Credits

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, June 30, 2020

Shuka Saito -- PaPaPa(パパパ)


Didn't catch this anime "Ore wo Suki nano wa Omae dake ka yo"(俺を好きなのはお前だけかよ...Are You Really the Only One Who Likes Me?)when it came out for the Fall 2019 season. Then again, since my anime buddy has declared that nothing good has recently come from light novels in the last decade, it's not a surprise that he didn't select this one for viewing. From what I've read of the synopsis at Wikipedia, it sounds like the story of a love polygon filled with (initially, at least according to TV Tropes, unlikeable) high school students, and it's certainly got a few names in the seiyuu industry that I recognize such as Haruka Tomatsu(戸松遥), Nao Toyama(東山奈央)and Yuuma Uchida(内田雄馬).


One of the seiyuu in the cast is Shuka Saito(斉藤朱夏)and she's also the one behind the very upbeat opening theme "PaPaPa". Written and composed by Kei Hayashi(ハヤシケイ), the reason that I put this on the bookmark list is that I am such a sucker for happy horns in a J-Pop song and there is something slightly Shibuya-kei-esque about the arrangement. This was released as Saito's debut single in November 2019 and it reached No. 12 on Oricon.

(1:28)

I gotta say here that despite hearing all of the parodic riffs from two seasons' worth of "Kaguya-sama: Love is War"(かぐや様は告らせたい〜天才たちの恋愛頭脳戦〜)soundtrack, I was still surprised to come across this take on one of the most famous themes from "Star Wars" being used to describe a bench.

Naniwa Express -- Charcoal Break


Well with this pandemic, Canadians will be approaching what will be the most unusual national holiday stint they've ever experienced but with restrictions slowly and carefully being lifted, I think the good old-fashioned barbeque can still take place (although the season of traditional Ribfests is cancelled this year). Because Canada Day tomorrow will be falling on a Wednesday, a lot of folks (including my anime buddy) have managed to tie up the previous weekend with July 1st to create a Canadian equivalent of the Japanese Golden Week. I hope then that all of those families have a delectable BBQ with all of the fixins.


As such, I can perhaps introduce something BBQ-related to the blog today with "Charcoal Break", a song by the fusion band Naniwa Express(ナニワエキスプレス)from their 1984 album "Modern Beat". I've never written about this group so it's great to have them over on the blog alongside acts such as T-Square and Casiopeia.

"Modern Beat" is smooth sailing as saxophonist and jazz pianist Makoto Aoyagi(青柳誠)and guitarist Kazuhiko Iwami(岩見和彦) takes us on the most relaxing and lowest-altitude magic carpet ride. In a way, it's reminiscent of Tomoko Aran's(亜蘭智子)"Slow Nights" which came out in the same year. Not sure if this would be something that one would hear at a picnic with the Coleman grill in operation, but "Modern Beat" can make for some fine accompaniment over drinks at that seaside bar while the sun is going down.

Along with the two members mentioned, Naniwa Express also has Kenji Nakamura(中村建治)on keyboards, Ko Shimizu(清水興)on bass, and Rikiya Higashihara(東原力哉)on drums. The band had its initial run between 1977 and 1986 before getting together now and then going into the 21st century. Including their BEST compilations and live recordings, the band has released 13 albums up to 2012.


Monday, June 29, 2020

Sumiko Yamagata -- Ashita Anata ni(明日あなたに)/Ame no Nichiyoubi(雨の日曜日)


Long time, no see for singer-songwriter Sumiko Yamagata(やまがたすみこ), so I've decided that this article will be a two-for-one, just to show that transition from folk to AOR within a few years.


I think it's a soprano saxophone which launches the calming "Ashita Anata ni" (You, Tomorrow), the B-side to Yamagata's 2nd single "Natsu ni Nattara"(夏になったら)released in June 1973. Written by the singer and composed by fellow folk singer Ryoko Moriyama(森山良子), "Ashita Anata ni" is not quite as brisk as the A-side but it still has plenty of wistfulness as Yamagata sings about wishing to meet the guy she likes but probably not being able to pull it off due to the usual shyness issues. Somehow, I can picture Yamagata singing this while sitting by her window in her room. "Ashita Anata ni" is also a track on Yamagata's 2nd album "Ano Hi no Koto wa"(あの日のことは...The Event That Day) from September of that same year.


A few years later in 1976 through her 6th album, "Summer Shade"(サマー・シェイド), Yamagata came up with an AOR-friendly number called "Ame no Nichiyoubi" (Rainy Sunday), and it has that melodic trope of the keyboard Haze effect which adorned many a 1970s City Pop/AOR number along with a nice jazzy guitar solo. The singer came up with the lyrics about enjoying that precipitation on her day off while heading over to her beau's house and pouring him a cappuccino (Wow! Did they have those back then too?). Toshiyuki Watanabe(渡辺俊幸)provided the music here.

Especially listening to "Ame no Nichiyoubi", I rather thought that 80s aidoru Naoko Kawai(河合奈保子)sounds just like Yamagata in her own mellower works. Indeed, I recall Kawai has also contributed to the AOR genre.

I Re'in For Re'in -- Private Girl


Happy Monday as we approach the end of June 2020. And we start this week with a band with an unusual name. I suppose that it's never a bad thing for publicity when a band has a unique moniker, and I think I have across one of the most unusual ones in I Re'in For Re'in(アイリーン・フォーリーン). This is a rock band that began life in 1985 but I couldn't find out in J-Wiki the origin for that name and their website seems to be out of commission.

But according to a blog entry in March 2018, apparently a manager for another "huge band" slapped the name on, and I Re'in For Re'in means "I reincarnate for reincarnation's sake". The members didn't seem to mind so why should I? I'm not even going to inquire about the apostrophes.


Speaking of those members, when I Re'in For Re'in first started up in the mid-1980s, the band consisted of Takaaki Yasuoka(安岡孝章), Asao Hori(堀麻夫), Isao Kuwamoto(桑本勲), Itsuo Nakagoshi(中越五雄), and Yoshiaki Arisawa(有澤由明). Their first run lasted until 1988 but the year before, the last three members listed left the band with guitarist Hirokazu Ogura(小倉博和)joining in.

