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 30, 2019

Hiroshi Sato -- Sailing Blaster

Until recently, I only had the one Hiroshi Sato(佐藤博)album, the classic "Awakening" (1982) with Wendy Matthews, but on listening to some of the late keyboardist/songwriter's other songs, including the boppy "Sweet Inspiration" and the soothing "Always", I just had to add another Sato album to the collection. Well, both "Sweet Inspiration" and "Always" belong to the album following "Awakening", "Sailing Blaster" from June 1984.

When it comes to comparing "Awakening" and "Sailing Blaster", I kinda liken the former to an afternoon lounging on those deck chairs on a cruise ship whereas with the latter, Sato invites us for a good time in the ballroom for a really happening party that same night. And continuing on with a tradition from "Awakening", he also gives us his tribute to The Beatles. Right from Track 2, we get his funky version of "Eight Days A Week" and then Track 8, a really racing take on "I Feel Fine".

As was the case with "Sweet Inspiration", Cindy Yamamoto(シンディ山本)and Sato collaborated once more for "Love Is Happening" which comes across as the ideal driving song on the Ventura Highway. There is something nicely California about it as he gives his story about falling head over heels.

Lyricist Yoko Narahashi(奈良橋陽子), who's often helped out the band Godiego(ゴダイゴ), provided the lyrics to Sato's "Shine Forever", a defiant declaration with some reggae about stopping time and staying relevant for eternity. According to the liner notes, Narahashi was also on backing vocals. Could be good for "Doctor Who".

One of the three instrumental tracks and maybe the longest track on "Sailing Blaster" provided by Sato is "How ya been (Do Nai?)", a funky shuffle that could make for a highlight at the ballroom party on the cruise ship that I was analogizing about earlier. Looks like the band members themselves were having a ball jamming away on their instruments and making merry. It's a lively mix of honky tonk music and some Steely Dan.

My final entry here is the lone bonus track "Sweet Inspiration '85", a slightly more amped-up version of the original "Sweet Inspiration" with a dance remix feeling.

After hearing both "Awakening" and "Sailing Blaster", I'm musing whether Sato came up with an album that symbolized the midnight cool-down following the massive soiree.

tea -- Snow Globe

Ah...alas, all things must come to an end, and that is indeed the case with "Danberu Nan-Kiro Moteru?"(ダンベル何キロ持てる?...How Heavy Are the Dumbbells You Lift?), one of the more popular anime for Summer 2019.

I caught the Episode 12 finale yesterday during the usual anime-and-food routine with my friend, and fortunately, there was no particular drama. It all ended with the usual exercise-based hijinks, the humongous Machio's fitness tips and a final weigh-in for Hibiki.

However, there was one throw-in from left field. Instead of the usual disco-era ending theme of "Macho A Name?", the saga of Hibiki and the gang finished (for now) with a song that, as a number of YouTubers have commented, sounds a little like Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" from "Titanic". Also from me, there is even some of the singer's vocals that remind me of the late Natalie Cole.

It was remarkably touching for an anime series that had brought a huge dollop of wisecracks with its training gym lessons. Speaking of the singer, I have no idea who this person is but "Snow Globe" is written, composed, arranged and performed by tea and Yukari Hashimoto(橋本由香利). I couldn't find any information about her so I'm wondering if one of the starring seiyuu has been holding out on us with some heretofore hidden ballad singing talent. Inquiring minds want to know!

Nope, "Snow Globe" isn't included on the CD for the official opening and closing themes.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Ikuzo Yoshi -- Ore wa Zettai! Presley(俺はぜったい!プレスリー)

Although I have never met the man and really don't know what he's like off-camera, I have to say that my affinity for veteran enka singer-songwriter Ikuzo Yoshi(吉幾三)has grown some more. Not only has he provided me with my No. 1 go-to karaoke song, "Yukiguni"(雪国), but he genuinely strikes me as a truly decent sort.

Less than an hour ago, I saw the TV Asahi variety show "Sekai no Mura de Hakken! Konna Tokoro ni Nihonjin"(世界の村で発見!こんなところに日本人...Discovered in the World's Villages! A Japanese in This Sort of Place) in which a celebrity is dispatched to some place on the planet that isn't in Japan to search for a Japanese national who's living there and find out the details. Well, in the episode that I saw tonight (originally televised on March 26th 2019), it was Yoshi who was sent out to Ethiopia to search for a woman living and helping out in a small village, probably under the aegis of JICA (Japan International Cooperation Society). Unfortunately, I couldn't find the video on YouTube but have put in another video of him in a similar NHK show.

Now, even though I think that most of a trip on this show is planned right down to the letter, Yoshi still managed to pull some rabbits out of his hat such as bringing the fixins to make Japanese chicken curry for the lucky young lady, Chihiro Saga, because he was worried that she hadn't eaten some good ol' home cooking for many months. But even before that, when he was on that 7-hour bus ride to the village, he not only sang one of his hits but also a song that he had created years before which had something to do with Ethiopia (including incorporating some of the native language into the lyrics), possibly due to his friendship with the then-Ethiopian ambassador to Japan. Then at a stopover, he even treated everyone on the bus to lunch at the restaurant! By the end of the trip, he was pretty much good buddies with everybody. And of course, at the end of the bus ride and at the end of his time with Chihiro (I think that he saw her as a surrogate daughter), he was tearing up something awful. The man's a good guy!

Because of his long career, the man really didn't need an introduction but TV Asahi went ahead anyways. Of course, "Yukiguni" and his other hits were shown. However, I did see another record that I had never known before with the intriguing title of "Ore wa Zettai! Presley" (I am Absolutely Presley!), and it wasn't just because of the misplaced exclamation mark.

Researching things, I discovered that this was Yoshi's first single under his second stage name. He was born as Yoshihito Kamata(鎌田善人)in Aomori Prefecture, and when he first started off as an aidoru in the early 1970s under his first stage name Eiji Yamaoka(山岡英二), he didn't go too far.

Well, according to the man himself, when he was later making a living by singing around the various nomiya with his guitar, the singer created this "Ore wa Zettai! Presley" and a staffer at a record company just happened to hear it (perhaps while drinking at one such establishment). With the staffer tickled pink by the comical sense about a country bumpkin proudly proclaiming himself as the local Elvis in the local dialect, one thing led to another, and the song got recorded under the new name of Ikuzo Yoshi (which apparently was decided upon by record company staff without the singer's input).

