegami" is a communication between a teenager and his/her much older self during which the latter provides some of the necessary reassurances and wisdom that have been gained during the time difference. It is almost like a reverse time capsule to lovingly benefit the young student.

"Tegami" became Aki's most successful hit to date, selling over 210,000 copies and going Platinum. It reached No. 3 on the Oricon weeklies, becoming the 45th-ranked single of 2008 and then hanging around to become the 71st-ranked single of 2009. Not only has it become a part of the chorus competition lineup but it's also become popular as a ballad to be performed at graduation ceremonies (dry eyes would probably be fairly rare here).

Continuing with the NHK connection, the song also became part of the "Minna no Uta"(みんなのうた)lineup although I couldn't find that particular video, and Aki was able to perform "Tegami" in consecutive Kohaku Utagassen broadcasts in 2008 and 2009. In total, she appeared on the NHK special 6 times. It has also ended up in a few commercials as well.

Yumi Matsutoya -- Shinkai no Machi(深海の街)

I didn't think that I would be putting up an article about such a recent single by Yumi Matsutoya(松任谷由実)since my greatest interest in her music really only goes up to the early 1990s. However, I was given a heads-up from her YouTube channel earlier today that her latest digital download single (her 8th) is due for sale tomorrow (September 18th) although the date has already arrived in Japan.

"Shinkai no Machi" (Deep Sea City) has been described in the comments under her YouTube video as "...the latest 2019 Neo City Pop number by Yuming". And apparently, the song was an amalgamation of an idea that had popped up in her head of a resort of the mind while visiting Berlin the previous year and a fusion/AOR approach. From that, I started thinking of urban contemporary "Inception".

In any case, I did sense that newer version of City Pop (can hear that wacka-wacka guitar and that crystalline synth) that has been appearing since the 2000s but also hints of her work from the late 1980s and early 1990s. The overall effect is a dreamy utopian cityscape at night and I guess that must have been the same idea for the producers of the music video with Tokyo in a starring role while hints of its future pop up. And I think that there were also hints of the past as well through the various kinds of animation that appear. Plenty of "Inception"-like images additionally crop up including the dapper mystery woman that Yuming herself portrays who seems to tower over an uncertain heroine who I can't be sure is either a young girl or a young woman. Then, of course, there is that feminine figure flying in the night sky: is she the older version of the heroine or is she an angel looking out for the heroine? Moreover, what is the significance of that apple that the heroine finally bites into? Is there some some of religious element in there? Mysteries aside, I've always liked the idea of a metropolis with a style that brings in elements of the past and the future, and that's what the video seems to bring.

Yuming's newest release isn't an instant earworm. Her high tones have tended to quaver a little too much in recent years so I'm glad that those have been largely restricted to the beginning of "Shinkai no Machi". Also the song is mellow enough that there isn't any immediate hook that has grabbed onto me. Still, I think it's one of those numbers that will eventually wend itself into my happy place as the singer's contribution to the latest in Japanese urban contemporary.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Katsuya Kobayashi & The No. 1 Band -- Rock'n Roll Saigo no Hi(ロックン・ロール最後の日)

For a certain generation in Japan wondering about what was up in the music business outside of the nation, Katsuya Kobayashi's(小林克也)"Best Hit U.S.A." on TV Asahi was the program to see during the 1980s. Kobayashi is a radio DJ, TV personality and actor who hails from Hiroshima Prefecture and his voice is a distinctive one in Japanese & English. In fact, I remember a product when I was living in Gunma that he had been endorsing called "Kobayashi in a Can", I think, which contained tapes on how to enunciate the English language better. Perhaps if Mr. Kobayashi ever reads this article, he can confirm my old memories for me.

Well, I managed to find the above video. Anyways, if he actually ever responds, I will be extremely happy but I will also inform him that we were also in the same house together many years ago. To explain, I was at my student's Xmas party one year and my student knows a whole lot of famous people including Kobayashi, so though we never conversed, I can say that I did see him around the living room along with tennis player Kimiko Date and former New York Met Tsuyoshi Shinjo (man, that guy really held court in one section with his entourage).

One thing that I didn't know until recently was that Kobayashi also had his time behind the recording mike. According to his J-Wiki biography, he as a teen was enthralled with the early artists of rock n' roll in the 1950s such as Bill Haley & The Comets and Elvis Presley. So, starting from 1982, he released a number of albums and singles.

Included on his May 1986 album, "Bad Songs" was "Rock n' Roll Saigo no Hi" (The Final Day). I couldn't find out who had created the song but as you can see above, Kobayashi put in his all (though, to be honest, I think I prefer him as a TV host and English teacher). The good ol' rock n' roll is in there but I think there is also some New Wave (maybe even some punk energy?) included, thanks to those keyboards.

Since I mentioned a bit about "Best Hit U.S.A." and that era of pop music, I would be remiss if I didn't state the passing of a couple of singers that I used to enjoy often from my high school and university days. Eddie Money died a few days ago at the age of 70 and I will always remember "Take Me Home Tonight" (1986) with Ronnie Spector. And then, just earlier today, I heard that Ric Ocasek of The Cars passed away yesterday at the age of 75. That band's "You Might Think" from 1984 was a heavy-rotation hit on radio and TV...always had fun with the music video. Time, of course, will fly past but it's still hard to imagine Money and Ocasek leaving this mortal coil.

Light House/Rei Nakanishi & Kazumi Yasui with Hiroshi Kamayatsu/Miki Imai -- Hatachi no Koro(ニ十才の頃)

Once in a while, I come across a song purely by accident that gives me the thrill up my spine or the warm and fuzzies or as they seem to call it on YouTube now, ASMR!

This particular song popped up from YouTuber Marty McFlies' account (for which I'm grateful) and at first when I took a look at the thumbnail image, I'd assumed that it was a severed arm holding a bloody tissue.💀 Perhaps it was a punk album, I thought. However and thankfully, I did realize that it was indeed an extended arm grabbing onto an orchid.

