This song Sukyaki by Kyo Sakamoto came out the year I was born. 1963. Perhaps it played in the background while I slept in my bassinet, I don't know, but I do remember along with many many many other songs played LOUD in my house that this song was special somehow.
For a start I couldn't understand the words, but that didn't matter I sang along anyway, luckily no Japanese were in hearing, goodness knows what I was actually singing .
The song always gives me a lump in my throat. It reminds me of Sundays at home with mum and dad and my 2 younger sisters when all we had to worry about was getting yelled at or a smack for not doing our homework or chores .
We were always up early, I swear it was still dark!Dad would stomp around and make a racket till we got up. If that failed, he'd just drag us up and out. My youngest sister tried to feign sleep the longest, but dad would rat her out, rip off the blankets, all while shouting or singing some silly breakfast jingle. We'd head out to the dining table bleary eyed and wishing for a pillow while dad was running through brekky options usually involving stone fruit-once the son of an Italian fruiterer always a fruit spruiker. True. today he's in his 70's still asks me if I've had any nice peaches lately.
Sometime after the sun came up...(his only concession to the neighbours) ,the music would start. We had an old radiogram with big speakers, huge speakers. Dad has a huge collection of LP's from the 50's and 60's. I grew up knowing all the words to anything by Johhny O' Keefe,Elvis, Chubby Checker,The Drifters, Cliff Richard,Bill Hayley and the Comets,Fats Domino,dean Martin,Little Patty, Brenda Lee etc etc etc
Mum would be.."turn it down tom" but sometimes she'd get sucked into dads vortex and show us kids how the 50's dancing was done and we'd all have a turn being twisted and swung. Us girls were "twist" experts , if I hear Chubby Checker singing "let's twist again" I'm sooo tempted , but my knees remember before I do and it remains a thought.
I am the singalong queen.
I can't sing though. But ...I am still the singalong queen.
Back to Kyu, he was one of 9....countem 9 children growing up during WW2 in Japan.Kyu's song became a hit with the unusual name that has nothing to do with the song at all. The British record company changed it as the food reference was identifiable and easier to pronounce. Capital records released it in USA and it sold over 1 million copies. He did a world tour but didn't come to Australia.He married, had 2 kids and died in 1985 in a plane crash.
"Ue o muite arukō" or "sukiyaki" is still the only Japanese song to reach number one. It stayed there for 3 weeks in the USA.
The song tells the story of a man who looks up and whistles while he is walking so that his tears won't fall. It's actually about his memories and feelings.
It makes sense that this song triggers memories.
Thanks Kyu, thanks for the memories .