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.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Rie Nakahara -- Sentimental Hotel

Keio Plaza Hotel in West Shinjuku (on the right)

Tokyo Prince Hotel near Tokyo Tower

Sentimental hotels? I've got two, both of which I stayed at for the better part of a week a piece. I've mentioned the Tokyo Prince over the years in various articles here as the first accommodations during my 1981 trip which proved my awakening to the wonders of Japan and also kayo kyoku. The Keio Plaza was my hotel during the orientation session for the JET Programme where I started my first real post-university job. Between the two, though, I will happily go with the Prince.

Van Paugam and his City Pop radio on YouTube has been a great find for those who have recently cottoned onto the Japanese music genre. Moreover for me, depending on the tune, those driving scenes, including one trip on the Yurikamome Monorail, have greatly enhanced the listening experience.

One such song, recently, is "Sentimental Hotel" by Rie Nakahara(中原理恵), which is the B-side to her 2nd single "Disco Lady" (ディスコ・レディー), released in August 1978. Compared with her arguably most famous tune "Tokyo Lullaby"(東京ららばい)which is this jaunty number with some of that exoticism that had been a thing in some of the kayo during the late 1970s, "Sentimental Hotel" definitely sounds like a Japanese urban funk song with a sweeping feel that makes it a good fit with those Van Paugam drives on the highway.

The dream duo of Takashi Matsumoto and Kyohei Tsutsumi(松本隆・筒美京平)who handled both "Tokyo Lullaby" and "Disco Lady" also took care of "Sentimental Hotel". Lyrically, the story has a woman reminiscing about a past love at a high-class hotel. I can guarantee that my sentiments for hotels in Tokyo are very different from the heroine's sentiments. Plus, I didn't stay in Room 909 (would be terrified to activate a black-light scanner in that suite).

"Sentimental Hotel" was also a track on Nakahara's 2nd album, "Killing Me" (which you hear in the refrain for this song), from December 1978. As far as I know, the Keio Plaza hasn't changed all that much since 1989, but I do know that the Tokyo Prince underwent some major renovations a few years ago, so it won't be the same if I ever drop by there again for a cake-and-coffee set.

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