Denny Sinnoh's "Akihabara Starlight"

Archive for March, 2017

川の流れのように The greatest song of all time?

What is the greatest popular music song of all time?

Is it “She Loves You (Yeah,Yeah,Yeah)” by the Beatles? Could it be “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin? Is your choice “YMCA” by the Village People? Well, all of those are valid choices to be sure …

However, please allow me to make a case for “Kawa no Nagare no Yō ni”, which translates from Japanese as “Like the Waters of a River”.

The music was composed by Akrika Mitake with lyrics by Yasushi Akimoto. They composed this ballad for the famous Japanese enka singer Hibari Misora. The song was to be her last single, and she died shortly after it was released in 1989.

From Wikipedia:  “… was voted the greatest song of all time during a national poll in 1997 by NHK, with more than 10 million votes. It is often the song of choice for artists  performing live tributes to Misora.” According to linguistics blogger Larry Kenny “it is learned routinely by high school students in Japan.” and “The song embodies the very essence of enka, if not the very essence of the Japanese people.”  I would be able to agree with that, as it is a very moving song. Mr. Kenny has provided a great English translation, and has written a wonderful article about the song linked here.

Several famous singers have recorded the song. I am including a little YouTube playlist here.

As performed by Hibari Misora:

This recording is by Cantonese singer Teresa Teng.

Here is a version with American “soul” singer Diana Ross and opera singers Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras. Dam!

How about this version by Mexican singer Mariachi Vargas?

You can probably find many others through various YuteTube links. If I was not tearing-up so much, I could probably practice the song with this karaoke:

Mr. Kenny also has created this version that [his singer Evan Ross] sings in English. Now the singing is not as “enka” as some others, I will admit, but [they have] created a very respectable, heartwarming rendition.  (Much better than I ever could.)

[Evan Ross] sings his beautiful translation of the lyrics in English. [Mr. Kenny] actually provides two English translations of the song in the article. One is a “literal” translation of the words from Japanese, and then he created another “non-literal”  descriptive version. Wow. Just wow. Mr. Akimoto’s original lyrics are so meaningful, so filled with eternal truths … that they may transcend language barriers and even create new meanings. The following is Mr. Kenny’s non-literal interpretation.

Like a dream, like a dream, passing day after day
down this long, narrow road I’ve been walking
If I turn, looking back I can see far away
the old town that I loved long ago.

Roads that wind and twist in every way,
Bumpy roads that have seen too many days
With no map to guide us, every path we cross in our lives,

Ah, just like the waters of a river, countless bygone days,
one by one how gently, how slowly they go,
Ah, just like the waters of a river, on unendingly,
into the sky painted colors of evening flow.

In our journeys and lives, though they start and they end,
still the road never stops, on forever,
as we reach toward a dream, making memories and friends,
we draw near the people who we love.

As the rain beats down upon our heads
and the mud covers all the road ahead
on we walk because soon a bright new day will come again

Ah, just like the waters of a river, slow and gracefully,
lay this body down, let them take me away,
Ah, just like the waters of a river, like the seasons flow,
as we wait for April sunshine to melt the winter grey.

Ah, just like the waters of a river, slow and gracefully,
lay this body down, let them take me away,
Ah, just like the waters of a river, on eternally
as we hear the rushing current flow out to the bay.

http://www.larrykenny.com/enka/kawa.php

I think the lyrics are especially poignant as Hibari Misora passed on soon after the song was released. The lyrics introduce imagery about the philosophy of life — by analogy — flowing like a river. It is nostalgic in that the singer/listener is looking back over their life, not with regrets but with the appreciation of a life that was lived. I have to wonder if she knew she was near the end of her life when she made those live performances. If she had no regrets, and had nothing but love at the end … well — it shows.

I hope you can find your own fluid meaning there.

Finally, “Kawa no Nagare no Yō ni” was also recorded by my favorite enka singer Iwasa Misaki. There are no [legit] music videos of Misaki-san’s recording on YourTube. There are even a few non-Misaki fakes out there! However, let me share this SoundCloud link to Miss Misaki’s great interpretation of the song.

Are you ready? Sitting down? Clasping the armrests? Tissue box nearby?

Wasamin’s version always turns me into a big, blubbering sack of protoplasm. If you enjoy it even half as much as I do, you can order the CD single from CD-Japan linked here. The song 川の流れのように is the third song (a second B-side?) of her three-track CD-Single of Gomen ne Tokyo. Note: Only the REGULAR edition CD-single has the song!

If you want one, I will buy you a copy!

Why not listen to some Enka music? … What feelings do the lyrics pull out of you, or what pictures from your life can you imagine?  … Try to observe nature as if it were a beautiful sound of a song … think of someone you loved … Think of your favorite memories of places you enjoyed … 

Find again what you love about your life. Enka.

