This was originally posted back in June of 2008 while I was still on the Vox blogging format but as a friend had struck a memory recently about a particular artist I had written about here it got me to thinking…why not restore all of the lost audio and video and resurrect this post for WordPress. After all there may be some newer visitors here whom hadn’t been around during my earlier Vox blogging days and with this post in particular it’s really a chance to introduce and share my earliest of roots and love for J-music.
So it had taken me about 5 hours on that summer day to brainstorm, write, upload, scan and put this post together all those years ago and while sadly the original posting/inspiration for this survey at Cutie Party which was on Misa’s Blog has now long since vanished with the closing of Vox, Misa’s survey format and questions remain as a perfect vehicle for documenting how one’s love for J-music came to be. It’s subsequently an also perfect means perhaps for others to find new J-Pop artists/groups to listen to outside of their current faves and genres of J-style, a nice way of sharing♥.
Okay back in 2008 at the time of this original writing I was most heavily into all things Hello! Project and thus the running gag you’ll find here of me trying not to overpopulate this post with all things H!P. But as H!P didn’t yet exist when considering my earliest of J-music loves which date back further, much of the answers here couldn’t even consider Hello! Project, making that task that much easier to accomplish =P. So without further delay, here’s the original survey posting with all of my original answers as written back then (except where an edit is noted)….as inspired by Misa all those years ago =).
(note: all audio/ video have been restored to this post to be as they originally appeared)
1. What was the first Japanese song that you ever listened to?
My first guess would be that I may have heard my mom playing Go Hiromi or Saijou Hideki albums when I was little but since I can’t remember that I’ll have to go with the very first J-Pop purchase that I ever made which would be…
…Morikawa Miho’s best of compilation titled “Voices…”, there it was on the shelf at Tower Records and I purchased it because I thought the cover looked nice…so much for deep thoughts. 😛 Looking back it’s a good thing that I enjoyed this album a lot!…because had that not been the case there’s no telling where J-Pop and I would stand today although I do imagine that it would have crept up on me in some other way over the years.
~Morikawa Miho “Blue Water” mp3~
Track one is “Blue Water” and this is literally my first, first hand experience of J-Pop. Right from the start you’ll notice just how powerful, unique and memorable her vocals are and thus my love of J-Pop was born! ^-^
~Morikawa Miho “Positive” mp3~
Track 8 “POSITIVE” may be a familiar one as it was used as a theme for the popular anime “Ranma 1/2.”
~Morikawa Miho “Tsubasa ni kaete” mp3~
And lastly here’s the final track on “Voices…” titled “Tsubasa ni kaete” which was also released as a single (scanned above)…ah I miss the look of 3″ CD singles and their unique casings which were once upon a time the standard release format for singles in Japan.
2. Did it inspire you to like that group/singer, or did it turn you away?
It was love at first listen and I actually went on to purchasing 10 more of her albums as well as one more single which makes up my Morikawa Miho collection today. It’s really a modest collection though, as she has like a gazillion albums released!
3. What is the one song that you have been listening to for the longest time?
This is a really tough one….I’m going to go with a song that I knowingly have put on numerous compilations that I’ve made over the years and that would have to be…
~Moritaka Chisato “Watarasebashi” mp3~
…Moritaka Chisato’s “Watarasebashi” which was originally released on January 25th, 1993. It would take me a few years but I would finally complete her album and single collection.
Moritaka Chisato has had a great connection with Hello! Project over the years as Minimoni covered “Rock n’ roll kenchou shozaichi”, Nacchi covered “The Stress” and both Gocchin and Ayaya have recorded versions of “Watarasebashi” which is my favorite Moritaka Chisato song of all time.
Here’s a translation of “Watarasebashi”
Watarasebashi (Watarase Bridge)
Watarasebashi de miru yuuhi wo anata wa totemo sukidatta wa.
kireina toko de sodatta ne. Koko ni sumitai to itta.
You loved to watch the setting sun from Watarasebashi Bridge.
You said, “You’ve grown up in a beautiful town. I want to live here.”
Densha ni yurare kono machi made anata wa ai ni kite kureta wa.
Watashi wa ima mo ano koro wo wasurerarezu ikitemasu.
You would come to this town aboard a train to see me.
I live with the memories of those days in my heart.
Ima demo Yakumo jinja e omairi suru to anata no koto inoru wa.
Nagaigoto hitotsu kanau nara ano koro ni modoritai
Whenever I go to the Yakumo shrine, I still pray for you.
If one of my dreams came true, I should go back to those days.
Tokoya no kado ni potsun to aru koushuu denwa oboete masuka?
Kinou omowazu kaketakute nando mo juwaki totta no.
Do you remember the public telephone standing at the corner of the barber’s?
Yesterday I came to feel like calling you up and picked up the receiver many times
Konaida watarasegawa no kawara ni orite zutto nagare miteta wa.
Kitakaze ga totemo tsumetakute kaze wo hiichaimashita.
The other day I went down to the shore of the Watarase River and watched the water running down for a long time.
The north wind was so sharp that I caught a cold.
Dare no sei demo nai. Anata ga kono machi de
Kurasenai koto wakatteta no.
