A beautiful mind…a beautiful life. Sakai Izumi.

On December 12th Zard's final recording "Glorious Mind" (jbcj-4003) will be released placing the final bookend to what has been one of the most loved and celebrated works in J-Pop history. I received both of these tribute albums back in late August and felt that this is the right time for me to pay a final tribute to one of my early J-Pop loves. "Soffio de vento" is a compilation of Sakai Izumi's favorite songs personally chosen by her and "Brezza di mare" is a collection of songs from her catalog paying tribute to her memorable career. Sakai Izumi was the lyricist and driving voice of Zard's success and the group debuted on February 10th 1991 with their single "Good-bye My Loneliness and these past 16 years have produced 19 albums (including collections) & 42 singles. Sakai Izumi was known to be extremely shy and the group rarely appeared live on t.v. and only much later in her career did Zard go on tour which which became one of the most anticipated live events in Japan's music history.

In early '95 I first heard Zard's music when a friend suggested her album "Forever You." I was really moved by her voice and one of the most mutually agreed upon points of her music throughout her career has been fan's relationship with the meaning of her lyrics which can be easily related to. A stand out track on "Forever You" is "Anata wo kanjiteitai" which was also released as a single on December 24th 1994. I was still fairly new to J-Pop back then and everything seemed to be peaking at the time with so many new artists out there to discover. I still have a deep sense of nostalgia when I play this song as it takes me back to those days and the many fond memories of new friendships brought together by the power of music. It truly brings warmth to me each and every time. This song is also the perfect representative for Zard's trademark sound. Take note of Sakai Izumi's graceful and yet extremely powerful voice. A few selected Zard tracks have been chosen and hopefully will inspire new fans and longtime fans alike and here's the first song "Anata wo kanjiteitai"

"Anata wo kanjiteitai"

Nee sonna ni shaberanakutemo
Even if you don't talk much
Watashi waratte irareru kara
I can smile
Mou aenai ki ga shite…
I have a feeling that I cannot see you anymore…
Daremo inai eki no houmu
On the platform of an empty station
Sorezore no fuyu erabi omoide ni te wo futta
Choosing several Winters I waved my hand to memories

Anata wo kanjiteitai
I want to feel you
Tatoe touku hanareteitemo
Even if you are far away
Tokimeku kokoro tomenaide
Don't stop your throbbing heart
Minna mienai ashita wo sagashiteiru
Searching for a tomorrow that no one can see
Yakusoku nante nanimonai kedo
Although we don't have promises
Kawaranai futari de iyou ne
Let's remain an unchanged couple

Furueru kuchibiru fusaide
Closing my quivering lips
Wakare kiwa iikaketa kotoba ni
When I was about to speak on the brink of parting
Mou aenai ki ga shita…
I had a feeling that I cannot see you anymore…
Hitori aruku machijuu ga nijinda kyandoru de ippai
The whole street where I walk alone is full of blurred candles

Anata wo kanjiteitai
I want to feel you
Shiroi toiki no kisetsu no naka de
In the season when one's breath is white
Imasugu tondeyukitai kedo
Although I want to fly to you immediately
Subete wo sutete yukenai watashi ga iru
I cannot just throw away everything and go
Kuchi ni dasanai yasashisa ga itai
It hurts not being able to express my gentleness
Mado no soto mo yuki ni kawatta
Even outside the window it has changed to snow

Anata wo kanjiteitai
I want to feel you
Giniro no kisetsu no naka de
In the silver season
Kagayaki tsuzukete hoshii
I want (you to) continue shining
Dakedo tokai no supiido ni nagasarenaide
But don't be carried away by the city speed
"Matteiru kara" to doushite ano toki sunao ni ienakatta no darou…
Why at the time I could not say "I'm waiting for you" gently…

From the time I bought "Forever You" I began collecting Zard's back catalog and it being her 6th album I had quite a bit of backtracking to do. While some of her singles were already out of print I was able to acquire her entire back catalog at the time with the help of used record stores and the great online site Otokichi Premium which specializes in rare catalog items. I've remained a loyal fan ever since as Zard's incredible music kept turning out their special breed of J-pop and I own her entire catalog comprised of 19 albums (including 2 new tribute albums), 42 singles, 2 DVDs and various extras.

The second song that I'd like to share is the title track from her 7th album titled "Today is Another Day." It's a beautiful rock song with folk undertones which presents a great example of Zard's "band" sound at its best. The horn section adds a nice accent and if you follow the romanized lyrics you'll notice Sakai Izumi's unique phrasing as she often separates or combines words in a rhythmic pattern creating a complex touch to her vocals…

"Today is Another day"

Kawaikunarenai hontou no wake wa
Anata ga watashi wo erabanaitte shitteiru kara
I can't be cute anymore knowing I wasn't chosen (by you)
Kikioboe no aru ashioto ga shite
Hearing the familiar sound of footsteps
"Aa" to furi kaettara hito chigaidatta
"Aa" I look back but it turns out to be someone else

Kitto kokoro ga sabishiinda
Surely it feels lonely in the heart
Hito ni kitai shitai atenishitai shinjiteitai
I want to place expectations, hopes and trust in others
Moshi anata wo wasureraretara soredemo watashi ikite ikeru no kana
I wonder if I can go on living even if I were able to forget you
Ashita ga aru
There's still tomorrow

Kuchi ga umai hito dato dareka ni kiita
I heard from someone that he is good with words
Me no mae no tottemo yowai hito wa uso nano?
The weak person who stands in front of me makes it all seem like a lie
Utagai dashitara kiriganai noni ne
But if I start doubting there will be no end to it
Baka mitai soredemo anata no yume wo miru
Although it is foolish, I still dream about you