The cover was actually one for the 1984 album "A-bec" by Light House which was a side project consisting of one-half of the brother act Bread & Butter(ブレッド&バター), vocalist Satsuya Iwasawa(岩沢幸矢), and his wife, pop singer MANNA, aka Mariko Iwasawa(岩沢真利子), according to the J-Wiki article on the long-running duo. One of the tracks on "A-bec" is "Hatachi no Koro" (When I was Twenty), and it's this relaxing orange mimosa-friendly synthpop song with an infusion of bossa nova. As I mentioned above, I received that ASMR buzz as I was listening to whom I'm assuming is indeed MANNA (I couldn't find out for sure if Light House was just the Iwasawas or if there were other vocalist members involved). I don't know what the rest of "A-bec" is like...whether it's all synthpop or if "Hatachi no Koro" represented one of a number of genres on the first of two albums that Light House released (the other one being called "Box Seat").

After listening to "Hatachi no Koro" on "A-bec", I soon found out that this was actually a cover version of the original song from the late Hiroshi "Monsieur" Kamayatsu's(かまやつひろし)February 1970 album "Monsieur/Kamayatsu Hiroshi no Sekai"(ムッシュー/かまやつひろしの世界...Monsieur/The World of Hiroshi Kamayatsu). Composed by Kamayatsu and written by Rei Nakanishi(なかにし礼)& Kazumi Yasui(安井かずみ), the two lyricists even performed "Hatachi no Koro" along with Monsieur, a song of remembering one's youthful follies way back when. The bossa is still happily in there and considering the era, there is that sense of the genre's pioneers such as Jobim and Mendes.

Chanteuse Miki Imai(今井美樹)knows her way around a bossa nova tune and so it's no surprise that she also covered "Hatachi no Koro" as a coupling song for her 25th single "Toshishita no Suifu"(年下の水夫...The Younger Seaman)released in October 2006. There's some more jazz included in this version and Imai's vocals fairly wind themselves around the melody like a silk veil. Imai's cover is also included in her 2006 17th album "Milestone" which peaked at No. 35 on Oricon.

i☆Ris -- Fantastic Illusion/Minori Suzuki -- Dame wa Dame(ダメハダメ)

It's fifteen minutes long, absolutely goofy and has made me wonder at times whether it's really more about magical fan service than magic (the originating network is showing this at 11 pm). Still, "Tejina Senpai"(手品先輩...Magical Senpai)has been a fun little equivalent of chocolate-centred candy for the past few months during the usual biweekly anime routine with my friend. Strangely enough, though, in a season where I've gotten to know hyper-competent characters who can give advice on fitness and island survival, the titular Senpai is just the opposite; she's about as good with her magic as Inspector Clouseau is with policing.

"Tejina Senpai" is about as gaggy as gag comedy anime can get and what got me interested was that Kaede Hondo(本渡楓), a seiyuu that I had gotten accustomed to hearing in long-suffering straight-person roles such as the central member of the undead aidoru group Franchouchou in last year's "Zombie Land Saga"(ゾンビランドサガ), was playing the boke (funny man) to her assistant's tsukkomi. The other thing is that on first seeing the character, I wondered if she had any sort of familial relationship with either the snack-obsessed Hotaru in "Dagashi Kashi"(だがしかし)or even the sex-crazed Anna in the even more notorious "Shimoneta"(下ネタ).

Of course, it's also the theme songs that I'm aiming for, and this season, there's been a fairly bumper crop of interesting openings and endings. I've enjoyed both for "Tejina Sempai" including the opening "Fantastic Illusion" by the 6-member aidoru group i☆Ris with the music and lyrics pretty much echoing what happens in each episode: doubt and zaniness.

I think that I was gradually entranced by one of the group proudly exhorting "Ladies and gentlemen!" each time the opening credits started up, and it's got that smash-bang feeling of getting the show up and running. "Fantastic Illusion" is actually i☆Ris' 19th and latest single released just a few weeks ago in late August, and it hit its peak of No. 13 on Oricon. Incidentally, the song was written and composed by Motokiyo.

There was a full version of the music video by the group but it's apparently been taken down so here's a 1:20 take on "Fantastic Illusion", and I think i☆Ris has more success here than Senpai does with her own tricks. The group has been around since 2012 and has released four albums along with those nineteen singles.

Admittedly the ending credits to "Tejina Senpai" bring up the dial on the more salacious aspects of the show, but I also have to admit that the ending theme "Dame wa Dame" (No Means No) is a corker of a tune. Sung by seiyuu Minori Suzuki(鈴木みのり)although she doesn't appear in the program, I do like that skippy ska beat.

Plus, the full version also starts off with a guitar riff that might even have Quentin Tarentino nodding in approval. Unfortunately again, we only have the short version of the music video and even a full audio version of "Dame wa Dame" is not currently available. The song is Suzuki's 3rd single released earlier in August, and it peaked at No. 27. The lyricist is acane_madder with Shingo Asari(浅利進吾)composing the quick melody.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Asami Kado -- Yuunagi(夕凪ぎ)

Looks like Saturday is the day for love ballads.

Along with Midori Karashima(辛島美登里)today, I'm putting up my first solo Asami Kado(門あさ美)article for the first time in a few years. From her April 1983 5th album, "Private Male", I bring you the truly tender "Yuunagi" (Evening Calm), written and composed by Kado about what I think is a possibly re-lighting of the flame of romance for a couple.

The arrangement was handled by Akira Inoue(井上鑑)and what I like about "Yuunagi" is that old-fashioned ballad treatment with violins and rich piano as I get images of The Eagles and Carly Simon from the 1970s. With Kado behind the mike, there's still that feeling of Fashion Music, and her tender vocals suggest that the wish for a second chance at love is tenuous at best.

