Denny Sinnoh's "Akihabara Starlight"

Posts tagged ‘Japanese singers’

Ohio coffee playlist with Moritaka Chisato

When I met her in that Ohio coffee shop, I kept telling myself “Denny, don’t stare  … don’t stare at her legs… don’t stare at her legs you idiot …”

Ohio!  Ha … “Ohio” that is how you say “good morning” in Japanese!

Ha … please don’t correct me, I know that the phrase is really “Ohayō” お早う or “Ohayōgozaimasu”.  I have become a big fan of Japanese singer Moritaka Chisato these past few months. Every morning I look forward to the perfect combination of 1) my morning mug of coffee 2) my iPhone on which I can watch YourTube videos, and 3) my headphones. It is the best time of the day, sitting there, having a good morning coffee … of course my life is complete shit at work, but at least I am happy for those 25 fleeting minutes. Ahem, I am particularly happy when listening to music videos from this wonderful artist.  All Japanese culture comes to me by starlight, and Moritaka Chisato is a good example. I first learned about her from another blogger’s post (MorningBerryz48). The original post is linked here. Moritanka Chisato had her first hits in the late 1980s and was popular through the 1990s. I guess you could call her stuff “nineties music” — but she recorded a variety of great music in many different genres. She was a little different from many pop/idol singers of the time because she wrote her own music and was an accomplished instrumentalist. Ohio! Lets us get to the videos!

The first song is 気分爽快 translated as “Refreshing Feelings”.  There are several different versions and live performances of the song on YT (check out the “drums” version linked here), but this particular MV is very intriguing. I would have to ask my friend Bob to identify the guitars which the guitarist plays here. Oddly, at one point in the video, he is playing a different one than moments before! Now I have watched this MV like the Zapruder film, detailing each moment. There is a “Mystery Woman” dressed in a green sweater-top. She never turns to face the camera, even during the big wide-shot group dance part. We … never… see… her… face. I was thinking that perhaps she is the Moritaka from the future, or perhaps visiting from another dimension … but then again I’m a nut.

Moritanka Chisato portrays a teacher in this next video “Song of Study” or “Study Song” depending on which order you read it. There are a lot different versions of this MV too, but I think that this one is the most endearing. Musically, it sounds like the mid-eighties. Somewhere between Cindy Lauper and DEVO.

Ms. Chisato plays a teacher. I have taken some notes: The superiority of the Japanese educational system is clearly on display here. Ms. Chisato is clearly better than any boring teacher I ever had. Who wants to listen to some dork lecture about rocks? I prefer Ms. Chisato’s suit. Oh, man in that tight suit, nice hose and pretty shoes — she reminds me of a young Mrs. Sinnoh. I like how at one point she gives a boy the choice between a comic book and a study guide, and he chooses the manga, much to her disappointment. After she teaches for a while she gives him the choice between the workbook and a Nintendo Gameboy, and he chooses the schoolbook! (Notice how much larger Gameboys were in Japan. Those things were HUGE!) I noticed that she gives pretty big tests. They are easy (look close) but they are really BIG tests. You will also notice that the school day goes by very fast with her. The hands on the classroom clock fly around very quickly. I sure would like to be this teacher’s pet : )

“They say that the big band sound is coming back!” (Sorry about that stupid comment. I have had to put up with that one half-my life.)  Now, if you have not exited my post yet, you are in for a treat. The next song is “So Blue”. Despite the big band, dance hall atmosphere, this song rocks out pretty hard.  I might even call it “progressive” rock, as it is so interesting and complex. Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir? Forget that, you will find a much better guitar/drum/strings arrangement from Chisato-san here. (Denny sups coffee.)

This next song is “August Love”. My comic-book reading otaku friends like Matthew and The Otaku Judge should recognize the lovely Moritaka is singing inside one of Superman’s fortresses. Now, this is not his Arctic isolated fortress. Instead Superman keeps Mori-chan forever young in this PACIFIC fortress. (It has a slightly different coloration.) Can you imagine the fun Superman has in that place, listening to Ms. Chisato – trapped in time — kept forever young, singing about August Love – with that facethat hair … and that red lipstick. (Denny gulps.)