+Kitto kokoro ga sabishiinda
Surely it feels lonely in the heart
Hito ni kitaishinai atenishinai shinjitakunai
When we place no expectation, hope, or trust in others
Kanashii genjitsu wo nageku yori ima nani ga dekiruka wo kangaeyou
Rather than sighing about this sad reality, let's think what we can do about it now
Kyou ga kawaru
The day's going to change

Repeat +

Today is another day

The bonus DVDs which are included with Zard's 2 tribute albums include 4 pvs of sorts which include candid photo shoot footage along with "live" footage which resembles what could have been part of an actual music video. Most if not all of it appears to be previously unreleased footage and it has the look and feel of a warm home video. While much of Zard's pvs in the past looked much less like music videos and rather resembled on location shots and scenery, I have a distinctly different perspective as I watch these 2 DVDs now. It gives me a kind of warmth seeing her in these photo shoots and pv like live settings. Like watching personal archival footage which has only been released now as a memorial piece.


Sakai Izumi you left us way too soon…thank you for the gift of your everlasting music, elegant voice, & words for us to find comfort in.

The 3rd and final song (for the time being) that I'd like to share with everyone is my most favorite Zard song. "You and me (and…)" ranks among my all time favorite J-Pop songs. Sakai Izumi has one of the most distinct, unique, & powerful voices that I've ever heard. And it's not just in the studio as evidenced on Zard's live CD & DVD concert releases as she sounds equally as amazing live! This song is also in my top 5 favorite J-Pop ballads of all time. Please give this song a listen as it's poetic ambiance will surely move you. May Sakai Izumi's voice fill your heart with happiness as she has mine. Thanks for listening. And lastly the romanization & translation of "You and me (and…)."

"You and me (and…)"

"Gairoju no shita de yakusoku shita" to
(She said) "(He) promised under the roadside tree"
Kanojo no hazumu koe ni watashi, tomadoi wo kakusenakatta
To her bouncy voice, I could not conceal losing my bearings
Ibu no yoru wa tabun kanojo to sugosu no ne
You will probably spend Xmas eve with her, right?

+Mou dekinai wa enjirarenai
I can no longer, I cannot act
Todokanai omoi wa tada konayuki ga mau machi ni kieteyuku
Those thoughts beyond reach could only vanish in the street where the powdery snow dances
Kuzurehajimeta haamonii
The harmony that started to collapse
You and me

"Ima dake kangaete" sou itte daita
"Only consider now" saying this you held me
Kanjiteru noni mune ga itai
Although I feel this way, my heart aches
Yurusarenu yume wo mita no
For I dreamed a forbidden dream
Kanojo to tomodachi de itai no kore kara mo
I still want to be friends with her from now on

++Mou nakanaide ai wa zankoku ne
Don't cry anymore love is cruel
Atatameta toki wa tooi
Warm times are distant
Deatta koro ni mou modorenai no kaze ni togireta haamonii
We can no longer return to the time we met, the harmony that is interrupted in the wind
You and me



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About MorningBerryz

Lover and free spirit who's interests in Japanese culture and the like are insatiable. I am of pure Japanese/Okinawan descent, love my cats, sleep and am a bit naughty at times :).
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8 Responses to A beautiful mind…a beautiful life. Sakai Izumi.

  1. laura says:

    Wow. I havent downloaded the songs yet but just by reading the lyrics I felt moved. I cant wait to hear them for real now. 🙂


  2. laura I can't stress enough how much of an important part Sakai Izumi had on J-pop in general. I hope you find a new found love in these songs. 🙂 There's so much more to share and this is really just the tip of the iceberg. Zard has so many great songs but I thought I'd start off with these 3 with their special connection personally. I hope to post more in the future. 🙂


  3. Nyocok says:

    Hi, thank you for sharing the lyrics…. it hard to found. I try my best to collect all ZARD collection but it look to find that collection especially in my country….can you recominded me where can i find all the collection? thaks…


  4. Hotaru says:

    Wow, the lyrics are very moving! I'll have to download the songs and listen!!


  5. A good place to start would be Otokichi Premium, he has 13 of her singles in stock right now. Yahoo! Auctions would be the next place to search. I hope you're able to find the releases that you're looking for.


  6. Hotaru I hope you enjoy the songs! They present a nice little look into the music of Zard and I tried to pick out 3 that would help familiarize others with her music.


  7. HarimaKenji says:

    Too bad I can't download from Megaupload… Download slots are limited in Brazil, and they seem to be always over when I try to download. Well, I could get past that, but I'm lazy T_T So I went to less-quality YouTube. Great songs ^_^ I actually had already read one post here about ZARD, and even got a torrent but in the end I didn't download T_T was so busy looking for old H!M episodes I abandoned it. Now you made me start downloading again =) Your blog is helping my J-pop knowledge expand. It will be done sometime tomorrow, I can't wait =)


  8. HarimaKenji I'm sorry that the links didn't work in Brazil. I'm very happy that you found another way to get them! There are so many great Zard songs. I wish I had the time to post more translations here. If you check for other songs her first 7 albums and the singles released in that time are her strongest. Here's 23 of my all time favorite Zard songs (in no particular order)"You and me (and…)", "Hitomi Sorasanaide", "Season", "Don't You See!", "Just Believe in Love", "Anata wo kanjiteitai", "Sayonara ienakute", "Oh My Love", "Dareka ga matteiru", "Yureru omoi", "Top Secret", "My Baby Grand", "Today is Another Day", "Kimi ga ita kara", "Kimi ni aitakunattara…", "Ai ga mienai", "Makenaide", "Just For You", "My Friend", "Sukina youni odoritaino", "Kokoro wo hiraite", "I'm in Love", and "Tooi hi no nostalgia."


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