This week’s song will be delayed [2014-01-31]

Just letting you know that this week’s song will be delayed. I’ve decided to switch songs last-minute.


Fuyu Hanabi / 冬花火

Fuyu Hanabi / 冬花火 : “winter fireworks”

fuyu / 冬
hanabi / 花火
“fireworks” (lit. flower-like fire)

hana / 花
hi / 火
“fire”. Pronounced bi / び because of rendaku.

Oku Hanako’s new single is finally here! It was released today—actually, yesterday if you want to be technical. Lucky you: you get this week’s song early.
For those who don’t know, she made an announcement in late November. It’s been two years since her last single, Cinderella / シンデレラ .

If you were one of the early buyers, you would have gotten something like this, too:

Fuyu Hanabi clearfile

A sample of the clearfile given to early buyers

It’s the clearfile (size A5) that was given to early purchasers. Also given out were lottery tickets for attendance to the live event, both given with the purchase of the single.

I know you’re excited to hear it, so I won’t delay you any longer. Here you are, Fuyu Hanabi:

Hanako Oku – Fuyu Hanabi by Tadanga [JPopsuki]

My prediction was right: it is heavily arranged. It may not be as heavy as Anata ni Suki to Iwaretai or Garasu no Hana, but it’s heavy enough for me to count it.

When I listen to this song, I can hear elements from all over her discography: it’s mostly reminiscent of Utakata and good-bye, but a touch of is apparent, too. It’s almost like this is a bit of a summary of what she’s done so far, with some new things to look forward to. With every album, she seems to create a slightly new sound for herself while still keeping true to the overall “Oku Hanako” feel. Hearing Fuyu Hanabi, I don’t think her next album will be an exception.

I will be honest, I think that Fuyu Hanabi could use a little more “oomph”. Also, Oku Hanako and the other woman in the music video look a little robotic, almost putting them into the uncanny valley. The song itself, too, has this eerily familiar feel to it, as if someone else in my music library has done something like it, but I can’t seem to “put a finger” to it.

Criticism aside, I think it’s a fairly well-done song. I especially like what the strings do after the first chorus, going into the second verse. Now, as to the question of whether she arranged this song herself, I can’t say for sure. It would be very impressive if she did, but there are bits which don’t seem like something she’d do if she did arrange it. We’ll just have to wait until her discography page[jp] gets updated to find out. Update: According to the Japanese Wikipedia article for Fuyu Hanabi, she didn’t arrange it herself.

Lyrics →

The significance of the number ‘09875’

If you’ve done any research at all about Oku Hanako, you’re bound to have come across the number 09875 at least once. But what does it mean?

09875 Trump promo cards for her 4th letter tour

‘09875’ is everywhere

The number 09875 bugged me for months. Imagine my relief when my friend finally figured it out!

Mystery solved →

Hanabi cover art (crop)

Hanabi (Arranged Version) / 花火(アレンジバージョン)

In full:
Hanabi ~ Kimi ga Ita Natsu no Hi (Arranged Version) / 花火~君がいた夏の日(アレンジバージョン)

Hanabi / 花火 : “fireworks”

Hanako-san’s new single, Fuyu Hanabi / 冬花火 , comes out next Wednesday! I can hardly wait! In consideration, I figured this week would be a good time to take a look at a little Oku history. “Hanabi” is Oku Hanako’s indies single released in 2004 with the pirisound label. It was remastered and re-released on August 7, 2009 in celebration of Oku Hanako Day (more details in the next post).

Two versions of the song “Hanabi” exist: a hikigatari one and an arranged one. The hikigatari version has the title Hanabi ~ Kimi ni Koishita Natsu no Hi (Piano Hikigatari) / 花火~君に恋した夏の日(ピアノ弾き語り), where the subtitle is taken from the first line of the song, and the arranged version has the title Hanabi ~ Kimi ga Ita Natsu no Hi / 花火~君がいた夏の日(アレンジバージョン), taken from the last line of the song. Some sources will erroneously state that the subtitle of the arranged version is the same as that of the hikigatari version.

It’s interesting that she has an arranged song (actually, two) during her indies era because, assuming I’ve interpreted her history pages correctly, she didn’t want to do arranged songs and that she’d rather go hikigatari. The producers didn’t think they would sell much if the release didn’t have anything arranged, because arranged songs were the popular thing, so they insisted on having an arranged version. (Again, please correct me if I’m wrong).

I think Oku Hanako’s songs are great, arranged or otherwise. She writes, composes, and performs all her songs herself, giving her songs that unique and genuine touch. It’s even more impressive when she goes further and arranges the song herself, but even if she wasn’t the one to arrange the song, she still sings it with the same passion, as if it were completely her own.

奥華子 花火-君がいた夏の日 アレンジVer. by zero12242000

I’m embarrassed (ashamed?) to admit that I had to listen to this arranged version to appreciate the hikigatari version. There’s nothing wrong with the arranged version, but if the story about the producers thinking that it wouldn’t sell without arranged songs is true, I’d hate to be a supporting data point. Regardless, I think it’s largely irrelevant how I came to like the two versions; what matters is that I like them both now.

Lyrics →

Garasu no Hana

Garasu no Hana / ガラスの花

Garasu no Hana / ガラスの花 : “glass flower”

glass / GARASU / ガラス
Transliteration of “glass”. In some track listings, the title will be shown as “Glass no Hana” because of this, but since it’s a single and it was actually written out as “garasu”, I prefer to keep the roumaji.
no / の
A particle indicating that the previous word modifies the next word (almost equivalent to “of”)
hana / 花

Garasu no Hana was Oku Hanako’s single released on August 4, 2010. There were two versions of the single: the regular CD only edition, and the special limited-edition Tales edition. The song itself was the opening theme for the Japan-only video game, Tales of Phantasia: Narikiri Dungeon X / テイルズ オブ ファンタジア なりきりダンジョンX (pronounced “cross”), released for the PSP, and played right at the beginning. I expect that this, like Garnet / ガーネット, is one of the entry points for a newcomer to Oku Hanako, although applicable to Japan only.

One of the reasons why I chose to post “Garasu no Hana” this week is because it’s been about a year since I first heard it. Like Kawaranai Mono / 変わらないもの, I was hooked instantly, although even more strongly this time.

Hanako Oku – Garasu no Hana by Tadanga [JPopsuki TV]

Amazing! Just amazing! I was blown away, breath-taken, almost driven to tears at how good it sounded. She sings with control, but with power also. The arrangement is different from what she usually does: it’s fuller with a lot more intricate layers. Even after a year, I’m still impressed by it. Not only did she write the lyrics and composed the music herself, as she does with all her songs, I found out that she also arranged it! She doesn’t usually arrange her songs, at least, not until now, and I never expected an arrangement so stunning coming from her. Sure, she can compose, but arranging is another thing, something I know first-hand. Considering everything, Garasu no Hana is definitely one of her best, and one of my favourites.

Lyrics →

Koi no Tenki Yohou / 恋の天気予報

Koi no Tenki Yohou / 恋の天気予報 : “weather forecast of love”.

koi / 恋
no / の
A particle indicating that the previous word modifies the next word (almost equivalent to “of”)
tenki / 天気

Happy new year to all! Let’s start this year strong with “Koi no Tenki Yohou”. I figured I’d pick a hikigatari track in consideration of what I have lined up in the next few weeks, just to balance things out. Having said that, I barely noticed that this song was actually hikigatari.

恋の天気予報 (Koi no Tenki Yohou) – Hanako Oku

Lyrics →