Her time zone is twelve hours ahead of mine, so I wanted to send this out before her birthday cake is shared!
Yuki Kashiwagi (柏木由紀 Kashiwagi Yūki) was born July 15, 1991) in Kagoshima, Japan. Her home city is on the western tip of the island of Kyushu. It is the largest city in the Kagoshima Prefecture. Yukirin grew up in the shadow of the emblematic stratovolcano, Sakurajima. There are not a lot of songs about volcanoes, but Yuki is famous for singing one! (LINK HERE)for her first solo performance. Remember my old Sakurajima postcard?
Enough of the geography lesson. Today is your special day Yukirin. My you have grown more and more beautiful every year young lady.
You have made your Uncle Denny very proud!
Enjoy the day Yukirin. I have to wonder how long you will be an Idol, but that is your decision. Please keep us informed on your Instagram and Facebook! (Makes me wish I had not been banned from Facebook.) See the links below —
Ms. Oku-san is at a Shinto shrine, her first visit to a shrine this year.
The Japanese term “Hatsumōde”refers to a person’s first shrine visit of the New Year. Typically, it refers to a visit to a Shinto shrine, however a visit to a Buddhist temple is sometimes done. The translated page indicates that she admitted she has not visited a shrine in a long time. She also says it has been a long time since she wore a kimono! Oku-in-kimono photos are almost impossible to find.
She is doing that smirk, because that scroll she is reading is her O-mikuji.
An “O-mikuji” is a rolled or folded preprinted fortune which is purchased by making a small offering at the shrine.
I cannot tell from her post what the fortune reads, but she seems a bit amused — and maybe more than a bit skeptical about the prediction.
Perhaps the fortune predicts “at long last an unrequited love will be fulfilled”!
That would be great … but then she would be out of a job … Ha Ha … Oh.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?)
“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’sJapanese 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.
Likes: Pop Culture, Humor, Japanese Culture, Iwasa Misaki, Hanako Oku, AKB48 History, Kurosawa films, Kimonos, Anime, Lolita fashion, Buddhist philosophy, and finding the perfect nicknames for my Pokemon.
A fansite; for old and new fans of AKB48 and all their domestic and international sister groups: (SKE48, NMB48, HKT48, NGT48, STU48, JKT48, BNK48, MNL48, AKB48 Team SH, SGO48, AKB48 Team TP, and CGM48)
I HEAR YOU!