As anyone who lives in the UK will tell you, it’s been snowing now for the better part of a week. Certain parts of Scotland have been cut off from the rest of civilisation; public transport services have been crippled; people have been unable to get to and from work; schools have had to close, along with some work places.
I have to say that I really enjoy the snow, it’s a lot more cheerful than when it rains (I enjoy that too). It’s been great to see the children running around in the snow, building snow people (is it un-politically correct to call them ‘Snowmen’ yet?) with their parents. All the while, trudging through the frozen and freezing water, making my way to work, listening to some very entertaining songs.
When I got to work yesterday, I was the only person who was able to turn up, unfortunately. As such, I was contacted by the boss, and told that I might as well go home. The same thing happened today; which was nice, if a little annoying (I’d JUST gotten to work when I was told to head home).
I’ve no problem with travelling in the snow bearing weather. As long as I wrap up warm, I’ll happily walk,
take the bus, or the train anywhere. There’s no problem. I, sometimes, prefer wandering in the snow to wandering during summer. Sure, people dress a little more flatteringly during the summer, but I’m not walking around to spy on the attractive people… at least not all the time ;p
So, walking to work today, I had a flash back from a very good film called ‘Swing Girls‘. Now, before you go calling me a pervert, I have to tell you that it’s a Japanese film… Wait! That doesn’t seem to have helped, has it?
All joking aside, it’s a film about a bunch of Japanese school girls who have to take extra classes during the summer break because they’ve failed their maths exams. After a while, they decide they’d rather be doing anything else than be locked in a hot classroom, studying a ‘boring’ topic. They happen upon a boy called Nakamura, and eventually start a Big Band Jazz bad. They end up performing, and winning, a prefecture-wide music competition. It’s a very funny film, full of amazingly arranged big band jazz songs.
Anyway, the reason I’m telling you about the film, is because I was reminded of a scene in the film today, on the way to work. To enter the competition, the girls (and boy) have to make an audition video. This is during the winter break from school. They eventually settle on the roof of the school, and end up having the maths teacher as their conductor.
The whole scene unfolded in my mind, this morning, on the way to work. The snow wasn’t as think as it is in the film, obviously because it’s set in Yamagata prefecture (think, North Western Honshu), and I live in a town on the North East coast of the UK. Even so, the overwhelming felling of nostalgia was there.
Then, on the way home from work, I had a slightly different experience.
I’d decided to listen to one of one of my favourite albums. ‘Z’ by Zone. You will be forgiven for saying (or thinking) ‘Who are Zone?’
Zone were, because they disbanded on the 1st of April in 2005, an all girl Japanese Pop band. (Again with the Japanese girls?). They started out with 8 members in 1997, but that was whittled down to 4 by 1999.
Anyway, the reason that this album is one of my favourites is because… well, hear for yourself. Here’s the music video for the second song on the album:
That’s their second single, called ‘Good Days’, as you can tell, it’s quite a fiercely cute, yet thumping Pop Rock song. It’s great to bop along to, and has really simple lyrics to follow. (If you can understand Japanese, that is).
The problem comes at the end of the album: There’s a song that tries hard to be a big budget anthem. It tries, and in places succeeds. This is fine, we all like an anthem every now and again, right? (I mean, how many times have we been caught up in ‘The Power of Love’ by Hughie Lewis and the News?)
It’s a very nice song. Unless you’ve seen the video, or can understand Japanese. Then, and only then does the little rhythmic riff played on a piano, keyboard , strings and guitar throughout the song make sense. It’s a bitter sweet song about leaving friends behind, and vowing to seem them again one day. If I tell you that it’s called ‘Secret Base (Kimi ga Kureta Mono)’ and was their most famous song, that might make a few readers twig.
The fact that it was the final song they ever played, as a group, is quite bitter sweet, too. During both the video, and the final live performance, all 4 of the girls burst into tears. I’ve have it on good authority that, much like Michael Jackson when recording ‘She’s Out of My Life’, there were a few moments while recording the song when they would break down and cry. The video I’ll dump here has English subtitles, so we can all learn what the meaning of the song is.
Here is an embedded version of the music video, but with English subtitles for those who don’t understand what they’re singing about.
Face it, we’ve all had those moments in our childhood, when we’ve had to say goodbye to a friend. We’ve told them that it wont be long, and that we’ll meet again.
Right, that is all for today dear readers.