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.

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Reminiscings of Youth: July 5th 1981


If I'm not mistaken about my date, July 5th will be an auspicious one for me. Tomorrow will be 40 years to the day since I boarded that Air Canada (or was it Canadian Pacific?) flight with the rest of my graduating class from the Toronto Japanese Language School for that one month in Japan. Over the years of writing for "Kayo Kyoku Plus", I've mentioned about that fateful summer 1981 trip in various entries, probably mostly for 1981 songs, in which being in Tokyo, Nagoya, Nara, etc for that one month changed my life so much that it became all about learning of Japanese culture for me. Of course, that Japanese culture also included pop music.

As such, on this personally special ROY article, I thought that I would end this blogging day by listing all those songs that I remember hearing during my time there and then watching on the TV music ranking shows over and over again. Initially, I'd thought about just listing the Oricon Top 10 for July 1981 but seeing that I've already done that, well, this particular list is more heartfelt.

Hiromi Iwasaki -- Sumire Iro no Namida (すみれ色の涙)

Seiko Matsuda -- Natsu no Tobira (夏の扉)

Masahiko Kondo -- Blue Jeans Memory (ブルー・ジーンズ・メモリー)

Hitomi Ishikawa -- Machibuse (まちぶせ)

Jun Horie -- Memory Glass(メモリーグラス)

Akira Terao -- Ruby no Yubiwa (ルビーの指輪)

Perhaps it's a tad over-the-top, but without that July 5th departure for Japan, there would be no fascination for the nation of my heritage, there would be no decision to major in Japanese Studies, no life and music in Japan for close to 20 years, and no "Kayo Kyoku Plus". It's been quite the ride and I hope to not get off the bus quite yet.


  1. Happy 40th Japan Anniversary! Hopefully your first day was better than mine since I spent part of it in jail. Well, not exactly jail, but the station koban at Shin Kobe. In the fog of war (landing at Haneda and riding the trains during rush hour) I had given the conductor my 60 yen monorail ticket instead of a 15,000 yen Shinkasen ticket. The cops were waiting for me when the doors opened in Kobe. It all ended in smiles a few hours later when my sister showed up to translate. My brief incarceration did provide one more unique experience: my first cup of coffee. It was instant Nescafe' with "Creap" creamer. Cira February 1975.

    1. Hello, James.

      It's all part of the Japan experience. One of my bosses in the English-teaching industry had a similar experience. Now, he's been a successful novelist for many years. I used to be a Creap/Coffee-Mate guy for decades...not anymore.

  2. Creap's loss. The best coffee I ever had was a can of hot UCC コーヒー while freezing my butt off at a rural train station in Akita. A lifesaver!

    1. Oh, James. Did you ever come across Max Coffee by Georgia? It came in really handy during the blazing summer in Tokyo but it's teeth-chatteringly sweet!

    2. I knew of Max Coffee, but I don't remember ever trying it. I did like the CM's of Tiger Woods hitting golf balls off some roof in Tokyo for Wanda Coffee. I also miss Sly Stallone hawking ham on TV. I guess they had the right guy!

    3. Coffee connoisseurs would have me in irons for liking Max Coffee which is akin to regular coffee milk with three times the sugar, but indeed it was thirst quenching. I don't recall Tiger hawking Wanda Coffee (maybe Elizabeth Olsen might become a new spokesperson) but I do remember Sly blurting out the wonders of Ito Bayern ham. Probably the only other person who could top Stallone hawking that product is William Shatner.


Feel free to provide any comments (pro or con). Just be civil about it.