68 episodes

Welcome to Holly Jolly X'masu, your podcast destination for Japanese Christmas music.

Holly Jolly X'masu Scott Leopold

    • Music
    • 5.0 • 2 Ratings

Welcome to Holly Jolly X'masu, your podcast destination for Japanese Christmas music.

    The Hibari Children’s Chorus’s “Good Child’s Christmas Party"

    The Hibari Children’s Chorus’s “Good Child’s Christmas Party"

    Welcome to episode 67 of Holly Jolly X'masu! In this episode, I’ll be talking about the Hibari Children’s Chorus’s 1965 album, “Good Child’s Christmas Party.”

    How can you not love that album cover?
    Although not what I planned, this episode will go down in infamy as my (hopefully only) COVID episode. I tested positive last week and it really kicked my butt. You might be able to hear it in my voice a bit throughout the episode. I’m still on the mend, but I’m hoping to be back to at least 90% in the next day or two, and that I won’t have any delays throughout the month.
    This episode and the next might be a little light on biographical content, although that’s partially by design. My next two will be more involved and with everything going on in my life, I needed to pick a couple easier albums for my first two episodes this month. I definitely didn’t need COVID getting in the way.
    I hope you enjoyed this episode, COVID notwithstanding. Be sure to listen in next week as I cover the King Orchestra’s “Jingle Bell – Christmas Karaoke Collection.” Then join me later in the month as I cover a pair of phenomenal 1980s compilations. Up first is “Mint Sound’s X’mas Album,” which for my money is the best major label Japanese Christmas compilation of the decade. Then join me on Christmas Day for a virtually unknown minor label compilation. It’s loaded with City Pop and has a fantastic 80s sound that you’re sure to love!
    As always, any feedback on this episode would be appreciated. If have any suggestions, or if you’d like to recommend a song or album for a future episode, drop me a line and let me know.
    Remember, I've added a button to my Ko-fi page. If you'd like to support me one cup of coffee at a time, a donation is only $3. I’ve also opened a Redbubble store. I only have a couple designs up, but keep an eye on it as I’ll be trying to add more. Half of any proceeds or donations received will be donated to support the people of Ukraine, while the rest will be used to purchase new Japanese Christmas music to review for future episodes. You can also find me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. And if you get a chance, leave me a review on iTunes. Thanks!

    • 31 min
    A Very "Big In Japan" Christmas

    A Very "Big In Japan" Christmas

    Welcome to episode 66 of Holly Jolly X'masu! In this episode, I’ll be wrapping up my “Big In Japan” month with a selection of records from a variety of artists who found their biggest or initial success in Japan.

    This is easily one of the episodes I’ve been most excited to record. While the nostalgia invoked by Bob McGrath, and the relative notoriety of Jennifer Connelly’s record were big deals, those paled in comparison to everything I was able to uncover about Paul Anka’s “Christmas In Japan.” I’ve mentioned before that I’m not in the best position to uncover facts about Japanese Christmas music that my friends in Japan don’t already know, so when I do, it’s a huge accomplishment for me. I’ve always liked Paul Anka, so the fact that his record was involved made it even more meaningful.

    As promised in the episode, here are the English lyrics to “Vive Le Vent”:
    Long live the wind, long live the wind
    Long live the winter wind
    Which goes whistling, blowing
    Through the tall green Christmas trees, oh!
    Long live the weather, long live the weather,
    Long live the winter weather
    Snowballs and new year’s day
    and happy new year Grandma!
    Along the long road
    All white from the white snow
    Walks an old man
    With his cane in his hand
    And all above the wind
    Which whistles in the branches
    Blows on him the romantic tune
    That he sang as a young child, oh!
    Merry, Merry Christmas
    To the thousand candles
    Which delight toward heaven
    The night’s bells.
    Long live the wind, long live the wind
    Long live the winter wind
    Which brings to old kids
    Their memories of yesterday, oh!
    And the old man
    Goes down toward the village
    It’s the time when everyone is good
    And the shadow dances near the fire
    But in each house
    There floats a festive air
    Everywhere the table is set
    And you hear the same song, oh!

    I ran a little long in spots this episode, so I had to edit out a few bits. One thing I regretted cutting was the fact that “Christmas In Japan” was released on both 45 and 78. I’ve seen one copy of the 78 for sale. Unfortunately, I didn’t bid on it. I’ll keep looking, though.

    Jimmy Osmond’s record was a fun one to pick up. It was also surprisingly hard to find. I had a copy sitting in my wish list on one of the record sites for a couple months, but when I went to buy it, their copy had sold. It took over a year for another copy to show up. Since then, I’ve seen dozens of them, but there was a long stretch where I’d started to worry that I’d never see another.


