「Featured post」Matsu Takako…a love story

(Originally posted on February 10th, 2008 @ 2:34 am.)

(edit: all audio which was lost during my move from Vox to WordPress have been re~uploaded to this post. If there are any other older posts dated before September 12th, 2010 (originally “Vox” posts) in which you’d like to hear or see the audio/video clips for please leave a request in the top page tab titled “Requests.” With the exception of re~uploading “Kisses” (live), all other videos which originally were posted to Vox, I’ve embedded from Youtube as it saves me a bit of memory space here too =) )

Okay it’s not really a love story but rather my really really really extreme fondness of Matsu♥Takako…………on second thought I’ll call that feeling “love.” Many may be familiar with Matsu Takako through her numerous drama appearances, t.v. commercials, movies, and kabuki stage performances…and for me it all started when I first saw her in the drama “Long Vacation” (my favorite drama!) alongside the incredible cast of Kimutaku, Takenouchi Yutaka, and Yamaguchi Tomoko. I found her performance to be so real & heartfelt and somehow I think that I will always reflect on that character she played whenever I think of her. She was also really great in “Love Generation” as she was once again reunited with Kimutaku in drama heaven and she also appears in “Hitotsu yane no shita” which is just behind “Long Vacation” on my all time favorite drama list! I’ve already revealed Matsu Takako as being my favorite actress but to really truly “love” her I think that one must also love her music as well. It’s become such an extension of herself and as a very talented pianist not just in the drama “Long Vacation” but in real life too, Matsu Takako has grown into a premier lyricist and music writer as well.

Her musical career debut on March 21st, 1997 with her single “Ashita, haruga kitara” was quite a surprise, but looking at her and her family’s background which is firmly set in performance, this venture into the music industry appears more as a natural progression for her. And it didn’t take long at all for Matsu Takako to become involved in the music writing as her debut single’s coupling with song “Zutto…iyouyo” features complete lyrics written by herself. Her debut album “Sora no kagami” (the sky’s mirror) would feature a solo piano instrumental performance by Matsu Takako and with the release of just her second album “Ai no tobira” (“love’s door”) a song completely composed by herself, lyrics & music would appear in the album’s last track “Anata e” with once again Matsu Takako on piano. And as her musical career progressed so did her involvement in songwriting and this trend wouldn’t be held back to just album tracks as her singles as well would start to reflect more and more writing credits to her name beginning with her single released in September of ’99 where the entire release was penned by herself, lyrics & music! “Yume no shizuku” and it’s coupling with song “Days” (which is posted here later) are both beautiful compositions and they provided just a hint into the impressive song writing talents of Matsu Takako as this single resembles that of a double a-side release.

When a performer goes from being so well known in one genre and then into a vastly different career choice one can’t help but scrutinize their ability for success and the possibility of longevity in this new venture. While I never had any second thoughts on her ability to develop musically, the real eye opener for me was in her vocals and just how that voice that I was then so familiar with would make the shift as a vocalist. To put that into perspective…think right now of your favorite actor/actress/celebrity…got it?…and now try to imagine what they’d sound like as a singer. With Matsu Takako I was much in this same frame of mind when I first heard about her musical debut and while I absolutely love hearing her speak, I wondered how much I would actually enjoy her singing voice.

There’s a simple elegance in her voice that translated well into becoming a vocalist and the real beauty in this is how unlike some other vocalist whom sound very different in speaking and singing tones, Matsu Takako’s endearing voice carries that same intonation into her singing as well. 🙂 Through the years since her debut, Matsu Takako’s vocals have also grown in range and control and I’ve been a very happy spectator to have witnessed all of this in real time. Listening to her earlier works versus her latter ones is the very essence of how an artists’ approach can become refined and broader in time, thus allowing that said artist to grow in the love of their art form. Matsu Takako embodies all of this and more.

An artists’ live performance can sometimes seem and possibly feel like an out of body experience I imagine, and while some take naturally to the stage from their comfortable confines of a recording studio I wondered if Matsu Takako would ever tour and share her music in a new light where improvisation is possible. It wouldn’t be until early 2002 that Matsu Takako would finally release a live concert (“a piece of life” on film”) and the wait was well worth it and maybe even more so in that her development as a musical artist had become so much more a part of her by this time. This concert performance proved to be an intimate look into an artist gradually becoming more comfortable in their new skin and while for the most part Matsu Takako seemed to be perhaps filled somewhat with performance and “debut” jitters through the early part of the concert, by the mid point and specifically with her performance of “Kisses” (included later for download)  which the audience really reacted to, the performer that Matsu Takako is was once again born into fruition…that of a musical artist on their greatest platform, the live stage. Her vocals carry over extraordinarily well into the live setting and to say that her live vocals exceed those of her recorded works is quite an understatement in itself.