Nope, it wasn't enka. It was just Yoshi, a lone jangly guitar, a Chinese temple block and a lot of jolly brio. And the song peaked at No. 25 on Oricon after its release in November 1977. The ironic thing was that the singer hadn't known anything of Elvis Presley's discography before he made "Presley", but on hearing of the original King of Rock n' Roll's death earlier that year in August, Yoshi simply opted to create a song with his name in the title.

"Ore wa Zettai! Presley" is the second song that I've written about based on an episode from "Sekai no Mura de Hakken! Konna Tokoro ni Nihonjin". About a month ago, I also noted a song by Yuko Asano(浅野ゆう子)due to her appearance on the program. Perhaps I could have continued to lean on the show like I have for "Uta Kon"(うたコン), etc., but alas as I mentioned in the Asano article, the program finished its run earlier this year.

Shinji Tanimura & Tomoko Ogawa -- Wasurete Ii no ~ Ai no Makugire(忘れていいの-愛の幕切れ-)

One of the weirder examples of Wasei-eigo(和製英語)or Japlish that made my internal organs itch as a teacher was the term adulty. I've had a few students spout that at me and it meant "mature" or "sophisticated", although when I heard it, it sounded like something that an elementary school kid would say. Of course, I corrected my young charges of that saying but there was always that one student who could never shake the habit.😩

Well, allow me to bring something adulty into your day today on "Kayo Kyoku Plus". This is "Wasurete Ii no ~ Ai no Makugire" (It's All Right To Forget ~ The Last Scene of Love), a duet originally performed by former 60s aidoru Tomoko Ogawa(小川知子)and singer-songwriter Shinji Tanimura(谷村新司)as a single back in February 1984.

It's about as mature and sophisticated as a ballad of heartbreak can be. A couple, resigned to the fact that their relationship has come to its inevitable end, exchange their goodbyes before one of them gets on the bus and takes off forever. Tanimura wrote and composed "Wasurete Ii no" and it really feels like one of his ballads since I've always treated his love songs as musical equivalents of a well-cooked steak. This one, in particular, is a filet mignon. Koji Makaino(馬飼野康二)arranged the song and it does remind me of some of the classy love tunes by singers such as Mariko Takahashi(高橋真梨子), Hiromi Iwasaki(岩崎宏美)and Mieko Nishijima(西島三重子).

The above video has Tanimura and Ogawa singing their duet although I'm not sure if it was because of a bad cold or the need to show the emotion, but Ogawa doesn't sound too steady for some reason. However, the setting is quite adulty! "Wasurete Ii no" went as high as No. 21 on Oricon and ended 1984 as the 91st-ranked single.

As such a tender ballad, cover versions are a foregone conclusion, and indeed singers like Iwasaki have performed "Wasurete Ii no" with Tanimura over the years. I gotta say that Iwasaki hits this one right out of the park. Wouldn't be surprised if this had been one of the more popular duet songs to be performed at karaoke back in the day.

Tanimura has even provided his own solo version of his creation.

Cocco -- Tsuyoku Hakanai-tachi(強く儚い者たち)

Okinawan singer-songwriter Cocco (nee Satoko Makishi/真喜志智子) is a singer that I've had to re-acquaint myself with after so many years. She is one of the names in my memories of J-Pop of the 1990s, and although she wasn't someone who had the media presence of Namie Amuro(安室奈美恵 )or Morning Musume(モーニング娘。)back in that decade, she wasn't exactly a lady of enigma either such as the mysterious Takako Mamiya(間宮貴子). She did make some occasional appearances on the music shows.

However, my own impression was that Cocco didn't go into interviews too often or readily. The only onscreen banter with her that I recall witnessing was on "Music Station" one Friday night when just before a performance on the cameras, the singer had to talk with host Tamori(タモリ). It was a weird one since her eyes seemed unfocused and she spoke in a rather odd voice to the extent that I wondered whether she was a savant. And then right after she was done singing, she didn't stay there before the cut to commercial or Tamori; instead, she just dashed away like a frightened rabbit. And yet, I've seen her in an excerpt of a documentary, and she spoke and behaved absolutely naturally with those wide eyes and an even wider and lovely smile.

Cocco's first stint in show business lasted between 1996 and 2001 and during that time, her 2nd major single "Tsuyoku Hakanai-tachi" (The Strong and the Ugly) from November 1997 was the one that got her on the map. Written by the singer and composed by Rei Shibakusa(柴草玲), listening to the song for the first time in a long while, I got to recognize it again as this swaying and happy tune that I used to hear pretty often here and there. There is that feeling of freedom in it as Cocco through her lyrics welcomes listeners to relax and stay a while especially if they have experienced some recent trials and tribulations. At the same time, though, she does fire at least a couple of barbs hinting that things are never as rosy or perfect as one would hope. Slightly tough love perhaps?

(short version)

One reason that I heard it often was because "Tsuyoku Hakanai-tachi" was also the song for a Hawaii campaign by Japan Air Lines. The song peaked at No. 18, and although later releases by her went even higher in the rankings, it has become Cocco's most successful entry in terms of sales. It finished the year at No. 68 for 1998 as a Gold single, and it can also be found on her May 1998 2nd album "Kumui Uta"(クムイウタ)which in the Ryukyuan dialect means "lullaby". The million-seller album hit No. 1 on Oricon and was the 31st-ranked release of that year.

Cocco did have a first retirement from 2001 but then decided to make a second go of it from 2006 onwards.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Kiyotaka Sugiyama & Omega Tribe -- Ai wo Makimodoshite(愛を巻き戻して)

Let's get another City Pop tune noticed since it is Friday night.

"Ai wo Makimodoshite" (Rewind the Love) is the B-side to Kiyotaka Sugiyama & Omega Tribe's(杉山清貴&オメガトライブ)3rd single "Kimi no Heart wa Marine Blue"(君のハートはマリンブルー)from January 1984. It has a bit more pep than the smoothly languid A-side but still with an Omega Tribe tune, bombing down the highway at 300 kph with the cops after you isn't going to be the overriding image here. "Ai wo Makimodoshite" is definitely more of the leisurely drive on a beachside road maybe around sunset but perhaps more preferably around midnight when the chances of other cars competing for space are negligible. Just the thing for late summer or early fall.

Sugiyama was behind the music while Yasushi Akimoto(秋元康)took care of the lyrics. The number was also part of an Omega Tribe BEST compilation, "Single's History", released in October 1985 which peaked at No. 3 on Oricon.

