Sunday, March 11, 2007

I Look Up

Sunny - Hi 76 Lo 53 for Baghdad, Iraq
Sunny - Hi 57 Lo 31 for Northern KY, USA

Song of the week: Ue Wo Muite Arukou-- I Look Up When I Walk (The Sukiyaki Song), Kyu Sakamoto

This is the only Japanese pop song to make it to #1 on the American pop charts. The song was released in Japan in 1961 and in the United States in 1963. Sadly, Kyu Sakamoto died in a plane crash in 1985.

Ramble:

My earliest childhood memory was when I was three years old.

My grandfather built my grandmother a house when he returned home from the Marines. It consisted of 3 rooms (kitchen, bedroom, and living room) and an outhouse over the hill. This part, the oldest part of the house was made from scrap wood (because everything was scarce during the war years). My grandfather built this home with his own two hands and was his gift to my grandmother. He loved that piece of property and still does to this day. My grandmother never really liked the house and whenever there was an opportunity, she would have my grandfather buy another house and they would move....but he never sold the house in the country.

So, in any event, when my father brought his new wife and new baby daughter home from Okinawa via Barstow (actually, I was born in Barstow), a new tradition was born... My grandparents would buy a new home while someone in the family lived there... to get us on our feet so to speak. By the time we moved in to the house a fourth room as well as a bathroom had been added. Today the house consists of a couple of bathrooms, and 7 rooms with an attached garage... again... all built by my grandfather.

OK... back to my earliest childhood memory which takes me to a summer day which had to be in 1968. I was outside playing by myself. The house was in the country (at least it was country back then). Our closest neighbors lived on the other side of the crick (creek) and past the woods... So, I was outside collecting wild violets and dandelions and making a bouquet for my beautiful mother. After I had collected just the right amount of purple and yellow, I went running in the house. She was in the kitchen washing dishes (we had running water--- but just cold... no hot water) and looking out the window. I held up my hand with the flowers and said, "Mommy!" She looked at me and smiled. I don't remember what happened to the flowers, but I remember sitting down at the kitchen table and speaking with my mother- who knows about what... good grief... it couldn't have been that complex... after all I was three and my mother had only been in the United States for a few years and wasn't provided much opportunity to speak English. (Mom became a United States citizen while we lived in California. To this day, she proudly speaks of the moment when she took her oath.)
Even though my mother was very pregnant with my brother at the time, (I do not remember her being pregnant- in discussing this memory with my mother, surprisingly she remembers it also and is amazed I have the same memory), my father had already started with his extended disappearing acts...

Now where was I, yes in the kitchen... We were in the kitchen, Sukiyaki came on the radio... first time I ever remember hearing the song. American music moguls called the song Sukiyaki because Americans have this thing about not trying to pronounce Japanese properly. We mercilessly make fun of Japanese folks when they speak English... maybe we have a fear they will make fun of us and our pronunciation of Japanese. American mouths don't move that way... As I sat at the kitchen table, my mother sang along and I remember seeing tears well up in her eyes... but never once did a tear fall down her cheek. That is the first time I remember her singing...and one of the few times I ever saw her emotional. After the song was over, she laughed and said that the music was so happy, but the words were so sad.....

My mother fell in love with an Okinawan man before she met my father... I've no idea how serious or long the relationship lasted... I do know that the relationship ended because they came from different classes in society... and their relationship was not accepted.

At the time of my flash of a memory and for many years I never knew what the song was about.... The song is about the sadness a man carries because his love is gone... He walks looking up so the tears don't roll down his face... hokey.... yeah... I have no doubt the poetry of the song is somehow lost in translation... to have seen my mother sing the song and still remember it as if it were yesterday.... well... you would understand why I like the song and for me how nothing was lost in translation...

Blogs and Links to Check Out This Week:

Reel Fanatic - likes movies
Useless Drivel - funny
That Gay Conservative - conservative w/ a capital C
Bluegrass Red State - Bluegrass = Kentucky

Housekeeping:

Did you see the headlines on my sidebar? I saw that over at MacBro's Place. MacBro saw it over at Larry's Place. Pretty cool, don't you think? However, sometimes the headline reads as "undefined"... just hit refresh... no idea why it's doing that...

I've also added an RSS link to my sidebar... it's about time, huh?

and I've joined MyBlogLog.

I have been in a funk and I will get back to my posts on terrorist organizations... but this is my blog... My place to exorcise my demons....

Ue Wo Muite Arukou

Ue wo muite arukou
Namida ga kobore naiyouni
Omoidasu harunohi
Hitoribotchi no yoru

Ue wo muite arukou
Nijinda hosi o kazoete
Omoidasu natsunohi
Hitoribotchi no yoru

Shiawase wa kumo no ueni
Shiawase wa sora no ueni

Ue wo muite arukou
Namida ga kobore naiyouni
Nakinagara aruku
Hitoribotchi no yoru

(Whistling)

Omoidasu akinohi
Hitoribotchi no yoru

Kanashimi wa hosino kageni
Kanashimi wa tsukino kageni

Ue wo muite arukou
Namida ga kobore naiyouni
Nakinagara aruku
Hitoribotchi no yoru
Hitoribotchi no yoru

(Whistling)

I look up when I walk
So the tears won't fall
Remembering those happy spring days
But tonight I'm all alone

I look up when I walk
Counting the stars with tearful eyes
Remembering those happy summer days
But tonight I'm all alone

Happiness lies beyond the clouds
Happiness lies above the sky

I look up when I walk
So the tears won't fall
Though my heart is filled with sorrow
For tonight I'm all alone

(whistling)

Remembering those happy autumn days
But tonight I'm all alone
Sadness hides in the shadow of the stars
Sadness lurks in the shadow of the moon

I look up when I walk
So the tears won't fall
Thought my heart is filled with sorrow
For tonight I'm all alone

(whistling)

Have a great week everyone!

4 comments:

Jedi Master Rob said...

Thank you for sharing such a bittersweet memory.

Jeremy Jacobs said...

What was the film that featured this song?

Cathy said...

Rob,

When are we all getting together? Huh?

Jeremy,

Thanks for visiting, unfortunately I do not know the movie. If you come across it or if you should think of it, please let me know.

lirat said...

Hello Cathy:)
I'm the one that uploaded the video with Kyu Sakamot, I saw that you had linked the video to your blog and followed the link and I read the story about your family and memories of this song. It was very interesting to read, thank you for sharing:)

/lirat