Was listening to one of those J-Xmas pop compilation albums when I heard "Merry-go-round", the coupling song to singer-songwriter Noriyuki Makihara's（槇原敬之）21st single, "STRIPE!" released in November 1998. I'd heard the song before but hadn't been aware that it wasn't originally meant to be an Xmas tune, although from his lyrics, it's very much a wintry one. The setting for the song could be any sort of ski resort town such as Naeba in Japan.
Still, hearing the gentle melody and the bittersweet story of a significant other not being there right by him, it definitely should fit as a Japanese Christmas tune. And so, a decade later, it got another re-release through Mackey's 16th original album "Personal Soundtracks" in November 2008 just labeled as "Merry-go-round '08".
The original 1998 single peaked at No. 16 while "Personal Soundtracks" went all the way up to No. 5.