Suiyoubi no Campanella -- Diablo(ディアブロ)

Let me be honest with you here. I was never a huge onsen(温泉 spring)fan. For that matter, I wasn't even all that enthused about o-furo(お風呂...bath). It's rather strange...I usually think of myself as being a patient person but that quality goes out the window when the bath comes into the picture. I've taken dips at the onsen such as the ones at the Daitokan ryokan in the city of Ito as seen above but frankly all I can endure is 5 minutes before I have to get out of the hot water with many beneficial effects.

Is it the heat? Nope, in fact, I've been witness to some fellow JET Programme teachers flying out of the water in an onsen in Gunma Prefecture 30 years ago, looking as red as cooked lobsters while I calmly stayed in the water...for a few more minutes (well, maybe 10...I was more patient back then, I guess). The real reason is that I simply never enjoyed sitting in a bathtub for an extended period of time. Showers have been more my thing: get in, soap up, rinse off and then out of there in less than 5 minutes. And yet, there is all that culture surrounding this very beloved of Japanese traditions, from the onsen towns that have been built up around the hot springs to the luscious dinners that have often come after the good ol' soak. Plus at the neigbourhood sento(銭湯...public baths), people can also look forward to fans, massage chairs and old-style bottles of milk to slake their thirst.

Recently on NHK via TV Japan, there's been a show on Wednesday nights called "Sando no O-furo Itadakimasu"(サンドのお風呂いただきます...Sandwichman's Bath, Please)which stars the popular manzai comedy duo, Sandwichman(サンドウィッチマン), as they tour the various onsen areas, large and small, throughout Japan. Included in each episode is narration by KOM_I(コムアイ), the performer of eclectic music unit, Suiyoubi no Campanella(水曜日のカンパネラ).

Also, each time the scene changes, there is a KOM_I-generated "Ii yu da ne~"(いい湯だね...Nice bath, huh?)voice clip. I had just regarded it as merely something that the singer concocted for "Sando", but later on I discovered that the line was actually part of a song titled "Diablo"(ディアブロ)from their first EP single as an indies unit back in April 2015, "Triathlon"(トライアスロン).

Created by fellow Suiyoubi member Hidefumi Kenmochi(ケンモチヒデフミ), I can't really say that "Diablo" is one of their electropop songs. The music is pretty subtle (with some zigs and zags) actually, maybe even minimalist with some beats with the stress on KOM_I's rapping of the benefits and potential banes of the sento experience. The music video with her acting as an old-fashioned proprietress of a public bath makes this the most comical exposure I've had with the band thus far. Even the title, "Diablo", as was made clear at the end of the video, is a Japanese pun on "Dear Buro" (Dear Bath).

As for "Triathlon", it made it up to No. 23 on Oricon. To wrap up, to show that I bear no ill will to those who love being immersed in hot/warm water for an extended period of time, here is a video on Japanese commercials dealing with baths.

Kenjiro Sakiya -- Sen no Tobira(千の扉)

According to this entry on "Takehiro Gold Diary"(たけひろゴールド DIARY)via J-Wiki, Kenjiro Sakiya's(崎谷健次郎) 3rd album from April 1989, "Kiss of Life", is one of the first examples of a Japanese singer incorporating house music into an album.

Perhaps so, but not knowing too much about the various types of dance music from that time onwards, I will simply say that one of the tracks "Sen no Tobira" (A Thousand Doors) is still a percolating piece of late 1980s urban pop. With some rat-a-tat percussion launching things, the keyboards and bass come in fast and furious as singer and composer Sakiya relates the tale of a guy going through Heaven and Earth to find the love of his life, even opening a thousand doors, if need be (hence the title).

Lyricist Rinko Yuuki(有木林子), who seems to have provided a lot of her work specifically for Sakiya, also gave the words to "Sen no Tobira" to form this epic story of search. Yuuki has been a friend of Sakiya's since high school which would explain the long relationship. Methinks that this could have been made into a TV show or perhaps an intense music video. As for "Kiss of Life", it peaked at No. 21 on the charts.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Candies -- Soyokaze no Kuchizuke(そよ風のくちづけ)

A couple of nights ago on "Uta Kon"(うたコン), there was a special guest in the form of Ran Ito(伊藤蘭), formerly of the 1970s aidoru trio Candies(キャンディーズ). Indeed, it was special because her appearance to sing at NHK Hall signified her first time behind the recording mike in 41 years, right after the disbanding of the group back in 1978! Since that time, Ito and fellow Candy, the late Yoshiko Tanaka(田中好子), went on the path of the thespian while Miki Fujimura(藤村美樹)took a brief stab at a solo career before retiring for good. I'm not sure whether Candies ever got together for a comeback appearance or tour between 1978 and the time of Tanaka's untimely passing.

Of course, Ito performed a couple of the old hits including the evergreen "Haru Ichiban"(春一番)but since I've already covered that and the other song, I decided to go into the J-Wiki vaults to see what else was in there. So I found Candies' 3rd single from January 1974, "Soyokaze no Kuchizuke" (Breezy Kiss).

As cute and fluffy as a kitten, "Soyokaze no Kuchizuke" is the quintessential 70s aidoru tune with the quirky and perky arrangement and the high-tone vocals by Tanaka. Because it was an early single, Tanaka was the lead vocal in the centre position before Ito took over the spot for good from "Toshishita no Otokonoko" (年下の男の子)onwards in 1975. Lyrics were provided by Michio Yamagami(山上路夫)and music was by Koichi Morita(森田公一)with the song hitting No. 39 on Oricon. "Soyokaze no Kuchizuke" was also a track on Candies' 2nd album "Abunai Doyoubi ~ Candies no Sekai"(危い土曜日〜キャンディーズの世界〜...Dangerous Saturday: The World of Candies).

This is something that was actually mentioned in the J-Wiki article for "Soyokaze no Kuchizuke", but the Candies' song resembles a 1959 tune by American vocal group The Drifters, "(If You Cry) True Love, True Love". I know that Jerry from Come Along Radio has made YouTube videos highlighting similarities between Japanese and Western pop songs, so this may be one of the oldest that he will discover.

The Lind & Linders -- Moero Circuit(燃えろサーキット)

Y'know...when it comes to Group Sounds, I've been accustomed to the various band lineups basing their names on animals. We've had spiders, tigers and even an ox. But this is a first for me. I had never heard of a GS band being named after a Bond girl!