When it comes to H!P quite possibly my greatest gripe is their lack of musicians in their concerts and how this could really expand the musical possibilities and the individual members’ talents equally as well. With the exception of Ayaya, for the most part a live musician setting is a foreign concept to H!P and an aspect that I still hope will open up in the future as it can really add so much and bring such wonderful things to performances. In contrast Matsu Takako always performs with live musicians and her band is a stable selection of top notch musicians whom are all very well accomplished in their individual arts. And to make the point even stronger of live musicians adding so much to a performance, Matsu Takako’s live song arrangements always differ from those on her albums & singles and with that a great marriage of jazz, folk, and other genres of music can be heard in familiar pop songs giving them an entirely new life and approach.



Matsu Takako will be releasing a 10th anniversary collection on March 26th (catalog number: BVCR-17061) celebrating this landmark achievement and the LE set will include 2 CDs spanning her entire career of singles, a booklet, as well as a DVD which will collaborate new interview footage along with personal comments on her pvs in the past.

Matsu Takako has released 20 singles and above is my complete collection. Her most recent single “Minna hitori” (“Everyone’s alone”) was the first to feature an additional DVD which contains the titles track’s pv.

Matsu Takako has released 12 albums, 2 of which are compilations that contain songs that I already own and therefore chose to not purchase. The first pressing of her debut album “Sora no kagami” comes housed in a printed slip case and the booklet inside is decorated with pages resembling rice paper while the first pressing of her 3rd album “Itsuka, sakura no ame ni…” also comes housed in a printed skeleton slipcase while the CD casing itself resembles a book. 2 of her albums are live sets which compliment her live DVD releases.

Above are Matsu Takako’s concert release DVDs as well as her pv collections. For quite some time her pv collection “Sora no kagami” was only available on VHS but to my extreme delight it was finally made available on DVD in late 2003 a little over 6 years after its original release.

You may get a great laugh out of this!!! Back in 1998 Matsu Takako starred in Iwai Shunji’s film “Shigatsu Monogatari” and I wanted to watch it sooo badly that I may have purchased the most expensive VHS movie tape of all time! 😛 This 80 minute movie cost me 15,800 yen…roughly that translated into about $150! O__O!! Now you know just how much I “love” Matsu Takako. I even found an accompanying shashinshuu at a local Japanese book store which is filled with great cute photos of Matsu Takako from the film’s production. 🙂 I imagine that you can find this movie for much much much less now and it’ll even probably be on DVD too! For anyone interested, briefly this film is about Uzuki Nireno (played by Matsu Takako) who leaves her home Hokkaido to attend college in Tokyo. It’s her first time living alone and the film is built around her days of little adventures involving such experiences as a new apartment, new school, new neighbors, and an overall new landscape to become accustomed to on her own. The underlying story is one of freedom, pride of independence, and the joy of love. May we all experience these at least once in our lives! 🙂


While Matsu Takako has appeared in numerous t.v. dramas, many of which you may find online or at a video retailer, one movie that she starred in that I’d like to whole heartedly recommend is “Kakushiken oni no tsume” (“The Hidden Blade”) which was also released here in the U.S. domestically. Yamada Yoji’s masterpiece storytelling is brought to the big screen via his trademark style which doesn’t over glamorize the aura of the samurai class in old Japan and with a well paced film that all builds up to one of the most realistic climaxes in this genres’ history….okay in my very humble opinion! 🙂 It’s also a story of great love, honor, and devotion and with Matsu Takako in a lead role….um it doesn’t get any better….ah for me! 🙂 There’s also a subtle humor that’s spread throughout the film so please watch it if you have the chance!!

And now for a few of my favorite Matsu Takako songs!

There were so many favorite songs to choose from and here are just a few of them that I hope you’ll enjoy. I hope these songs will also help you in finding your own love of Matsu Takako. =)

Starting with “Akari no tomoru hoe” which was released as a single in March of 2006. This song’s arrangement is so beautiful and uplifting!

Matsu Takako “Akari no tomoru hoe” mp3


Hmmm…this may be my overall favorite Matsu Takako song…”Kisses.” Such a sweet ballad and to think it was a b-side!