    From a pure nostalgia standpoint, Bob McGrath’s EP was one of the biggest highlights of my collecting career. Of the human characters on “Sesame Street,” Bob was always my favorite. Hearing his “Jingle Bells” the first time took me back to my childhood. When a copy of his “White Christmas” single showed up a month or two ago, I couldn’t pass on it.


    I resisted getting “Jennifer’s X’mas” for quite some time. Now that I have it, I don’t regret it, although I’m glad I didn’t pay as much as some others have.
    Jennifer Connelly on “The Graham Norton Show”

    I hope you’ve had as much fun listening to and learning about these artists who were “Big In Japan” as I did collecting and researching their music. Join me back here next month as I celebrate Christmas with four weekly episodes. Up first is the Hibari Children’s Chorus and their 1965 album, “Good Child’s Christmas Party.” After that, I’ll be covering the King Orchestra’s 1978 album, “Jingle Bells – Christmas Karaoke Collection.” Then join me later in the month as I talk about one of the greatest Japanese Christmas compilations to come out of the 1980s, “Mint Sound’s X’mas Album.” Finally, on Christmas Day, listen in as I cover a virtually unknown City Pop Christmas compilation. It’s one of the coolest records in my collection and one you don’t want to miss.

    As always, any feedbac

    • 55 min
    Big In Japan, Pt. 2: “The Ventures’ Christmas Album”

    Big In Japan, Pt. 2: “The Ventures’ Christmas Album”

    Welcome to episode 65 of Holly Jolly X'masu! For my second “Big In Japan” episode, I’ll be talking about the Ventures and their 1965 album, “The Ventures’ Christmas Album.”

    I was on the fence about covering this album since it was originally a US release, but considering how big the Ventures have been in Japan for nearly six full decades, I wanted to make sure I included them in my “Big In Japan” month. I’ve taken some liberties with my editing this episode, but I hope you’re still able to enjoy the album, and that it encourages you to seek out more from the Ventures.

    Be sure to listen in on the 25th as I wrap up my “Big In Japan” month with a selection of records from a variety of artists, including a couple of the more sought-after Japanese Christmas records. This is one episode you don’t want to miss!
    As always, any feedback on this episode would be appreciated. If have any suggestions, or if you’d like to recommend a song or album for a future episode, drop me a line and let me know.
    Remember, I've added a button to my Ko-fi page. If you'd like to support me one cup of coffee at a time, a donation is only $3. I’ve also opened a Redbubble store. I only have a couple designs up, but keep an eye on it as I’ll be trying to add more. Half of any proceeds or donations received will be donated to support the people of Ukraine, while the rest will be used to purchase new Japanese Christmas music to review for future episodes. You can also find me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. And if you get a chance, leave me a review on iTunes. Thanks!

    • 30 min
    Big In Japan, Pt. 1: Janet Lynn’s “A Joyful Christmas With Janet”

    Big In Japan, Pt. 1: Janet Lynn’s “A Joyful Christmas With Janet”

    Welcome to episode 64 of Holly Jolly X'masu! In the first of my “Big In Japan” episodes, I’ll be discussing American figure skater Janet Lynn’s 1973 album, “A Joyful Christmas With Janet.”

    I’ve always been intrigued by the “Big In Japan” phenomenon. It wasn’t something I gave a lot of thought to when I first started collecting Japanese Christmas music, though. However, not long after I started checking the various Japanese sites for other albums I could get, I started seeing Janet Lynn’s album show up. I had no idea who she was at the time, but I was curious when I saw her album because it seemed a bit out of place. The album’s cover, with Janet’s face smiling out from the middle of a wreath, didn’t fit in with most of the Japanese albums I was seeing.

    After a small bit of research, I was able to uncover the basics of Janet’s life and her “Big In Japan” status. I decided to get her album and that I would eventually cover it as part of a series of “Big In Japan” episodes. It took me nearly two more years, but I finally got the other records I was hoping to cover.

    I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about Janet Lynn and my “Big In Japan” overview. Join me back here next week as I talk about the Ventures and their 1965 Christmas album. Then join me on the 25th for the real highlight of the month, when I’ll be discussing several other artists who were “Big In Japan.” I have a few really rare and enjoyable records lined up and I’m sure you’ll enjoy them.
    As always, any feedback on this episode would be appreciated. If have any suggestions, or if you’d like to recommend a song or album for a future episode, drop me a line and let me know.
    Remember, I've added a button to my Ko-fi page. If you'd like to support me one cup of coffee at a time, a donation is only $3. I’ve also opened a Redbubble store. I only have a couple designs up, but keep an eye on it as I’ll be trying to add more. Half of any proceeds or donations received will be donated to support the people of Ukraine, while the rest will be used to purchase new Japanese Christmas music to review for future episodes. You can also find me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. And if you get a chance, leave me a review on iTunes. Thanks!