And yet, according to the January 1986 issue of "Nekkyou GS Zukan"(熱狂GS図鑑...The Group Sounds Guide for Fanatics)via J-Wiki, The Lind & Linders(ザ・リンド&リンダース)were indeed named after Vesper Lynd, the femme fatale from the original 1953 Ian Fleming novel "Casino Royale". Apparently the founder of the band, Hiroshi Kato(加藤ヒロシ), had read it and enjoyed the character.

Kato, a jazz guitarist, was approached by the president of an entertainment company in Osaka in the summer of 1965 and was requested to start up some sort of Kansai guitar band. So Kato gathered together four members including himself to start as The Lind, but then came the addition of three vocalists who would form The Linders. Thus a Group Sounds band was born which first caught fire in the jazz cafe circuit and made regular appearances on the local radio station, MBS, before branching out into TV.

The Lind & Linders' released their debut single, "Guitar Komoriuta"(ギター子守唄...Guitar Lullaby)in February 1967, but I found their 2nd single (March 1967) on YouTube, "Moero Circuit" (Burn Circuit), a very short tune starting off with a nifty guitar pretending to be a racing car revving up before going into a melody that is reminiscent of The Ventures. Kazuki Takagi(高木和来)took care of the vocals, and his delivery kinda reminds me of a young version of enka singer Shinichi Mori(森進一). Leader Kato came up with the music while the lyrics were handled by Shuji Terayama(寺山修司). Takagi and one other Linder would leave following this year to form another GS band, The Sunny Five(ザ・サニー・ファイブ).

With a number of changes in the lineup, The Lind & Linders lasted for pretty much the breadth of the GS boom before calling it quits in 1970, after releasing a total of 7 singles.

Junko Ohtsuka -- Hoshi Furu Yoru ni(星降る夜に)

Another "new" singer that I've come across for the first time, allow me to introduce you to singer-songwriter Junko Ohtsuka(大塚純子).

Raised in Oita Prefecture, Ohtsuka made her debut in 1988 with her single "Risky" and has worked under three recording companies: Alfa Moon, Sony Records and Fun House.

Under the Sony label, she released her debut album in July 1990, "Hurts", although the cover with her and that adorable pooch displays quite the opposite feeling. The track du article here is "Hoshi Furu Yoru ni" (On the Night of the Falling Stars) which was written by Shintaro Hirai (平井森太郎)and composed by Chika Ueda(上田知華). Ohtsuka has a distinct voice which I can't really associate with anyone else's, but from some of the other songs by her that I've heard, she seems to have kept things to the pop world although I think that she was capable of rock music.

"Hoshi Furu Yoru ni" strikes me as being an intimate ballad with a fair amount of majesty, ideal for the evening indicated here as the clear night sky displays its stationary and shooting stars. Hirai's lyrics seem to relate a young woman thinking about the jump into adulthood and perhaps not feeling all that joined with society at the moment. Perhaps she's looking up at the heavens for solace.

To date, Ohtsuka released 11 singles up to 1996 and 3 albums including the aforementioned "Hurts". More to explore in her discography, and another Junko to add to the Labels.👍

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Mia Inoue -- Koi no Owari(恋の終わり)


Singer-songwriter Mia Inoue(井上水晶)is another recent discovery. I've put her in the same lovely company as microstar, Blue Peppers(ブルー・ペパーズ), and Minami Kitasono(北園みなみ)as an artist of this current decade who's into some classy and mellow pop. According to her brief bio underneath the above video from her own YouTube account, she hails from Fukuoka although between the ages of 11 and 14, she lived in Beijing. From the age of 16, she set out on the path to become a singer-songwriter.

According to that same bio, she came out with her 5th concept album "Interpretation" in October 2013, and one of the songs (short excerpt only) that I've indicated in the above video is "Koi no Owari" (End of Love), a piano-led tune that is pretty darn happy when considering the title.

But then it was the self-cover of "Koi no Owari" that I first discovered, and I couldn't be sure but I think this was recorded in 2014. The song has been given a flavour boost of sorts thanks to the arrangement by aforementioned Minami Kitasono. Still happy but with some more enhanced perky hooks and backup chorus, perhaps with a hint of Doobie Bounce (?).

Would love to know how to get the physical album for this one by Inoue.

Yuki Haruhara -- Polar Star ~ Kimi dake wo Shinjite(ポーラスター~君だけを信じて~)

I'm not sure what actress Yumi Adachi(安達祐実)has been up to these days but I remember that she had been the up-and-coming child star during the 1990s. Moreover as a star coming up the ranks in Japan, releasing singles was also part of the gig as well. Even though I never bothered watching any of her dramas, she was still a household word since her beaming visage popped up often on television commercials.

One of the dramas that Adachi starred in was a 1997 TV Asahi adaptation of the popular manga "Glass no Kamen"(ガラスの仮面...Glass Mask) in which the actress played a teenager from humble surroundings who had to go through a ton of struggles to achieve her goal of becoming a stage actress. Some months ago, I came across the theme song for the show "Polar Star ~ Kimi dake wo Shinjite" (Believing In You Only).

Sung by Yokohama-born singer and radio personality Yuki Haruhara(春原佑紀)as her debut single, she first started out as a member of the early 90s aidoru group Sakurakko Club(桜っ子クラブ). Then going into her 20s, she released "Polar Star", this pop/rock blast of encouragement that reminds me of other singers such as Ayumi Nakamura(中村あゆみ), and yes, there is a feeling of similar music from a decade prior when I hear this. As well, although I can't remember the names right now, there are some female rockers from the early 1990s that come to mind.

Kyoko Habu(土生京子)was the lyricist while musician Satoru Sugawara(菅原サトル)composed the song. Released in August 1997, "Polar Star" made it as high as No. 55 on Oricon. Haruhara would release four more singles up to the end of 1998 and one album, but has since worked on Bay FM radio in Chiba Prefecture.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Hi-Fi Set -- Kaze no Machi(風の街)

Methinks I'm gonna have to get this September 1977 4th album, "The Diary" by vocal group Hi-Fi Set(ハイ・ファイ・セット)later this year. After hearing the urbane jazz of "Koi no Nikki"(恋の日記)and then the sophisticated pop of "Memorandum"(メモランダム), I already had some good vibes about it.

