Sunday, March 17, 2013

ミュージック - サカナクション

Mmm, this song seems straightforward at first, but I'm not really sure I got it. It's definitely not an overly direct translation, so there is that at least (well, maybe in some spots it's a little too faithful...). But yeah, there are definitely some parts I am not sure on. See what you think

Music - Sakanaction

Passing by, passing by
Do birds get nostalgic for far off rocks?
They flew high across the sky

No one knows
Looking down over a village no one knows, what do birds think?
Lonely like me, I wonder?

Does a bird miss its friends from the flock?
It called in a high-pitched voice

A secret town
listened quietly to that.
Weak like me, I wonder?

Pain and hurt and lies, we're used to them, and our words
bob down the river's tired surface
in the town where you live

It's gone
It's gone
(The river flows)

It's gone
(I haven't been able to see it yet, I haven't been able to see it yet)

It's gone
It's gone
(The river flows)

It's gone
(I can't see it yet, I can't see it yet)

I want to sleep with wet hair
The clothes we stripped off and tossed
still as they were yesterday

A secret room
where the wall, you were leaning against it
as if watching me in my weakness

Pain and hurt and lies, I'm used to them, and I talk to myself
Tired nights and winds that blow
To your cheeks

Felt it
Felt it
(The night flows)

Felt it
(I'm not crying, I'm not crying)

Felt it
Felt it
(The night flows)

(Were crying, were crying, so)

The season we reflected on begins
Hating not being able to remember
Even the birds passing by
I bet they were crying in town
I bet they were crying

Waiting for a season that has already passed
Hating not being able to remember
Being separated and taking off
I bet the birds were crying too
I bet they were crying

We'll wait, no matter how long
Even tired pain and hurt
Even nights left as they are
continue singing

We'll wait, no matter how long
We can't see it yet but we're just waiting
Even I, frail and weak
continue to sing

Sunday, February 3, 2013

太陽はどこ - OKAMOTO'S

This is my favorite song off the new self-titled album by my current favorite extant Japanese band :D Really good harmonies. Give it a listen if you get a chance!

Where's the Sun? - Okamoto's

No, I don't have a reason [1]
I was walking down the street
No, I don't have a reason
Towards your house

Look, you can see it now—that nostalgic scenery
the crescent moon suspended in the night [2]

Where's the sun, where's the sun
that we used to be able to see back then
Where's the sun, where's the sun
that set for good over there [3]

"Whatever's fine"
Even though I want to think that
No matter what I do
Nothing ever works out for me and

I'll never ever get used
to being cold in the dark, to you not being there

Where's the sun, where's the sun?
that was smiling down on us back then
Where's the sun, where's the sun?
If you were here now I could probably show you the kindness you deserve [4]

Where's the sun, where's the sun?
that we used to be able to see back then
Where's the sun, where's the sun?
that set for good over there

Where's the sun, where's the sun?
that was smiling down on us back then
Has the world stopped turning?
Where's the sun?


[1] I angsted about how to best express the なんて here. Alternatives included "No particular reason" (which felt too glib) and "There's no point" (which felt too different).

[2] I didn't really get the image here. In English the moon would not "sway" I don't think. I considered going with "floating" cuz that seems poetically natural, but I dunno, I like suspended. "in the night" I added because it needed somewhere to be suspended.

[3] This "over there" is pretty wishy-washy, but it's what they said and I kept it mainly because it parallels the "back then." Some vague "other" time and place. I think that seems valid. My alt would have been "on that horizon."

[4] This line I basically rewrote based on how I read it. The literal translation is something like, "If it were now, [subject omitted] should be able to do it kindly [or "make it kind/nice/friendly"]. So yeah, I read this as him feeling guilty for their break-up, and that if it were the him of today (who is more mature), he could have done it right [by being nicer to her].

Thursday, January 31, 2013

アーモンドのチョコレート ー ゆらゆら帝国

Is this the first request post I have done? I guess I might have done this song eventually, since it's so good. It was harder than it seemed like it would be at first. Japanese lyrics here, notes at the end.

Chocolate-Covered Almonds - Yura Yura Teikoku

I got by munching nothing but chocolate-covered almonds
I got by munching nothing but chocolate-covered almonds

One when I can't sleep, one when I can't move
One when I can't get up the courage, one when I'm bored

She's not coming back today either, I'm ok if I have a few friends
She's not coming back today either, If I have my friends, that's fine

I got by munching nothing but chocolate-covered almonds
I got by munching nothing but chocolate-covered almonds

Alright guys, let's go—hop in the back of my car.
Alright guys, let's go—hop in the back of my car.

One to kick, two to go
Three is the axel crashing into the frame
Four is the curve, five is you crashing
six, seven, eight, nine is four of us crashing

She's never coming back again. I'm ok if I have a few friends.
She's never coming back again. If I have my friends, that's fine.
Alright guys, let's go
Alright guys, let's go


First, I am translating アーモンドのチョコレート as a generic reference to candy like this, which is really popular in Japan, to the point of beating out Pocky in a recent poll. I get that he's not saying アーモンドチョコ but he's not saying アーモンド入りチョコレート either, so I feel justified. Also the [x] 一つ [y] 一つ makes me think of him popping them in his mouth, and you don't really pop candy bars.