"Private Male" was a Top 10 hit for Kado, breaking in at No. 9.

Midori Karashima -- Anata wa Shiranai(あなたは知らない)

It's been a little over a couple of years since a Midori Karashima(辛島美登里)article has been put up on "Kayo Kyoku Plus" so I'm going to start off today with one of her creations from her "Beautiful" album which came out in January 1993.

Listened to the album for the first time in several years last night and getting re-acquainted with Midori-sensei's work, it was interesting to realize once more that it wasn't all balladry in "Beautiful". There is also some fairly upbeat material in there bordering on urban contemporary. However, this particular song here is one of her classic ballads which seems to be The Teacher's speciality.

"Anata wa Shiranai" (You Don't Know) is also the singer-songwriter's 14th single from May 1992 with Mitsuo Hagita(萩田光雄)in charge of arrangement. Even listening to it for the first time...again, I could peg the arrangement as all Karashima since it has that certain majestic swing into drama while it is led by the singer's soft and reassuring vocals. I can relax on my sofa but also be transported into air with this one. The video below has her singing "Anata wa Shiranai" close to the original recorded version. The song made it to No. 12 on Oricon.

(at around 14 seconds)

Not surprising that the song was actually used as a theme tune for the 1992 TBS drama "Ai wa Douda"(愛はどうだ...How's Love?)which starred the late Ken Ogata(緒形拳). Ogata had also played the author Yukio Oshima(三島由紀夫)in the 1985 biopic "MISHIMA".

Friday, September 13, 2019

KANA -- Shiokaze no Machi(潮風の街)

Being a Friday night, I also thought about doing a Mood Kayo along with my City Pop choice tonight, and it's been a while since I put one up.

Heard one of the newer examples of Mood Kayo several weeks ago on NHK's "Uta Kon"(うたコン)or "Gogo no Uta"(ごごのウタ)via the smoky-voiced singer KANA. Her "Shiokaze no Machi" (Sea Breeze Town) was released as a single earlier this year in February, and I like the nice touch of wafuu urban contemporary class. This does sound like something that I would prefer as musical accompaniment while walking through the tony district of Akasaka in Tokyo.

(empty karaoke version)

Written by RIE and composed by Hirokazu Kobayashi(小林宏和), I get that atmosphere of barhopping in the nice parts of the megalopolis but there's also that underlying bass line that reminds me of other types of urban contemporary songs such as "Lonely Chaplin" by the Suzuki siblings.

As for KANA, according to her J-Wiki profile, she hails from Saitama Prefecture and in 1998, she was one-half of a duo called Rose(ロゼ)which was able to release three singles. Then in 2004, she made her indies solo debut under the kanji version of Kana(可奈), before making her major debut in 2009. Including "Shiokaze no Machi", KANA has released 9 singles and one BEST compilation album.

Eddy Yamamoto -- Ai wo Kokoro ni(愛を心に)

Earlier in the spring, I wrote about this perhaps little-known singer-songwriter named Eddy Yamamoto(エディ山本)and this catchy and funky City Pop, "Making Love" from his 1984 "Dream Hunter" album.

Well, cue back some 4 years and here is his debut single "Ai wo Kokoro ni" (Love In Your Heart) from 1980. Compared to that somewhat daring cover for "Making Love" where Yamamoto in his short cut is munching on a tomato after popping out of the shower, the cover for "Ai wo Kokoro ni" has the lad looking like a Japanese Rick Springfield posing for a high school photo.

The difference doesn't end there. Compared to "Making Love" the song itself, "Ai wo Kokoro ni" is much more of a wistful kayo and Yamamoto, who wrote and composed the ballad, performs it with a delivery that is more reminiscent of large-lunged singers of the 1970s such as Akira Fuse(布施明)and Kiyohiko Ozaki(尾崎紀世彦)than Gino Vannelli. With the piano and strings in there, it's the type of song that would adorn some sort of cigarette commercial with the fellow puffing away while staring at the sunset after a long day at work. Since I have never smoked a day in my life, I'll probably go with my image of being on an airplane at the same time of day while either arriving or departing Haneda Airport.

My images aside, Yamamoto did win the grand prize at the 20th annual Yamaha Popular Song Contest and then another prize at the 11th World Popular Song Festival that year for "Ai wo Kokoro ni".

Minako Ito -- Yuu Gyotou(誘魚灯)

Friday night so perhaps folks may be letting their hair down a bit more than usual just before the weekend. They may be hitting the bars or even firing up the BBQ one more time before things really start cooling down.

Or they may be looking at aquaria. The reason I say this is because of the subject of this article which is the title track for Minako Ito's(伊藤美奈子)2nd album "Sasoi Gyotou" or "Yuu Gyotou"(誘魚灯...Inviting Fish Lights)from March 1984. Still not sure how to pronounce it although I've chosen the latter for the title line at the top.

The album also has a couple of tracks that have gotten their due on the blog: "Derringer"(デリンジャー)and "Sayonara wa Iwazu ni"(さよならは言わずに), and compared to those two, "Yuu Gyotou" seems to head for more of a straight pop sound although there is enough in the arrangement and instrumentation that I've kept the City Pop label. Lyricist Shun Taguchi(田口俊)and composer Jin Kirigaya(桐ケ谷仁)created this story of a young lady who's looking at the various fish in her favourite aquarium as a form of comfort while thinking about the fact that after graduation, all of her friends will most likely be going on their separate paths.

"Yuu Gyotou" also became Ito's 3rd single from July 1984. Masataka Matsutoya(松任谷正隆)was handling the keyboards, and I mention this because I think that despite the songwriters involved, there is something about the song that reminds me of the works of Yumi Matsutoya(松任谷由実)at around the same time. Perhaps it's that particular keyboard sound.

