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 11, 2014

Hiroshi Uchiyamada & The Cool Five/Kiyoshi Maekawa -- Tokyo Sabaku (東京砂漠)

One could say it was like a desert here in Singapore last month, you know almost if you take away the sweltering humidity that made things worse. Sure it was October, but frankly it doesn't really make a difference down here... well, the weather should have gotten cooler... should.

I digress. Moving on, having desert in its name, the Hiroshi Uchiyamada & Cool Five (内山田洋とクール・ファイブ) hit from 1976 'Tokyo Sabaku' (Tokyo desert) pretty much sticks to the title in terms of its music. Brought to you by the former and late leader of the Mood Kayo group, Hiroshi Uchiyamada, it has quite the stereotypical Arabian twist to it. It starts off somewhat slow with Kiyoshi Maekawa (前川清) singing each word with a certain gentleness and emphasis before it all builds up to the intense chorus.

In terms of its lyrics, written by Ou Yoshida (吉田旺), I was quite surprised to find out that 'Tokyo Sabaku' is a love song! Well, I never thought it was because of the music... ... The desert part is a metaphor of course, you're not going to be able to find mounds of sand in the middle of the most populated city in Japan any time soon. It kinda represents the city being cold and heartless, including its people and yet this fellow loves it. Why? Because she is there. Quite a heartwarming song if you know what it's about. I managed to find the translation on '', you can take a look at it here.

'Tokyo Sabaku' is one of the Cool Five's hits, peaking at 19th place on the Oricon charts. Out of the Cool Five's 11 appearances on the Kohaku, the song was sung once in 1976. Then Mae-Kiyo himself sang the song solo 3 times in his 18 appearances... well the 3rd time in 2008 was with the remaining 4 fellows from the group. So in total, 4 times. It was also the commercial jingle for this company by the name of 'DIA KENSETSU' (ダイア建設株式会社), as well as in a recent 'Calpis Oasis' commercial (some drink thing).

As I've just mentioned, Maekawa does sing this song solo quite often, just like tonight on Kayo Concert... yes, I was more than happy to see the guy on TV again.

And here's the 'Calpis Oasis' commercial from 2013... I would say its bizarre - look, you can see a camel on 2 legs there holding a bottle of the drink - but frankly, I think it just has that usual dosage of weirdness in Japanese commercials. But that cute Mae-Kiyo grin at the end though... ... What? Did I say cute? What I meant to say was... ... Eh, I got nothing...



  1. Ah....the cold heartless city. Would sound perfect for a Keiko Fuji ballad. It's another Cool Five classic and I wonder if that cover would make a fine inspiration for the poster for the next "Avengers" movie.

  2. Uresh katta.arigato gozaimass


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