Who needs J-pop, when you have D-pop, aka Densha pop?
Although to most people in Japan trains are just a convenient and reliable form of transportation, there exists a group of people for whom trains (densha) are nothing short of a way of life. These individuals, commonly referred to as densha otaku (train nerds), love absolutely everything about trains and devote much of their lives to learning and experiencing anything and everything train-related.
Although typical densha otaku tend to do things like memorize facts and figures about trains, spend significant amounts of money in order to ride new trains, travel across Japan to take pictures of trains, and buy models of trains, they also find some much more unique ways of expressing their love of this rail-based form of transportation and the YouTube channel obakyu super express LSE (kyuri P) is most likely one of the finest examples of this on the internet.
On obakyu express LSE you will find a very large selection of videos, all of which follow the same pattern. Take a popular song of some kind, replace the lyrics with Japanese train station names and then get a Vocaloid virtual “singer” to sing this new train station remix. Yes, as difficult as it may be to believe, someone actually takes the time to do this on regular basis.
Let’s take a look at a few examples of the videos found on this channel, starting with the one below. This first video features the virtual pop idol Hatsune Miku singing along to the tune of the 1973 hit American pop song “Top of the World,” which was originally performed by The Carpenters. However, instead of the lyrics you’ve probably heard a million times Hatsune Miku sings the names of the stations found on the JR Yokohama and JR Negishi Lines. By the way, this video has 12,000 views and this is not at all rare on this channel. In other words, this sort of thing seems to have a significant following.
Here’s Hatsune Miku singing the jingle of the Japanese electronics superstore Yodobashi Camera (which uses the melody of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic”) but instead of the normal lyrics what you hear is the names of the train stations found on what is one of the most famous train lines in Japan, Tokyo’s JR Yamanote Line.
Next up, we have “Sanpo” the opening song to the popular Studio Ghibli film My Neighbor Totoro (Tonaro no Totoro) but with the lyrics switched out for the names of the train stations that make up the Enoshima Electric Railway, a train line that connects Kamakura Station in Kamakura and Fujisawa Station in Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture.
And here is a version of Masayoshi Minoshima’s incredibly popular remix of the Touhou Project song “Bad Apple.” This one features the names of the stations that make up the Osaka Municipal Subway. By the way, this video has almost 30,000 views.
Here’s one of the “Anpanman March” featuring the names of train stations found on train lines like the JR Inbi, Tsuyama and Hakubi Lines, all of which are located in the Okayama-Tottori region of Japan.
And finally, here’s a remix of the popular Kyary Pamyu Pamyu song “Ninjaribanban” featuring the names of train stations found along the JR Kansai Main Line, the Nara Line and the Katamachi Line.
If you’ve become of a fan of this unique brand of train based pop music and would like to hear more, then make sure to go to the obakyu super express LSE YouTube channel. It is regularly updated and has many many other train station remixes on it as well. Unfortunately, just about everything is in Japanese so being able to read at least some Japanese would definitely be helpful when exploring this quirky channel.