It was during that incarnation as a trio that I Re'in For Re'in's fourth album "Body & Voice"(ボディ&ボイス)was released in 1988, and one of the tracks is "Private Girl". Perhaps while the band was a 5-piece setup, it had more of a rock sound but "Private Girl" takes things more into the cool and sultry R&B arena surrounded by tons of Shinjuku skyscrapers. Written by Yasuoka and Hori with the former handling the melody, I get echoes of Hall & Oates' "I Can't Go For That" and "Lonely Chaplin"(ロンリー・チャプリン)by the Suzuki siblings.

Although I Re'in For Re'in broke up in 1988, the original members at the time of their debut all got together again two decades later in 2008 to release a new album "Big! Bam!! Boom!!!".

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Etsuko Yakushimaru -- Epoch Men King(エポック麺キング)


Y'know...as much as I haven't been to a ramen restaurant in over three months because of this pandemic, I've realized that I've yet to end up curled in a fetal position due to the matter. I mean, I'm still getting my ramen fix through packets of Sapporo Ichiban. Yes I know, ramen purists, it's not the same at all but I'm good with the instant stuff. Besides, real restaurant ramen has really only been with us here in Toronto for about a decade...and I got to eat the lion's share of the stuff because I had been living in Japan all those years.



Earlier this afternoon, I watched the NHK program "Japangle" which presents various aspects of culture in Japan in nifty ways, often with the help of CG. The theme was ramen whose episode was originally broadcast in January 2018 according to the J-Wiki article for the program. Although I saw it in the original Japanese, the above video has the Spanish dub with Professor Arrow and assistant Vector.


During the episode, there was this musical interlude displaying the history of instant ramen noodles. I was significantly impressed with the technopop involved here so I thought I would take the chance of seeing whether the song existed on YouTube. It turns out that the entire sequence and the episode as shown on top were right there.

It was dang nifty seeing the history of instant ramen and its packaging while "Epoch Men King" (Epoch Ramen King) was playing away while examples of decades of pop culture were also being revealed. The singer was Etsuko Yakushimaru(やくしまるえつこ), the whispery-voiced chanteuse who performed the ending theme for beloved anime "Space Dandy" back in 2014. Chihiro Maruyama*(丸山千尋)provided the original lyrics while Leo Imai(LEO 今井)from METAFIVE wrote the English lyrics and Yoshinori Sunahara(砂原良徳)composed the tune.

Until the all-clear is given to enjoy dine-in ramen once more, I will stick with Sapporo Ichiban and Demae Itcho.

*Not sure whether the first name for the original lyricist is properly pronounced since there seem to be several ways to read the kanji. If anyone can clarify for me, that would be great!


Favorite Blue -- Sayonara yori Eien no Naka de(さよならより永遠の中で)


Favorite Blue is a band that I don't remember very well anymore although enough of a memory remains so that I recall hearing their name through commercials for their songs. The duo of vocalist/lyricist Maya Matsuzaki(松崎麻矢)and keyboardist/guitarist/composer Takashi Kimura(木村貴志)debuted in June 1996 with "Ai yori mo Hageshiku, Dare yori mo Itoshiku"(愛よりも激しく、誰よりも愛しく...More Intense Than Love, Dearer Than Anyone Else) and released a total of 15 singles and 5 albums including a BEST up to February 2000. One of their contemporaries was the band Every Little Thing and both units were with the Avex Trax label; according to the J-Wiki article, FB and ELT got along with each other swimmingly and have even appeared on television together.


One of Favorite Blue's most successful singles was their 8th release, "Sayonara yori Eien no Naka de" (From Goodbye In Eternity) released in December 1997. A cheerful song created by Matsuzaki and Kimura, there's some similarity with the early works of Every Little Thing but there is a bit more of a lightness on the keyboards. The lyrics also relate the always welcome story of finding that special someone and discovering that life can actually work well.


"Sayonara yori Eien no Naka de" was also the theme song for a 1997 motion picture "Peking Genjin Who Are You?"(北京原人 Who are you?...Peking Man ~ Who Are You?), a sci-fi flick where apparently a family of Homo erectus pekinensis was brought back to life through DNA found in a prehistoric skull. Now, that's using the ol' head! Sounds very "Jurassic Park".


The single peaked at No. 29. Following the end of activities with Favorite Blue in 2000, Kimura moved onto a new music project called m.o.v.e. while Matsuzaki went on to form a new group, mamy drop, with a friend.

Maiko Okamoto -- Fascination (album)


Recently, I was able to listen to the 2nd of two original albums released by 1980s aidoru Maiko Okamoto(岡本舞子), "Fascination" (ファッシネイション)which came out in July 1986. In a past article about her, I remarked that despite her brevity in the spotlight (Okamoto was only active between 1984 and 1987), my belief was that she had quite a bit more talent in singing and in the songs that she received than she was given credit for.


Well, I think that was true for the material that she had recorded for "Fascination" which was well-titled. All of its eleven tracks (the 11th only being available on the CD) were arranged by guitarist Tsuyoshi Kon(今剛)or singer-songwriter Etsuko Yamakawa(山川恵津子), so that fact automatically perked up my ears. The first track "L.A. Lover" is pretty fascinating in itself. It was written by Goro Matsui(松井五郎)as a paean to the sunny beach life in the titular city and it was composed by J-funkster Toshinobu Kubota(久保田利伸)and Ichiro Hada(羽田一郎).

Often enough with me, unless the song just has that prototypically 80s aidoru cotton-candy arrangement, I also attach some sort of other genre Label. With "L.A. Lover", I'm not sure if I would even say that it's an aidoru tune and even with that title, I'm not sure if I would even place it as a City Pop song, either. It's just a really interesting pop number with its own bubbly groove thing and some spacey twanging in the musical ether. At the same time, though, I really get that feeling of lying on the beach blanket getting bronzed while listening to this first track.


Track 2 is the title track, "Fascination" and this one has more of the City Pop vibe to it. Written by Matsui and composed by Yamakawa, it's got the lovely synth-bass and other keyboards which would probably nominate it for Vaporwave processing if it hasn't already undergone it. Matsui's lyrics talk of the good romantic life from the 22nd floor of an apartment in what sounds like a modern resort area. Man, the setting could illustrate a City Pop album cover!


Another fascinating track is "Okubyou na Venus"(臆病なビーナス...Timid Venus)which was Okamoto's 5th single released in February 1986. Right from Note One, there is that gentle surf of AOR before the keyboards head on downtown, and when the aidoru starts singing, I immediately got that breathy vocal style and the urgent and anthemic melody of Ami Ozaki(尾崎亜美)who also provided the lyrics.

