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.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Ringo Shiina & Tortoise Matsumoto -- Menuki Dori(目抜き通り)

When I first heard about the Ginza Six complex opening up in...well, Ginza, naturally, I just thought that most of that high-priced neighbourhood was already difficult to enter for a bloke like me. Now, Ginza Six seems to be an even more exclusive place with representation from stores like Fendi, Yves Saint Laurent and Vivienne Westwood. I'm being a bit snarky here but I think to get in, you have to show proof in the form of an American Express Centurion Card or its equivalent at the entrance to the doorman (WHAT? Only a Gold card? Shoo! There's a Fujiya family restaurant across the street..go!). One of my students actually possessed that card, and yes, she was that wealthy. She could buy her own island with that card (maybe she did).

G Six is built upon the former site of the venerable Matsuzakaya Department Store, an old-style emporium that I sometimes visited with friends for some tea on the first floor. The most notable thing for me there was the bakery which sold the Baumkuchen cake, a dessert from Germany that has long taken hold and gained a popular following in Japan. It was a trademark for Ginza Matsukaya to have those spits rolling the iced cake. Ah, times do change.

Anyways, the new place came with a theme song. Titled "Menuki Dori" (The Main Street), it was released around the time of the opening of G Six in April 2017 as a digital download song and was performed by Ringo Shiina(椎名林檎)and Tortoise Matsumoto(トータス松本)from the Osaka band Ulfuls(ウルフルズ). Written and composed by Shiina, it was the song that the two performed on last year's Kohaku Utagassen with plenty of glitz and glamour.

I will be honest here. I like Ulfuls' hits from the 1990s such as "Gattsu Daze!!"(ガッツだぜ!!)and of course, I've got a good listing of Shiina's songs on the blog all the way from her debut in the late 1990s including her later, more jazzier offerings and have loved them all. Having said that, watching her and Matsumoto perform on the Kohaku, it was frankly a bit of a hot mess on the Shibuya stage on New Year's Eve so I was a bit disappointed. It just sounded like all of the instruments including Shiina's and Matsumoto's voices were all ferociously competing to get on the Olympic podium and there was only room for Gold.

Watching the short version of the song and the campaign video for Ginza Six, there was a better fit between the two, and I think Matsumoto looked a whole lot more dapper. I gather that the tone was supposed to be one of giddy chaos and glamour in good ol' Ginza so having the recent Shiina tropes of urgent orchestral strings followed by the fast n' hot jazz were no surprise. And the producers of the video certainly wanted to match that with some pricey fast-paced scenes of life there with the tempo of a screwball comedy. But for me at least, the song seemed a bit too scrunched in. As I said, it was the short version so if I ever decide to download my own copy, I hope that the full version has a larger opportunity to breathe.


  1. Hi, J-Canuck.

    Looks like I'll be shooed to Fujiya (HA! Jokes on you, doorman, I like family restaurant food anyways! :P). But seriously speaking, Ginza Six kinda reminds me of the upper floors of a posh mall called ION along Singapore's shopping belt, Orchard Road. It's got lots of fancy shops, but everyone seems to gather in the basement for B-class gourmet food, moderately-priced fashion, and DAISO.

    About "Menuki Dori", I actually quite enjoyed what I heard during the Kohaku, though, yeah, it was loud in all sense of the word. But the jazzy Broadway-like theme was refreshing to hear after a couple of hours of the competition.

    1. Hi, Noelle.

      Yeah, I guess for me, "Menuki Dori" on the Kohaku just sounded a little too busy for me. Perhaps in a way, Shiina was bringing back some of her old chaotic self into the mix.

      Speaking of family restaurant food, there has been a recent addition to the Japanese restaurant scene in Toronto called Sakawa Coffee which serves Japanese comfort food. I went there today with a couple of fellow foodie buddies. Pretty good!

    2. Hi, J-Canuck.

      Saw that hamburger with a fried egg pic you posted, and it does look good! Coffee and comfort food's the best combo, and it has me thinking of this joint called Hoshino Coffee (been open in Singapore for a few years now) with their souffle omu rice and inch high pancakes and iced coffee that keeps me up all night.

    3. Yeah, I wouldn't mind a few more Japanese comfort food places scattered around Toronto. My two friends were quite impressed about the pancakes so we went to an discussion about how the Japanese variety was able to come out so thick. I said it was probably additional baking powder and baking soda.


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