Aoi Usagi / 碧いうさぎ

Aoi Usagi / 碧いうさぎ: “Blue Rabbit”

aoi / 碧い
“blue”. According to a forum post, 碧 is somewhat greener and lighter. The common 青 is a more general blue.
usagi / うさぎ

Spring is here! Some of you may think of rabbits. Probably not sad, lonely rabbits, though, but that’s what we have this week.

Aoi Usagi is the theme song to the 1995 Japanese drama Hoshi no Kinka / 星の金貨 (official site[jp]), originally sung by Sakai Noriko / 酒井法子. Hoshi no Kinka is about a deaf and mute woman named Aya who falls in love with a doctor. They get engaged, but he later gets into an accident that results in amnesia.

I’m not sure when Oku Hanako made her hikigatari cover of this song since it doesn’t appear in her list of radio covers, but I’m guessing it was around 2007 or 2008.

奥華子カバー後半.wmv by 爆走チャーリー [Nico Nico Douga]

She skips the last two stanzas, but overall I think it captures the emotion of the song quite nicely. It’s unfortunate that we only have a radio-quality recording.

Original song and lyrics →


Mikazuki / 三日月

Mikazuki / 三日月: “Crescent Moon”. This will sometimes be romanized as “mikadzuki” as tsuki / つき / 月 becomes (d)zuki / づき because of rendaku.

Oku Hanako appeared with Ariyasu Momoka / 有安杏果 (Momoiro Clover Z’s green member) on the October 17, 2015 episode of Atashi no Ongaku / あたしの音楽 (“My Music”)[jp]. Together, with Oku-san on the piano, they sang a duet cover of Ayaka‘s Mikazuki.

有安杏果 × 奥華子 ♪三日月(カバー)音源のみ ももかコラボ by EBIZORI KANAKO [YouTube]

It’s very beautiful! I actually prefer this to the original. They’re both strong singers and they complement each other.

It reminds me a little of something she might have done in her early years. Comparing this with her early works, though, I can hear that Oku Hanako has definitely grown in her singing abilities. Back then, she would not have been able to hit that high note in the chorus so cleanly. She also wouldn’t have added the vibrato present in a few places.

This song is a nice break from her most recent works. There was always something appealing in the simplicity of a lone piano and I hope she does more of it.

Original and lyrics →

Sayonara / さよなら [Off Course]

Sayonara / さよなら: “goodbye”

Don’t worry, as much as I’ve been absent, this is not a hint that I’m going away.

Oku Hanako participated in the Live Depot show in 2006 (November 30, 2006). Like in the year before, she sings again with Ooe Senri / 大江千里 on the piano.

They performed a cover of Sayonara / さよなら, the 1979 single by Off Course / オフコース. Below is the recording of their performance in 240p glory (unfortunately, it’s the best I can find):

奥華子・さよなら カバー [Youku]

As expected, being a piano cover, it has a slightly different feel than the original, but I don’t think it deviates too much from the intent.

That interlude was an impressive performance by Ooe-san. You wouldn’t be able to tell just by listening to it, but if you watched the performance, you would have seen him crossing hands for the interlude. It can be really awkward (and thus somewhat difficult) to play like that, especially for that long.

Oku Hanako did a great job, too. They both look like they’re having fun performing this song, and that always makes things like this seem more unified.

Original song and lyrics →

Let It Be

Let It Be (original by The Beatles)

And here we have the only song (to my knowledge) that features Oku Hanako singing more than a few words in English! This cover of The Beatles’ “Let It Be” was sung with TAKUI[jp] (Nakajima Takui / 中島卓偉) and aired on June 15, 2008 on her old radio show, Kame Kame House / カメカメハウス[jp].

This duet cover has a guitar as its sole instrument, making it one of the few Oku Hanako songs that don’t feature a piano; then again, one could also argue that this isn’t one of her songs.

Regardless, it’s a very nice cover, and they employ some really beautiful harmonies in many places.

Let it be – Oku Hanako by Tuong Khang [YouTube]

It’s obvious (to me, at least) that they’re not singing in English, but rather the Japanese transliteration. For example, you can hear them saying an ‘r’ sound whenever there’s an ‘l’ sound, the ‘th’ becomes a ‘z’, and a vowel with an ‘r’ at the end often becomes a long vowel without the ‘r’. It makes more sense if you know the rules. However, I’m not one to knock them because their “English” is better than my “Japanese”.

I’m not used to hearing Oku Hanako sing like this, but I found it to be a pleasant experience.

Original and Lyrics →

Refrain ga Sakenderu / リフレインが叫んでる

Refrain ga Sakenderu / RIFUREIN ga sakenderu / リフレインが叫んでる: “chorus of screams”(?)

I’m not going to give a breakdown of the translation because I’m not even sure if that’s correct (I had to piece it together from incomplete information).

This song is yet another one of Oku Hanako’s unreleased covers; the original song is by Matsutoya Yumi / 松任谷 由実. Oku-san performed this during the Live Depot 2005 show (October 27, 2005) with Ooe Senri / 大江千里 on the piano.
An interesting thing to note: even though it’s only her and a piano, since it’s not her playing, it’s not hikigatari.

奥華子 – リフレインが叫んでる by fizzykey [YouTube]

I don’t get it: she sits there seemly quite calm, yet she sings with such power. How does she do it?

I’m impressed; I like it.

Lyrics and original song →

PIECE OF MY WISH [Kame Kame House / カメカメハウス 2005-10-23]

PIECE OF MY WISH, original by Imai Miki / 今井美樹 (1991)

Oku Hanako doesn’t release covers of other artists’ songs (assuming you consider the ones she wrote for other artists as an “author’s version” and not covers), but she sometimes performed covers of songs on her former radio show, Kame Kame House / カメカメハウス[jp].

It’s just her and her Kawai Spectra keyboard. It’s short and sweet, and I might even consider it her most beautifully-sung work. It may be a cover, but it still has that ineffable Oku Hanako touch.

From 奥華子カバー前半.wmv by 爆走チャーリー [Nico Nico Douga]

So… beautiful…
I wish she had done the whole song.

I hope you didn’t feel cheated this week. I made you wait for a song so short.

Original song and lyrics →