The single was also the theme song for a March 1986 OVA with the same title, and the main character of fictional aidoru Yumiko Kirita(桐田裕美子)was played by Okamoto herself while Ozaki provided the score. "Okubyou na Venus" just managed to peak at No. 91 on Oricon.


One more track that I will throw out here is "Stranger no Yoru"(ストレンジャーの夜...Night of the Stranger), and this is another City Pop aidoru tune provided by the aforementioned Matsui and Yamakawa. It's shiny and slick as a car designed by Syd Mead (well, maybe I'm getting a little ahead of myself there), and putting on my kayo sommelier's hat on, I get some hints of Hall & Oates (through the keyboard riffs) and Junko Yagami(八神純子). Okamoto is singing about being thrown into a whirlwind romance and herself throwing caution to the winds. I do hope Mead designed those futuristic seat belts into that car she's riding.

Yup, "Fascination" is indeed fascinating and so I'm somewhat disappointed that the album only got up to No. 83 when it was first released. Maybe it was just a little too ahead of its time or maybe it was even behind the times in terms of mixing aidoru and City Pop, but the album was given a re-release in 2003, so I'm hoping that even now, those who have recently gotten onto the City Pop/AOR bandwagon will also realize the merits of Okamoto's final studio album. In parting, one other track on "Fascination" is her 4th single "Juu-Ichi-Gatsu no Sophia"(11月のソフィア)which has already been covered on "Kayo Kyoku Plus" and is one of her more aidoru-esque works.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Naoki Sanada -- Ebisu(恵比寿)


Tokyo's Ebisu district isn't nearly as sprawling as Ginza or Shinjuku but it's also got its fair share of restaurants and watering holes. When I think of the area, I usually think of Ebisu Garden Place, the entertainment/commercial complex across the street from JR Ebisu Station on the Yamanote Line, and one of the main buildings at EGP is Sapporo Beer Station. As I recall, I've been there a few times with friends for a medium mug of the suds and the usual snacks that surround it.


Enka/Mood Kayo singer Naoki Sanada(真田ナオキ)looks like he's been inhabiting a more stylish establishment there and he's been there for a lot longer considering that goofy grin in the thumbnail for the video above. That's because he's performing the short version of his latest single "Ebisu" which was released in January 2020.


I've found out from his J-Wiki profile that enka veteran Ikuzo Yoshi(吉幾三)has been writing and composing all of his singles (four, including "Ebisu"), so I'm wondering whether Sanada has been Yoshi's apprentice for the past few years. Sanada is showing a lot of guttural brio in his delivery as if he's been knocking back a lot of that reserved Old Parr at his favourite tavern. "Ebisu" is quite the heroic-sounding Mood Kayo and I can see it as a potential current favourite at the karaoke boxes for the business folks.

Spitz -- Yasashii Ano Ko(優しいあの子)


Happy weekend! Feeling darn warm in my room but the fan is alleviating things a tad.


I don't particularly want to be doing farm work in Hokkaido, but I guess that there is something to be said about performing the chores in the open air and then resting up on a hay bale. Of course, I'm just going from the above thumbnail for the 2019 NHK morning serial drama "Natsuzora"(なつぞら). All I know about the show is the opening credits (which I couldn't find in their original form) which are an anime sequence featuring the main character and some cute forest animals.


However, I was able to find the theme song, "Yasashii Ano Ko" (That Nice Girl), Spitz's 42nd single from June 2019. It's nice to hear Masamune Kusano's(草野正宗)distinctive voice again after so long, and the song is a perfect fit for both Spitz and "Natsuzora" with that optimistic country-style melody. Kusano provided both music and words with the band and Seiji Kumeda(亀田誠治)of Tokyo Jihen(東京事変)working on the overall arrangement.

"Yasashii Ano Ko" reached No. 2 on Oricon, going Gold. The song is also a track on Spitz's 16th original album "Mikke"(見っけ...See) released later in October that year which also went Gold and hit No. 2.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Reiko Takahashi -- Sunset Road(サンセット・ロード)


Managed to find one of the rarest of the rare, I believe. Virtually the only information that I could find about the Tokyo-born Reiko Takahashi(高橋玲子)was at Idol.ne.jp, and that was only to list the mere two singles that she'd released in 1986 and 1987. I wasn't even sure whether she was an aidoru since I've seen other singers at that site, and they were definitely not teenybopper singers. I could only get some confirmation by going through three pages of Yahoo.jp and discovering that she had been included on a 1988 aidoru calendar that was being sold at Rakuten, and that's now sold out so I couldn't see what the calendar looked like.



Anyways, now that I've finished my harangue of sorts, I can introduce that second single by Takahashi, "Sunset Road" which came out in July 1987. Written by Junko Sato(佐藤純子), composed by City Pop prince Kingo Hamada(浜田金吾)and arranged by Keiichi Oku(奥慶一)from the band Spectrum, "Sunset Road" is pretty perky as if it were introducing the weather segment on a weekend news broadcast. But as an aidoru tune, it's got some pleasant AOR feelings and Takahashi's vocals are fine to the extent that I think it is a pity that she never got her full due in more singles or a single album.


Strangely enough, the first version of "Sunset Road" which I heard was one that had been mysteriously sped up, but perhaps there was method behind the madness since it actually sounds rather nice here, too. Maybe the uploader had some Vaporwave ambitions. It actually took me a couple of listens to realize that Takahashi sounded a little too Minnie Mouse to be normal.

Kyosuke Kusunoki -- Get Down


Y'know...I really felt like pulling out another J Utah driving video when I listened to this one. However, the song itself is only four minutes and change while a J Utah video usually goes at least 40 minutes.


But hey, if you're lucky enough to have Kyosuke Kusunoki's(楠木恭介)1985 "Just Tonight" album, then enjoy the LP and the video. As it is though, I'm still happy to make the acquaintance with "Get Down", the second track from "Just Tonight", and despite the disco vibes that the title engenders, the song is very much a production of its decade, thanks to Hiroshi Narumi's(鳴海寛)arrangement of Yoichiro Kakizaki's(柿崎洋一郎)melody tied with Jessie Rein's lyrics.