Matsu Takako “Kisses” mp3


“Akubi” (“yawn”) has sort of a bossa nova feel to it and amazingly it’s was the b-side to “Sakura fuwari”…hmm…I think your going to really love this song!!

Matsu Takako “Akubi” mp3


“Days” is a wonderful song that starts off as a ballad and then transitions into a more upbeat arrangement that has really sweet slide guitars that make me think of The Beatles. The outro (is this a real word?) really builds up and is really melodic and sweet!

Matsu Takako “days” mp3


“Stay With Me” was Matsu Takako’s 7th single and the last one to be released in the 3″ CD format. I really miss this format which used to be Japan’s standard release size for all of their CD singles up until some time in late ’98/early ’99. They just look really nice and especially when housed in plastic casing which…well…was an extra cost back then but it was so worth it! “Stay With Me” is also the a-side to “Kisses.”!!! Arguably one of her strongest singles ever!!

Matsu Takako “Stay With Me” mp3


“Natsu no kioku” (Summer memories”) is Matsu Takako’s 9th single and it’s another wonderful b-side. She also penned both the music and lyrics for this song!

Matsu Takako “Natsu no kioku” mp3


Hmmm…you may be starting to notice a little trend here as the next song “Your Birthday” is the b-side to the single “Sakura ame, itsuka” which was Matsu Takako’s 10th single. She wrote both the lyrics & music for this track and in a strange manufacturing mishap there are 2 jacket sleeves in this singles’ case. O__o It’s the perfect song for one of your friends’ next birthday celebration! 🙂

Matsu Takako “Your birthday” mp3


And lastly here’s Matsu Takako’s most recent single “Minna hitori” (“everyone’s alone”). I really love the coupling with song for this single as well! ^ ^ The song is titled “Shiawase no jumon” and it’s actually one of my top 5 favorite Matsu Takako songs and I can’t believe that I forgot to include it…..I’ll most likely add it somewhere here later as I think it’s by far one of her best written melodies and she also wrote the lyrics too! 🙂 (I just kicked myself!) 😛

Matsu Takako “Minna hitori” mp3


Here are a few pvs for you to watch too. This is the end of my “love” story and I hope that you enjoy all of these songs as much as I do! 🙂 (edit: I originally included pvs uploaded to Vox but here I’m just embedding these pvs from YouTube….just easier that way and it saves memory too =) )






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 :).
This entry was posted in Featured, J~Pop and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

55 Responses to 「Featured post」Matsu Takako…a love story

  1. Mikey says:

    I love how you cover your great passions with insight and love! :)Downloadig now and viewing the videos… Another great post!


  2. Fantastic post here!!! (-as usual!) 😉
    She's quite lovely, and you've done a really nice job of featuring her! If she were to read this, I'm sure she would be quite flattered!


  3. Mikey says:

    Did you see this on Yahoo! Sports NASCAR about E. Jr.?? :)Look like Yahoo has been good coverage! I just joined NASCAR.com – I am Mikeymikez – big surprise there, huh? Hugs


  4. Tiggerkun says:

    WOW! I agree with the comments above. Wonderful piece! I truly enjoyed this one. I've been a fan of hers also. This made me appreciate what she has done even more. "Stay With Me" is my overall favorite 松 たか子 song. When she followed it up with 夢のしずく, I was hooked. Thanks for sharing.tig


  5. I've been wanting to write about Matsu Takako for some time as I've been so endeared to her for quite awhile now. I hope you enjoyed her songs and maybe you'll become a fan of hers too! 🙂


  6. I really don't deserve those words but thank you for being so kind! 🙂 I was a bit inspired that night and I hope that you liked her songs too. Haha I think I'd faint if she read this! 😛


  7. That's very kind Tiggerkun! I don't think that I write very well though but I do try. 😛 The only exciting thing that has ever happened to me in this regard was getting a short story of mine published in the school newspaper once! 😛 I'm so happy that you're a long time fan of Matsu Takako too!! 🙂 "Stay with Me" and "Yume no shizuku" are both such beautiful songs and we must have similar tastes!! I really wish I hadn't forgotten "Shiawase no jumon"!! She really has so many wonderful songs that I love and it was just too hard to choose between them…If I could have, I'd had them all available here…..but then on second thought I really want potential new fans to purchase her works too so just a few songs available here is probably best. 🙂


