I’m Listening to Sakura Nagashi A Lot

桜流し (Sakura Nagashi) is a song by the Japanese musician Utada Hikaru. Utada is most known for her songs in the Kingdom Hearts video game series and the Neon Genesis Evangelion anime franchise. This song is one of my favourites from Utada as it stirs up a lot of emotion in me whenever I listen to it.

Sakura Nagashi (Utada Hikaru Cover) by Sugar Joiko

One of my YouTube channels, Sugar Joiko uploaded some new videos and that got me reminiscing about her older work. Sugar Joiko is a musician who started out her YouTube channel doing cover songs of Utada Hikaru. Now she writes her own originals and does more mainstream covers.

The song that I love the most out of her entire catalogue is Sakura Nagashi. When I first heard this song, I was in awe of her emotional prowess and control in her voice. The production was extremely high quality and professional. And her Japanese pronunciation was great, which was a bonus. I was immediately hooked.

Sugar Joiko’s interpretation is a lot more optimistic compared to the original version, despite not changing the words one bit. This doesn’t bother me much. I like to take this version as an emphasis to keep moving forward but there is still that hint of leaving something behind.

Sakura Nagash (English Utada Hikaru Cover) by Mikutan

To those who don’t know, Mikutan is a popular YouTuber who covers Japanese songs in both English and Japanese. I’m not a huge follower of Mikutan but I had watched some of her videos in the past before (I think I pretty much listened to all of the Sayoko covers ever done on YouTube back in 2013). After listening to Sugar Joiko’s version, I went to go search up more covers on a whim. When I saw Mikutan covered this song, I knew I was in for a treat.

Normally I would complain about translating Japanese lyrics to English for the purpose of singing them because a lot of meaning may be lost in translation and the lyrics might not flow just right. There are some weird hiccups in this translation but it is by far the best English cover of Sakura Nagashi out there right now.

On my first listen, I legitimately teared up. I still really struggle trying to get a strong grasp on what this song is about. This song is, undoubtedly, about the loss of a loved one no matter what kind of interpretation you take on it. However, I can’t pin point the relationship of the loved one. It could be easy to say a lover but there are strong themes of motherhood and protection in this song. This could be due to the fact that this song was written for an anime series with those very same themes.

This overwhelming feeling of lost time is prevalent in this song. It feels heavy. But there is promise in the song such as in the images of childbirth both in the song and the original music video. There’s still hope and life inevitably continues.