It's nice and groovy on a West Coast level, and images of 1980s George Benson, Al Jarreau and Manhattan Transfer in their urban contemporary mode come to mind. Heck, Kusunoki at the beginning comes across as a Japanese version of Michael McDonald in his delivery. This is definitely a car drive-friendly number, and I still maintain that if you have a long-play City Pop/J-AOR compilation album handy, play it alongside a J Utah video. It's smooth sailing. This is his latest: a drive through Malibu!


Prism -- Dancing Moon


I've heard about this group for years but never got around to writing about Prism until today. Mind you, one of the original members of this fusion band, guitarist Katsutoshi Morizono(森園勝敏), has had representation on "Kayo Kyoku Plus" for about a couple of years through one article.


Prism was formed in 1975 and its original lineup had Morizono, guitarist Akira Wada(和田アキラ), bassist Ken Watanabe(渡辺建), keyboardists Kouki Ito(伊藤幸毅)and Daisaku Kume(久米大作), and drummer Toru Suzuki(鈴木徹). From reading their article on J-Wiki, I found out that Wada had been greatly influenced by the Latin rock of Santana and jazz pianist Chick Corea's jazz fusion group Return to Forever, and brought some of that influence into Prism.

The original lineup lasted until 1978 and during that time, Prism was able to release two studio albums, one of which was the 1977 debut "Prism", and from that album, I give you "Dancing Moon". It starts out AOR-mellow and with a sax solo (I don't know who provided it) before the guitarists come on in with a melody line that probably had folks racing to buy the audiotape to throw into their car stereos. Maybe it was a good time to bomb down the highway from Tokyo to Shonan. Even in my room typing this while listening to "Dancing Moon" with the fan wafting the breeze behind me, I'm feeling pretty wavy right now. There's a bit of a detour into rock and even some Stevie Wonder riff territory halfway through.

The band has gone through several lineup changes up to the present, and as of 2013, Prism still has Wada but he's now joined by bassist Jiro Okada(岡田治郎), drummer Mansaku Kimura(木村万作)and keyboardist Cher Watanabe(渡部チェル).

Mieko Hirota/Yuki Okazaki -- Nagisa no Uwasa(渚のうわさ)


It's Friday and I tend to put up a few City Pop tunes on Fridays but I just wanted to start off today's batch with something more wistful and appropriately seasonal.


And for that matter, I'm starting today with a song from quite a ways back. This would be "Nagisa no Uwasa" which directly translated as "Beach Rumours" but the official English title is "The End of Summer", and it was first sung by Mieko Hirota(弘田三枝子).

This was Hirota's 18th single from July 1967 and that English title fits things here as the singer relates the story of a woman walking alone on a beach while wondering whatever became of her perhaps all-too-brief romance with that special someone. Of course, when it comes to an end-of-summer kayo, it's often about the end of relationships. The woman asks around the area to see if anyone has heard of anything regarding her lost beau so it's really quite melancholy despite the fairly upbeat melody.

The partnership between lyricist Jun Hashimoto(橋本淳)and composer Kyohei Tsutsumi(筒美京平)were behind the creation of "Nagisa no Uwasa", and according to J-Wiki, it turned out to be the composer's first big hit of his career as the song was able to sell around 300,000 records. It also got Hirota her 5th of eight appearances on the Kohaku Utagassen.


"Nagisa no Uwasa" was covered by other singers a number of times, including Yuki Okazaki(岡崎友紀)via her June 1972 album "Album 4". There isn't all that much different in the basic arrangement but there is a bit more wistfulness in Okazaki's version compared to some of the brio that Hirota injected in the original song. I think with both versions there is a slight sense of "Where the Boys Are" by Connie Francis with a bit less drama.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Hall & Oates -- Private Eyes


I swear..."Private Eyes" must have been Japan's favourite Hall & Oates song. That's quite a declaration but I kept hearing their August 29th 1981 single whenever I entered a Muji department store or my neighbourhood Daiei supermarket. Then at one point, it was even used in some commercial on TV. I mean, Daryl and John must have been wondering one day early in the 21st century when they got an envelope at their studio and said "Why are we getting a cheque for 100 million yen?". Royalties must have been good, man.

For whatever reason, 80s music was always popular in Japan but "Private Eyes" was very public in my old stomping grounds. Maybe the one other American tune from that decade that I could remember that was getting a maximum amount of love in the country was Huey Lewis & The News' "The Power of Love".

"Private Eyes" was released almost a month after my return from Japan during that important school trip, and as I've said before in past articles, that trip and that time were responsible for finally hatching my longtime interest in kayo kyoku, so the songs that were in the Oricon monthly Top 10 for August 1981 bring a goodly sum of nostalgia and love. Here are the songs that were the top 3 entries.

1. Seiko Matsuda -- Shiroi Parasol



2. Yumi Matsutoya -- Mamotte Agetai



3. Jun Horie -- Memory Glass


Chie Odaka -- Yuuwaku Kurakura(誘惑クラクラ)


There's something about Chie Odaka's(尾高千恵)voice that is familiar and unique, as oxymoronic as that may sound (especially the last three syllables). It strikes me as being breathy and pliable...like a good pillow, I guess.

Anyways, allow me to say that this is the first time that I have ever heard of Odaka who hails from Kanagawa Prefecture. According to her J-Wiki profile, her career began in the late 1980s and she was supposedly going for a more aidoru-ish pop route. The "-ish" suffix is in there since Odaka was already in her early 20s when she debuted with the single "Hana Matsuri"(華祭り...Flower Festival)in February 1986 and then her album "Cute" later in July.

One of the tracks in that debut album is "Yuuwaku Kurakura" (Giddy With Temptation) which is light enough that it feels somewhat aidoru in tone (with an underlying New Wave layer) but there is something in Odaka's delivery that had me thinking more along the lines of the late Minako Honda(本田美奈子)and Kumiko Yamashita(山下久美子), and they both went into the rock route. Odaka also would gradually shift her singing into rock.

What I also found out in that J-Wiki article is that Odaka had actually started out in show business as early as 1982 under a stage name Chie Usaki(宇紗木千恵)as an actress in a movie starring the aidoru group Shibugakitai(シブがき隊). Getting back to the song, it was apparently written and composed by someone with the kanji 「西伯利亜」when I checked the JASRAC database. I had assumed that it would read as Toshia Nishihaku but actually the four kanji stand for Siberia. I couldn't track down whether it was a fellow or a group effort under that potential pseudonym. Odaka released a total of 6 singles and 3 original albums up to 1988.