Chiyo Okumura/The Ventures -- Kitaguni no Aoi Sora(北国の青い空)

In terms of foodstuffs in Japan, one of the many items that I miss dearly is the Rokkatei Marusei Raisin Butter Cookie from Hokkaido which I could readily purchase in Tokyo. Packaged in the familiar white, red and dull gold, these are confections that risk the consumer with addiction. I can merely glance at them and I will gain a few ounces immediately and they're oh-so-tasty. I don't think I've had any of them since the 2014 trip and when I checked their website out, they don't do deliveries outside of Japan (considering the ingredients, I'm not surprised, but still...😢).

Perhaps if I had been less focused on the various delicacies in Hokkaido (specifically Sapporo) when I went there over a decade ago, I would have looked at the big sky over Japan's northernmost island. Speaking of which, I will now do an abrupt segue into a relatively early Chiyo Okumura(奥村チヨ)single from August 1967, "Kitaguni no Aoi Sora" (Blue Skies of the Northern Country). However, the official English title is "Hokkaido Skies".

Okumura's quavering voice is instantly recognizable as she sings about a romance in Hokkaido which has probably ended for good in a kind of "We'll always have Sapporo" way. When I first heard "Kitaguni no Aoi Sora", I wondered whether I could treat this as an enka tune because of the overall sound and the theme of the ephemeral nature of love, but seeing that, according to J-Wiki, Okumura has been categorized as a kayo kyoku singer, I've set the song down as a pop tune.

I may have said this before but I think if there is such an institution as a Japanese Hall of Fame for kayo kyoku, The Ventures should be given a place in its corridors for the hits that they've provided a number of Japanese singers in the 60s and 70s, including Okumura. The legendary guitar band was responsible for the creation of the song under the title "Hokkaido Skies" while Jun Hashimoto(橋本淳)wrote the lyrics. According to Joseph Murrells' "The Book of Golden Discs" (1978) via Okumura's entry on Wikipedia, this particular single, which was apparently a cover of The Ventures' original, sold over a million copies.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Pedro & Capricious -- Kyokai e Iku(教会へ行く)

Over the last several months, my recent entries on the long-running band Pedro & Capricious(ペドロ&カプリシャス)have dealt with their City Pop/AOR side which was a revelation for me since I'd known the group once fronted by the great Mariko Takahashi(髙橋真梨子)primarily for their early 1970s folk hits such as "Go-ban Gai no Mari e" (五番街のマリーへ)which was released as the band's 5th single in October 1973.

Well, for this article, we're going back to those folk roots and Mariko Takahashi. In fact, this is the B-side for "Go-ban Gai no Mari e", "Kyokai e Iku" (I'm Going to Church). As was the case with the more popular A-side, lyricist Yu Aku(阿久悠)and composer Shunichi Tokura(都倉俊一)were also behind this ballad which has a similar structure. However, unlike "Go-ban Gai no Mari e", which dealt with a request of a friend to give his respects to someone who was possibly an old flame on good ol' 5th Avenue, Aku's lyrics are a whole lot sadder than Tokura's melody would suggest. In this case, a young woman is going to a hillside church to mourn the loss of a friend who was largely misunderstood by the surrounding town. It reflects what I've often observed about some of the old kayo in that a happy, chirpy melody is underlying a much more dour situation in the lyrics.

But no doubt, Takahashi and the arrangement for "Kyokai e Iku" make for a wonderful listening experience for those who love the 1970s kayo. As was mentioned for "Go-ban Gai no Mari e", the single went all the way up to No. 18 on the Oricon weeklies and became the 68th-ranked single for 1974. I'm just hoping that Ms. Takahashi, who looked pretty frail in a recent NHK music special, is doing OK.

Katsuyuki Konishi -- ZOOtto, ne(ZOOっと、ね♪)

It's been several months since one of the many ending themes for my beloved "Shirokuma Cafe"(しろくまカフェ)has been put up as an article on the blog. I actually decided to re-watch the first episode of the 2012-2013 series again last night, and as such, I did another quick look for another ending theme that had yet to be covered.


Well, it didn't take too long since the character appeared right in Episode 1. Jougin Panda(常勤パンダ...Full-Time Panda)popped up as Panda-kun's calm and wise zoo mate when the latter began his first part-time job, although even he had to take pause at some of his kohai's remarks. He sounded oh-so-mellow and yet he remained an absolute professional at his job (his mantra: Service, Service) before his transfer to Singapore late in the series (the one tearjerker episode in a show that was almost always light and happy).

Couldn't find the ending credits for Jougin Panda's turn at the microphone. His voice, by the way, was provided by seiyuu Katsuyuki Konishi(小西克幸), who's currently voicing one of the supporting characters on "En En no Shouboutai"(炎炎ノ消防隊). But although I couldn't find those credits with Jougin playing all the instruments, I did find the full version of his song which he sang for the July 2012 episodes (and for Episode 44, the sad episode, as a tribute to the character), "ZOOtto, ne" (A Zoo is...). The title could also be a pun on "zutto, ne"(ずっとね)meaning "always".

Written and composed by Saki(紗希), who took care of all of the other ending themes, I'm only half-joking when I say that Konishi/Jougin could have been welcomed warmly at the Grand Ole Opry with his contribution to the "Shirokuma Cafe" musical tapestry. "ZOOtto, ne" is the pleasant and melodic equivalent of a drive through bluegrass country. Saki has come up with pop, enka, show tune and Latin. Why not country music as well? And as the lyrics go, Jougin seems to be the most inviting of the characters. Come for the cute pandas, stay for the congenial conversation.

Glad to hear that Shirokuma Cafe...the real cafe in Takadanobaba in still around. Wouldn't mind another visit there for lunch or dinner when I drop by the megalopolis next time.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Kraftwerk -- Dentaku(電卓)

When I think about the early years of technopop, I usually think of two bands: Japan's Yellow Magic Orchestra and Germany's Kraftwerk.

