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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.

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!

Pokémon Nicknames: Mudbray and Mudsdale

givemudbrayaname

ALOLA  COUSINS!!!

Mudbray (in Japanese: ドロバンコ  “Dorobanko”) is a GROUND-type Pokémon first found in the Alola Region. It is termed the “Donkey Pokémon”. It appears to us as a donkey (aka a “jackass”) or mule. Mudbray evolves into Mudsdale — the “Draft Horse Pokémon”  (in Japanese: バンバドロ  “Banbadoro”) at level 30, where it remains a GROUND-type. (Bulbapedia reference here.)

Could Mudbray be a mule too? Not technically, since they call it the “donkey Pokémon”. Donkeys, burros and mules all share some resemblance in form however, so I will still use “mule” type names. A mule is produced when a male donkey is bred with a female horse (mare). Another mule-like animal the “Hinny,” is produced when you breed a male horse (stallion)  to a female donkey.

mudbray_and_mudsdale_could_breed

Did anyone ever try breeding a male Mudbray with a female Mudsdale, or a female Mudbray with a male Mudsdale? Go try that at Paniolo Ranch!

Mules are bred to be smaller, but stronger and more durable than a horse. Mules are less obstinate than a donkey. Donkey’s are hard to get along with. There is a reason why donkeys are called “Jackasses”. Jackasses are narrow minded, and they will not listen.  Mules are thus a better choice to be a pack-animal. However, hybrid mules are usually sterile and unable to breed offspring.

breedingprogramgonewrong

When breeding goes wrong at the Paniolo Ranch

Knoxville” might be a good Mudboy name, after actor Johnny Knoxville who starred in the “Jackass” movie and reality TV show of the same name. I never saw it, let alone ever “tried it at home.” Apparently American audiences thought it was hilariously funny to watch people fall down. Also, lot of people in Knoxville, TN also like to get “down and dirty” like a ground-type should.

They call her “Bucky Becky”. Just be careful with the teeth there Becky.

Democrat” could be another good donkey name, as the jackass is the symbol of America’s Democratic Party. (Off topic: Elephants are the symbol of the Republican Party, so you could name your Phanpy or Donphan  a GOP themed name, then have them all battle in one big double battle.)

democratsarejackasses

... and it had such potential!

… it lost, but it had such potential!

A great name for a donkey is “Quixote” after Don Quixote the story, the play and the movie. Perhaps “Donkey Oatey” or some variation. Go ahead, and dream the impossible dream.

It used to be that the Pokémon Name Censor would not let you use the letters “ass” – not even in names with the word “grass” as part of them. Apparently this has changed, so “Ass” names will now work, particularly within your own Sun and Moon  game. Suggestions: “AllAbotD.Ass” or some variation.

Sometimes the law ... is an ASS!

Sometimes the law … is an ASS!

Teachers might like to use names like “ASS=U+ME” after the old saying – What happens when you assume?you make an ASS out of YOU and ME. Ha Ha.

cutedonkeysassume

Eddie” after Eddie Murphy who played “Donkey” in the Shrek movies.

Not Eddy Murphy

Not Eddie Murphy

My Fav Honky” or “Favrit Honky” is good, if you remember the line in the Steve Martin novelty record “King Tut” (linked here). The record was actually not funny at all, but when he performed it on Saturday Night Live or in concert, it was much, much better with Mr. Martin making his wild-and-crazy Egyptian arm movements.

stevemartin-king-tut

“Buried with a Donkey – He’s my favorite Honky – King Tut ! ”

The name “Brayboy” is a play on the words”bray” and  “playboy” because jackasses do bray like — well — like jackasses. Plus, most “playboys” are narcissistic jackasses. They think they are “Plow Boys” though.

mulesimg_0336

Sometimes you can base a name on which “Hidden Power” it can learn. For example, “Assisgrass” learned “grass type” as its Hidden Power.

Other famous donkeys include “Eeyore” from Winnie The Poo, “Benjamin” from George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” and the funny sounding “Baba Looey” from the old Hanna-Barbara cartoon Quick Draw McGraw.

You could play with Burro names, like “BurroSupreme” for Taco Bell lovers. “Paco Packo” or similar — since burros are good pack animals.

mulesimg_0339

The name “Forty Acres” or “40 Acres” would work for a mule, after the famous American expression regarding the lost “American Dream” — “Where is MY 40 acres and a mule?”