Megumi Shiina -- 29 ~ Twenty Nine


Dining inside a favourite restaurant, pub or fast food joint is simply not impossible right now here in Stage 2 of the re-opening of the economy, although patio dining has become OK as of yesterday. Fortunately, the summer season is upon us, though. However, I'm sure that there are some of us who are hoping for the night that we can enjoy some fine dining in the good clothes with full courses and vintage wine and impeccable service. Me? I would just be happy with the Classic Breakfast at the nearest Eggsmart with family or friends.


When I listen to Megumi Shiina's(椎名恵)"29 ~ Twenty Nine", her 10th single released in May 1988, I get that sophisticated dining experience in a French restaurant vibe. Yoshiaki Ohuchi's(大内義昭)melody is a bit reminiscent of 1960s Henry Mancini with that gentle infusion of jazz and bossa nova while Keiko Aso's(麻生圭子)lyrics are bittersweet as they describe a woman who has learned her share of wisdom in love at the age of 29 and would like to apologize to that man who she had fallen for when he was 29, and perhaps caused some consternation in his life. Good heavens! The lyrics could describe a plot line for a movie that would be scored by the late legendary Mancini.

In any case, this song is in one of the corners of City Pop that I've enjoyed...the one residing in that classy and expensive hotel in Tokyo. And I love Shiina's smooth and creamy delivery here...just like a glass of Baileys Irish Cream. Up to now, I've only known Shiina for her lovely cover of Charlene's "I've Never Been To Me" so it's nice to hear her tackle something in the uptown area of the city. Plus, it's a revelation to see that Ohuchi composed "29" because I've known him mostly for his uptempo pop/R&B compositions for Kahoru Kohiruimaki(小比類巻かほる). "29" is also the title track for her June 1988 4th album "29 Twenty-Nine ~ W Concerto II".

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Hiroko Kokubu -- Steppin' Out



My history with television goes way back to a small black-and-white set with knobs, dials and a bunny-ear antenna. Yep, no remote control, there were things called UHF and VHF, and this may terrify some of you but television wasn't always 24 hours a day (and night). That's right...TV stations also closed off for the evening and what we got past midnight was the test pattern for about 6 hours accompanied by an annoying whine. Perhaps it's been within the last few decades that programming like movies and informercials started to fill the overnight hours.


When I first started living in Japan from 1989 during my JET Programme days, I often watched the telly there until the wee hours and even back then, the TV stations would call it a day and throw on the test pattern. But I gotta say that the stations like Fuji-TV really liked to open and end their broadcasting day with panache and perhaps a bit of psychedelia.


However, the gradual transition to 24-hour broadcasting on the national broadcaster NHK may have been sparked in the late 1980s before I arrived there due to the fact that the Showa Emperor's health had been in decline around that time before his passing on January 7th 1989. People stayed up to hear any overnight updates on Emperor Hirohito's condition, but I also think that the same thing occurred in the case of typhoons or earthquakes, too.

Finally from April 1997, NHK went full tilt into overnight service under the overarching title of "Midnight Channel" according to the J-Wiki article on the topic and apparently the programming included dubbed versions of American TV programs such as "Beverly Hills 90210" and local documentaries. Maybe the night owls also enjoyed that jaunty music which adorned the list of upcoming shows (which you can hear right from the start of the video above). In fact, the video was put up onto YouTube because the uploader had wanted to find out who was behind the music. Dang, it's enough to get me to go to the fridge and pull out a Red Bull at 1:00 am!


Fortunately, the fellow did find out. The song is "Steppin' Out" by jazz pianist and composer Hiroko Kokubu(国府弘子). It's been a long while since she's adorned the pages of "Kayo Kyoku Plus", so I bid her welcome once more. Now for me, I found out about "Steppin' Out" only because I hadn't put up an article about her for close to 5 years and consequently was doing some browsing. When I listened to this good-time strut by her with the wonderful keyboards and horns including a cool streetwise sax, that's when I discovered that it was the song to introduce the upcoming programs on "Midnight Channel".

"Steppin' Out" is a track on her September 1993 album "Heaven", a collaboration with fellow jazz pianist Kiyotsugu Amano(天野清継). It's been hard to find any tracks from my favourite Kokubu album "Light and Colour" (as seen in the thumbnail at the top), but I'm still happy to make my acquaintance with this Kokubu gem.


Lest I forget...there is another older "Steppin' Out" that I also cherish. In any case, KKP is now ending its broadcasting day today.

Miyuki Kosaka/Yosui Inoue -- Kannazuki ni Kakomarete(神無月にかこまれて)


Up to now, the only thing that I've really heard from 70s/80s aidoru Miyuki Kosaka(小坂みゆき)was her lovingly techno-quirky "Nuance Shimasho"(ニュアンスしましょう)in 1984, created by the dream team of Taeko Ohnuki(大貫妙子)and EPO.


Then a few months ago, I heard her 21st and final single from November 1989, "Kannazuki ni Kakomarete" (Wrapped Up In The 10th Month of The Lunar Calendar) which is also pretty catchy in a different way. Written and composed by Yosui Inoue(井上陽水), it's a fairly driving pop/rock tune with the sheen of that decade. I figured that it was probably made as a theme song for some action drama starring Kosaka.

Well, I may be half to completely right on that guess since it was used as the first theme song for an anthology drama series called "Dramatic 22"(ドラマチック22), so titled because it was broadcast at 10 pm or 2200 hours on TBS. The show lasted for about 18 months and though I didn't go through the entire list of episodes to look for Kosaka, it looks like it starred pretty much all of Japanese show business in one way or another.


The thing is, though, that "Kannazuki ni Kakomarete" was actually originally recorded by Inoue himself for his December 1972 album "Yosui II: Sentimental"(陽水II:センチメンタル). The album has been classified as a folk release, but Inoue's first take of "Kannazuki ni Kakomarete" also has that same urgency but within a combination of Latin rhythms and light psychedelic rock. It's like doing the tango in a wide-lapeled suit and bell-bottoms while the piano keeps on chugging along.

As for "Yosui II: Sentimental", it peaked at No. 10 on Oricon, and though it took its sweet time, the album became the 8th-ranked release for 1974 and then came in at No. 15 in 1975.

Seiko Matsuda -- Natsu Fuku no Eve(夏服のイヴ)



This is another article for one of those songs that have percolated up from the deep crevasses of my memory after many years. I first heard it on some compilation or a Seiko Matsuda(松田聖子)BEST album, perhaps, but it's one of the more unusual Seiko-chan songs that I've heard.

