2003   MARCH 21   #080

Andy Williams - Let's Dance/Sutekina Sora O/Itsudemo

On one of my first visits to the massive sprawling temple market at Shitenouji in Osaka, an Aladdin's cave of previously enjoyed vinyl, medicine of dubious origins (scary looking roots and animal parts) and other junk from the last hundred years or so, after swimming through a sea of rekkids that had long slipped out of its sleeves I came across an unusual item: A picture disc with Andy Williams on it. I did a good deal with an old man who was standing near the rekkids - he appeared to be the owner.

I didn't even read what was on it. I thought it was beautiful as a thing. I don't really know why I was so attracted to it but I knew it needed saving. I'm not a huge Andy Williams fan but when I listened to the record I found the 3 short songs on the Japanese side oddly compelling. "Hawaiian Wedding Song", which is on the other side, I may have listened to once. I see it occasionally in the flea markets but it's always way overpriced.

- Your man in Japan, Sem Sinatra, Osaka, Japan, March 2003, Year of the gray-haired friendly dog

TT-3:25 / 4.7MB / 192kbps 44.1khz
from the promo 7", "Sings in Japanese"

(Image courtesy of Sem Sinatra)

Max Swanson writes:
I wonder if this isn't a commercial on disk, with the Hawaiian Wedding Song as a bonus. I'm thinking this because: First, the repeated word "aginomoto," is one of the few Japanese words I know. My brother, who has traveled in the country, told me it's a form of MSG, used as a flavoring in many dishes. And then there's the Firesign Theater's album, "Not Insane, where Young-Guy, Moto Detective, declaims: "Barrel full of deadly *aginomoto* set to go off at end of meal!" Musically, the frequent truncating of the usual 4-bar phrase is often done in commercials to save time. The listener is just supposed to pick up the extra beats, though it drives me and any other musician nuts! More Linguistic Reasons: The product itself would be called, "My Family." Yes, the actual name would be English. One hot July Saturday, as my aforementioned brother, Steve, made a late appearance at my dad's new lake cabin, he brought and began reading aloud from a book called "Japanese Jive". Steve's Scottish Terrier, after four hours in the car, ten proceeded to take a chunk out of Sister Martha's finger. Meanwhile Steve kept reading to me from "Japanese Jive." I've forgotten the author, but the book's central thesis is that English is often used for cultural leavening of advertisements, though the wording selected may seem strange to a native English speaker; thus, "My Family," could be about any kind of product. The dog has left this earthly plane, but all other characters mentioned are alive and well. Why have I gone on so about this? Really couldn't say. You can send it anywhere in cyberspace. It may be a bumpy ride; so let's just flow with the tide.

Suzanne Baumann writes:
In response to the comment above, the author of "Japanese Jive" is Caroline McKeldin. A fine, fine book it is!