And then I came across the second track from "The Diary", "Kaze no Machi" (Windy City). As the title would indicate, it really is a breezy and joyful number about falling in love in the metropolis. Maybe that was the prevailing feeling of optimism blowing into 1970s Tokyo back then. Compared to the two other tracks, "Kaze no Machi" falls under the City Pop of the decade. Good feelings, indeed. Plus, it's the first time I've ever heard of a muted trombone in such a song.

"Kaze no Machi" was also Hi-Fi Set's 8th single from earlier in April. It was created by the two male members of the group, Toshihiko Yamamoto(山本俊彦)and Shigeru Ohkawa(大川茂)with Takashi Matsumoto(松本隆)also co-writing the lyrics. Ichizo Seo(瀬尾一三)took care of the arrangements.

Especially with all of the drilling and hammering going on outside, I could use some of this sort of music today.😡

Yoko Minamino -- Film no Mukougawa(フィルムの向こう側)

Oooh! It's been a few years since Yoko Minamino(南野陽子)has graced the pages of "Kayo Kyoku Plus". Not that Nanno was the only one with that image, but I've always seen this latter-half-of-the-1980s aidoru as more of the princess-y type than as the girl-next-door. Although I can't say that I've heard every bit of her discography, the songs that I do know by her and her sweet and high voice gave me that regal and innocent image.

One case in point is Nanno's 16th single from November 1989, "Film no Mukougawa" (Beyond the Film). Ryo Aska(飛鳥涼)of Chage & Aska fame was the composer and lyricist for this song which has the atmosphere of fantasy castle life, thanks to Jun Sato's(佐藤準)arrangement. If I've read the lyrics correctly, it seems as if a princess from a fairy tale world has gotten rather curious beyond the veil or film and perhaps romance may be coming for her.

Looking at the settings for the two TV performances and considering the release date of the single, I'm wondering if the record company were seeing "Film no Mukougawa" as an Xmas tune of sorts. It's kinda got that jingly feeling. Although I didn't hear it on the TV versions, according to the J-Wiki article on the song, the outro for the recorded version adopts a bit of Pachelbel's "Kanon". In any case, Minamino's number hit No. 1 on Oricon and was the 100th-ranked song on the yearly charts for 1990. In fact, this would be her final No. 1 hit to date.

Monday, September 23, 2019

BRIO Presents AOR Best Selection by J-Canuck

Almost exactly a year ago, I provided an article titled "Radio Influences (City Pop/AOR)" when autumn arrived a bit more seasonally than it has today. In it, I talked about some of the light and mellow songs that I used to hear on the radio as a kid and how some of those songs at least informed my interest in Japanese City Pop and the nation's version of AOR.

This article perhaps can be considered to be a sequel to that article and it's based on a couple of albums from a short series called "BRIO Presents AOR Best Selection". As far as I know, there were just the two discs called "On Shore" and "Off Shore". I don't remember exactly when I did purchase them (although the original release date was 2002) but I found them in the AOR section of one of my favourite CD shops (Tower Records, Ginza Yamano, HMV, etc.). And that was one of the remarkable differences between music stores in Japan and Canada (and presumably the United States); the Japanese seemed to love AOR so much that the stores needed to have an AOR section. I never saw such a section when Tower Records had a branch in Toronto decades ago or even in the local legendary Sam The Record Man branches, but back then, such artists and records would have been considered just regular pop probably.

In any case, within the BRIO series, not only did I find some of those songs that I had been hearing for years and years on the radio such as the beloved Kenny Loggins' classic, "Heart to Heart" which is featured in the "Radio Influences" article but also never-before-heard AOR songs and ballads that I hadn't been able to identify until I bought the CDs (just liked the song, didn't care for names or titles when I was a kid apparently). So as a combination of an Author's Pick and a regular album article, I've selected some of these revelations for your perusal.

Ambrosia -- Biggest Part of Me (1980)

First, from the "Off Shore" disc, here is Ambrosia's "Biggest Part of Me" which is one of those songs that I always heard but never identified. It just seemed to get the lion's share of time on the radio at home and at my orthodontist's office. It was pleasant enough back then but I truly appreciate it now, especially David Pack's vocals, Ernie Watts' welcoming sax solo and those keyboards by David Lewis. I guess it made the brace-tightening a whole lot easier to take back then.

Lee Ritenour and Eric Tagg -- Is It You? (1980)

Also from "Off Shore" and a previously unidentified song, "Is It You?" (yes, it was probably part of my orthodontist's playlist, too), when I finally found out who Lee Ritenour was, I'd assumed that he was behind the vocals. However, it was actually Eric Tagg who already has a couple of other articles represented on the blog, including "No One There". That languid and elastic guitar intro by Ritenour is the key identifier for me.

Stanley Clarke & George Duke -- Sweet Baby (1981)

Now, going to "On Shore", this love ballad by keyboardist George Duke and bassist Stanley Clarke is one of the tracks that I had never heard about on radio. It was actually 2002 or whenever I bought BRIO that I found out about this treasure for the first time. Better late than never, I guess. And I have to say that it was the first time I'd ever heard of an electric sitar. The song perpetually reminds me of an old student of mine who was half-French and half-Japanese. Francoise and her class were thinking of their own ice cream flavour names (I was pretty creative when it came to conversational exercises), and she sweetly dubbed her dish, Sweet Baby. Not sure if she was ever an AOR fan, though.

Herbie Hancock -- Paradise (1982)

Yes, for those 1980s music fans, this is indeed the same guy behind the big 1983 electro-funk hit of "Rockit" with its famous music video and the show-stopping performance at the Grammys that year. I also did a double-take when I looked at the back of "On Shore" and saw his name with "Paradise", from his final disco-pop album "Lite Me Up". He even provides the vocals here for this truly breezy AOR that also had the assistance of David Foster, Bill Champlin, and Jay Graydon. Those three also helped out on Mariya Takeuchi's(竹内まりや)"Miss M" album back in 1980.

The Doobie Brothers -- You Belong To Me (1977)

My final entry barely has some engrams of memory in my head. I may have heard it on the radio but it still came out as a revelation when I heard "On Shore". Originally from The Doobie Brothers' 1977 album "Livin' on the Fault Line", it's a short-and sweet song created by Michael McDonald and Carly Simon, notable for that brief horn insertion near the end that makes it all worthwhile.

I just had to include the Carly Simon cover from 1978. Her more famous take on "You Belong To Me" is also a bit longer and has its own charms through Simon's vocals and David Sanborn's sax solo in lieu of the horns.