For one thing, "Natsu Fuku no Eve" (Eve in Summer Clothing) begins as if it were the theme song for some major Disney fantasy movie along the lines of "Syrius no Densetsu"(シリウスの伝説), that animated feature that I had caught back in the summer of 1981 in Osaka, loosely inspired by "Romeo & Juliet". It was definitely not the usual bubbly aidoru tune that I usually expected from Matsuda. Another thing is that I hadn't known the title until only recently so it was quite the Dickens to track it down, but from browsing YouTube one day, I found the above video and realized that it was the B-side to her 17th single released in May 1984, the fun and snazzy "Jikan no Kuni no Alice"(時間の国のアリス)that I've talked about for her album "Train".

I'm OK with "Natsu Fuku no Eve" which has that classical fantasy romance feeling to it but as I've already pointed out, it's a bit off-kilter with Seiko sounding a little more off-tune (yes, even more than the usual adorable off-tune parts of an aidoru song in the 1980s) in key parts of the verses. There is also an inclusion of a very sad trumpet in the intro, the bridge and the end with that second part being surrounded suddenly by an orchestral City Pop arrangement in a not-so-perfect contrast with the Disney-esque atmosphere in the rest of "Natsu Fuku no Eve". Well, the man behind the horn was none other than jazz trumpeter Terumasa Hino(日野皓正)who also composed the song.


Hino, in fact, composed the soundtrack for the movie "Natsu Fuku no Eve", so yes, that means that the song was indeed a cinematic theme tune, just not for an animated feature. Not surprisingly, Seiko was the star in this flick that was partially filmed in New Zealand. I did find the movie but it's been sped up by around 4 times so this may be the world's first Tik Tok-ized motion picture on YouTube.

Takashi Matsumoto(松本隆)provided the lyrics to "Natsu Fuku no Eve" which describe a woman trying to elope with her lover as far away from the complicated world as possible. Those lyrics helped me in figuring out what the title was all about since I'd initially thought quizzically that "Natsu Fuku no Eve" referred to "The Eve Before Summer Clothing" since so many Japanese pop songs had that word "eve" being used as in "Christmas Eve". But actually, it was more the lady's Eve trying to run away with her Adam one summer day. Incidentally, the song is also included on one of Seiko's many BEST albums "Seiko - Town" from November 1984.

According to the J-Wiki article on the movie, "Natsu Fuku no Eve" was out in theatres as of July 1984. The following year, on June 24th 1985, Seiko-chan married actor Masaki Kanda(神田正輝), and in commemoration of that event, the movie was broadcast on NTV for the first time on the 26th.


Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Akiko Futaba -- Francesca no Kane(フランチェスカの鐘)


With the current NHK morning serial drama "Yell"(エール)being based on the life and times of songwriter Yuuji Koseki(古関裕而), there has been a series of 10-minute vignettes focusing on key songs by the man. I already wrote about one song that I discovered through one of those vignettes, "Nagasaki no Kane"(長崎の鐘).


Another episode that I've recently seen is the one for a 1948 song composed by Koseki, "Francesca no Kane" (The Bells of Francesca). Kazuo Kikuta(菊田一夫)was the lyricist for this particular kayo which dealt with a woman experiencing a variety of emotions such as shock, rage and mourning since he was losing the man that he loved to a higher power. He was breaking things off because he was entering the monastery. "Francesca no Kane" is the musical equivalent of that bitter pill to swallow as Akiko Futaba(二葉あき子)sadly relays the woman's feelings. There was also a spoken verse provided by actress Taeko Takasugi(高杉妙子), the wife of lyricist Kikuta, who effectively spat out her mocking disdain for her soon-to-be former beau while undergoing what sounded like delusional denial about her plight.

Through the J-Wiki article on "Francesca no Kane" with the original sources being a 1980 autobiography about Koseki and a 2019 book on the songwriter called "Koseki Yuuji ~ Ryuukou Sakyokuka to Gekidou Showa"(古関裕而~流行作曲家と激動昭和...The Popular Composer and The Turbulent Showa Era), I got one answer on my question on "Who was Francesca?". Apparently, Koseki asked Kikuta about the name, assuming that it was the monastery where the young man was heading for. The lyricist simply replied that he had no idea; he picked the name because he liked the sound of it!


In later recordings of "Francesca no Kane" following the release of a movie filmed based on the kayo, the spoken verse was taken out of the song for some reason, so a lot of that feeling of a romance gone bitterly south was eliminated. In its place, the song took on the atmosphere of a requiem for all of those lost in the Hiroshima bombing via the wartime experiences that composer Koseki and singer Futaba had undergone. According to that 1980 Koseki autobiography, Futaba had also said that when she sang "Francesca no Kane" at the Nihon Gekijo in Tokyo in the summer of 1949, she saw the images of those high school friends whom she had lost. She then resolved that she would always sing the song until her own death. Futaba passed away in August 2011.


The J-Wiki article also mentioned that singers such as Kenji Sawada(沢田研二)and Tokiko Kato(加藤登紀子)have covered it. I managed to find Julie's performance above, and it's definitely more of a sultry and sullen rock thing here. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to track down Kato's cover of the song but there is Kenichi Mikawa's(美川憲一)jazzy Mood Kayo take on "Francesca no Kane".


cinnamons -- Last Scene(ラストシーン)


The final scene at the airport in my all-time favourite black-&-white movie, "Casablanca" may have been one of the first major examples of the main male lead not getting the girl at the end. It was all very bittersweet but although Rick lost Ilsa in the end, the (former) cynic regained his humanity and idealism. Perhaps his buddy Captain Renault did the same as they walked off together.


I'm hoping that the lady in the music video above regains some hope and happiness. The video belongs to cinnamons' July 2017 digital single "Last Scene". A few days ago, I'd written about the duet between this band and evening cinema, "Summertime", and was interested in finding out more about both of them on their own. I've already gotten the evening cinema single up.

With lyrics by vocalist Mariko Suzuki(鈴木まりこ)and music by guitarist Shinji Aoyama(青山慎司), "Last Scene" is about a woman's commiserations on the aftermath of a relationship that has come to an end. Was it the wrong thing to do? Should she and her former love have kept the faith longer? She apparently harbours at least some embers of affection for him although she may be coming around to the fact that it's probably a past romance now.