  8. Mikey says:

    "You may get a great laugh out of this!!! Back in 1998 Matsu Takako
    starred in Iwai Shunji's film "Shigatsu Monogatari" and I wanted to
    watch it sooo badly that I may have purchased the most expensive VHS
    movie tape of all time! 😛 This 80 minute movie cost me 15,800
    yen…roughly that translated into about $150! O__O!! Now you know just
    how much I "love" Matsu Takako."I spent $150 for San Bao's OST (Original Sound Track) CD for The Road Home! ^^ Never regretted it either… It is fantastic! Plus, it also contains selections from the score of Not One Less too… Here is Track 18! :)So, money is no object for us! 😛


  9. Mikey says:

    I already am! I already DL'ed all the stuff you have and saved her Youtubes on my PC. 🙂 Amazing what you can find around the Internet once someone introduces you to a subject! I should have been a detective! Or a pirate!! ^^Can you translate the song titles that don't have English titles? Thanks! 🙂


  10. Oh, I don't know… The way this was written, you definately sounded inspired!
    If you weren't such a big fan, I'm sure this would not have been so well written!


  11. Okay you win!! $150 for a CD is even more extreme!! O__O I thought that "The Road Home" DVD was quite expensive at about $26 but I'm amazed that the soundtrack costs so much!! Let's see…"Akari no tomoru houe" means roughly "towards the clearness of the light", "Akubi" means to "yawn", "Natsu no kioku" means "Summer memory/memories", and "Minna hitori" means "Everyone's alone."


  12. Mikey says:

    I'm not the kind of person that normally does that, but I had tried for months and months to get this recording! This was an Ebay kinda' deal. It's out of print, so you have to find someone willing to part with theirs. I've seen it as low as $75 since, but I wouldn't sell mine! It doesn't have any extras (booklets), or anything… But I really love the score of this film and it's Zhang Ziyi's first! I want her to autograph it for me one day! (Funny if she asked to rip it to her iPod as it's so rare) No one I've showed it to has seen it without shedding at least a few tears! :_) I've bought The Road Home about 7 or 8 times, as I keep giving them away as gifts! Thank you for the translations!! (scribbles furiously) ^^


  13. For awhile I was an eBay addict…it was really silly as it was becoming to be like Christmas day after day as different packages would arrive so I finally stopped. You must guard that CD dearly!! 7 or 8 copies?!! That's so kind of you to give them away!


  14. Mikey says:

    I'm glad that you recovered! Ebay can be quite an addiction!Yes, that CD and my copy of John Klemmer's Barefoot Ballet CD are in hiding, even as we speak! :PYes, I believe that I should spread the wonderful things that I discover as widely as possible. I seem to keep getting the good karma back… 🙂


  15. wu-san says:

    Ah some of the songs you posted up are quite good :), and it has a nice rustic – in a kind sense – quality about the early work, which I guess is an obvious formality. Your fave Matsu song reminds me of an old cassette tape I used to carry around with me as a child. Ok, it was chinese pop, but had that same feel to it. A family friend I'd visit when I used to travel to Malaysia quite often let me choose a tape to keep, and I actually ended up really liking the song. this was the late 80's I think, so I would have been about 4 lol.
    I'll try and search for the hidden blade to watch. the cover looks very familiar to me. Maybe I have passed it by in stores???hmmm I wonder.


  16. Thank you for listening to her songs! Especially when it comes to the songs that were either written or co-written by her you can really hear the growth that takes place as you follow her career. What I really love is that she's very accomplished on the piano and that's such a great tool to have when involved in songwriting. "Kisses" is so wonderful and everthing about it I just find so perfect! The lyrics are so easy to identify with too! I think that's great that it reminds you of a childhood song! ^o^ I hope you can find "The Hidden Blade" near you! It's really a great film!


  17. We were just talking about this and guess what!…Matsu Takako's compilation release is available for pre-order again. The limited edition includes an additional photo booklet and a DVD which includes music videos and more! The catalog number is BVCR-18140. There's also a regular edition available to order which doesn't include the booklet or DVD and that catalog number is BVCR-18137.


