Not yet “Naminori Kakigoori” single review!

Ok, so I’ve been meaning to do this for a long while! You guys must know by now that Not yet is my favorite AKB subunit because it includes my 2 top members, Oshima Yuko and Yokoyama Yui <3 On top of that it also includes the always hilarious Sasshi and the gorgeous, quirky and kind Kitarie so it’s win all around 😀 With that said, I’ve been dying to review this single ever since it came out, but I haven’t had the time for various reasons. The PV is my favorite idol PV so far this year, it’s simply fantastic and super well done IMO, so I’ll review it with a million screencaps sometime soon, hopefully xD

However, the reason why I like Not yet other than the fact that all of its members are in my top 10 is the fact that I really like the songs they get, I find them pretty and the lyrics are always able to put a smile on my face 🙂 I never got around to reviewing Shuumatsu, their debut single, although I loved it to bits, so I want to strike the iron while it’s hot and do it with Naminori Kakigoori before it slips away from everybody’s mind 😀


Naminori Kakigoori was the second single release by AKB subunit Not yet formed by the following members:

Oshima Yuko ace of Team K and center of the group

Yokoyama Yui the new star of Team K

Sashihara Rino of Team A, known for her Hetare (useless) character and quirky blog posts

Kitahara Rie of Team B, known for being Sasshi’s best friend and partner in crime xD

The single was released on July 6th, and its theme is summer! I’ll review all of the tracks and provide lyrics translations as well because I feel like they are an important part of the reason why I like the songs so much 🙂

Naminori Kakigoori achieved the No. 1 weekly position having sold 156000 copies on its first week, coming just 3k short of their debut single. I don’t know the overall sales so far though so if anyone could let me know I would really appreciate it!


1. Naminori Kakigoori (Surfing Shaved Ice):

Here are the lyrics translation courtesy of STUDIO48 and loveandcoffee

    Surfing and shaved ice
    Are the things you like the most
    As the third thing
    Please fall in love with me

    Your skilled board
    Sliding on the blue see
    Has forgotten
    The beach

    I wave my hands at you widely
    But you don’t notice me at all
    You’re a free
    Flying fish

    I pretend I’m a little sulky
    And flip over my love
    My back will get sunburnt
    Because a certain someone isn’t here
    To help me apply sun oil

    Surfing and shaved ice
    Are the things you like the most
    You don’t notice
    Anything else at all
    Surfing and shaved ice
    Are the things you like the most
    As the third thing
    Please fall in love with me
    Before summer is over…

    You’re finally back
    With your hair wet
    And you look
    Very pleased with yourself

    You laugh
    As you eat melon flavoured shaved ice
    You kind of irk me a little

    You’re surrounded by the things you love
    You’re happy, aren’t you?
    You’re like a little boy…
    I voiced my sarcastic remark
    To the sun in the sky…

    Waiting a ton of time on my own
    What’s gonna happen to the two of us?
    When I look back,
    I feel so lonely
    Waiting a ton of time on my own
    What’s gonna happen to the two of us?
    I feel uneasy when you’re not here
    Please remember the third thing…
    Shaved ice…
    I wonder what do they
    Have in common

    Maybe I’m not enough?
    Am I not enough?
    But see, I don’t mind
    If I’m not your number one favourite…

    Surfing and shaved ice
    Are the things you like the most
    You don’t notice
    Anything else at all
    Surfing and shaved ice
    Are the things you like the most
    As the third thing
    Please fall in love with me
    Before summer is over…

So, as you can see, even though it’s an upbeat summery tune it’s actually a sad song about a girl who knows that she isn’t her boyfriend’s first priority but she still loves him so she tries to stay with him despite of this. This tradition of upbeat music but bittersweet lyrics is a classic in AKB’s discography, and it think it paints an interesting contrast, I also like how the song isn’t overly gloomy or melodramatic either lyrics wise, it keeps the whole scene it paints quite light hearted. Music wise, this time the song is a lot faster than Shuumatsu Not yet and it also gives every girl solo lines, which are very much welcome! The song is very poppy although it has some sparkly sounding elements (reminiscent of Kakigoori?) and some guitars. I like the stacatto sound of the interlude a lot since it makes it stand out.

Rating: 5/5


2. Vermeer no Tegami (Vermeer’s Letter):

Lyrics translation by me, keep in mind that I’m not fluent in japanese but I try my best xD If you spot any mistakes, feel free to let me know about them, thanks!