What I like about "Last Scene" is the soothing vocals by Suzuki, that Candy Voice that was mentioned in the band's profile. Also, there is also that plucking guitar that plays away throughout the song which reminds me of some of the 1980s pop which I heard regularly on all of those Canadian music video shows. The song has also been placed onto cinnamons' November 2018 album "noon".


Monday, June 22, 2020

J-Canuck's Favourite Anison (Since Coming Back Home)


The very first Author's Picks article in late 2013 belongs to JTM and he chose the opportunity to cover some of his favourite anison, J-Drama and Japanese movie themes. Strangely enough, I realized that I have yet to describe some of my own favourite anison although I have often touched upon the genre in articles going all the way to KKP's inaugural year of 2012.

Well, challenge accepted then! However, when I was dreaming up my list, I also realized that I had forgotten to include some of the very first anison themes that had come to my ears such as the ones belonging to "Space Cruiser Yamato" and other tunes before 2011. So, when it comes down to it, I've decided to make this list under one simple condition: my favourite anison are to be for shows that I've seen over the past decade since returning from Japan in December 2011. I will make a separate list for beloved anime themes pre-2011 at a later date.

Thinking up the list, I believe and I think you will also believe that a lot of my choices for favourite anison have that certain funk and groove, and that is probably due to the fact that my favourite genre in Japanese popular music is City Pop/AOR. But there will be a few exceptions.

Shall we being then? Ah, before I forget, the list isn't in any particular order.

1. Yasuyuki Okamura -- Viva Namida (Space Dandy, 2013)


An anime series doesn't necessarily demand a cookin' theme song to be successful. I've seen some pretty fine shows for which I can't really remember the themes, to be honest. However, a great opening theme can act as a splendid business card for what the show can bring to your senses. Case in point: "Viva Namida"(ビバナミダ)by Prince-ly funk artist Yasuyuki Okamura(岡村靖幸)for the out-of-left-universe show "Space Dandy". As I mentioned in the original article for the song, I knew that I had to get the single when I heard it on Episode 1. Seeing all of the sexy opening credits paired with this sexy song made my choice pretty inevitable. I was getting major Bootsy Collins vibes from Okamura who at the time looked like a buttoned-down company cog until he began hitting the dance floor.


2. Masayuki Suzuki feat. Airi Suzuki -- DADDY! DADDY! DO! (Kaguya-sama Season 2, 2020)


Okamura got all funky? Well, so did Suzuki(鈴木雅之), and he and his namesake, Airi(鈴木愛理), added dollops of soul to "DADDY! DO! DO!" to this opening theme for the second season of "Kaguya-sama: Love is War" which will end next weekend, much to fans' disappointment. Folks had been wondering whether Martin would be back to reprise opening theme duties and they were celebrating in the streets when he and his new partner brought a song that may have even eclipsed the amazing "Love Dramatic" from Season 1. Like many YouTube viewers, I've listened to "DADDY! DO! DO!" a ton of times since it was put up and I've yet to get tired of it. Who would have thought that such cool songs would be associated with a rom-com manga-based anime (albeit maybe one of the most popular works ever made)? Now, the pressure is on whether Suzuki can pull off a three-peat with Season 3 (and yeah, there just HAS to be a Season 3).


3. Cast of "Joshiraku" -- O-Ato ga Yoroshikutte...YO! (Joshiraku, 2012)


Getting all sentimental here, but "Joshiraku"(じょしらく)is one of the first anime that I got to see at my buddy's place soon after getting back to Toronto for good. "Kaguya-sama" is the "Frasier" of anime to me, but "Joshiraku" has always been my anime "Seinfeld". The five female rakugo artists simply banter about anything under the sun in their tiny resting room away from the stage. And that raucous opening theme "O-Ato ga Yoroshikutte...YO!"(お後がよろしくって。。。よ!)has had the same effect on me as the theme song for "The Flintstones" did for me whenever I got to see the adventures of Fred and Barney. It's just a welcoming happy tune for each episode while the credits show off the loony mayhem that is to follow. It's just a pity that a second season never came to fruition but at least I got to see the beginnings of Ayane Sakura's(佐倉綾音)career.


4. Petit Rabbit's -- Daydream Café (Gochuumon wa Usagi desu ka? Season 1, 2014)


Speaking of Sakura, here she is as part of Petit Rabbit's, the main cast singing the first opening theme for the franchise "Gochuumon wa Usagi desu ka?"(ご注文はうさぎですか). "Daydream Café" in its own way is very similar to the opener for "Joshiraku" in that it gives off that welcome shiny and cheery tune basically describing a typical episode of what is basically Girls und Cafés, and the cast perform the tune in character. Although there have been a number of theme songs now for "GochiUsa" in the past six years of its anime existence (including the one that will adorn Season 3 later this fall), I think "Daydream Café" will always be the one theme that fits everyone to a tea...tee.


5. Chinatsu Akasaki, Haruka Tomatsu & Aki Toyosaki -- Wa! Moon! dass! cry! (Joshi Kosei no Mudazukai, 2019)


Since I've been throwing in these comparisons of these anime to American sitcoms that I've known, how about saying that the zany "Joshi Kosei no Mudazukai"(女子高生の無駄づかい)is a mix between "MASH" and "Welcome Back, Kotter"? Discuss! As I recall, there were a few really catchy theme songs in the summer of 2019, but "Wa! Moon! dass! cry!"(輪!Moon!dass!cry!)has come out on top for me because it has been the earworm that has kept on giving all these months leading to the 1-year anniversary since its appearance as an anime. Akasaki(赤崎千夏), Tomatsu(戸松遥)and Toyosaki(豊崎愛生)who play the main trio in the show must have earned their vocal hazard pay in lunging into this playful sing-song rap with a dance remix rhythm. And the song even gets rather poignantly sweet at the end. It just makes me hope that a second season might come out.


6. Shonan no Kaze -- Grand Blue (Grand Blue, 2018)


Talk about hoping for a Season 2. It's hard to believe that it will soon be two years since the wall-to-wall hilarity of "Grand Blue"(ぐらんぶる)assaulted my funny bone. I still go to the reaction videos from time to time to share in the laughter, and I finally got my own copy of the show. "Grand Blue" the opening theme by Shonan no Kaze(湘南乃風)is the ultimate mood maker for summery good times and dancing on the beach (maybe there can be some actual diving, too!). Like the other themes, it has prepped me into a good mood for each episode.