Gentemen, hold on to your hearts, because if you have not fallen in love with Moritaka Chisato yet, you will succumb during this next beautiful song — “Watarase Bridge”. She was going for a Beatles “Let It Be” sound and video. Well, screw the Beatles. At least Chisato-san did not have to lie about who was playing the instruments. SHE IS!  Clearly one of her best songs, even my other Jpop hero Hanako Oku loves it. Psst: Watch for the “mystery woman” to walk through right at the end.

If you love Jpop, make sure that you add some Moritaka Chisato to your collection! Her official web links are here:

Official Website: http://www.moritaka-chisato.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/chisatomoritaka
Twitter: http://twitter.com/moritakastaff
Google+: http://plus.google.com/u/0/108720770772129735479/posts
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/moritakachannel

She has a great volume of music and video to explore. She is older now, and not publishing as much as during her hey day in the 1990s. She is married to a nice guy and has two lovely children.

I have also started a Pinterest board for Moritaka Chisato linked hereThanks MB, for introducing me to another great artist, I might otherwise never would have known about.

Starlight: I discovered Moritaka Chisato on November 16, 2016 through MorningBerryz48’s blog. I can’t do justice to MB’s post. She has all this great album cover art, photos, live performances, songs lyrics, etc.

Wha … Why are you still here? go have  a look!

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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.

In Birthdays today: The wholesome Mayu Watanabe

In Birthdays today: The wholesome Mayu Watanabe

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Happy Birthday Mayuyu!!! Born March 26th, 1994. Wholesome, yes. If you were expecting images of Mayu’s butt, see someone else’s blog.

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You should not be so “taken aback” Mayu, indeed YOU ARE are a very talented and WHOLESOME young lady.

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How I think of Mayu. Far from the “cyborg” of her early days. Mayu is a sweet Lolita. She is like sweet cotton candy … only not nearly as sticky.

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Mayu, you went to Ohio State too? So did I!!! …  come here and give your fellow alumnus a big hug! (Denny hugging Mayu). Mmmmmm … We will beat Michigan TOGETHER, Mayu …  Mmmmmmm. We will show that bad team from up north … Mmmmmmmmmmm … Just you and me Mayu … Mmmmmmmmm … That’s right …. Mmmmmmmm … just me and you Mayu …. Mmmmmmm … (Denny turns to readers mouthing words: I really didn’t go to Ohio State, hee hee.)

jw mayu 75a95269c79748a2e401d36e9f46fb60

AKB48 Trivia: Not many fans know that Mayuyu is also the official spokeswoman for the Jehovah’s Waitresses.

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(Denny inside the costume). Of all my hair-brained “Lucy” schemes, this one actually worked.

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Few Idols mark “Chester Cheese‘s Birthday” as an official holiday, Mayu.

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At first I was excited when Ensign Watanabe ordered me to  “swab the poop deck“.

mayu watanabe is not ticklish

Ha ha ha. You did not tell me your feet were so TICKLISH, Miss Watanabe … Ha Ha … You silly, silly girl, Hee Hee … let me try that foot rub again and

BZZZT – BZZZT –  BZZZT –  BZZZT –  BZZZT – BZZZT – BZZZT – BZZZT –  BZZZT –  BZZZT –  BZZZT – BZZZT – 

Oh, damn that alarm clock!!! Oh, what day is it … oh crap-on-a-stick, I have to go to work today….

————————————————————————————————————————-

Oh, you can make your own lame captions …

… just wish Mayuyu a happy birthday (Japan is 12 hours ahead of me).

A song? Of course there should be a song. I love that little teacup.

Remember this funny Mayu moment from AKBINGO? Will anyone be KISSED? Funny in English subs!

Every once in a while, pure MAGIC is captured on low quality video. Sigh.

See more Mayuyu fashions on my Pinterest board for her linked here.

Starlight: Mayu Watanabe born March 26, 1994. I remember that day … I got fired. Well, they say that God closes one door but opens another. True, I was shunned by pompous narcissistic pseudo-intellectuals, but …

… BABY MAYU CAME INTO THE WORLD!!!!  