Of course, there were many more discoveries while listening to the two discs but I will leave it here for now. However, if you're in one of the major cities in Japan and manage to visit a major CD shop with some interest in these golden pop numbers, just search out for the AOR section, and you may just find compilations like the ones I have here or even the original source albums such as "Livin' on the Fault Line" or "Lite Me Up".

Anri -- Banka no Koibito-tachi e(晩夏の恋人たちへ)

Fall supposedly came at around 5:30 this morning. Folks can be forgiven if they thought of that announcement as fake news, because it's feeling pretty summery hot and humid out there right now. In fact, I've got the fan going on as I type, but it is a meteorologically changeable time and it is Toronto, so I gather that I can't really be that surprised by today's developments. Plus, things will cool down later in the week.

To commemorate the official arrival of autumn and the lingering feeling of the hot season, let me bring in Anri(杏里)for the first KKP blog entry of the week through her "Banka no Koibito tachi e" (To The Late Summer Lovers). This is a track from her 1990 14th album "Mind Cruisin'" from which I've already spoken about the title track.

Created by that solid triumvirate of Anri, lyricist Yumi Yoshimoto(吉元由美)and arranger Yasuharu Ogura(小倉泰治), "Banka no Koibito-tachi e" is that perfect romantic ballad for that transitional time going from summer to autumn. It would absolutely match that couple's sunset walk along the beach or even that relaxing view from the lanai. Just sit back and cool down.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Yura Yura Teikoku -- Yakousei no Ikimono Sanbiki(夜行性の生き物3匹)

A few years ago, I encountered this alternative/psychedelic/indies rock band called Yura Yura Teikoku(ゆらゆら帝国)and saw some of their videos with the expected impressions. However, I ended up writing about "Lonely Satellite", a Happy End-ish song that was so outside of their template that I actually categorized it as a pop number.

Well, this time, I'm going with something that's well within Yura Yura Teikoku's rock range. Even so, "Yakousei no Ikimono Sanbiki" (Three Nocturnal Animals) has also got its own distinctiveness that would probably get the song and its music video into a late-night surreal music video program such as my own beloved "City Limits".

Y'know...I think that I would rather translate the title into English as "The Three Nightcrawlers" to match vocalist Shintaro Sakamoto's(坂本慎太郎)lyrics about this grungy trio exploring every nook and cranny of downtown while he sings about subverting every bit of the listener's sensibilities into rust within the length of the song. A song as psychological suspense? In any case, the melody by Yura Yura Teikoku is rock'n twangy thanks to some shamisen (?) help, and according to Sakamoto in an interview through the J-Wiki write-up, he had patterned the music after the traditional Awa Odori(阿波踊り)dance, originally from Tokushima Prefecture, so video director Yasuyuki Yamaguchi(山口保幸)suggested the video simply have three Awa Odori dancers mixing it up onscreen.

The suggestion worked. It won for Best Alternative Video at the Space Shower Music Video Awards in 2004. "Yakousei no Ikimono Sanbiki" was never released as a single but was a track on the band's 4th major album "Yura Yura Teikoku no Shibire"(ゆらゆら帝国のしびれ...The Wobbling Empire on Pins and Needles)in February 2003. The album managed to reach as high as No. 28 on Oricon.

Chinatsu Akasaki, Haruka Tomatsu & Aki Toyosaki -- Seishun no Reverb(青春のリバーブ)

Exactly two months ago, I wrote about the earworm that is the opening theme for "Joshi Kōsei no Mudazukai"(女子高生の無駄づかい...Wasteful Days of High School Girls), and almost two weeks ago, I pulled the trigger and bought the single for "Wa! Moon! dass! cry!"(輪!Moon!dass!cry!). Well, it finally came two days ago and it seems to be the gift that keeps on giving. Just a pity to hear that the show aired its final episode at about the same time.

As much as I loved the catchy and nutty "Wa! Moon! dass! cry!" opener, it took quite a while (basically nearly the entire run of the show) for the ending to finally rub off on me. I wouldn't be surprised if the ending theme "Seishun no Reverb" (Reverb of Youth) may have taken on feelings of inferiority when compared to its overachieving opening cousin. However, hearing the ending over and over for the past several weeks and then listening to the whole version online made me realize that this is also a pretty decent tune itself.

Sung as well by the three main seiyuuChinatsu Akasaki(赤﨑千夏), Haruka Tomatsu(戸松遥)and Aki Toyosaki(豊崎愛生), "Seishun no Reverb" has been described as being very relaxed. I would also agree and it makes for a pleasant counterpoint to the anarchy of the opener. Plus, despite the contemporary nature of the song, there is also something in the melody that reminds me of certain kayo in the old days. If "Wa! Moon! dass! cry!" is the crazed school prom before graduation then "Seishun no Reverb" is the car ride home after midnight with perhaps the seniors suddenly thinking with some dread and anticipation "...the future". The song was written and composed by Agasa.K.

Let's hope that there may be a second season in the near future.

Hiroyuki Namba -- Party Tonight

Kinda looks like my city got transplanted onto Utopia Planitia on Mars, doesn't it? Not sure how all this came about but I didn't let the photographic opportunity go to waste.

Anyways, just a few days after writing about musician, singer-songwriter and SF novelist Hiroyuki Namba(難波弘之)for the first time, I did feel rather compelled to come back to him quickly since I came across a couple of tracks from his 1981 album "Party Tonight". I don't have the album...yet, but still would like to introduce these two.

The first is the title track itself with the full title of "Party Tonight ~ Chikyuu wo Tooku Hanarete"(パーティ・トゥナイト (地球を遠く離れて...Get Far Away from the Earth)). Composed by Namba and written by Yukari Udo(有働ゆかり), I recognized the song immediately since it's also included on one of the "Light Mellow" CDs in my possession. It sounds like a pretty calming down-to-earth City Pop number but Udo's lyrics paint a cosmic tale of someone inviting that significant other for what seems like a romantic rendezvous on the Red Planet. Before I took a look at the lyrics, I had already my ears exposed to the then-odd lyric involving Phobos and Deimos, the two moons orbiting Mars.