Of course, YMO has gotten plenty of love on the blog over the years and it's gotten its fair share of worship overseas through fans, concerts and pop culture. "Rydeen" was used as the theme song for an Italian game show and got another boost of popularity recently due to the anime "Hibike! Euphonium"「響け! ユーフォニアム」, and then there was the whole mess of covers of "Behind The Mask".

But Kraftwerk has gotten the pop culture treatment as well. There was "The Simpsons" shoutout in one episode.

And for another example, late-night show host Craig Ferguson loved to take some good-natured pokes at the band on his old program. Furthermore, as was the case between YMO and "Hibike! Euphonium", there was also a glancing connection between Kraftwerk and the anime "Witchcraft Works".

But of course, I can't forget Mike Myers as Dieter on "Saturday Night Live" when he hosted "Sprockets" with a sped-up version of "Electric Cafe". Indeed, it is the time on "Sprockets" when we dance!

Therefore in the interests of good Japan-Germany (and Canada) technopop relations, I give you "Dentaku", i.e. "Pocket Calculator", their 1981 single and a track on their 8th album "Computer World" from May of that year.

Having my own Casio pocket calculator at the time, the happy and skippy rhythm and lyrics by 
Ralf Hütter, Emil Schult and Karl Bartos reflected my joy at possessing this slim form of super technology. Then again, I was out-tech'ed by my traveling companion on that 1981 trip to Japan when he got that Casio calculator wristwatch.😡 Mind you, purchasing that cherry-red Sony double-cassette recorder helped out a lot.

Not sure who provided the lyrics for the Japanese-language version but I wouldn't be surprised if Kraftwerk themselves pulled off the hard linguistic work. Their German-inflected delivery just adds all the more to the exotic feeling of their brand of technopop. I'm gonna have a hard time getting "Dentaku" out of my head tonight as I go to bed.

Mariko Yoshida -- Eien no 20cm(永遠の20cm)

Just seemed like autumn was well on its way in the past few days when summer decided that it wasn't quite done with us yet. Yup, the Humidex may be hitting 32 degrees Celsius today and it's indeed fairly humid out there although for some reason, it hasn't been necessary to turn on the air conditioner. However, I have to make dinner tonight so I'm sure that situation will change.

Perhaps this song might be considered to be a summer/fall tune. This is "Eien no 20cm" (Endless 20cm) by aidoru-turned-pop singer Mariko Yoshida(吉田真里子). I'd never heard of her before but she debuted in May 1988 but considering her vocals and nature of this tune, I think she had fairly quickly left her aidoru presence behind.

"Eien no 20cm" is a track on Yoshida's 4th album "Crescent"(クレッセント)released in January 1991, and despite the release date of the album, this does sound like a summery tune although my injection of the fall in there is because of Rui Serizawa's(芹沢類)lyrics. The twenty centimetres of the title refer to the physical distance between a man and a woman meeting at the station for the first time in a while. They have been close friends but she'd been secretly wishing for a level-up in the relationship so that her arm could span that short distance to link with the lad's arm. Alas, it never got to that point and the way the song is going, it looks like she's given up the pursuit.

Hiroshi Uesugi(上杉洋史)was behind the music and arrangement. I have to also compliment Yoshida's singing as well. She released 8 singles and 5 albums between 1988 and 1991, and then had an indies period (1993-1999) during which she put out a further 4 singles and 2 albums. Yoshida then got married in late 2001 after which she announced her retirement from show business.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Hiroshi Kadokawa -- Yurushite Kudasai(許してください)

According to his J-Wiki profile, enka singer Hiroshi Kadokawa(角川博)was known for having the finest prowess in singing about what a woman was feeling in her heart. Although few of his songs have their own articles including this one, I think his 3rd single may have been one of his first numbers to show this ability.

Released in January 1977, his "Yurushite Kudasai" (Please Forgive Me) is basically the enka form of a letter by a woman to her former paramour virtually pleading him to have a good life without her and to utterly forget about the relationship. Meanwhile, her own heart is breaking into tiny pieces inside as she reassures him that she will be OK (maybe/maybe not). It's probably one of the sadder enka ballads that I've ever heard, and that is all due to Kadokawa's plaintive vocals and the arrangement of the song.

Masao Ishizaka(石坂まさを)took care of the lyrics while composer Eiji Takino(たきのえいじ)provided the melody. I don't know how "Yurushite Kudasai" did on Oricon, but it must have fared well enough that Kadokawa got his first invitation to the Kohaku Utagassen at the end of 1978 to perform this very song. He would appear again the following year and then one final time in 1986.

Orquesta De La Luz -- Gracias Salseros

Always nice when I learn something new. Doing some research for this latest Orquesta De La Luz(オルケスタ・デ・ラ・ルス)concoction, I discovered that the dance music genre of salsa was actually as American as baseball, apple pie and jazz. All these decades, I had assumed that salsa was straight out of Cuba and had been around since the early 20th century, when in fact, the genre has only been around since the 1960s and made its rise in New York City as the synthesis of a number of other genres including Cuban son montuno, mambo and jazz, according to Wikipedia.

The other thing that I discovered was that Orquesta De La Luz, the Japanese salsa band that wowed crowds right in the birthplace of their bread-and-butter music in the late 1980s, was still very much alive. I'd thought that NORA and the band broke up for good in the 1990s but according to their J-Wiki entry, they've been back at it since 2002. As such, this year, Orquesta De La Luz is celebrating their 35th anniversary in the music business so they just released a new album in July called "Gracias Salseros" which I think means "Thank You, Salsa Performers".

The above is the title track, and I'm happy to say that the band hasn't lost their step. NORA is in fine fettle, the horns are still smoking and the percussion is still popping. May they continue to have listeners dancing in the aisles and on the floor. Orquesta De La Luz was actually one of the first bands that I covered in the blog's history, so you can take a look at their first article all the way back in March 2012.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Naomi Miyanaga -- Summer Rain

It's one of those nights where, although I usually keep things to two articles, I find a song so catchy and/or interesting that I just have to include it NOW.