Snivy’s birthday wishes for Miss Hanako Oku!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY HANAKO OKU!

snivy IMG_0103

My friend Snivy is a huge Hanako Oku fan. Probably a bigger fan than I am — because he reminded me about The Little Great One’s upcoming Birthday on March 20.

(Snivy wanted to share a song by Ms. Oku-san … unfortunately, PonyCanyon Records has blocked all Hanako Oku music videos in the Unova Region.)

Starlight: Hanako Oku, born March 20th, 1978. 

 

Good GIF Charlie Brown! These are my favorite members of the AKB48 Family!

Good Grief … I miss the girls. That being said, I still want to share another 16-member “dream team” of my favorite idols. Of course I am going to make lame jokes in the captions. Some of my references are decades old. If you can think of better captions, I look forward to your comments.

Now that Minami Takahasi is about to graduate, there are new additions, and some shake-ups in my lineup. Also, this time, I want to share some moving pictures … Enjoy! .. and please comment — I get lonely fan-boying all by myself.

# Sixteen: Haruka Shimazaki – AKB48

haruka handles the meat giphy

Cooking Challenges? Paruru says that there is NO KIND OF MEAT that she cannot handle!

# Fifteen: Mako Kojima – AKB48

mako loses at mario kart

Ha! Young Kojima-san still cannot beat me in “Mario Kart”.  HA!!! I hit her with a green shell, just as she was about to cross the finish line!

# Fourteen: Kei Jonishi – NMB48

kei tumblr_mndzb8FJt31rarpgro2_250

Denny: Oh, no! … Don’t say that routine AGAIN Kei …

Kei: “Jonshi??? Well, my name is Kei Keicchi Jonishi … you can call me RAY,  you can call me KEI, you can call me KEICCHI, you can call me K-CHI, you can call me J-SHI, you can call me SUNNY, you can call me KJ … but yas doesn’t have to call me Jonshi.”

# Thirteen: Haruka Nakagawa – JKT48

haruka toothbrush run 2006

If you just got up five minutes earlier, Harugon, you would not be late for practice!!!

# Twelve: Miyuki Watanabe – NMB48

milky stockings tumblr_nj8whjt1WT1ti8qgxo1_250

It does not look like it is ANYONE’S secret anymore Milky-chan!

# Eleven: Jurina Matsui – SKE48

jurina matsui is al bundy

Jurina, take it from AL BUNDY: Graduate with a degree. You do not want to wind up selling ladies’ shoes!

# Ten: Yui Yokoyama – AKB48

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The last thing TakaMina saw, the moment before she graduated!

# Nine: Haruna Kojima – AKB48

haruna kojima bouncing

Far be it for me to criticize anyone’s religion KojiHaru … You go ahead and say your nightly prayers the way that you want to.

# Eight: Sayaka Yamamoto – NMB48

sayanee fixing hair

Your hair? … No Sayanee, I do not think anyone noticed that your HAIR was slightly out of place.

# Seven: Minami Minegishi – AKB48

someone told miichan this was a greeting1

No Miichan!!! … Darn it, I am going to SMACK that guy who told Miichan that this was the proper way that American women greet each other at formal U.S. embassy meetings.

# Six: Aika Ota – HKT48

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Lovetan — Jim Morrison called, he says NOT to sing it like that if you want to sound “deep”. That is heavy, Love-tan … heavy.

# Five: Mayu Wantanabe – AKB48

mayu finds scientology

… Well Miss Watanabe, as we will be sitting next to each other for more than nine hours on this car drive …  you go right ahead and tell me everything I need to know about Scientology.

# Four: Sakura Miyawaki – HKT48

sakura karate part

What went wrong when Sakura-tan auditioned for “The Karate Kid 5” …

# Three: Haruka Kodama – HKT48

kodama nestles quick

Harrupi looked like she COULD NOT BELIEVE IT — when I showed her how “Nestles’ Quick” works!

