Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Japanese Theme Songs Part One

Because of a cold, I ended up staying home from work yesterday. At first, I half-heartedly tried playing some Team Fortress 2 but ended up running around in circles (in the game) because I was half asleep from the cold medicine I had taken in the morning. Thinking it better to move over to a less mentally taxing activity, I did what many in the same condition would do: moved over to YouTube. More specifically, I went through the several hundred videos that I've been favoriting and adding to playlists just to see what gems I deemed worthy of future viewing on a sick afternoon. The vast majority were music videos that I've been saving and forwarding on to friends but I was able to find a playlist of a couple hundred videos related to Japan. Most were sentimental things: pachinko promos, videos of train rides on lines that I used to live on, TV shows and personalities that I liked, music videos, miscellaneous movie trailers (still not sure why I kept the one for Ryuhei Kitamura's epic cheesefest Sky High). Nestled among this treasure chest, though, I found a number of theme songs from stores that I had used to pester some Japanese classmates with lately. And now, in a short series, I bring these treasures to you.

First of this series is the probably one of the more annoying themes but one which you will probably be singing to yourself on your way to work tomorrow morning: Shop 99's.

Shop 99 is something not unlike dollar stores in North America (the 99 stands for 99 yen which everything in the store is priced at and the "kyu" repeated in the song means "9") and many are actually converted from convenience stores that either went belly up or whose owners (7-11, Family Mart, et al) closed down for some reason. In a documentary that I saw on the company, the president claimed it was simpler for them to just buy out the furnishings, front sign and all, rather than try to redecorate or renovate. Makes sense.

Anyway, enjoy the song and comfort in the fact that you're not actually working at a Shop 99 where the tune is played on an endless loop.

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