Have never heard of Naomi Miyanaga(宮永尚美)and have never seen her name in the pages of "Japanese City Pop". However, I caught her about half an hour ago on the New J Channel radio singing some funk so I checked the rest of YouTube on the off chance that she may have a presence there.

Well, the Force is with me tonight. Miyanaga is somewhat represented with tracks from her 1984 album "Moment". There's very little information about her origins and discography but apparently she released at least one more album, "Che~!"(チェッ!...Tsk!)in 1986. Anyways, going back to "Moment", Miyanaga seems to have embraced City Pop including this track called "Summer Rain". According to Takechas Records, this funky number was created by Mika Silfver, and then from the JASRAC database, the lyricist was Juha Vainio (although my gut tells me that perhaps that might not be the case but I will go with it for now). But the arranger for the entire album was guitarist Fujimal Yoshino(芳野藤丸), and perhaps some of his influence can be felt by that really boss bass in the intro and the soaring instrumental bridge midway.

From the looks of it, "Moment" might be one of those rarest of the rare albums. From the sites I've checked so far, it's sold out and may be discontinued. Then again, I've said that for a number of albums in the past, only to be happily proven wrong.

Tomoyo Harada -- Motto Sunao ni...(もっと素直に…)

This is gotta be one of the catchier techno kayo tunes that I've encountered so far.

"Motto Sunao ni..." (More Straightforward) was written and composed by singer-songwriter Takako Shirai(白井貴子) as a track for 80s aidoru Tomoyo Harada's(原田知世)November 1984 mini-album "Nadeshiko Junjou"(撫子純情...Girlish Innocence[?]). My knowledge of Shirai's material is still quite limited but my current impression is that of someone who started out as a City Popper but then years later went into a more pop/rock mode. From another angle, listening to "Motto Sunao ni..." would have had me thinking of regular aidoru with a hint of AOR goodness.

But then, the arranger was none other than Ryuichi Sakamoto(坂本龍一)who was still embracing the technopop within himself in the early 1980s. And so, the computer-y sounds that I would often associate with a Yellow Magic Orchestra tune are also in "Motto Sunao ni...". However, indeed it's still sweet Harada behind the mike, exhorting the need to take the reins, not hold back, and go for it where potential love is concerned. Among all of the bleeps and bloops, I particularly enjoy that techno basso profundo moan in the refrain. It's almost as if Lurch from "The Addams Family" was helping out in the recording.

Jin Kirigaya -- Windy

Happy Monday! I've been in touch with some of my friends in Japan and although Typhoon Faxai has wreaked a good amount of destruction in the Kanto, luckily, none of them have been unduly affected.

Considering the name of the album here, this has no connotation with the typhoon but I have wanted to feature Jin Kirigaya's(桐ヶ谷仁)1981 2nd album, "Windy" for some time so I'm taking the opportunity today. Actually, I was able to get it as a 2-for-1 deal through a 2005 release of the singer-songwriter's "Complete Alfa Years" which brings together "Windy" and his first album "My Love For You" from 1979.

Kirigaya was responsible for all of the music while he split lyric-writing duties with Michio Yamagami(山上路夫). Based on what I heard from the first track on "Windy", "Wind Surfing", I made my choice to grab "Complete Alfa Years" since at the time, the individual albums were too difficult or pricey to get. As well, Masaki Matsubara(松原正樹)and Masataka Matsutoya(松任谷正隆)also had their hands full here with the arrangement.

Let me start off with "Natsu ga Sugite"(夏がすぎて...Summer Passes)which is along the lines of an Off-Course(オフコース)ballad in terms of mood and sound. Perhaps there is an even deeper richness with the arrangement as if the story were taking place in Europe with the music reflecting the happy and sad times of one person's romantic recollections. Kirigaya's vocals even remind me of those of Off-Course's Yasuhiro Suzuki(鈴木康博). "Natsu ga Sugite" was also Kirigaya's 4th single from July 1981.

That same sort of Off-Course feeling imbues "Tooi Hi no Tokimeki"(遠い日のときめき...Heartbeats for Distant Days), his 3rd single from March 1981, another languid ballad with sad piano and shimmering strings that kaz-shin at blog "Music Avenue" has described as being rather kayo-esque. What especially clicks with me is the second delivery of the refrain which takes on a certain subtle layering effect.

"Saraba Ai no Hibi"(さらば愛の日々...Farewell to Days of Love)is a Yamagami and Kirigaya collaboration with that overseas Steely Dan sense of adventure, thanks to Matsubara handling the rhythm while Matsutoya took on the strings.The effect is that I can easily hear "Saraba" as both a City Pop tune as well as a Resort Pop song somewhere away from the metropolis. In fact, I immediately thought of Akira Terao's(寺尾聡)"Reflections" the first time I heard it. Nice sax solo by Jake H. Concepcion, as well.

The only other track from "Windy" that I could find via YouTube was "Hitori dake no Waltz"(ひとりだけのワルツ...Waltz for Only One)which once again had Yamagami providing lyrics, a song with that lilting waltz melody punctuated by some lay-it-on-the-line percussion and guitar as if there were storms on the horizon for this romance. Again, there is something rather metropolitan about this song but perhaps somewhere beyond Japanese shores.

Initially assuming that "Windy" would keep itself to a City Pop/AOR environment, I was surprised (and delighted) to hear that Kirigaya was more than happy to go further afield for his melodies. The album has been described as pop but it's not the type of pop that I would often see on the Oricon charts or on the TV music ranking shows. It definitely sounds more like an adult contemporary creation with the recommendation of a capital A for the adult and a couple of cocktails at the hotel-top lounge. Will be looking forward to writing about "My Love For You" later on.

