Getting Your Jingle On ♬

One of the nicer things about the holiday season is all the nostalgic music it brings with it.  Sadly my holiday favorites are never played in Japan, and unless your list consists solely of “Happy X-Mas (War is Over)”, “All I Want for Christmas is You”, and “Last Christmas”, there’s a good chance you’ll be out of luck as well.  I’m not kidding!  Last week I went to T.G.I.Friday’s in Shibuya and they played six different versions of “Last Christmas” during the course of the meal I shared with some friends.  Overkill is an understatement!

As unfortunate as this predicament is (first world problems-wise), it’s also given me a chance to check out some of the winter songs people here usually break out with at karaoke or tune into on radio stations/TV specials this time of year.  Here’s a list of five songs I’ve added to my winter favorites that I think you might like as well. 🙂

  1. Tatsurō Yamashita – “Christmas Eve”I doubt you’ll get through the season without hearing this one.  The theme of the song centers around a guy spending a lonely Christmas by himself while thinking of the woman he loves.
  2. Remioromen – “Konayuki”A recent favorite that you might already know if you’re a Japanese drama fan because it was the theme of the popular drama Ichi Ritoru no Namida / 1 Liter of Tears that aired almost a decade ago.  I’m not sure how to summarize the lyrics in a way that doesn’t cheapen the feel of the song, but you can see English subtitles in the video.
  3. Mika Nakashima – “Yuki no Hana”Another more recent hit, like “Konayuki”.  This one gets a lot of people right in the heart.  I think it perfectly describes how most people feel their love for that special person swell up inside of them, especially when everything still feels very new after that point they know they have completely fallen for that someone.
  4. Junichi Inagaki – “Kurisumasu Kyaroru no Koro ni wa”This is another classic you’ll often hear played.  A man reflects upon his relationship with someone he once loved.  It’s a little more upbeat than it sounds.
  5. Masatoshi Hamada – “Chicken Rice”If you live here or are familiar with Japanese TV at all, you probably know Masatoshi Hamada from the comedy duo Downtown.  What you may not know is that until Hamada and his partner, Hitoshi Matsumoto, made it big they were both very poor.   Matsumoto penned a poem called “Chicken Rice” that Hamada took and turned into a song with the help of Noriyuki Makihara.  Although it’s very simple ballad, the message embodies the holiday spirit of giving thanks for what you have, remembering where you came from, and keeping in mind the humble blessings that accompanied your journey no matter where life takes you.

So… Which one did you like best?  Or do you have another favorite?  Let me know in the comments!

– J

P.S.  I apologize for how long it’s taken me to update!  I had planned weekly posts as per usual, but there were some hectic things going on at work and the hustle and bustle of the holidays completely swept me off my feet!  Even though I’m on vacation now, I find there’s still so much to do.  Anyways to make up for the lull in posts, I plan to do an update a day from the 24th to the 26th. 🙂

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