The Meridian Music Machine is back! Right in time for Christmas — this time of traditional Christian piety… I mean, of family reunion and warmth… all right, this time of depressing unbridled consumerism.
Quite fittingly, this week’s track speaks of nothing else than the pain of shopping. Introducing, for time zone UTC+9… “Kaimono Boogie” (買物ブギ), by Kasagi Shizuko (笠置 シヅ子).
Kasagi (1914-1985) was a singer and actress very popular in post-WW2 Japan. Known as the “Queen of Boogie,” she was famous for her songs, which bore a strong influence from American culture, but also for her appearance in Kurosawa‘s yakuza film “Drunken Angel” (1948).
This funny song, a big hit in 1950, is sung in the Kansai dialect (from the region of Osaka). Entitled “Shopping Boogie,” it tells the story of a young woman running around looking for the various items different people asked her to buy. She is frenzied and frustrated, and not helped in the least by various crippled characters she encounters — a deaf salesman, a blind old woman… In the end, she barely manages to find anything she had to buy. Sound like anybody’s modern-day experience in a Xmas-time supermarket?
As the chorus goes,「わてほんまによういわんわ」 (wate honmani you iwanwa) —— “Geez, I really can’t say anything about this (messed up situation)…” (according to this translation)
See the music video for a visual rendition of Kasagi’s shopping ordeal… and a healthy taste of the bouncing Fifties in American-occupied Japan.
See this interesting article for more background info on the song and its lyrics.
Watch Tokyo Boogie Woogie (another one of Kasagi’s classics) on YouTube.