    • 41 min
    Jackey Yoshikawa's "Christmas With Blue Comets" - Remastered

    Jackey Yoshikawa's "Christmas With Blue Comets" - Remastered

    Welcome to episode 63 of Holly Jolly X'masu! For Christmas Podcast Day, I’ve remastered one of my earliest episodes, where I discussed Jackey Yoshikawa’s 1966 album, “Christmas With Blue Comets.”

    November 1st is Christmas Podcast Day. It kicks off the peak season for Christmas podcasters, and a lot of us try to do something special to mark the day. This year, I’m revisiting my fifth episode. I’ve added a new introduction, replaced the original music with the re-recorded songs at the correct speed, and replaced the intro and exit music with a few songs from Jackey’s 1967 EP, “Roseate Christmas.”

    Listening to the original episode, I cringed a bit, but I also enjoyed hearing how much I’ve improved over the past two years. I’ve also gotten a lot better at editing so, even though this one was a chore, it wasn’t nearly as bad as if I’d re-edited it a couple years ago.

    Since the original episode came out, I’ve added to my Jackey Yoshikawa collection as well. I managed to get the LP with the “lounge” cover, and the “Jingle Bells” EP, which contains four tracks from the album. There was a third variant of the LP, and a single with the same cover as the EP, but I haven’t bothered with those.

    I hope you’ve enjoyed this revamped look at Jackey Yoshikawa. I hope you’re also able to find the time to check out some of the other great Christmas podcasts out there. As I said, this is the start of the busiest time of the year for Christmas podcasters. I have a bunch of episodes lined up for the next two months. Tune in the rest of the month as I talk about artists who were “Big In Japan.” Then join me in December as I look at some really spectacular albums, including an unknown gem of a compilation.
    As always, any feedback on this episode would be appreciated. If have any suggestions, or if you’d like to recommend a song or album for a future episode, drop me a line and let me know.
    Remember, I've added a button to my Ko-fi page. If you'd like to support me one cup of coffee at a time, a donation is only $3. I’ve also opened a Redbubble store. I only have a couple designs up, but keep an eye on it as I’ll be trying to add more. Half of any proceeds or donations received will be donated to support the people of Ukraine, while the rest will be used to purchase new Japanese Christmas music to review for future episodes. You can also find me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. And if you get a chance, leave me a review on iTunes. Thanks!

    • 37 min
    We Wish You A Happy

    We Wish You A Happy

    Welcome to episode 62 of Holly Jolly X'masu! In this episode, I’ll be talking about the 2010 compilation, “We Wish You A Happy.”

    A lot of my collecting requires leaps of faith. So many of the albums I buy aren’t available online, so I can’t sample them in advance. This is especially true of the older ones, but even a lot of the music from the 1990s and later still can’t be streamed. I learned early on that the bloggers I rely on for recommendations have vastly different tastes than I do, so while a recommendation from them may be a start, I try to look for something else in their comments or the album’s content to convince me that I might like a particular album.

    “We Wish You A Happy” was one where I had nothing to go on other than recommendations a clip of Riddim Saunter’s “Guest Of A Christmas.” I was glad I put my doubts aside and got it, though, because it turned out to be an enjoyable album.

    I hope that at least a couple of the songs here suited your tastes. I felt there was enough variety that nearly anyone could find something to enjoy. I have some great and unique albums lined up, so be sure to tune in in November. Up first, for Christmas Podcast Day on November 1st, I’ll be revisiting one of my earliest episodes. I’ve remastered Episode 5, where I talked about Jackey Yoshikawa’s “Christmas With Blue Comets.” You’ll get to hear more of the albums plus a few songs from Jackey’s later Christmas EP. Then listen in the rest of the month as I talk about artists who were “Big In Japan.” I’ll be talking about everyone from figure skater Janet Lynn, to the Ventures, Jimmy Osmond and others, including a couple of hard to find records that I’m sure you’ll enjoy.
    As always, any feedback on this episode would be appreciated. If have any suggestions, or if you’d like to recommend a song or album for a future episode, drop me a line and let me know.
    Remember, I've added a button to my Ko-fi page. If you'd like to support me one cup of coffee at a time, a donation is only $3. I’ve also opened a Redbubble store. I only have a couple designs up, but keep an eye on it as I’ll be trying to add more. Half of any proceeds or donations received will be donated to support the people of Ukraine, while the rest will be used to purchase new Japanese Christmas music to review for future episodes. You can also find me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. And if you get a chance, leave me a review on iTunes. Thanks!

    • 56 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
2 Ratings

2 Ratings

Scott in Dayton ,

I loved it! It's much better than "Cats!" I'm going to listen again and again!

I might be a little biased, but I'd have to say I loved it! It's much better than "Cats!" I'm going to listen again and again!

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