Week 347: “Hummingbird” by The Watanabes

If you’re a western-hemisphere white person, there’s a good chance that you know someone who went to Japan and never came back.

Maybe it was that high school friend who took a year off after graduation. Maybe it was your friend who got tired of their job and decided to go teach English for a while. Maybe it was your eccentric uncle who started some business venture in Osaka, and is always really vague about what the company actually does.

Whoever it was, they went, they liked it, they stayed. And you’re not getting them back.

Japan seems to have that effect on some people. Those I know who have made it their adopted country cite the cleanliness, efficiency, and friendliness of the culture as major benefits. Add to that a culture that is entirely different, and yet in a way strangely western, and you’ve got a parallel universe into which many westerners are happy to lose themselves.

The Watanabes left Britain to spend some time in Japan, and were so impressed by the Japanese openness to art generally, and Tokyo’s music scene specifically, that they decided to stay for one more year. After twelve ‘one-more-years,’ they’re still at it.

So, thankfully, although the West may have permanently lost The Watanabes to Japan, their music can still fly across the sea, land upon our windows, and sing for us.

What makes this a beautiful song:

1. The mental image of a plucky hummingbird trying with all his might to fly across the sea. Seems like something that might happen in an adorable Pixar movie.

2. The harmonies are wonderfully, beautifully, Simon-and-Garfunkelly perfect.

3. The trumpet solo wanders and flutters with no particular destination, and no particular hurry to get there.

Recommended listening activity:

Getting lost.

Buy it here.