I was in Ueno on a rainy night around a month ago, and stopped by a good record store underneath the train tracks, the name of which is escaping me.
When I visit Japan and go to record shops, one of my favorite things to do is pick a handful of 45s from the ¥100 box that I've never heard of before. One of the singles I found picked that night was Rumiko Koyanagi's (小柳ルミ子) Yukiakari no Machi (雪あかりの町) . When a shop has no turntable available, I most certainly judge records by their cover, and usually get good results. I suppose good music and good aesthetics go hand in hand. I liked the snowy scenery in the photograph, Im a sucker for snow or cold weather in general.
Anyway, when I finally got home and was able to drop the needle on, I was pleasantly surprised that the music exceeded my expectations. To my western ears, the sleigh bells at the beginning of the track cant help but make me think of Christmas music, which isn't a bad thing.
The music here is stylistically pretty standard early 70s kayo/enka stuff but stands out to me among others of the era.
So as I listen I'm dreaming of colder, less sweaty climes... a nice snowy Onsen town. A 雪あかりの町。