Starlight: It took 28 lightyears for 川の流れのように to reach my world.

PS: What is your favorite all time song? You can list your choice in the comments below. If there is a YouFlube link for your favorite please provide that too.

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Happy Birthday to “The Pancake House Girl” Hanako Oku!

Japan is twelve hours ahead of me, so Snivy and I wanted to be the first in my time zone to wish “the Little Great One” Ms. Hanako Oku-san a HAPPY BIRTHDAY tomorrow (today) on March 20! She is lucky — her Birthday is always the Spring Equinox.

Ms. Oku has always been one of my favorites. Of course, Snivy is a huge fan. The adorable and talented Ms. Oku has written the opening theme song “Kimi No Hana” for the romance anime “Seiren” currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

The marketing geniuses at the Pony Canyon record company have blocked any and all Hanako Oku music videos in Unova, so it is difficult for us to share the song over YourTube, or Twatter, or Glueggle +, etc.  One of these links might work however.

https://en.musicplayon.com/Hanako-Oku-Kimi-No-Hana-635494.html

http://www.jpopasia.com/hanakooku/videos/62181/kimi-no-hana-%E3%82%AD%E3%83%9F%E3%81%AE%E8%8A%B1/

It is a pretty good anime theme. A good anime theme always gets you in the right frame of mind for the show. The song certainly does have its moments where Snivy and I are in our “Hanako Heaven”.

Something else is notable about the show. Hanako Oku also makes her voice acting debut in the series! She plays a pancake house server in the ninth episode. I freeze-framed her line in the photo below. The Little Great One’s only line was “Here’s your next plate” (in Japanese).

The next day, Snivy kept saying “Here’s your next plate … Here’s your next plate”. The cute little guy.

You only get to see the animated-Oku’s hand as she delivers another plate of pancakes to the main character at an all-you-can-eat pancake buffet. Perhaps this will mark the beginning of larger voice acting roles?

Starlight: HAPPY BIRTHDAY HANAKO OKU – BORN MARCH 20, 1978!

Pokémon Nicknames: Rockruff and Lycanroc

A L O L A    C O U S I N S !

Cute little wolf-cub/puppy Rockruff (in Japanese: イワンコ  “Iwanko”) is a Rock-type Pokémon introduced in the Alola Region (Generation 6 ).

Rockruff evolves into Lycanroc (in Japanese: ルガルガン  “Lugarugan”) starting at level 25, where it remain a Rock-type. Lycanroc has two forms however. The Midday Form – when Lycanroc evolves in the Pokémon Sun game, and Midnight Form – when it evolves in Pokémon Moon. (Reference: Bulbapedia.)

I often like to give a Rockruff a “rock” type name from the rock and mineral terminology I learned in Geology 101. Names like “Silica”  are cute for a Rockruff, and I think it still works if you evolve it into the Midday-Form Lycanroc.

Names like “Granite”, “Mica” or even “Formica” are examples. You should choose “rough” type rock names, or rocks which are sandy in color/texture. You would not name a Rockruff “Obsidian” although that might be OK for the Midnight-Form of Lycanroc.

Ha! A nice geology joke!

A related name might be “Brownstone” after the type of apartment building condos which rich yuppies like to purchase and gentrify. Those in my generation may be tempted to name Midday Lycanroc “Steppenwolf“. Get your motor runnin’.  Or how about “Wulfie” which was what Mozart’s wife called the great composer in the film Amadeus. … (Denny sighs) … Oy.

The Midnight-Form of Lycanroc is a Werewolf of sorts. This form has a deep-red coloration which matches the bloodthirsty character of a were- beast. I named my first Lycanroc Red Moon, then another as Blood Moon. (An alternative name is “Luna Rossa”if you want to be fancy.) A “red moon” occurs during a lunar eclipse. A Blood-Moon (as in “The Blood Moon Prophesy”) is astronomically the same thing as a red moon, it just sounds scarier. Fortunately, the four blood moons in a row predicted by the Christian prophesy, came and went in 2015 … and yet there was no end-of-the-world apocalypse. Wow … I am so glad that I did not cash in my retirement account, and then exchange it all for lap dances and boom-boom rooms … and … yes … I can see that I digress once again.

Bloodlust” might be a good name for this horny red wolf. On this theme of werewolves, lycanthropes and moons you could name Lycanroc “Bad Moon” as in “A Bad Moon Rising. Hey … if you have the SHINY version of this Pokémon , you should name it “Blue-Moon”!

How about “Red Whine” or “Red-Blooded“? “Aunt Flo” might be another lunar-cycle name for female Lycanroc.

Ahem … oh yeah … I like to think that Rockruff is a playful wolf pup.

Oh yeah? Well the Japanese name for Rockruff is “I-wank-o” … so there.

Ha. You catch easily catch these low-level Rockruff and name them something silly. What would you do if you received a wolf pup named  “I-Poop-Rocks” over the Wondertrade?

