Saturday, July 30, 2005

Hello Hello It's The Bill Bringdown Show

Singer Kyu Sakamoto holds the record for the only number one U.S. pop recording performed entirely in Japanese, 1963's "Sukiyaki," whose lyrics, by the way, have nothing to do with that Japanese dish (actually it's of Chinese derivation, but let's not go there for the nonce). The actual lyrics and original title of "Sukiyaki" are about looking up when the song's spurned lover-narrator walks so that his tears don't fall on the ground. (Might slip and fall?) For more than twenty years after that recording, which was even bigger in Sakamoto's native land, he was regarded as a national treasure. Then, at the age of 43, he died in a plane crash on August 12, 1985, near Tokyo, Japan.

This morning a new cyber pal of mine sent me an email that happened to mention Sakamoto's name in passing. Here is part of what I wrote back to him:


Here's four incredibly creepy things that I know about that doomed Kyu Sakamoto flight. When anyone mentions his name to me, which you unfortunately just did in your email, I have no choice but to repeat the following. It's my ghoulish lot in life, and I have cleared entire rooms with my riff about Flight 123---LOL:

1.) JAL Flight 123 was the most deadly single-plane accident in aviation history. 520 deaths

2.) Passengers knew they were going to crash, but the interval between knowledge of that fact and the impact was so long (a half-hour) that some chose to use that time to write goodbye notes to their loved ones. I think I would have been too busy screaming.

3.) There were four survivors! (talk about "survivor guilt")

4.) Authorities traced the cause of the crash to improper maintenance done ten years prior to the event! Now THAT should really reinforce your faith in the safety of flying.

If there's a dark cloud behind a silver lining, leave it to me to find it.

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