by Hajime Seki
Y'know...I really ought to visit Hakodate in Hokkaido one of these days. I only got to see Sapporo when I visited Japan's northernmost island years ago and I didn't even stray into sushi-famous Otaru which wasn't too far away from the prefecture's most famous city. Hakodate has one of the world's greatest night views, and I think it is quite popular as a setting for kayo.
Of course, there is one of Saburo Kitajima's（北島三郎）signature songs, the jaunty "Hakodate no Hito"（函館の女）from 1965. But while I was watching today's "Nodo Jiman", one of the citizens sang this Hakodate-based tune called "Ame no Hakodate" (Rainy Hakodate), a grand song of love gained and lost in the titular city.
The song was actually released in July 2013 by veteran Hiroshi Kadokawa（角川博）. Written by Mami Takubo（田久保真見）and composed by Chiaki Oka（岡千秋）, it seems to come across as a proud lament as Kadokawa sings about losing the woman of his dreams to another fellow. I've always been a sucker for horns as I've said many times before and "Ame no Hakodate" is no exception.
Kadokawa was actually born in 1953 in Hiroshima. He started out playing high school baseball but then later on was singing in a Fukuoka club when he was scouted. So he made his way up to Tokyo where he debuted with "Namida Gurashi"（涙ぐらし...Tearful Life）in April 1976 and won the Best New Artist prize in the Japan Music Awards. He's even appeared on the Kohaku Utagassen three times: 1978, 1979 and 1986.