One of my favorite Rockruff names is “Roofies”, but not for the date-rape drug utilized by frat boy jocks. Dogs say “roof!” as a bark – so a name like  “Roofy” is appropriate.

If you are going to sue about that bad night, maybe don’t use a dog as a lawyer.

There is the old joke about the guy who has a talking dog. He takes the dog to a vaudeville talent scout, and says that the dog can talk. The owner asks the dog: “What is on the top of a house?” The dog barks, and the man says “SEE … he said ROOF.” Next he asks: “What does sandpaper feel like?” and the dog barks again. “See ..he said ROUGH”. The talent scout is getting annoyed when the man asks the dog “Who was the greatest baseball player ever?” and the dog barks again. “See…” the dog owner says “He said RUTH … as in Babe Ruth!”. Of course the man and his dog are kicked out to the street, where the dog looks up and says “Maybe I should have said Stan Musial?

What is the name for your wolf-pup Pokémon? Please comment!

When I see the amazing face of SKE48 member Nao Furuhata, I feel like I am about to EXPLODE …

That’s right … explode … explode with a fury of great scrapbooking and home craft-making ideas.

These are some sample pages I made for for my scrapbook. (Click on an image to start the scrapbook.) I have also been working on Nao-inspired greeting cards, decorative throw pillows, and new laundry room shelves. I can’t help myself … I just EXPLODE with unique project ideas when I think of young Miss Furuhata.

I hope that the intriguing face of Miss Furuhata will inspire your own explosion of creative hobby ideas!

Nao says: “Now get out there and get crafting!”

Please see more of Nao on my Pinterest board for her linked here. Also, watch the YT video clip below and it will leave you exploding with unique home craft ideas!

Pokémon Nicknames: Crabrawler and Crabominable

Alola cousins! After a hard day of battles and trials, the last thing you would want is to have your dinner fight you back!

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Crabrawler (in Japanese: マケンカニ  “Makenkani”) is a FIGHTING-type Pokémon introduced in Alola. (Reference: Bilbapedia) You often encounter a Crabrawler when you try to pick up the cache of berries near certain palm trees. The Crabrawler jumps up, because you are messing with his lunch …

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… but the trick is on him, as you can make this crab YOUR lunch!

crabimg_0341

crabsimg_0342

Crabrawler has a very special evolution. This Gen Seven crab evolves into Crabominable (in Japanese: ケケンカニ  “Kekenkani”) only when leveled up at Mount Lanakila.

busterevolvesimg_0354

It then becomes a FIGHTING and ICE dual type. Ice makes sense – as Snowcrabs are a popular seafood. Crabonimable is likely named after the “abominable snowman” of Yeti legend I guess.

thebouncerimg_0350

My favorite Crabrawler name is “The Bouncer” after “Benny the Bouncer” a song by Emerson, Lake and Palmer. It is the tale of a fearsome pub bouncer who finally meets his end. A YourTube user has posted a nice annotated version of it here.

The song is a departure from other ELP progressive-rock songs … ahem …  as it is short by prog rocker standards for one thing … plus Greg Lake sings it in a Cockney accent. Here let me ‘ave a go at my Cockney accent:

Denny: “Sidney grabbed a ‘achet … buried it in Benny’s ‘ead”.

I know what you are thinking: “Denny, how did you learn to imitate the British Cockney dialect so well?” My answer: Andy Capp comic strips.

‘ello gov’nah!  Sure. I can see how Crabrawler could be a rough-and-tumble, rugby-playing, Guinness-slurping, pub bloke. Quick to fight, but also likely to have a beer and a game of darts with you after.

andycapp2-11-1961

I suggest using “punch” based nicknames. Crabrawler has the “Iron Fist” ability which powers up punching moves.

misc-crabs-img_0358

Punch-N-Judy” after the famous puppet show “Punch and Judy”. “Punchline” after the good part of a joke. I think that this Alola Pokémon might be asked “How about a Hawaiian Punch”?

Raging Crab” or some derivation — after the boxing movie “Raging Bull”. “Let’s Dance” after the David Bowie song, and the euphemism for “Let’s fight”.

Cruisin’” as in the expression “You are Cruising for a bruising!”.

The Contender” is a classy reference  – after Marlon Brando’s famous line in “Requiem for a Heavyweight” … “I coulda been a CONTENDER! … now I’m just a bum.” Yes, we mediocrities always think about what coulda been – had we lived up to our potential. “Palooka” is another name used there by Brando referring to washed-up boxers.

Some players use “Rocky” movie themed names. Crabrawler has this one beat-up eye, and does looks a little like Sylvester Stallone saying “Yo Adrian”.

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You can use other crab or crustacean names I have previously suggested for other Pokémon.  Here is hoping that my names will lead you to create your own crab-like names

please comment!

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