I was watching the news this morning when the newscaster read out that two-thirds of Canadians had little interest in Valentine's Day. Perhaps I would have tut-tutted the information and gone onto a reinforced soapbox and exhorted "What is wrong about LOVE?!", but then again, when I'm frankly as romantic as a Vulcan after a successful Kolinahr ritual, I don't think that I really can earn that soapbox.
Anyways, I was still surprised to realize that I had never put out a Valentine's Day list of my own in the 7 years of "Kayo Kyoku Plus", although JTM did release his "Romantic 80s Playlist" back in 2014. Well, it is indeed Valentine's Day today, so allow me to give some of my choices for the Day of Love. There are of course tons of kayo/J-Pop...way too many, in fact, to even sate a comprehensive list of which this is certainly not. In point of truth, there are songs that are knocking me upside the head like a Gibbs' slap at this moment for not being included. So, all I can ask humbly is that if any of you folks have your own choice for an ideal J-Valentine's song, please inform me.
Incidentally, all of these already have their own articles so this is more of a summary.
1. Megumi Asaoka -- Watashi no Kare wa Hidarikiki (1973)
2. Anzen Chitai -- Koi no Yokan (1984)
3. Sayuri Kokusho -- Valentine Kiss (1986)
If I'm doing a Valentine's Day list of Japanese pop songs, then Sayuri Kokusho's（国生さゆり）"Valentine Kiss"（バレンタイン・キッス）has just got to be included. No exceptions! When compared with the mature themes of the above "Koi no Yokan", "Valentine Kiss" possesses the spirit of a 1950s novelty pop confection and the image of a junior high school girl nervously leaving homemade chocolates secretly in the school shoe box of a boy she likes. From personal experience, I hope that the lucky lad gets to the box early enough, lest those sugary creations end up smelling like feet! By the way, "Valentine Kiss" peaked at No. 2 on Oricon and ended up as the 14th-ranked single of the year.
4. Yumi Matsutoya -- Anniversary (1989)
"Anniversary ~ Mugen ni Calling You"（無限にCALLING YOU...Eternally Calling You）is probably one of Yuming's（ユーミン）most heartfelt ballads about a bride ready to take the walk down the aisle, and she's absolutely sure of her life choice. I think that people in that situation would need to grab for a Kleenex when they hear this special single. Although I don't think that this particular song has made it up to my own Top Ten list of Yuming songs, "Anniversary" has most likely made it onto BEST lists by other fans.
5. Mariko Nagai -- Zutto (1990)
"Zutto" was forever and always a love song that wafted through the air and inside the karaoke boxes and bars around that time. And it's the reason that Mariko Nagai（永井真理子）has stayed with me as one of the notable singers during my years in Gunma Prefecture on the JET Programme. Her plaintive "ZU-TTO, ZU-TTO, ne" strikes a nearly automatic Pavlovian response in listeners to start swaying from side to side.
6. Reimy -- Marry Me (1990)
Reimy（麗美）may not have become a huge superstar on the level of Yuming or Miyuki Nakajima（中島みゆき）, but she still has gained a loyal cadre of fans including me for the lyrics and music that she created. "Marry Me" is one of my favourites as an intimate love letter of a ballad with a down-to-earth arrangement and a great guitar solo. Plus, of course, the title itself is an invitation for my list.
7. Kazumasa Oda -- Love Story wa Totsuzen ni (1991)
8. Yutaka Ozaki -- I Love You (1991)
I not only think that "I Love You" by the late Yutaka Ozaki（尾崎豊）is the song to be performed at a wedding reception but I could easily see it as the ideal proposal ballad. Plus, wouldn't it be something if the proposer sang it with a guitar bandied over his shoulder? An old friend of mine actually did just that when he popped on a Shinkansen from Tokyo to his girlfriend's home hundreds of kilometres away, although I don't know whether he sang this particular Ozaki ballad. But obviously since they did get happily married with kids, it was all good.
Anyways, this was just a sampling of some of my choices for a February 14th custom. Nothing happening here at home today but perhaps I will pick up a chocolate bar tomorrow.