The Karaoke Recital

Hello, it's been quite a while, hasn't it? How has summer (or winter, depending on your hemisphere) been? I somewhat managed to dodge most of the worst of Japan's monstrous summer by escaping to Singapore for a couple of weeks last month, but I did get a taste of it prior. I never thought I'd say this, but I don't think I'll ever complain about the heat and humidity in my home country for a while.

Anyway, I have survived my first term in university and have just begun the second last Monday. Perhaps it's a combination of post-holiday blues and the foreboding amount of assignments, but I feel like I've fallen down the stairs. Face first. Well, in spite of the rough time readjusting, one thing was able to clear that storm on Saturday: My very first karaoke recital.

To give some background information on whatever I know, karaoke recitals that feature enka seem to be quite a major thing in Japan, particularly amongst the elderly, as you can probably tell by the genre. There are those on a larger scale that are professionally organized and host moderately to really popular enka stars and renowned songwriters. These would probably include the competitive category as well, where the acts are judged and scored, and there will be winners. Then there are those small scale ones held in little towns here and there, often organized by a local karaoke joint. Usually, these ones are just simply for the folks to have some fun, and everyone goes home a winner. The one I participated in was the latter, simply because it was my karaoke haunt that held it, and Shiro Jiisan strongly encouraged me to take part three months prior. I had doubts about my ability, but when the senior you thought was calm yells at you excitedly to join in, you know you have to.

The recital was the 10th installment of the annual "Happi Uta no Saiten", "Happi" being the name of the karaoke joint, and was held at the nearby Nishi-Kawagoe Bunka Kaikan. The event hall wasn't as big as I had feared, though the idea of having about a third of it it filled, in other words way more than what I'm used to, was rather intimidating, especially when they were all going to be looking at me. The regulars I had gotten to know, all veterans at this, most even in charge of the event itself, reassured that it'd be fine. Sure. And they were fussing over what I should wear for my time in the spotlight, which brings me to my next point.

Seems like no matter the scale, participants would still go all out in the way of dressing, contrary to what I had believed. The women would be in loud, frilly or sequin-embellished gowns, or in kimonos, and be decked out in full makeup and possibly wigs. The men would be in flashy suits or kimonos as well. The effort put in truly astounds me. It made my "costumes", comprising of shirts and black jeans, pale in comparison. I did firmly turn down an offer for one of the aforementioned types of dresses. I may have ventured deep into the world of enka, but I have my reservations when it comes to its... fashion sense.

Finally coming down to my song choice. I was due to sing three songs, which was actually one more than the usual - I'll get to that in a bit. There were some changes here and there from the time I began my deliberating in June, but here are my final picks.

1. Akogare no Hawaii Koro (憧れのハワイ航路)

The advice I received were: choose something that would knock the audience's socks off, and something jolly. Thinking of the former, I was very close to choosing Hachiro Kasuga's (春日八郎) "Akai Lamp no Shuressha" (赤いランプの終列車), but consultation with my mom led me to Haruo Oka's (岡晴夫)"Akogare no Hawaii Koro" instead. I agreed with her rationale of it being relatively simple while still being able to stun the crowd, but what made me seal the deal was the sentimental value. Considering it was the very first ryukoka I had laid my ears upon nearly a decade ago, I felt that it deserved to be the first tune I sing at my very first karaoke recital.

To get into the Hawaiian spirit, I wore a red Hawaiian shirt over a white T-shirt and had the straw hat Mom wore during her university days upon my head. I jellied when singing, but it turned out OK - better than the rehearsal, at least. I think.

2. Tora (白虎)

A Kiyoshi Hikawa (氷川きよし) song wasn't on my mind at all in my decision-making. Considering my age, it would be of no surprise should I choose one of his works. However, the folks advised me to change my initial Mood Kayo selection to something more exciting. To what, I did not know, until I tried out Hikawa's "Tora" one day. That was when they unanimously agreed that "Tora" should replace "Shianbashi Blues" (思案橋ブルース). I didn't mind as it felt manageable, and, in hindsight, the words were exactly why I should do it. Besides it being somewhat gender neutral, the proclamation of being the young white tiger before the aged was most fitting. Plus, standing up to adversity without complaint is something particularly resonant in me for this school term.

My outfit here was a white collarless shirt over grey and white striped T-shirt. I think it was the powerful score and the context, but the confidence it lent me (albeit temporarily) made strutting back on to the stage and staring down the growing crowd feel absolutely incredible. "Sing loud and proud. You're the tiger, after all," were my old pal's words. I tried, but I still couldn't help jellying up a bit, and for some reason, particularly during the most critical part of self-declaration. It felt awesome nonetheless.

3. Oshima Sentaro Tabiuta (お島千太郎旅唄)

This number by Hisao Ito (伊藤久男) and Akiko Futaba (二葉あき子) was the first actual duet I sang with a male counterpart. And what began as an impromptu duet between me and Shiro Jiisan became quite the attraction at Happi. It then caught the attention of an under-the-radar enka singer Yoko Ai (藍ようこ), who was to be the recital's guest star, when she came a visiting a month-ish prior to the event. I presume it was mostly due to her ravings that the mama-san and Shiro-san eventually decided that the duet should be included despite the both of us already meeting the two song quota. Seemed like word traveled down the Kasumigaseki-Matoba grapevine real quick, because gramps was happily telling me that one of the highly anticipated acts was, well, us. I suppose many were curious to see the grandpa-grandkid-like duo sing an ancient and obscure tune. Great for my ego, not great for my anxiety.

Because Shiro-san was to wear a yukata, I had to too. I'd never worn one before, so the mama-san, who'd so kindly picked one out for me, helped me put it on. I don't know how people wear these things! The belt was an absolute killer; one can hardly breathe or bend over. I liked the purple on black colour scheme though. Anyway, appearing alongside my Brojiisan (yep, my pun idiocy has reached new lows) allowed for a great deal of fear to be expunged. I guess that's why I was able to pull it off better than the other two in spite of worrying for it the most.