  18. Mikey says:



  19. Mikey says:

    "The Hidden Blade" – this the film you are talking about? Looks good! 🙂


  20. I know it's a bit pricey for the LE but I think it's so worth it as it'll include the vast majority of her releases from the past 10 years. And then you can watch her pvs too…although it doesn't indicate which ones will be included as she has quite a lot of them and I'm not sure if they could include them all with this release. "The Hidden Blade" stars Matsu Takako too! ^-^ Well you've already heard me gushing about it above albeit briefly as I don't want to spoil the story for anyone interested in watching it but I think it's one of the most wonderfully written, acted, and directed "samurai" films of its genre! ^-^


  21. Mikey says:



  22. ^-^ Matsu Takako has really wonderfully shot pvs and I'm happy that you think this collection is worth the high cost! 🙂 I think you're really going to love "The Hidden Blade" as it's so well directed and acted. Matsu Takako may even steal your heart in this one as she's so wonderful! One thing that I think you'll really notice about Yamada Yoji's directing is that he doesn't over glorify the "samurai" aura and presents them as "real" characters in a much more realistic sense overall. This film is actually part of a trilogy along with "Twilight Samurai" and "Bushi no ichibun"…the latter which I wrote a little about. If you enjoy this film then I'd enthusiastically recommend the other two films also! Although they're considered a "trilogy" the 3 films' stories aren't connected so you can watch them in any order too. ^-^


  23. Mikey says:



  24. I'm so happy that you ordered this album of hers! I'm really looking forward to her upcoming 10th anniversary collection too and I'm hoping for possibly some new pvs that I haven't seen yet…although I'm not sure if there will be any as I have all of her pv collections so far that she's released. I hope your friend becomes a fan of hers too! I just ♥ Matsu Takako!


  25. Mikey says:



  26. Are you serious?! I think that's great!! I just can't picture it…..your neighbor humming a Matsu Takako song…. 🙂 I guess it's the same way with me though…when I went to those 2 Las Vegas races I don't remember seeing a single other Japanese person there the whole time. And I got the occasional "what are you?" look. I'm an alien! 😛


  27. Mikey says:

    Well, the thing about song in a foreign language you don't understand is that the voice becomes like another instrument, so the melody comes through even more. I have a lot of those in my head right now! ^^ I usually listen with headphones (The Sennheiser PX100 foldables are an awesome value!) but sometimes, they are around my neck, where others can here too…I'm sure you've noticed that NASCAR is pretty much a "white People" bastion… ^^ But you know… and I know your are shy… chat them up! When they discover you speak English(!) and know a lot about NASCAR, they will certainly befriend you. 🙂 If you pop their stereotype bubble, they will treat you like anyone else. Funny, I wonder if the Toyota entry in to NASCAR had something to do with it too? Maybe they thought you where associated with that?? In many parts of the country, owning a foreign car still has a stigma too it. @@ And believe me, the average American can't tell different kinds of Asians apart at all! ^^


  28. That's a good point…I never thought about it that way before….the sound of the vocals become like an instrument when the language is unfamiliar. A few of the people sitting near me became really friendly while we watched the race….so I know there's hope for me seeming normal in that atmosphere! 😛 I actually have friends at work who sometimes can't tell the difference between different Asian races even though here in Hawaii it's such a mixed culture, and one of them after years of knowing me actually asked me one day…"what are you?"…:P


  29. Mikey says:

    Hawaii is a lot more mixed than most other places in the US! Less than 1% are pure Hawaiian anymore…

    I'm sure you would would fit right in there – once you perfect your "y'all" (you all in Southern) As in: "How y'all do'in?" 😛


  30. That's so true….I like to think of here as being the cultural mixing pot of the U.S. LOL! I don't think I could pull that off too well! 😛


  31. Mikey says:

    Hawaii opened my eyes when I was a kid! So many pretty mixtures!! And the Aloha Sprint… :)Come on, say it: "How y'all doin'?" 😛


  32. I love the other songs ~ Uhmm.. *minna hitori* ~♥♥♥ . Am really sad that all the pv's not working anymore. Thanks a lot for sharing, I will definitely listen more~!!


  33. Matsu Takako was just so natural in heading into music from primarily acting and stage performances~…."Minna hitori" is really a beautiful song! I'm so happy~* you're enjoying her earlier songs too~ ^ ^!


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  35. wolfychan2 says:

    Ahhh, I loved this post… You treat her nearly as a Goddess, your velvety writing is so nice to read. ^_^

    “To put that into perspective…think right now of your favorite actor/actress/celebrity…got it?…and now try to imagine what they’d sound like as a singer. […] ” That’s exactly what I do with everyone. lol As I did with Haruka Suenaga, I always wish that my favorite actresses/idols would sing. :3

    “Matsu Takako’s vocals have also grown in range and control and I’ve been a very happy spectator to have witnessed all of this in real time.” I can totally understand that… It’s a pleasure to live in real time the improvement of our idols, as we do with our little Berryz Koubou, C-ute, etc.