# Two: Yuki Kashiwagi – NGT48

yuki kashiwagi traditional tuber dish

NO! … What is WRONG with you people? Don’t you know that ground up tororo root is a traditional Japanese food. NO! I was NOT thinking that … I wouldn’t … I like Yukirin, … oh God, NO … I never …

# One: Iwasa Misaki – AKB48!!! … as if you would have any doubt!

Sorry that I got carried away with that confetti snow Wasamin!

Starlight: Four decades of Pop Cultural references!

 

 

KIMONOS ON MONDAY: Hawks Town Haruka Kodama

haruka kodama tumblr_nmqs22p6OY1svq0spo3_540

Quick! Before you scroll down, choose ROCK, PAPER or SCISSORS. You will see why at the bottom.

Haruka Kodama STUNS in this blue kimono! I will have to admit that I have not followed the HKT48 very much yet. The market for the “Hawks Town” 48 seems to targeted a little lower in age than AKB48. Kodama-san is a rising member in the AKB Family however, and I have taken notice.

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This 18 year old Yamaguchi Prefecture native is turning into a fan favorite. Haruka or “Haruppi” (her nickname) is the “oshimen” or at least the HKT “oshi” for many fans.

If you’re happy … then I’m happy, Haruppi!

Her nickname reminds me of the cute HKT48 single “Hikame I Love You” linked here .  I even have it stuck in my head now … “HAPPY … HAPPY…”

Help!!!

haruka kodama tumblr_nmqs22p6OY1svq0spo4_540

Haruka Kodama is part of a “dynamic duo” within the HKT48 along with co-member Sakura Miyawaki. I’ve noticed that there is always a “dynamic duo” in each sister group. In NMB48 it would be Sayaka and Miyuki. In JKT48 it would be Melodie and Haruka. In SKE48 it would be Jurina and Rena. AKB … probably Mayuyu and Yukirin.

Sakura (L) and Haruka (R) of HKT48. They are not in kimono, but these dresses are very pretty. Maybe the sash and dress are "kimono-inspired" in texture.

Sakura (L) and Haruka (R) of HKT48. They are not in kimono, but these dresses are very pretty. Maybe the sash and dress are “kimono-inspired” fashion!

Haruppi trivia: Kodama-san’s birthday is September 19, 1996. Exactly the same day when I last updated my webpage at work!

Help me UPLOAD Haruppi-chan!!!

Help me UPLOAD Haruppi-chan!!!

Get this — her favorite color is “Black and White”. That is odd, for the very colorful “Happy Haruppi”!

haruka kodama inspires artists

Of course Haruka Kodama is inspirational to digital artists!

haruppi before and after being painted

Are you ready to face Haruka now?

DID YOU WIN?

DID YOU WIN? I’ll bet you chose Scissors! 

OK, Haruppi, you can relax now … Hey! … that’s not a kimono that’s a ROBE!

harappi in bathrobe

Starlight: I calculated that it is 6,899.27 miles to the Hawks Town Mall. How many Kodama postage stamps would it take to get my letter to Hawks Town?

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Iwasa Misaki: Denny cannot “Let it go … Let it go …”

let it go iwasa

Iwasa Misaki: “Let it go … ” She’s not talking about ME is she?

Listen on “SoundCloud” here:

I was playing this Japanese version of the Disney song “Let It Go” from the movie “Frozen”.  My son comes running over to the computer and goes “NOOOOOO!!!!” . I guess in his 5th grade class all the girls love the original song, and they sing it all the time – much to his annoyance. (Recall how annoying 10-year old girls are to a 10-year old boy?)

misaki tumblr_nnqqmxLO4X1qlem5oo9_400

“Oh Mr. Sinnoh … You CRACK ME UP !!!”

The boy might be sick of hearing it, but I could never get enough of the great Iwasa Misaki’s Japanese language version. The song is a “B” side of her new CD. Yes, I have already ordered this CD+DVD from Japan. There is not a music video of the “Let It Go” song, but please enjoy this YouTube posting.

Iwasa Misaki (岩佐 美咲)

Let it Go  ありのままで

(Enka version)

Special thanks to YouTube user: Shilluba Staniecki

misaki tumblr_nnqqmxLO4X1qlem5oo2_400

Starlight: Amazon says my CD-DVD should arrive by May 16th.

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