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, December 24, 2019

Akiko Kobayashi -- Anata ni Suteki na Christmas Present Agetai na(あなたに素敵なクリスマスプレゼントあげたいな)

There's a small municipality just north of Toronto called Unionville which I think may be one of the most Christmas-y places in the local region. I was there when my brother got married and the family took the wedding photos at one of the parks but that was in late summer. I have yet to go there in person during the Xmas season; I would love to head there one time but since I cannot drive and I frankly don't want to pester anybody to take me to Unionville just for my sake (I really haven't gotten any inkling over the years that anyone around me is particularly interested), at this point, I will settle for watching videos and TV footage (as for the video above, that must have been taken in the middle of the night).

(very short excerpt)

However, that's the atmosphere and image I sense when I listen to singer-songwriter Akiko Kobayashi's(小林明子)final track, "Anata ni Suteki na Christmas Present Agetai na" (I Want to Give You a Wonderful Christmas Present) from her debut album "Fall In Love" (1985), the same album that has her most famous hit, the title song itself. I think that this final track is probably the final song that I will cover from "Fall In Love" since I believe that I've covered every other track piecemeal over the years rather than highlight the album itself.

(karaoke version)

"Anata ni Suteki na Christmas Present Agetai na" is most likely one of the first J-Christmas songs that I have ever heard since I bought the LP of "Fall In Love" back in my university days. This is before I had even heard of Tatsuro Yamashita's(山下達郎"Christmas Eve" which I first learned about during my JET days at the end of the 1980s.

As I mentioned above, the quiet of Xmas Eve is what I think is the setting for this romantic and introspective ballad by Kobayashi. I believe that a couple is just at the very happy beginning of their relationship and perhaps celebrating their first Christmas together, and the woman is going through some child-like giddiness about what to get her love (probably nothing by Black & Decker).

(brief excerpt)

The hushed feeling surrounding the song is enhanced by the fact that it's basically a piano, a synthesizer and Kobayashi's echoing vocals producing "Christmas Present". One final anecdote is that during my university days, I lent my good friend from the Japanese club a tape with a recording of the entirety of "Fall In Love" with her, of course, listening to this Xmas ballad. She actually enjoyed it very much except for the solemn introductory piano which seemed to hit a wrong chord with the player (presumably Kobayashi herself) quickly trying to cover it up with a brief flourish.

I'm not sure what the meaning behind the so-called misplayed chord was. Was it a melodic attempt to lighten the mood before going into the special Xmas romanticism? Was it an honest mistake that tickled Kobayashi and recording staff enough for them to let it go? I don't have any particular complaint about it and in fact, it's the one part of the song that acts as a memory aid for "Christmas Present".

On that point, then, on this December 24th, I wish all of you a Merry Christmas! Get some sleep!

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