I like the name “Okey Dokey” for a donkey or a draft horse.

okeydokeylokeypinkieoie

Mudsdale is a “draft horse” or workhorse, bred to pull a wagon load. Such horses were not bred to be racehorses, however some racehorses are bred to be “mudders” — able to run fast in muddy tracks. Thus, you should breed your female Mudsdale to be an effective ground type. “His mudder was a mudder” is a common phrase for bookies handicapping a race. Thus you should use a mudder-type name — I suggest “Tuff Mudder” or “Mudder Effer“.

mudbrayimg_0332

Mudsdale’s signature move is a kicking move: “High Horsepower“. Kicking-type names like “Kick-Grass” — or horsepower type names like “500 Ponies”  may work. “Horse Sense” might make sense.

A good name for a horse is “Hot-to-Trot“. Oh —  and you may want to view my suggestions for Ponyta and Zebstrika for other equus suggestions. I would like to someday compose an all-Equus Pokémon team.  You could have Clydesdale, Mudbray, Rapidash, and Ponyta. Plus, Zebstrika and Blitzle could be there too.

Mudsdale also appears to have dreadlocks or a braided mane.  You could try “braid” type names — but I can’t think of many.

Found on Deviantart website. I might name a Mudsdale

Found on Deviantart website. I might name a Mudsdale “Greco-Roman” now.

You could base names on the large hairy hooves this horse breed has — “Horseplop for example, after the sound of hooves clopping down the road. “Cloggs” might resonate, if you like that type of shoes.

I would like to use the name “Kadiddlehopper” after the famous Red Skelton character Clem Kadiddlehopper .  Unfortunately there are too many letters. Maybe just “Kadiddle” would be a fun name for a plucky horse companion. The Mudsdale which I raised to battle the Alola Champion was called “Diddly Doo” — after the phrase made famous by Simpson’s neighbor Ned Flanders.

Mudsdale is obviously based on a “Clydesdale” horse. We all know about Clydesdales from watching Budweiser beer’s Super Bowl commercials. When I was just a kid, and my teenage friends and I would illegally sneak and drink beer, we would call them “Butt-weipers.” (Everything was funnier back then.) Thus, Clydesdale names might be  “Clyde” or “Bud Wiser” for males.  You could use horse names like “Happy Hoofer” (after the “Happy Hooker” books and advice column) for female Mudsdales.

The late TV announcer Ed McMahon  was long associated with the Clydesdales. He was also famous for his drinking. When I used to see the McMahon-narrated Clydesdale commercial of the horses pulling a big wagon packed tall with cases of beer —  I would joke “Yup, they are on the way to Ed McMahon’s garage.”

McMahon was Johnny Carson’s sidekick – or second banana – but he had a great jovial  laugh which made him agreeable to everyone. So name your Pokémon “McMahon”, “HiYo!” or “Sidekick”, especially since Mudsdale has strong kicking moves.

You know, I can do a pretty good Ed McMahon imitation. I know that it is dated, but just listen to my loud, boisterous laugh:

PUUUUHH  HUUUH  HUUH ,  PUUUUUUUUUUHHH ,  HUHH  HUH  HUHH

…. HOO  HOOH  PUUUHHH  HAAAH.

I sound just like him, right?

I (HEART) Junko

Silly me, I thought Ms. Junko Akimoto was an “Enka” singer. Music experts say that she is actually a “Kayōkyoku” singer. Enka is based on a pre-war Japanese traditional singing style called “Ryukoka”, while Kayokyoku is a much more modern pop music by instrumentation and singing style. Enka has been likened to tango, Kayokyoku is likened to jazz.  I’m not sure I could explain the distinction. I can remember back in 1979 when I could tell you the difference between Punk and New Wave music. But I digress … 

Call it what you will, I think that Junko-san is grand. She’s beautiful.

junko-51zaikqorzl-_sy355_

I’ve grown to appreciate these genres — mostly because I can’t stand what is popular in America. These songs are all about secret longings, broken hearts, guilt and atonement. It is a lot like country music actually.

I first found out about Ms. Akimoto-san from an Iwasa Misaki music video.

You will hurt my feelings if you do not watch this. You all know that I am a big fan of Iwasa Misaki, and that Wasamin has launched a successful Enka singing career. It was mostly through Misaki-san that I have grown to appreciate the traditional Enka Japanese singing style.