7. Natsumi Hioka & Hiroki Yasumoto -- Kumamiko Dancing (Kumamiko, 2016)


Great theme (and it's an ending theme this time, too!)...too bad about the anime, though. Frankly, I thought that "Kumamiko"(くまみこ)finished its run somewhat like Roman Polanski's 1965 psychological horror "Repulsion", but on happier news, that ending theme "Kumamiko Dancing" was just oodles of fun along the same lines of "Uptown Funk" by Bruno Mars. Who'da thought that a tune about a relationship between a talking bear and a teenage shrine maiden could be so deliciously danceable? If the show hadn't ended the way it did, I would have said looking at the ending credits that everyone was in a happy place in that village.


8. Maaya Sakamoto -- Million Clouds (Amanchu!, 2016)


Of all of the shows listed here, "Amanchu!"(あまんちゅ!)is the one show that isn't a zany comedy. I mean, it has its examples of gentle humour but really the anime that really focuses on diving is one of the sweetest and most wistful slice-of-life shows that I've ever seen, and it's far away from the "Animal House" that is "Grand Blue". It would only be logical that the opening theme matches that calm coming-of-age atmosphere, and that has been achieved with Maaya Sakamoto's(坂本真綾)"Million Clouds", one very moving theme song that captures the feeling of growing up, making new friends and learning about life.


9. KMM Dan -- Witchcraft Activity (Witchcraft Works, 2014)


"Witchcraft Works" was an intriguing anime although as the episodes moved on, I was starting to lose track of the story. However, what stayed constant was the earworm status of the ending theme by KMM Dan, "Witchcraft Activity", and one of the group happens to be seiyuu Natsumi Hioka(日岡なつみ)who's already represented above. The first time I heard this song whipped up by TECHNOBOYS PULCRAFT GREEN FUND at the end of the pilot episode was all I needed to get that urge to get the CD. The full-speed beats and the rat-a-tat delivery by the group absolutely bewitched me.


10. fhana -- Aozora no Rhapsody (Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon, 2017)


Another opening theme that welcomed me and other viewers into the world of corporate cogs, elementary school students and magical beings, fhana's "Aozora no Rhapsody"(青空のラプソディ)is trippy and sweeping at the same time. Those opening words and the disco strings had me crying "Uncle!" and what was additionally wonderful was that jazzy guitar bridge in the full version of the song. Now, if only a second season would come for this one, too.

Whew! Got those 10 up there. Hopefully, there are some of them that you like and I realize that there are some that I would have liked to have gotten up here but that's all she wrote. I'm just glad that I could finally get my first anison list up.

evening cinema -- jetcoaster


A couple of days ago, I did a 2-in-1 and introduced two new bands within the same article, cinnamons and evening cinema, as they collaborated on a 2017 duet called "Summertime". I figured that I had to explore some of their own discography in short order (I've taken a look at a cinnamons single).


Well, I'm starting with evening cinema that has been described as an AOR band. In July 2016, their mini-album "Almost Blue" was released with this particular song "jetcoaster" as one of their tracks. Written and composed by vocalist Natsuki Harada(原田夏樹), it's got that bluesy city groove but with also some buzzy rock electric guitar by Tomohiro Hikawa(樋川智宏). I would probably plug the song as pop/rock but maybe this is considered to be the AOR of the 10s.

Gonna still be doing some digging into evening cinema's discography, but if there are any fans of the band out there who can give me some recommendations, I'm all ears!👂

The Blue Hearts -- Hito ni Yasashiku(人にやさしく)


On NHK, there are the weekend broadcasts of sports in which one of them last weekend featured one athlete. The usual schtick presented here is that during the interview, he/she is asked about one song that has been somewhat inspirational in his/her life, and this one man (I forgot who it was and what sport he was playing) replied that he had come across this tune that knocked him for a loop the first time he had heard it.


That song was "Hito ni Yasashiku" (Be Kind to People), the latter of the first two independent label singles that rock band The Blue Hearts had put out before they got hitched to a major label that would later be known as Tokuma Japan Communications. Released in February 1987, the athlete appreciated vocalist Hiroto Komoto's(甲本ヒロト)lyrics of encouragement and staying in the game despite what might be thrown at him.


Komoto was also responsible for the rollicking melody. I'm not a punk rock fan by any means and The Blue Hearts have been categorized as such, but I think "Hito ni Yasashiku" is the most accessible and reassuring (punk) rock number that I've ever heard. Apparently a lot of other folks agreed as well because the song reached No. 26 on Oricon. Of course, right after this single, The Blue Hearts came up with one of their most famous tunes, "Linda, Linda", a song that got some of my fellow staffers at the Tsukiyono Board of Education during my JET days kicking up a punk storm in the karaoke bar. Glad the kids were already at home hard at their studies at that time.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Air Suspension Club Band -- Seaside in the Twilight


About 18 months ago, I wrote about this mysterious group called Air Suspension Club Band which was into fusion boogie. Their "Jack in the Box" fairly cooked with funk and dreaminess, and this track was included in their 1982 album "Another World".


Well, another track from "Another World" is "Seaside in the Twilight" which is more on the AOR side of things with a smidgen of jazz on the side. The creamy keyboards take even more of the spotlight here before a romantic saxophone has its moment in the setting sun, but I also take notice of the tight rhythm drumming.

I tried looking for more information on what made ASCB tick and at the Rough Trade site, the band was apparently run by some musicians under the collective name of Mr. Theodore. Also there, I discovered that "Seaside in the Twilight" had also been released as a 7" single.

RIO -- Virgin Snow


Heck of a time to put up something related to winter considering that the Humidex today in Toronto is probably hitting 38 degrees Celsius.


But there is something about this song that's quite catchy. Titled "Virgin Snow", this is a January 1994 single by the band RIO, and this could have been the penultimate single since I have already pegged their final single "Manatsu no Koi"(真夏の恋)as having been released some months later that year. "Manatsu no Koi" was the pop/rock song that greeted viewers of the TBS late-night cooking show "Chuubou desu yo!"(チューボーですよ!)on Saturdays.

"Virgin Snow" was also an opening theme, this time for another TBS program called "Cinema ni Zokkon"(シネマにぞっKON!). However, this song has more of a technopop flair to it, and in fact, I get those PSY-S feelings from it as high-toned lyricist/singer Mike sings about hoping for a good dusting of snow to eliminate all of her ills.