    On the table there are figs
    ripening without noticing it
    even though their sweet scent is inviting
    somehow I can’t reach out my hand…

    Only by
    loving you
    I’m causing someone else to be unhappy
    I avert my gaze suddenly
    and look for relief in
    the light that comes through the window
    Forgive me for this love…

    I wonder what was written
    in Vermeer’s letter
    somehow my current self
    understands it…
    Even though I know that that moment was a mistake
    I don’t have regrets about our unexpected meeting
    My destiny

    There are precious things
    that disappear when you touch them with your fingers
    if that happens then I’d rather close my eyes
    and not see anything anymore

    I know that I
    don’t have the requirements
    to love you
    my room gets darker
    becomes the same under the blindfold
    of love’s pain

    Without even writing a reply to
    Vermeer’s letter
    my pure white stationary
    represents the feelings in my heart
    I can’t betray someone I don’t know
    instead of hurting her
    I’ll turn this into a memory
    Your destiny

    There are fruits
    whose flowers don’t bloom
    but secretly open
    when the night comes
    I will certainly remember
    just like the bright sunlight
    love is a memory

    I wonder what was written
    in Vermeer’s letter
    somehow my current self
    understands it…
    Even though I know that that moment was a mistake
    I don’t have regrets about our unexpected meeting
    My destiny

So, first things first. This song is the standard B-side that came with all the types of the CD. The song was the theme of a Museum Exhibit called “Vermeer’s Love Letter” in Kyoto, which is probably where the title and theme of the song come from. Vermeer was a dutch painter, famous for his “Girl with a Pearl Earring” painting, but he also had a painting called “The Love Letter” which depicted a young woman getting a love letter, with imagery that suggests a tempestuous love (read the whole thing at wiki here). This is all important because the lyrics of the song tell a story about a girl who has a love affaire with a guy who is committed to someone else, the girl of the song realizes that she can’t hurt somebody else just because of her selfish feelings and decides to cut it off even though it saddens her. This way, she says she understands what was written in Vermeer’s Letter, maybe alluding to the fact that the letter might have been addressed to some guy’s mistress (this last part is my interpretation of it though) and she’s going to write a reply to it to put an end to their romance.

As it happens often with Akimoto’s lyrics they paint a very specific scene, and I think it’s pretty awesome how he managed to come up with a story that was fitting for the painting in question, without stretching things too much. It’s quite a grown up song too, which surprised me considering how the lyrics of their previous songs have been normal idol stuff.

Ok, so now, the musical part. This song is a ballad, and it has a bit of a dramatic undertone to it, especially during the verses. There’s a very interesting accordion (or something like that) arrangement that gives it its distinct flavor and saves it from just being another random idol ballad, but it isn’t enough to make it stand out particularly. Actually, I’ve heard it described as “museum music” xD which might have been what Akimoto was looking for? I think it’s relaxing and pretty but not much more than that.

Rating: 3,5/5
3. Hug Tomo (Hug Friend)
Translation by me as well 🙂
    Even though I set my answering machine two days ago
    and I’ve sent you many mails
    we haven’t been able to communicate
    it’s not like your usual self

    whenever I’m feeling down
    you rush to my side
    you’re always bright
    and tell me “it will work out somehow”
    cheering me up
    My friend (my friend)

    If we meet this time
    I will hug you
    If you cry (it’s all right)
    even if you have a runny nose it’s OK
    you can act like a baby with me
    aren’t we best friends? (always)
    I won’t tell anyone
    we’re like a mirror
    each one of us is exactly like the other

    Laughing you say “I’m fine”
    but I know that you’re just pretending to be strong
    because we’ve been together since we were kids
    I realize after you wipe your tears

    This time it’s my turn
    I will listen to your words
    I’ll say “it will work out somehow”
    to your sadness
    let’s share this pain
    my friend (my friend)

    together or alone
    lives supporting each other
    we are weak living beings
    Only with me, don’t pretend to look cool
    we’re best friends (always)
    I can’t possibly hate you
    You are me
    and I am you, that’s what I think

    If we meet this time
    I will hug you
    If you cry (it’s all right)
    even if you have a runny nose it’s OK
    you can act like a baby with me

Adorable <3 Anyway, this song is the B-side that came with Type A, it was used for the movie “Hop” and it features a cameo by Kojima Haruna of Team A/no3b who is also Yuko’s big crush xD In the middle of the song she gets asked by Yuko if she likes her, and she laughs and says yes, so Yuko doesn’t believe her because she laughs but in the end she reassures her that it’s true. It sounded very spontaneous and unscripted and definitely added to the mushiness of the song!

