Recently, my family and I were watching the yearly Japanese New Year’s special Kohaku Uta Gasssen on cable TV, and this year had a great song by venerable actor Matsudaira Ken (or “Matsuken” for short):
The song was originally from 2004, and was a huge hit in Japan, despite many setbacks. But like so many other things in pop culture it came and went. And yet, Kohaku decided to bring back this hit since it is so fun and uplifting, especially at a crazy day and age like this one.
I instantly loved the song, but couldn’t find it on iTunes (which happens a lot with Japanese music 😅), so I bought the CD on Amazon JP.1 A week later, I was happy to get my CD in the mail:
The CD is mostly just variations on the same song, but the kids and I have been enjoying it almost daily. We even worked it into a D&D session when my son (playing a bard) rolled a natural 20 (total: 26) on a musical performance check and really brought the house down. 😄
The idea of a venerable Japanese actor, dressed in flashy Edo-Period clothes, while singing a catchy samba song complete with a disco ball is next-level fun. If you’re looking for something a bit different, I highly recommend getting the CD if you can. Enjoy!
P.S. Speaking of quirky, one-off albums, I love the Christmas album A Very Spidey Christmas from Spider Man: Into the Spiderverse (it’s separate from the soundtrack which is also great). We play it yearly around the Holidays.
1 Amazon JP has a good English-translation version, so if you’re normally uncomfortable with Japanese language, you can easily shop on Amazon JP by switching to English mode.