It was in early 2014 that a friend of mine alerted me to a recorded-in-Hawaii Japanese LP that he recently found which featured a disco track. Simply having a contemporary track on a Japanese album isn’t always enough to pique my interest (those Lauren Nakano albums were certainly a bit of a let down), but the cover looked like a quality self-produced, private press release, so I gave it a try. The album in question is My Home Town, by Aiko.
Around the same time, I came across a blog post from a Japanese collector featuring a review and two cuts from the album. One of those tracks was “Fly With Me”. I was instantly hooked. Thanks to my friend, I was happy to have the LP in my possession, because I soon realized — as the Japanese blogger had — that when paired, “Fly With Me” and “Time Machine” (the disco tune my friend had mentioned) complement each other.
A 7-inch was in order for the then-forthcoming Aloha Got Soul label. I set out in search of Aiko, whose last name was unknown to me at the time. I found a blog featuring the photographs of Don Touchi, who had written about Aiko’s karaoke class and its elderly participants in 2012:
“It has long been believed that music is an effective method of treating physical, emotional, social and mental problems that individuals have. One person goes a step further and uses music as a means to help to prevent such problems from occurring. Or, at least to delay the effects of aging. Such a person is Aiko Sekiguchi, a renowned singer from Japan. “