    I’d love H!P doing more instrumental concerts as well… But well, at least they do sing live. ^_^

    You’ve made of me a new Takako-san’s fan! :3


    • You’re so sweet~♥!!…but I’m so undeserving xD. I used to have more time to write up my favorite artists….life’s gotten much busier now but I do have an artist post in the works but it may take some time to complete =). I do wish~* that the audio and video clips were still here in this post…again me whining about Vox closing :P!! I know I should shut up…(^q^)!

      Mmm….okay I haven’t done this in awhile but for actor it’s easy!!…but I’d have to think about a favorite actress more…so many and they change over time……………………………okay got it =)….I had to really narrow it down lol :P. What’s funny too is that Takenouchi Yutaka (aka favorite actor♥) made sort of an album cover, it was for a drama he acted in and in it he was a composer so they mock make this album release with the songs being “his” compositions from the drama….instrumentals though =)…..


      ..the scan at the very top~♥! So I can fantasize that I have a Takenouchi~san album lol I know I’m such a dork :P. I feel the same way, and in Japan it’s so much more expected that everyone in entertainment sing at one time or another which I think is wonderful. Like when Sorimachi Takashi did “Poison” and the theme for “Beach Boys”….”GTO”…..~~♥! He may not be the best singer but I thought he did well and even Bon Jovi’s Richie Sambora joined him on vocals and guitar awesome!!!! Oda Yuji much more of an actor also used to sing and release albums and music videos……=). I have a few collections of his and a favorite of mine is Karasawa Toshiaki~♥!…

      …his album!!!


      I really think I’m going to add the audio back to this post, maybe tomorrow =). Karasawa~san has an amazing~* voice!! and you may not even expect it…..he’s sexy* too =).

      U~n so true! We grow with them and see their development as artists/idols along the way….it’s amazing when you think of Berryz Koubou all the way back to “Piririto Yukou” or Ayaya releasing “Dokki doki love mail”…..

      I do appreciate the live vocals from H!P~♥……like with Ayaya and Nacchi back then I think Momusu and BK and C~ute could all do so much better with live musicians on stage. (sigh*….) thinking of Momusu’s debut concert release…..live band~ =’s awesome! I think I want to add these audio tracks back here too…=).


    • Hi wolfychan, I just re~upped all of the audio here and re~upped her “Kisses” performance which is really sweet~♥…..I hope~* you enjoy them =).


  36. Mike Avila says:

    Oh God! Such a blast from the past! ❤

    See how much I have gotten from you? People from SDAFF are always so surprised about how much I know about certain subjects! lol If my memory wasn't so bad, I'd know a lot more! ^^ Everyone here loves Twilight Samurai!! I have to get the rest too.

    La La La Love Song! She was so memorable in Long Vacation!! And then you turned me on to her music(!) <333

    Pretty soon Princess Emma will be old enough to visit Aunty MB's blog!! They have been so blessed to have you around for advise on things they would like.

    Oh, and that $150 Soundtrack for The Road Home? iTunes has it now for like $10! lol

    I m so happy that you've kept your blog, and are making it even better! Having true love in your life makes everything better, ne? 😉


    • I’ve been in the mood to re~up some of the missing media to some older “Vox” posts and it’s just that every time I see an older post appearing a lot in my WP stats as being viewed I think gosh* it must be really sad to look at those posts and not have any of the audio or video to listen to and watch =/. It’s a slooooow process and I’ve done just a few posts so far =). Oh yes the trilogy by Yamada Yoji~*! It’s really refreshing too to see the samurai genre not being overly glamorized as it is in so many films =). Such a ‘real’ approach to the characters and what the samurai class were much more like in those days as they were ‘servants’ to lords mostly unless they went ronan :O. “Bushi no ichibun” is great too…


      ..and of course “The Hidden Blade.”

