The film Inherent Vice has a great soundtrack, and it includes the 1960s hit and from the early 1960s too Sukiyaki sung by Kyu Sakamoto. It’s recognizable as a middle of the road classic which apparently sold around 13 million records. Try:
Sukiyaki (Ue o Muite Arukou) – Kyu Sakamoto (English Translation and Lyrics)
On this version the Japanese words are translated into English and have such a melancholy ring though the song is somehow at the same time terribly hopeful. Perhaps it’s the smile of the singer. The song is basically about continuing despite all the sad feelings and so on. Here’s a taster:
I look up when I walk /So that the tears won’t fall
And in a later verse
Sadness lies in the shadow of the stars/Sadness lurks in the shadow of the moon
What’s interesting is the song was written as the aftermath of a protest. it’s terribly catchy!