That all makes sense. I didn’t know that it was a graduation ceremony, though that possibility crossed my mind. Maybe it’s the small size on my screen, but I couldn’t make out at first the bits where she hands the letter to the boy or where she sees another girl doing the same thing. The boy is really only seen in brief glimpses. Those spots are kind of dark on my screen, too. My first thought when saw the ending was that she had forgotten the little pouch at home in her hurry (she seemed to be running late) and that was her father bringing it to her. I didn’t see her putting it into the envelope the first time, so I thought it was perhaps some kind of lucky charm that was important to the girl.
Can I safely assume those a cherry blossoms falling from the sky near the end of the video?
As to my opinion of Aiko’s talent, I discovered her completely by accident while looking for something else on the Internet, and she was the first Japanese pop singer I ever heard. So maybe it was just the serendipitous nature of my introduction to her that makes me like her so much. I’m a musician myself, so maybe I have a different perspective. Here’s how I look at her: she’s all about the song, and what’s important to the song. I realize she doesn’t have the greatest voice, but hey, neither did Dylan or Joplin. What attracts me is the emotion in her singing. I’ve been a fan for six years, but only found some English translations yesterday. But, even though I couldn’t understand what she was singing, I could feel every bit of the emotion in her voice. (On a similar note, the finest bit of acting I’ve ever seen was when I stumbled across a Mexican soap opera one day and watched an actress launching a lengthy, angry tirade at her costar, who I assume was her character’s lover/husband. I couldn’t understand a word of it, but my goodness, she had me cringing just like the character she was aiming her invective at!)
Aiko has, to my ear, a remarkable gift for melody. Her stuff sounds really clever to me. “Kabutomushi” has one of the most beautiful melodies I’ve ever heard. She comes across as very “real” - as if she loves what she’s doing with every ounce of her being, and if she weren’t famous, she would be still singing for the pure and simple joy of singing. And her voice … I think that’s my favorite part. It’s imperfect, and that makes it more real for me. I can hear several spots on her studio recordings where she drifts off-key, or she’s a little bit flat, or her voice cracks a little bit. And she leaves those “mistakes” in the final product, and I love it. By contrast, most other J-pop I’ve heard is entirely too perfect. It sounds so slick and overproduced, as if it’s based on some formula for success. Sterile. Of course, I admit that I haven’t listened to a great many other Japanese artists. But looking at Western pop music, I can see that the artists who’ve had the most enduring popularity are not the ones who were the most technically proficient musicians. Rather, it’s the ones who crafted the best songs. I mean, which of The Beatles was a spectacular, technically amazing musician? None of them. But they had a knack for crafting brilliant songs. I hear the same thing in Aiko’s music.