In Miss Iwasa’s video cover of “Ai no Mama de (The Way Love Was?) it was widely quoted that Wasamin is “tutored by Japanese Enka singer Junko Akimoto”. This particular song, lyrics linked here — was Ms. Akimoto-san’s most famous single. “Ai no Mama de ..” reached the top of the Oricon weekly single charts in January 2009. She became the oldest singer (at age 61) to top the charts in Japan. Well … this still makes her a spring chicken in comparison to any of The Rolling Stones.

Starlight: Oh what time is it? I think that Hee-Haw is on.

Denny’s Valentine’s Day Broth with Iwasa Misaki

wasasoup

I bought all the ingredients for our dinner at a “blue light” special.

You may find it hard to believe that I have never before bought an idol photo book before!

wasaminheartneobk-2056665

I recently ordered Iwasa Misaki’s first photo book from CD-Japan.  It is now shipped and in the air. I hope I get it soon (at least before my wife checks the mail). Don’t worry, I don’t think it will be a “gravure” photo book. Wasamin was never big on cheesecake photos when she was with AKB48. It was known that “showing skin” was really not her thing. I do expect there to be some photos of her great kimono outfits however. There may be one swimsuit photo, but I don’t know, I will wait and see. I also bought her latest records, but I will blog about those at another time.

Denny’s goes into another Wasa-reverie:

Wasamin was so happy that an unknown American fan pre-ordered her book, that she invited me over to her apartment for Valentine’s Day soup! [Denny bites tongue, does not make soup joke.]

She sang me this great Enka song “Blue Light Yokohama” which was one of the songs from her great 2013 album “Request Covers”.  I was thinking that she could have sung this acapella, but somehow there was musical accompaniment.

(You better watch this quick. Heck, it might already be deleted by the time you read this.)

God, I hope that Japanese cabbage does not make me gassy, because I am sitting on the floor. Ahem … Yes, I would love some sake, Miss Misaki …

What a lovely young lady.  She has graduated AKB and is no longer constrained by the “no dating” rules.  Likely, there is some young fellow she has her eye on. [Denny takes heart medication.] I think she was on the phone with him just before our soup. Still, I was happy just to keep her company.

Oh, what a dream …

Starlight: Happy Valentines day everyone!!!  

Kimonos on Someday … Haruka Kodama on her “Coming of Age Day” January 9, 2017.

harukakodamacoad2017-tumblr_oji9r4pucx1v8gcwyo6_1280

Oh … she turned 20 this past year. Will Harrupi just keep getting more and more beautiful every year?

It was “Coming of Age Day” in Japan on  Monday, January 9th. Several members of the AKB48 family were in attendance at Kanda Myojin shrine. I would like to share photos of all of them, but have been too busy to make blog posts. I thought I would at least share a few photos of one of my favorite HKT48 members — Haruka Kodama. “Harrupi” looks happy, and she STUNS as per usual in her blue and floral pattern furisode. The hairpins were homemade by the delicious young idol herself.

Holy Happy Homemade Hawkstown Harrupi Hairpins!!!

I am still in the process of collecting images from Google, Tumblr, and various websites which have covered the event. Several other of my favorites also were at the event. I will need to find photos of the glorious face of Nao Furuhata, the intimidating Jurina Matsui (who colored her famous jet-black hair for the event!), and that peppy little Ririka Sotou … just to name a few.

haruka-kodama-same-to-you-buddy-tumblr_ojj74vwghz1tvvzmqo1_500

“… same to you buddy!”

Of course I could not be there to give a shout to my favorite young idols.  The day was cold wet and nasty …

cold-wet-day-tumblr_ojijyajrvd1v8gcwyo1_540

… kind of like what it is like at my employer’s … but I digress. I will try to find and post some more photos and photographer’s photo links of the big day — as long as I don’t get hit with a frying pan.

bw-haruka-kodama-2017-coad-tumblr_ojk9a2d4cn1up7w0jo2_540

You know how “arty farty” professional photographers can get …

This link from Tokyo Girls Update should hold you for awhile.

Starlight: Happy Harrupi Hawkstown Haruka was born on September 19, 1996. Oddly, the same day I bought these stretch pants I am now wearing…

If you want to see more of Kodama-san, please view my Pinterest page for her linked here.

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