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My Early Christmas Jukebox

Whoa, what happened to October anyways? It just came and went almost effortlessly! Hello November. We are inching closer to the year-end holiday season. That is when the city lights turn fancy and the streets become claustrophobic. November will see many of those festivities under preparation. I suppose that it is perfectly sane (?) to start feeling a little Christmassy. In fact, many Japanese artistes would release Christmas-themed singles ahead to wish their fans and loved ones a very special Christmas. Naturally, the jukebox has wasted no time in picking up several unique Christmassy numbers for the occasion. I'm not sure if anybody ever had their ears plugged to a Christmas tune while running on a treadmill, but I would say please refrain from trying anything like that.

♪ Chicken Rice by Hamada Masatoshi & Makihara Noriyuki (17th November 2004)
I'm sure that a lot of readers are familiar with Hamada Masatoshi, who is one-half of the popular comedy duo Downtown. He and his partner Matsumoto Hitoshi have entertained audiences for many, many years. 'Chicken Rice' originated from Matsumoto's personal experience as a kid growing up in a poor family. Matsumoto would always order chicken rice whenever the entire family dined out, because it was the cheapest item on the menu. He was worried that if he had ordered otherwise, he would no longer be taken along for dinner. The lyrics not only reflected on his childhood struggles, but also the situations he faced as times got better. Matsumoto used Christmas as a backdrop to accentuate the differences between now and then. Hamada then asked singer-songwriter Makihara Noriyuki who was a guest on one of their shows to act as the composer and producer for 'Chicken Rice'. Makihara Noriyuki also provided the backup vocals during the chorus. The song peaked at #2 on the Oricon weekly chart. Incidentally, this year is the 10th anniversary of 'Chicken Rice'!

♪ Winter Love by BoA (1st November 2006)
I don't usually dig ballads, however this song by Korean singer BoA has a piece of my heart. Maybe it is because of the opening melody which reminds me of Christmas instantly, or the white theme that represents snowflakes, fairies and the catalyst for unwavering love. I've always wondered about winter since we don't have that over here, and I believe that it would be a lot of fun stacking snowballs and throwing them at random people. Okay, I mean friends and such. Combine winter with Christmas and romance is in the air...well, not totally. But I would so love to walk in the snow all bundled up like a Christmas tree. In the case of 'Winter Love', it is the wish to keep loving somebody despite changing circumstances. The song is nearly six minutes, yet I've truly enjoyed every bit of it. It peaked at #1 on the fourth day of its release, and went on to become one of BoA's better known songs.

♪ Tooi machi no dokokade... by Nakayama Miho (1st November 1991)
I first came to know of this song through a Taiwanese singer who had covered it in Mandarin some time in 1995. Back then, I didn't know who Nakayama Miho was. It was until I stumbled upon another hit of hers titled 'Sekaijuu no dare yori kitto' that I finally got more acquainted with her work. 'Tooi machi no dokokade' served both as a drama theme song and a Christmas song. Incidentally, Nakayama Miho was the leading lady in the drama series. The lyrics formed a seamless connection with the plot of the drama. The melody is extremely soothing yet the feelings are that of a couple in a long-distance relationship. Overall, it exudes a positive note. 'Tooi machi no dokokade...' peaked at #3 on the Oricon weekly chart.

Yeah, so it is perfectly sane to start feeling a little Christmassy in November. I'm glad that there are a lot of people out there who feel the same! What are some of your favourite Japanese Christmas songs?

Eccentrically Yours.

Written by J.Fluffysheep ♪

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