Takoyaki: a popular Japanese snack, basically a fried battered octopus ball. Tako / たこ / 蛸 means “octopus” and the suffix -yaki / 焼き refers to how it’s cooked.
Yes, that’s right: there are no Japanese characters in this song’s title; it’s just “TAKOYAKI”. She does that for a few of her songs.
In my opinion, TAKOYAKI is one of her cuter songs, and a few months ago, I would have said this was her cutest. Is it still? I’m not sure, but it’s still cute nonetheless. After all, it’s a song about wanting to eat takoyaki.
With Christmas just “around the corner”, I figured this would be an appropriate song to post.
“Boku no Christmas” is a fun little piece from Oku Hanako’s 2008 single “Anata ni Suki to Iwaretai”. I don’t know what it is, but there’s just something about this song that makes it so cute to listen to.
Or, if you’d prefer, you can watch her sing it live in a 2009 concert. I don’t expect this video to be up for very long before it gets taken down, so enjoy it while it’s here! I wouldn’t normally put up something so short-lived because of this, but this one was just too good to keep to myself.
Cinderella: Oku Hanako’s 12th single, released on January 11, 2011. The fun and upbeat feel of this song is almost deceiving: this is a sad love song (almost made me cry reading the translation, actually; yes, there’s a translation available at the end of this post). Even Oku Hanako says so: 「歌詞は切ないけど、曲は明るく。」 (“The lyrics are sad, but the song is bright”). The speaker likens herself to Cinderella in that she had a man who truly loved her, but she still chose to break up the relationship anyway for whatever small reason (perhaps accidentally, in this case?).
Quite the video, I must say. She plays the piano in the cold (her fingers got really cold) and the scenes even match up with the lyrics.
There’s a slightly different feel to it when you know what the song says (perhaps not so different if you’re already familiar with Hana-san’s style). Her tone of voice and the strings add that touch of sadness that the song conveys. On top of that, the almost-bright feel to the song can be representative of the fun times the speaker had with her lover, and may also suggest that things will work out in the future. Overall, well done!
“You’re kidding! Wow, I can’t believe it…. Ha, ha ha!”. That was my reaction when I found this song (I’m not sure you can tell, but I was very happy). Can you tell why? Here’s a hint: go look at the track list for Oku Hanako’s upcoming single, Fuyu Hanabi.
There it is: track 3, Nukumori / ぬくもり . If you’re familiar with her discography, you’ll know she hasn’t released any songs called Nukumori. Because of that, you’d think that this is a new song, and admittedly, that’s what I thought, too.
While searching Nico Nico Douga[jp] for Oku Hanako songs that I may not have been aware of, I came across a video featuring clips[jp] of some of her radio songs (also part 2[jp]). Oku Hanako hosted a half-hour weekly radio talk segment on the station bayfm[jp] called Kame Kame House / カメカメハウス[jp] (lit. “turtle house”; later renamed Lagan de Talk! in 2010). She would often sing a song during the segment, sometimes even bringing her keyboard into the studio, playing and singing live.
The Japanese Wikipedia has an article[jp] on her show, listing all the songs that have been broadcast on the show.
Unexpectedly, one of those songs was Nukumori, broadcast on March 12, 2006. Knowing someone would have posted something on Nico Nico Douga, I made a quick search, and sure enough, I found a video.
My prediction was right: this will be a hikigatari track, or at the very least, lightly arranged with strings and possibly light drums. It’s unlikely that she’ll release a new song with the same name, because I know she remembers all her songs. At least two of the songs on the third disc of Oku Hanako BEST, the disc advertised as “unreleased” songs, were actually resung and arranged versions of previously performed songs. The songs in question are Oshibana / 押し花 and Gekkou / 月光 . Oshibana was performed in a concert, released as her 2009 DVD Mochiron Hitori De Hikigatari! / もちろん一人で弾き語り! , and perhaps earlier on her radio show. Gekkou was a song on her debut mini album, Ai no Shizuku / 愛のしずく , released in 2000. Following the trend, I expect the same to happen to Nukumori.
My prediction that the title song of her upcoming single, Fuyu Hanabi / 冬花火 , is going to be an arranged song more on the heavy side now has more evidence that suggests it.
According to the description she wrote on the announcement at Excite Music, Fuyu Hanabi is a sad love song; the lyrics describe the feelings of a girl experiencing unrequited love, which are likened to fireworks: vivid, scattered/broken, and growing larger as time passes.
Funny, this reminds me of Kataomoi / 片思い (2005, vol.best) and Hatsukoi / 初恋 (2010, Hatsukoi / 初恋). She seems to have a thing for writing lyrics like these. Perhaps she writes from experience? The best works often come from the artist taking inspiration from a first-hand experience.
I may not be able to fully appreciate any of the lyrics she writes, but I can tell they are beautiful works of poetry.