      Next if you get the chance please watch also “Love Generation” as it reunited Kimura Takuya and Matsu Takako like in “Long Vacation” but this time they’re both the central characters the story is based upon =)…..I think you’ll like the theme song “Shiawase na kestumatsu” by Ohtaki Eiichi which is really warm and sweet~♥.

      iTunes is amazing and wow that’s quite the price drop =)!….that’s so so true o(*´∀`)o゛♥。


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  42. philipleslie says:

    Hi there,
    Thank you for linking me to your wonderful post! I’ve never heard much of her music before, being more familiar with her acting in ‘Confessions’ (as it was released over here) and ‘The Hidden Blade’, which unfortunately I watched when very tired, so kept missing chunks of the plot. I’ve been meaning to re-watch it for ages so now have the necessary motivation to do so! I’ve been meaning to watch April Story for ages and ages, and have had the DVD (…priced not at megabucks any more, but around $7 from Taiwan!) on my eBay watch list for two years. I love her singing voice. You’re right: I really do love Akubi! Gorgeous song, as is Kisses. Otokichi has a few items, and Amazon several more. I’m adding them to my must-have list for definite.


    • If you’ve gotten to watch “The Hidden Blade” it’s really a masterfully written and acted film with some dynamic fight choreography too. Yamada Yoji the director actually did a trilogy of samurai period films and his real aim was to humanize their qualities and ways of life unlike how some films tend to glamorize the samurai aura. He really achieved a much more real sense of the samurai…the trilogy need not be watched in any particular order as the stories are completely unrelated. There’s “The Twilight Samurai” which is excellent!!….”The Hidden Blade” of course and the final installment is “Bushi no ichibun” which stars SMAP’s Kimutaku♥ in the head samurai role….

      Here I ended up getting the special box set and attempted a write up…this was waaay back when I had just begun to blog here:


      In any case do see “The Hidden Blade”…it’s an amazing film in every aspect and Matsu Takako is excellent as well in it and you’ll simply fall in love with her character.

      So lucky only $7!!! if you could get it. It’s a fairly slow tempo film I must warn but it surely has a warm storyline. Happy you like “Akubi” and “Kisses”…both exquisite songs! If you can get a hold of her album “Itsuka, sakura no ame ni…” besides the songs being great the album’s packaging is equally awesome as it’s like a little hard cover book within a slipcase…really pretty.

      “Kokuhaku” is like one of the very best if not the very best psychological thrillers I’ve ever seen!!!!!! I got the Bluray from Hong Kong awhile back and it’s one of those films you could literally suggest to complete strangers on the street and have total confidence that they’re going to be mesmerized by it….just a wow type of film which gets you thinking a lot too both during and after watching….I’d been long meaning to post about it but Blurays don’t play on my laptop so I’d need to encode it first and I really should get around to it.

      Okay getting back to Matsu Takako’s music although this post was originally from Vox so it looks really weird here @ WP, every clip is wonderful and it showcases the live band’s improvisation of the originals giving them a cool jazzy touch. “Kimi to nara” and “Akari no tomoru ho e” are standouts and the concerts packaging even came with special and really adorable headphones which is truly a rarity for extras…..also her performance of the pop standard “Yume de aetara” I’m positive you’ll find so adorably cute in melody!


      I was just reading your message about Gomaki’s clips and I’ve watched that so many times and yet I’d never caught Gomaki’s footwear malfunction =P..that’s so funny that they left it in!! “Yaruki it’s easy” is a cute song for sure…

      ..and when you watch the pv for “Te wo nigitte arukitai” it’s difficult to imagine the adult version of Gomaki’s career including of course her very naked shashinshuu which was shocking =O. Still one of my most fave songs of hers has to be “Scramble”…

      ….and “Kimi to itsumademo”

      ….which is actually an old classic which my Mom readily recognized when I showed her the pv years ago.


    • Just a few thoughts to your most recent message and I thought I’d place them here as I’m still curious about how your Matsu Takako music listening has been going ^^.


      And now I want to print something =)….Japan is probably the only country which can make a shark and a sting ray oh so adorable..and they’re playing guitars no less =D!

      Sadly the most recent song/video you sent me is no longer there…did they really ask you to remove it?

      I have not seen this Halloween performance before!!! What a full production and I love all of the costumes and Norip’s mic is even a jack o lantern..cute! Sayonara wo sugite is a great song, so catchy and I know I’ve said it before but Sakai Noriko is my all time most favorite female J-pop artist and I literally do own every Japan-domestic music release of hers with the exception of I think just a cassette tape release which is beyond rare and I even got her very first singles as 45s….lol vinyl really I couldn’t believe that a fan would part with them! =).

