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.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Kyozo Nishioka -- Umi Houzuki Fuki(海ほうずき吹き)

Hoping that everyone is doing OK in Japan after the typhoon, I sent some messages over to a few friends earlier today. The weather here in Toronto has been very pleasant fortunately and later on tonight I will be meeting up with other family members for dinner.

Thankfully with this mellow atmosphere in mind, I will be providing this lovely folk song by the late singer-songwriter Kyozo Nishioka(西岡恭蔵). According to his J-Wiki file, Nishioka was born and raised in Shima CityMie Prefecture, and in the 1960s, he became the proprietor of the folk music cafe Dylan after which with the contribution by a number of regular customers, his folk group The Dylan(ザ・ディラン)was born. But then in 1971, he decided to strike out on his own and left The Dylan, although he would still contribute to the band in the coming years.

In January 1974, Nishioka came up with his 2nd solo album "Machi Yuki, Mura Yuki"(街行き村行き...Going to the City, Going to the Village)which was his first collaboration with Haruomi Hosono(細野晴臣). Hosono supposedly produced the album and was also the bassist on at least one of the tracks, "Umi Houzuki Fuki", written and composed by the singer. Folk singer Morio Agata(あがた森魚)and the band Hachimitsu Pie(はちみつぱい)also contributed.

Looking at the lyrics, the story is about a man's love for his home in the countryside on some ridge, and that feeling of living away from the city is further emphasized by the use of a fiddle and a steel pedal guitar. However, I also thought the inclusion of that mellow piano brought over some feeling of the city for some reason, so I've also given the song an additional category of New Music. There is also something very warm and rustic about Nishioka's vocals, and I could imagine that must have been a very cordial manager at Dylan.

For me, though, there is some mystery about the title. When I tried to figure out the translation for "Umi Houzuki Fuki", Google Translate did so as "A Sea Breeze Blowing" which under the circumstances of the genre and song itself could be possible. However, I also found out that there is an actual tourist facility called Umi Houzuki in Nishioka's hometown of Shima City, although there is one written hiragana character in there 「海ほずき」which is different. Also, umi houzuki can also refer to certain shellfish eggs. In any case, if anyone who knows of Nishioka's songs can let me know about what the title is indeed referring to, I would be very appreciative.

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