Musically, this song sounds honestly a bit country, I like to think of it as Kokoro no Hashi no Sofa’s little sister because of its similar lyrics and music style 😀 Lyrically, it’s nothing to write home about, the usual friendship song, with some really cute lyrics and metaphors (the mirror one was pretty adorable IMO).

It’s perfect for making you cheer up if you’re feeling gloomy and remind you that you’re not alone, and it’s quite catchy in its simplicity!

Rating: 4/5
4. Greece no Kamotsusen (Greek Freighter)
Translation by me
    The sun sets quietly at dusk
    while we look at it
    now you softly take my hand
    until only one shadow stretches out…

    falling in love this much
    must be the number one happiness in the world, right?
    it’s what I suddenly thought
    because you would listen at my sad stories and everything else
    looking at me gently

    The greek freighter has passed
    look, it’s a shadow sailing on the horizon
    I wonder what does the container carry? listen…
    it would be nice if it were love to share with someone else

    We stand together
    on the breakwater like this
    while the salty wind blows
    I lean on your shoulder

    Meeting someone
    more precious than anyone else isn’t a coincidence
    Up until now I overlooked
    what I was looking for
    in that map
    but you made me realize it

    Greece’s blue and white flag
    look, it paints the sky and sea as one
    where will we go next? The future…
    someday I want to live with you far away

    The blue and white sea of Greece
    it’s like the picture in a postcard
    I wonder where is happiness? it’s a dream
    someday let’s look at dawn from there

This song is the B-side exclusive to Type B of the CD. The lyrics are yet another love story, and with a very specific location and plot to it as well! This one is about a girl who unexpectedly finds love in a trip to Greece. Having been there, I can relate to the sceneries the song speaks about and well, it’s pretty romantic, you know? Looking at the vast ocean while leaning on your boyfriend’s shoulder and thinking about a wonderful future for the two of you… Ahh l’amour

It’s a very beautiful midtempo song with subtle piano and guitar (and synths! but not the annoying kind) I love the build up to the chorus and how nostalgic it sounds overall despite being a happy song, it makes it even more romantic I guess 🙂 Solo lines are everywhere in this song, and to be quite honest, this is the first time that the general complain of Not yet’s poor vocals has affected me personally :/

Let’s look at it in a case-by-case basis: Oshima Yuko isn’t a fantastic singer, but she’s not bad by any means either. Her voice has a husky quality to it that makes it stand out, but she can put emotion in her singing and she can carry a tune fine.

Yokoyama Yui has a high pitched timbre, but I’d argue that she’s the best singer in the unit. She’s proven to be quite good live (listen to her cover of Ikimonogakari’s Bluebird) if you can tolerate her sweet voice xD and she works pretty well in the group because the rest of the girls have significantly lower registers.

Now, moving on to Sashihara Rino, she has an average voice, but she’s good at hitting all the right notes and can harmonize properly. I was actually pleasantly surprised to hear her solo lines in this single, even though I’ve never thought she’s bad, I used to find her voice very non descript, but she’s improved and now sounds clearer.

Last is Kitahara Rie. God knows I love Kitarie to death, she’s my second favorite Team B member, and she could do no wrong in my eyes until I heard her solo line in the a capella chorus here. Seriously, she was all over the place, her voice sounded kinda shaky and not right. I wish I knew more about music so I could point out exactly what was it that bothered me but uhh…  It might have to do with the fact that the song is a bit higher than their other stuff so she strains a bit. Anyway. girl needs singing lessons, because she’s amazing and all, but even when she’s harmonizing she’ll go off tune at times and stick out. And this is the recording so, yeah. Kitarie, I love you to death, but please take singing lessons ;_; all of them could use them, really, so that they harmonize better and not clash, because Yuko, Sasshi and Rie’s voices are quite similar and it really stands out when one of them isn’t getting it right.

Anyway, great song, I could definitely see this being a stage song, which is great in my book 😀

Rating: 5/5
5. Bokutachi no Offshore (Our Offshore)
Translation by me
    After the sign of the convenience store disappears
    there’s the vacant land of the national highway
    the old wagon stops
    in the sea where the typhoon is approaching
    the waves would certainly
    take down a surfboard

    With a worried face you look at me
    in your wetsuit
    it’s your first time, right?
    (don’t worry)

    In our offshore
    let’s feel the wind
    because I’ll be by your side
    I wanted to take you
    to the best place
    the scenery from the sea
    that you have never seen
    is a moment
    that changes your life

    The temperature of the water is a little low but
    we’ll get used to it
    while we paddle together
    we lose the balance for a little bit
    we straddle
    standing on top of the board