However, the piece de resistance for me on this album so far is "Silver-Gray no Machi" (シルバーグレイの街...City of Silver and Gray) which is even more of a 1981 party-down-Tokyo-town treat than the title track, and for those bass addicts, you've come to the right place. I couldn't find out for sure who created this ideal contribution to a Van Paugam City Pop party but according to the Raregroove shop, Tatsuro Yamashita(山下達郎)and Minako Yoshida(吉田美奈子)also had their fingerprints on the song, and certainly that would be Yoshida's voice supporting Namba's vocals. The overall arrangement sounds like something from the late Rod Temperton's bag of tricks, and "Silver-Gray no Machi" could have adorned the ears of any city slicker heading to Shinjuku or Roppongi way back when while wearing a shiny silver-gray suit with skinny tie.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Toshiki Kadomatsu -- Springin' Night

Once again, Jerry from Come Along Radio let me know about the wonders of Toshiki Kadomatsu(角松敏生). This time, the recommendation came for the musician's especially vivacious brand of 80s City Pop through his 5th album "Gold Digger ~ with true love ~" from May 1985.

Well, I gotta say about that album cover...Kadomatsu does look rather dapper even while on the can there, but I have to confess that whoever the architect was for that building must have been inhaling something quite powdery or he's an extreme exhibitionist. At the very least, he could have endeavored to hang up a courtesy curtain above that left counter (good heavens, there's a woman serving drinks nearby!) with a convenient air freshener.

Anyways, enough about interior design. Jerry played the first track "I Can't Stop the Night" which was fine, but I have to say that I had my eyes and ears on the second song, "Springin' Night". I'm just a sucker for Kadomatsu and a tight horn section. Nice and bouncy, this would make for a springing musical accompaniment to a night out in Tokyo. Along with my effusive compliments to his words and music, my kudos also go to trumpeter Shin Kazuhara(数原晋)for the brass arrangement which also has Jake H. Concepcion on sax and Yasuo Hirauchi on trombone. Meanwhile, pianist Soichi Noriki(野力奏一)is on the synthesizer bass, and one of the backup chorus is Yurie Kokubu(国分友里恵).

"Gold Digger" also has another track that I covered back in August 2016, "No End Summer".

Mariko Takahashi -- Suashi no Bolero(素足のボレロ)

It's been about 6 months since I put up Mariko Takahashi's(高橋真梨子)"Haruka na Hito e"(遥かな人へ), her contribution to the long line of Olympic themes in Japan, and I've recently written about her old group, Pedro & Capricious(ペドロ&カプリシャス), so I've decided to indulge in another Takahashi song.

In fact, "Suashi no Bolero" (Barefoot Bolero) is the coupling song for "Haruka na Hito e", Takahashi's 22nd single from February 1994. Compared to the main song, "Suashi no Bolero" is more introspective and romantic (although the arrangement takes on a more march-like beat as the end approaches) as her wonderful voice relates a couple's love for one another through thick and thin via her own lyrics. Akira Okamoto(岡本朗)was responsible for the Latin-tinged melody which could envision the couple walking down the beach one night.

The above is, of course, a concert performance of the song so not having heard the original recording, I'm not sure whether the rendition here is a note-by-note recreation, but I think that things get a little too devoted to Ravel's "Bolero" at the end. Still, another lovely song by Takahashi. One thing that I didn't mention in the "Haruka na Hito e" article is that both songs were included on the singer's 20th studio album "Couplet" which was released that same year later in September.

My 2019 Tokyo Trip - Top 5 Moments

Last August, I spent a week and half in Tokyo with my boyfriend. I documented some of the trip in my Twitter account, but it was all so eventful and emotional that it is impossible to convey all of it. I decided to pick 5 highlights, roughly in chronological order.

Keep in mind that the artists documented fall in the "Plus" section of the blog and they are exclusively aidoru. I didn't really explore the "Kayo Kyoku" side, but I plan on doing so in a next opportunity.

1. First live show impressions

Our first and foremost priority in this trip was to see live idols. We thoroughly decided which lives to see (I spent some months beforehand compiling all the options for our dates), and the rest of the schedule would be winged out as the days went by. We had some destinations in mind, but it would depend on the live shows we had for each day.

In the first day, still not fully rested from the plane trip, we mustered energy to go to our first live show. It was a two-man show by EMPiRE and BILLIE IDLE, two groups linked by the history of the WACK agency, as three of BILLIE IDLE's members were part of the the first iteration of BiS.

My first cheki, with MiDORiKO EMPiRE

These days, almost all medium-sized idol groups do a photo session sometime during the live event. If you buy records, a piece of merchandise or simply a ticket, you can take a polaroid picture (cheki) with your idol of choice. This is easily the selling point for most live performances, as many fans attend them to have a little chat and collect pictures from their favorite idols, rather than exclusively to enjoy some music.

The system that leads to purchasing these cheki is sometimes a bit tricky and we were fortunate to meet some online friends in our first live shows, who helped us with that process. A big thanks to them! Honestly, once you get the hang of it, it's not very hard.

My first cheki with Rio Hidaka from Benjamin Jasmine

In our second day, I discovered my new favorite idol, a girl called Rio Hidaka from the group Benjamin Jasmine. Though the group debuted last year, it borrows some fame and songs from other groups from the same agency. Since "Benjas"' cheki session was simultaneous with other live shows (most times, several groups perform in the same event - this is called taiban), I sprinted away and figured out another cheki purchasing system.

I wonder if all this talk sounds too confusing for someone who isn't aware of this, but I swear that once you do it a couple of times, it gets a lot easier, and it's very nice to talk to idols. The girls are very kind (it's their job, after all), it's a very good Japanese practice and you get to take a little souvenir home.

2. Shibuya

Shibuya is the idol hub of the 2010 decade and we managed to spend a lot of time there, starting with Hachiko Square, where we often went to eat some breakfast. It's bad manners to eat while walking in Japan, so we would go sit there for a while and watch all the tourists take pictures with the famous dog statue. Since it was Obon season, there would be both national and foreign tourists lining for a shot.

The tilted Hachiko statue in front of Tower Records Shibuya

Early in our trip, we paid a visit to the local Tower Records store, which is very big (6 floors, if I'm not wrong). It was amusing and somewhat time-consuming (but well spent time!) to explore the whole store, seeing all the exclusive goodies all kinds of groups had left (autographs, pictures and whatnot).

Former BiS members left a picture and some Ultraman figures in Tower Records Shibuya

Even at night, it's a place bustling with activity. We managed to visit more pop culture stores and even spotted some idols handing flyers on the street. My recommendation for someone who likes music and unique products, besides Tower Records, is Village Vanguard. Though a really cramped store, it has a bit of everything you can't really find anywhere else.