Overall, I had a great time taking part in this recital. It wouldn't be far-fetched to say that I've always wanted to take part in something like this, but I didn't think it would be feasible. It started as fantasy, but then enka came into the picture and fantasy morphed into fun romps at karaoke bars, and now, well, here I am. Hmm, how things snowballed down this path fascinates me. I wonder what comes next.

P.S. While I received wonderful encouragement from the familiar regulars, Shiro Jiisan, or should I say, Mr Yamagishi, really went above and beyond. Even though he too had lots of event duties that had him constantly going around and about, he always made sure to show up by my side just before I hit the stage and watch from the sidelines till I was done.

Imagine Ichiro Toba (鳥羽一郎) singing this, and you got Mr Yamagishi.

As per tradition, Jiisan served as the Top Batter for the recital's two segments. He did Oka's "Seishun Paradise" (青春のパラダイス) to kick start the show, then followed up with Akira Fuse's (布施明) rendition of "My Way". He often wears the direst expression when singing (anything), but when he noticed me grinning at him stupidly from the second row of seats in this second segment, I could've sworn that for a split second, that scowl ever so slightly turned upside down.

In the course of the five-ish months (in counting) I've known him for, he slowly went from your typical stony showa era fellow to affectionate marshmallow. I think it's because, aside from music, I've been bothering him with random stuff like my test scores from Japanese class and bromide collection. He does reciprocate in ways such as attempting to understand smartphone technology, and trying to further expand his one trip's worth of knowledge on Singapore.

He is indeed not my actual grandfather, but he's the closest to one I've ever had and always yearned for in a very long time.

You shouldn't look at your list. Go with a song that represents how you feel here and now, that way you'll be able to sing it well and with all your heart.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Ahomushi -- Koko wa Doko(ココハドコ)/Kiyono Yasuno -- Ikiru(生きる)

We're just finishing Day 4 of the annual Toronto International Film Festival. On Thursday, a few of us went down to King St. where the main venue is just to soak in the atmosphere. There has already been a side story generated by the TIFF festivities.

Of course, the lineup of stars coming up to TIFF is set up and announced way in advance and one of the celebs was Tom Hanks who came to town to promote the biopic "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood". Well, a local coffeehouse called Grinder Coffee, which had Ryan Gosling come by last year for a cuppa jo, decided to extend the invitation to Hanks, and nice guy that he is, the former Bosom Buddy and Forrest Gump actually showed up just after the place had closed up on Friday night. And yep, he did get his coffee.

Let us now eventually segue. Remember that Tom Hanks flick, "Cast Away" where he played a fellow who got stranded on an island for a few years, fended for himself, and created a friend from a basketball?

Now, just imagine an anime where in place of Hanks and Wilson, it's actually four high school girls as the only survivors of a plane crash on a deserted island. That is the premise of "Sounan desu ka?"(ソウナンですか?...Are You Lost?), one of the summer shows that my buddy and I have been watching. It's one of the shorter shows (about 10 minutes) but it's been packing some interesting educational stuff along the lines of "Danberu Nan-Kiro Moteru?"(ダンベル何キロ持てる?), but instead of staying healthy and muscular, the lessons in "Sounan desu ka?" are staying healthy and alive. In other words, survival is the key here, and some of the lessons can be pretty harsh but necessary. Fortunately, de facto leader and survival expert Homare Onishima(鬼島ほまれ)was stranded along with her three classmates to keep everyone intact and cheerful with the stoicism and smarts of Mr. Spock and the can-do nature of Chief Engineer Scott.

Seemingly to reassure the viewers that "Sounan desu ka?" will not turn out to be a horror survival anime, the opening credits are absolutely high on good cheer with the four girls even singing the theme song as if it were a musical.

"Koko wa Doko" (Where is This?) is by the four seiyuu: very busy M・A・O  as Homare, Hiyori Kano(河野ひより)as the athletic Asuka Suzumori(鈴森明日香), Kiyono Yasuno(安野希世乃)as the bespectacled Mutsu Amatani(天谷睦), and Azumi Waki(和氣あず未)as the slightly spoiled Shion Kujo(九条紫音)under the group name of Ahomushi(あほむし...Dumb Bugs). Written by Shoko Fujibayashi(藤林聖子)and composed by Sairenji!(サイレンジ!), it didn't have quite the same impact that the opening themes for "Joshi Kōsei no Mudazukai"(女子高生の無駄づかい), in which M・A・O has a smaller role, and aforementioned "Danberu Nan-Kiro Moteru?" had on me when they first debuted, but the happy-happy-joy-joy feeling of "Koko wa Doko" has finally won me over.

I haven't been able to find a full version of the ending theme "Ikiru" (To Live) solely by Yasuno yet, but it's also another happy tune that I thought was worth mentioning. Naoki Nishi(西直紀)and Tomoya Kawasaki(川崎智哉)were responsible for this semi-march. Noelle has already written about one anison that she has also contributed to.

Miyako Shinohara -- Hitori(ひとり)

What struck me about Miyako Shinohara's(篠原美也子)"Hitori" (Alone) was how much it reflected a combination of two totally different singers.

"Hitori" was released in April 1993 as her debut single, and right from that marvelous electric guitar intro of uncertainty, it has a certain richness or gravitas of a woman slowly coming to grips with the end of a long romantic relationship. The balladry that Shinohara presents here has that vocal quality which reminds me both of pixie-ish pop singer Mariko Nagai(永井真理子)of the early 90s and the storytelling pace of Miyuki Nakajima(中島みゆき). The whole song in general has that feeling of ballads that I used to hear by The Eagles back in the 1970s

Hailing from Tokyo, Shinohara released 10 singles in the 1990s and a total of 16 albums up to 2018.