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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.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Yusuke Honma -- Theme from "Sommelier"(ソムリエ)


The other day, I caught former SMAP member Goro Inagaki(稲垣吾郎), the silent one, show up as a physician on the NHK morning serial drama "Scarlet"(スカーレット)which just wrapped up its time earlier today.

Inagaki has had his time on numerous dramas over the decades while being a SMAP guy, and the one series that I remember is "Sommelier", a 1998 Fuji-TV show which featured the man as a top-class sommelier with a near-supernatural ability to pick the right vintage for the right person at the right occasion. His role is similar to a lot of other roles in other shows which focus around a genius fount of wisdom. Those folks maintain this aura of invincibility as the other characters seem to be losing their heads in a crisis while appearing more stoic than Mr. Spock after a successful Kolinahr ritual.

I managed to find the opening and ending themes for "Sommelier", and I was specifically searching for that ending theme since it's been used a ton of times on variety shows since it first made its appearance over 20 years ago. Composed by Yusuke Honma(本間勇輔)who also has another feather in his cap through his creation of the theme for master TV detective Ninzaburo Furuhata, the "Sommelier" theme led by a wonderful trumpet seems to convey not only the regal purity of Inagaki's legendary sommelier Satake but also the majestic tradition of knowing and educating the great unwashed about fine wines. So, not surprisingly, the ending theme has been used whenever a show segment is showing off something having to do with wine or wineries or some sort of high-class establishment in Japan or abroad.


Unfortunately, I couldn't find any footage from "Sommelier" on YouTube (not sure if the series ever became a hit), but did find this video from "SMAP X SMAP" with Inagaki in character briefly having to deal with the usual hijinks of a variety show. No majesty here. I gotta say, though, that "Sommelier" did teach me the expression of fusawashii(相応しい)or fitting/appropriate.

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