3. August 11th

The special thing about this day is that it is my birthday and it was also the most eventful day of the trip. We basically watched live shows from morning to evening.

By morning, we travelled to Shimokitazawa to attend "the propagation", a show featuring several groups me and my boyfriend love very much. The one that led to us going was Wyenra. My boyfriend is really fond of this group and insisted on seeing them live at least once, hence why we attended two live shows instead of the usual one per day. After seeing them live, I also became a really big fan.

Wyenra is a self-produced group inspired in Japanese folklore, with visual themes such as smoke, forests, youkai and ghosts. The leader Misato Miira is also an illustrator and produces many of the group's visuals, while the other two girls, Hikari Takiguchi and Kirara Takiguchi, are sisters. I might expand on them in another post, but I really recommend their mini-album KEMURI.

The second show we attended was the one we had tickets for longest. It was the anniversary live of RYUTist, a local idol group from Niigata. I usually call them Negicco's successors, and it seems like they have been gaining more fame outside of their home prefecture, which is great. I love their soothing songs and cheering atmosphere and it was totally worth it to run from one show to another.

The finale of RYUTist's concert. Can you see me doing a heart with my hands? Hint: I'm really at the back

I honestly couldn't have asked for a better way to spend my birthday.

4. Meeting Michelle and Haru Hinata

When meeting idols, I usually went for my number one from each group and only after that, if I had time and funds, I would go for my second favorite. This was what happened in the two cases I will elaborate upon, and it proved to be very fulfilling.

Michelle is a member of Necronomidol, a metal-inspired idol group that has gained considerable fame outside Japan, even managing to perform an European tour earlier this year. Michelle is a girl who loves fashion and adopts an "idol AI" character, which makes her a distinct presence in the group. It was very fun to talk to her, as Necroma's staff provides plenty of time (more than the usual for other idol groups). She complimented my clothes and encouraged me to pay a visit to Harajuku, Tokyo's fashion hub, which I ended up doing a few days later.

I have previously written about Dance for philosophy and I was more than happy to be able to see them live. It was a really good show and they are one of my favorite idol groups of all time. After taking a picture with Mariri Okutsu, I went for Haru Hinata, the red-haired member with a very powerful voice. Her impactful stage presence contrasts with her fun and cheerful personality, always speaking in a exciting tone and smiling a lot. I was really happy to see my Japanese being complimented and acknowledged, since this trip was my first chance to have conversations in Japanese with locals.

5. Meeting Pour Lui

Closer to the end of the trip, we ended up seeing BILLIE IDLE again. This is a group I really enjoyed seeing live. I love their music since they have a very vintage rock style. All members have good, distinctive voices and confident stage presence.

My gratitude: Go Zeela (gifted by a friend), Chibi Godzilla and Pour Lui

I went to take a cheki with Pour Lui, the former leader of BiS. She is an idol I love very much and also the one person that allowed me, through her social network accounts and YouTube vlogs, to see my beloved Go Zeela after she left BiS and retired from the entertainment world. I have a lot of respect and gratitude for her, thus, I was quite nervous upon meeting her. But you can tell how experienced she is, as she looked me in the eyes and stroked my hand the whole time we were talking. I had bought a Godzilla T-shirt earlier in the day and she noticed it, but it was nice to focus the conversation on Pour Lui herself.

In the end, I took two pictures with her. I had time to tell her I watched her YouTube channel and left feeling quite confident and happy with the interaction. It is, without a doubt, one of my best memories.

Akihabara's Kanda Shrine at night: the end roll of our trip

I returned home with a bunch of cheki, merchandise, and character goods - but especially with irreplaceable memories. I finally accomplished my dream trip and I can't wait to go back and add more experiences. I hope you enjoyed reading this post!

Friday, September 20, 2019

Saori Hayami, Sakura Tange & Yuko Minaguchi -- Eien Diary(永遠ダイアリー)

Although my buddy got me back into anime once I returned from Japan for good, his other hobby of gaming never infused into me either here or back there. There was a period of several years though when my anime buddy had temporarily given up on the ghost for anime up to 2006 and was more into video games.

Well, perhaps I should revise that first sentence. Actually, in my Ichikawa days, I did buy a Play Station 1 in the mid-1990s on which I played a lot of those arcade games and even one of those do-it-yourself games where I could design and build my own house. However, I never got into some of the games that my friend liked such as those sword-and-sorcery epics.

One of the other habits that also happened during my Ichikawa life was that my buddy would sometimes ask me to receive some of his purchases from Japanese pop culture stores since those establishments wouldn't send their ware overseas and required a Japanese address (that's still the case with Tower Records). I would then dutifully relay the goods over or wait for him or one of his friends to visit so that I could hand over the stuff to him.

Well, as Nozaki-kun and Mikorin will kindly illustrate in the video above, one of the goods that my buddy purchased and had delivered to my home was a couple of dating sim games. He was very generous in even allowing me to try them out if I so desired. I didn't so desire but out of curiosity, I tried one on for size (the game...THE GAME!) and perhaps I made it up to the first five minutes before deciding that this was a little too skeevy for me. When his buddy finally arrived one day to pick up the games, I handed them over with no questions or answers.

Let's jump forward to the present day, shall we? Now that we've been doing the usual anime-and-food outings for several years, this particular song that gets into the anison hour from time to time reminds me of that very brief dating sim experience. And that's because the song is the theme from a dating sim itself called "Love Plus" which came out in 2009.

"Eien Diary" (Eternal Diary) is an alright song (nice jazzy guitar riff in the middle) but I chose it for the blog tonight mostly due to the three seiyuu who play the potential love interests. Saori Hayami(早見沙織), Sakura Tange(丹下桜)and Yuko Minaguchi(皆口裕子)are now familiar names to me in the anime department but they would've just garnered a blank stare from me at the time that "Love Plus" was first released.

Hayami is now an A-lister but I think that she was at a pretty early stage in her career when she participated in "Love Plus". Tange and Minaguchi had already gained a lot of fame for their starring turns in "Card Captor Sakura"(カードキャプターさくら)and "Yawara!" respectively, but again at the time, anime was a lost art to me, let alone the knowledge of seiyuu. So it was interesting to find out that it was those three behind this theme.

I was able to find out from the JASRAC database that Tatsuji Ueda(上田起士)was the lyricist and Norihiko Hibino(日比野則彦)was the composer for "Eien Diary", and the song is available on the "Love Plus" soundtrack.