      Here’s an older post here with what my Sakai Noriko collection looked like back then as it’s grown since so those photos are much in need of an updating:


      I do have her latest release “Namida hitotsubu” and without question before the final CoCo post there is going to be a Sakai Noriko post as this blog just wouldn’t be complete without a proper post in tribute to Norip♥. Her “Natural Best” was one of the very earliest j-Pop purchases I ever made which was shortly after Morikawa Miho’s “Voices”, Moritaka Chisato’s “Do the best”, CoCo’s “Sweet and Bitter” which was actually still charting on the Oricon when I purchased it and a few Kanno Miho singles too. Norip’s voice so much reminds me of the legendary Matsuda Seiko and you can really hear it in her phrasing and tone just how much she idolized her…Matsuda Seiko really paved the path for future female J-singers.

      And about Sakai Noriko’s bad time she had which I blame mostly on that guy whom I won’t name because it saddens me so….I had written a post back then when it all came to a head and in case you’re curious it’s here:



      • philipleslie says:

        My Sakai Noriko collection is still growing, but it will never be as wonderful as yours! I especially love the early period, and Sayonara o sugite is my favourite of all. I love the sound of it and her delivery of the words: she doesn’t just sing it, she really gets inside the words and makes them sound like her thoughts. The pv is just so pretty, with the Spanish setting. It’s one of my ‘impossibly addicted to’ songs. As for the whole drugs incident, it’s one of those incidents that causes people to make knee-jerk responses isn’t it, usually to overreact. You can understand to a certain extent why advertisers would drop a celebrity who has made a mistake, but when the record company and record shops go over the top and take away your livelihood, that’s plain disgraceful. Everyone, be they celebrity or mere mortal, makes errors of judgement at one time or another. But isn’t it unfair that often when guys make mistakes their careers can take an upturn. Think of Hugh Grant: his career was pretty stale before he got caught with that hooker; the same for George Michael’s career after that incident in the public lavatory. Being female, Sakai Noriko was unlikely to end up a winner in the situation she found herself in, which is so sad. For me, the story doesn’t affect my opinion of either her or her beautiful back catalogue in the slightest.


        • http://ameblo.jp/ske48official/entry-11924088498.html

          So cute she’s sharing her AKGoods~♥ here and I agree Akarin’s lighter tones match her perfectly…I was just thinking how she has anime-eyes ^^.

          I had to look up paleus oh wait I may have spelt that wrong xD…pileus =)….and yes that’s quite the dark image of cloud you’d chosen and I’m thinking your piece here does has an underlying darkened tone….I like the keyboard tone you’ve chosen too as it has a sort of retro feel to it, all in all a beautifully moody composition =).

          I was really set on collecting all of her works as there’s just something about your earliest of loves but of course her songs are so top notch written and her voice just immaculate ~*. Her early VHS collection included her video clips along with her commentary between videos but luckily she eventually and long last I should say released her entire collection onto DVD which is great because I always worry about wearing out VHS and then you get that dreaded distorted line all the way across the screen sometimes which is the worst xD. I forget if I asked before but do you have a Book Off there? It amazes me continuously in seeing what fans are willing to part with as I found lots of her shashinshuu there over the years. I so agree about people needing second chances and how hastily fans and corporations can act at times depending on what has occurred with a celebrity. I’ll never for the life of me understand what Hugh Grant was thinking??? I mean hello..he had someone most beautiful and yet he goes and gets caught with a hooker?? =O I could begin listing my Nori-P song favorites and there are tons but it’d be much better saved for a proper posting I think and as soon as I get caught up with a few other projects I’m going to begin what may be the single largest post I’ll ever write here.


          • philipleslie says:

            Thank you for listening to Pileus! The video is a bit clunky, and would be much better if the transition from mushroom cloud to planet were smoother, but it was the best I could do with two still photos and iMovie!
            I didn’t realise there is/was a Nori-P collection on DVD. That would be a must-have. I haven’t noticed it on CDJapan. Maybe it’s out of print? I’d love to see ‘Sayonara o sugite’ in DVD quality. I was really pleased to see that the DVD of Okada Yukiko in Switzerland is still available on DVD. I’m definitely buying that, as I’ve watched two clips from the video version on YouTube and instantly wanted to see the whole sequence.
            Many people wonder about Hugh Grant’s bad decision! But then, people are very unpredictable. There’s a well-know Yorkshire (a county in northern England) expression which goes “There’s nowt so queer as folk”, which means there’s nothing as strange as people, ‘queer’ being an old word for strange/odd, and ‘nowt’ a dialect word for ‘nothing’.
            Really looking forward to your huge post! I’ll have to view that on Firefox, I think, to maximise loading speed!


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