Nandomo nayan da wa. Dakedo watashi koko wo hanarete kurasu koto dekinai.
Neither of us is responsible for our parting.
I knew that you could not live in such a rural town.
Many times I thought over whether I should accompany you or not.
But I cannot live in a big city, leaving here.
Anata ga sukida to itta kono machinami ga
Kyou mo kurete yukimasu.
Hiroi sora to tooku no yama yama. Futari de aruita machi.
Yuuhi ga kireina machi.
You said you loved this town. Night has been coming.
The sky is getting dark, and I can only see the form of mountains over there.
Night is falling in this town where I walked with you.
Night is falling in this town where the setting sun is beautiful.
~Moritaka Chisato “Futari wa koibito” mp3~
And here’s another much favorited song by Moritaka Chisato…”Futari wa koibito.” Simply one of the most catchy and well written J-Pop songs ever. Edit: Ah and I forgot to mention originally when I saved this post that Moritaka Chisato also plays the drums on many of her recordings and is also talented on the piano and yes! the recorder as heard in “Watarasebashi.” ^-^
4. What group/singer have you liked the longest?
This would have to based on some of my earliest J-Pop purchases and whether those artists had a longevity holding my interest…lets see: Impossible for me to list just one so there’s ZARD (quite a few songs are available there for you to listen to), Sakai Noriko…and I’ll include a song by her a little later in this survey, Moritaka Chisato, Ozaki Yutaka love his music!!, CoCo (edit: post covering CoCo forthcoming), Ribbon, Smap, Amuro Namie (original post can be found here, and Mr.Children. I could really go on and on but I fear you may fall asleep before I’m done! 😛
5. What is the song with the most plays on your itunes/media player?
The low tech soul in me doesn’t even have a loaded ipod or portable media player :P…so I’ll have to think a bit here…most played? (happily since then I did finally join the human race and get an iPod =)) Okay! here’s a strong candidate for that answer:
~Ribbon “S”ensational Wind (music video)~
Ribbon’s awesome single “S”ensational Wind! A group really deserving of a complete post here but for fear of having this survey turn into a journey rather than a read I’ll refrain ^-^. So just briefly here, Ribbon was one of the top girl idol groups which remained active until the mid 90’s and with incredibly catchy songwriting and the impressive vocals of Satou Aiko, Nagasaku Hiromi (
now was married to the drummer for Mr.Children), and Matsuno Arimi, Ribbon is one of the great landmark idol groups of all time. For more on Ribbon you can visit here.
6. Is that song your favorite?
It’s my favorite song by Ribbon…hmmm…deciding on a favorite J-Pop song of all time would be difficult indeed as I’d have to go through over 1800 J-Pop albums and singles trying to decide that, the product of collecting J-Pop for about 15 years.
7. If not, what is?
Ah too many to choose from! 😛
8. Is there any one group that you can listen to all/most of the songs by? If so, who?
No doubt it’s Mr.Children. For me they can do absolutely no wrong…love every album, ever song…such diversity. The Mr.Children post linked here is my personal most beloved post that I’ve ever written and I guess that makes sense since they rule my universe! ^-^ (Check the link above: my personal attachment to Mr.Children explained =))
9. What is your favorite agency?
Haha okay I’ve restrained myself for as long as I could during this survey!!!… :P…Up Front Agency and Johnny’s Entertainment. (edit: note this survey was done back in 2008)
10. What is your favorite group/singer?
I’ll have to break this down in a few ways to answer accurately….favorite band (male): Mr.Children/ favorite band (female) Princess Princess/ favorite group (female) Momusu, Berryz Koubou, CoCo, Ribbon, Speed, C-ute, Buono!/ (it’s a seven way tie! actually this listing could go on for quite awhile!)/ favorite group (male) Arashi, Smap, Tackey & Tsubasa/ favorite singer (male) Sakurai Kazutoshi, Ishii Tatsuya/ favorite singer (female) Sakai Noriko, Ayaya…ah this part of the list could go on and on but I’m trying desperately to narrow it down!… 😛
~Sakai Noriko “Pure” (mp3)~
From my favorite female vocalist Sakai Noriko…”Pure” is an amazing single that resembles a double a-side as the coupling with song “Photograph” was written by former Princess Princess members Tomita Kyoko and Okui Kaori, lyrics and music respectfully while “Pure” was co-written by the very talented Fujii Fumiya!
~Sakai Noriko “WORDS OF LOVE” (music video)~
Okay so I have a thing for slide guitars it seems :D!! Truly my all time favorite female solo J-pop artist and this sweet song’s just a tiny hint of what her music catalog entails =).
And last but definitely not the least (the most actually!) is Mr.Children, my favorite J-band of all time. First here’s “Love” which has a sound reminiscent of The Beatles… ^-^!!!!
~Mr.Children “Love” mp3~
~Mr.Children “Kimi ga ita natsu” mp3~
And next is their debut single “Kimi ga ita natsu” (pictured above) which is a beautifully written timeless song and one of the finest band debuts ever….with that dreamy slide guitar♥ and perfect melody.