    Rather than watching from a cafe
    the process of
    challenging something together is good
    (because we’re lovers)

    love is offshore
    I wonder if you’ll understand
    while we wait for the same wave facing backwards
    we failed
    I will help you
    let me show you
    in this lovely opportunity
    the pounding of my heart

    The surfing that
    I love so much
    I wanted you
    to come to like it too someday

    in our offshore
    let’s feel the wind
    because I’ll be by your side
    I wanted to take you
    to the best place
    the scenery from the sea
    that you have never seen
    happiness and tears
    I’ll take them both
    I want to ride the waves with you
    while we love each other
    in our offshore
    let’s have fun

Yay! This is actually my favorite song in the single! I don’t know why is it that my favorite songs by Not yet are the ones nobody else likes xD Sunao ni Naritai and this. Anyway, this was the B-side exclusive to Type C, and it’s also the only song in the single that is sung from a male point of view. The story is also very specific and paints a scene with many little details, so much that you can even feel you are part of it! A surfer boy brings his girlfriend to the sea to make her fall in love with the surfing he likes so much and show off to her at the same time xD It’s really sweet because he also wants her to be at his favorite place looking at a pretty scenery and I JUST CAN’T DEAL WITH IT, IT’S TOO ADORABLE <3

Musically, I’ve heard people call it generic, but I actually quite like it and think it’s very catchy and melodic! It has a nice upbeat pace and nice and different verses that make it stand out. My favorite part is the bridge and how it leads to an almost a capella chorus to pick up the genki pace afterwards. Actually, it reminds me a bit of SKE’s music, because of the high energy and the fast pace. I just really hope I can watch a performance of this song at the next AX or anywhere, really. Should I vote for it? I was planning on voting for Korogaru Ishi ni Nare and ALIVE but hmmm… I like this song too much! I’ll figure it out when the time comes, I guess 😀

Rating: 5/5


Overall Rating 4,5/5: Naminori Kakigoori is a very solid effort by the girls of Not yet that proves why they are the best selling sub unit of AKB (lol not really, that’s just because of their popularity but this was great anyway :P) Despite Shuumatsu Not yet not leaving a very good impression in a big chunk of the english speaking fanbase, they completely turned it around this time with a refreshing summer A-side and original B-sides that ranged from ballads to country and that were very well written, lyrics wise. To be honest, I feel like it was one of Akimoto’s better recent efforts, reminiscent of the lyrics of old stage songs, and I was incredibly happy to find out when I translated them, it definitely made it MUCH better to me, because I’m  nerd who likes to overanalyze idol lyrics 8B

The PV of the A-side also set them aside from their debut, where people were quite disappointed at the dance shot/close up format. I will review the PV and DVDs that came with the CDs next time 😀

Even though they didn’t manage to sell more than their debut single, I was glad to see them performing everywhere and their events looked like a lot of fun! And with good reason, because Yuko, Rie and Sasshi are great at MCing and generally entertaining a crowd, and Yuko surfing was super badass!

So, all in all, I think this was a great release and I would recommend you guys to pick it up if you can, you won’t regret it! It’s idol pop at its finest and great for the summer! My entire holiday at the sea consisted pretty much of me humming Naminori Kakigoori, Bokutachi no Offshore and Ningyo no Vacance from AKB’s latest album (which I also want to review, but we’ll see).

See you next time for PV + DVD extras! As usual all comments are much appreciated 😀

EDIT: Sorry about the spacing issues, I tried to fix them 10 times and no luck. Gah. WordPress hates me and I’m totally dumb at this kind of stuff so please bear with me.


  1. Pingback by Recommended Reading – August 3rd, 2011 | International Wota on August 3, 2011 2:03 pm

    […] Not yet “Naminori Kakigoori” single review! – Aitakatta! Cat does a beautiful job examining each song and its lyrics in this detailed review. […]

  2. Comment by andrew on August 6, 2011 3:48 am

    good job with the detailed review

    i thought they made a lot of progress from the first single (i thought the songs in that one sounded generic)
    hope the 3rd single, whenever that comes out, keeps up the momentum

  3. Comment by Cat on August 6, 2011 8:42 am

    Thanks for commenting! Well I really liked the first single, but it was mostly medium tempo-ballads and people don’t usually like those songs as much xD also, I’m not sure if their image of an energetic group fit with so many ballads lol This one is more cohesive, the melodies are beautiful and the girls sound better, although there’s still room for improvement!

    I hope they release the third single this year already! Can’t wait for it! *__*

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