The bridge (?) was the hardest part, for sure. I feel like there are a lot of ways to interpret the katakana words. Did a bunch of research on what Japanese people thought of the lines. バーン could most quickly turn into "bang," but you can't apply that to people in English without turning this drive into an orgy. Then I saw some comments that seemed to imply that people read it as the car crashing. This led me to select that verb and specify that the axel is crashing "into the frame." That is info that does not appear in the original song, but from what I read that that is what is going on when the axel is making a banging noise, so it's natural and sort of even has a nice rhythm in English.

So if we are interpreting everything right (seems like Japanese people don't always really get it either, or think it is kind of goofy), the song gets really dark then, right? Like you can read it that he commits suicide with his friends and as long as they die with him he's ok. BTW, バーン is also (like English "bang") is used as a gun sound, too.

fhsfhfdah, hope this helps you understand the song!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

News: I'm a translator :)

I don't know how many people actually read this blog like a blog, especially given how erratically it is updated, but for anyone who is interested in what I am up to In Life, I can say that I'm actually following my dreams like I meant to when I quit my job over a year ago. Tuesday is my last day at Waseda University's intensive Japanese program and on Thursday I'm starting a part-time gig translating in the children's books department at Kodansha. I don't think it has even sunk all the way in what a crazy opportunity this is, to be in-house at one of the biggest Japanese publishers working with a partner to create the best English text we can; I'm so excited.

I'm definitely going to keep practicing here with song lyrics (I know I'm behind on Kyary), and yes, keep in mind that it really is practice. I have a long way to go still, but I'm actually on my way, which is an awesome and inspiring feeling. Lately I've been getting pretty intimidated, but (and I tweeted this yesterday) in 10 years, I'll have 10 years experience! That's how this works. Also, I think it's ok to feel intimidated. If you're intimidated it means you will try your best and that you think what you are doing is actually worthwhile.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Marshmallow Day - Mr. Children

I hear this every morning at least a couple time because they loop it in the study pit (aka the family restaurant where I do lots of homework). They have also been playing it in the street in Shibuya. I could never really catch the words, though, so I decided to investigate....

Beware, lol:

Marshmallow Day - Mr. Children

Like a race car engine,
my heart is rumbling
This feeling well up towards my center
You're beautiful
It's marshmallow day

Just like a 3D movie
A smile straight out of Hollywood
I lose myself
as I'm gradually captivated

Don't go disappearing
like the taste of chewing gum
We're blowing sweet memory bubbles
Carefully, then crazily
I want to savor your texture
Everything is a taste of you

Even though I know there are other things I really should be doing
I can't concentrate
Like bells ringing on high
You're beautiful

Although we've been getting along just fine lately
wanting for nothing
I imagine of a world without you
and I'm terrified

Even if I can't get enough sleep
If I can see you, I'll come with bells on
I'm longing for that moment
I'll match your key
Let's hum the same song
Everyday I sing for you

My heart soars
when I touch the gentle warmth of your body
Ah, I'm so happy
I could die
Buried in your sighs
and this sweet mood

Don't go disappearing
like the taste of chewing gum
We're still blowing sweet memory bubbles
Carefully, then affectionately
I want to savor your texture
Everything is a taste of you

I'm gonna match your key
Let's sing a happy song
Everyday I sing for…
Everything is a taste of…
Everyday, marshmallow day

WHAT DOES IT MEAN? Proooobably nothing, but ok, pretty catchy. You listened twice, didn't you! 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

エミリー - 井上陽水

If you think this is narcissistic,  talk to my friend who recommended the song to me.

PS - This was actually quite difficult and you can read why in the notes and also why it might be partially incorrect (or just a wonky interpretation, let's say).

PPS - Here is a cover of the song:

Emily - Yousui Inoue

I can't forget the way
your eyes looked that evening
The sky was fading into twilight
As if it were whispering to the night

First love
is what summer is for [1]
The stars in the sky, too
Seem like they're wandering through the night

On rainy days, and farewell days
dreaming of summer sun
being loved, being swept away
I'll disappear on [2]
a star's revolving journey [3]

The important thing
is to be happy
But don't say anything
more than that, ok? [4]

On rainy days, and farewell days
dreaming of summer sun
being loved, being swept away
I'll disappear on
a star's revolving journey


[1] I feel nervous about this because it hangs あこがれ out to dry, but I stand by it in terms of meaning and attitude.

[2] The subject is incredibly not literally in the song. At first I actually kept this as a gerund "disappearing" and I think you could do that, but then I realized he's not dreaming about that too. Someone is actually doing it. Either her, him, or both. I decided it can't be her because it's present/future tense. And dude wouldn't be singing this song if they were together, I don't think; seems pretty lonely. So I think he goes off alone.

[3] Then there's the other thing that throws a little chaos on the fire. I read たび as 旅 since the stars had already been kind of personified as wandering through the sky I figured it referred to that journey. Right? I think that is the correct interpretation but I realized that it MIGHT also be possible to read the whole two lines as, "When (度) the star goes around you vanish," or something hopefully less wonky than that. And it would have to be "you," cuz it's wouldn't be the singer or them together. SO. I don't really like that version and I don't think it's right (she doesn't seem like that kind of girl :P), but I do wonder if a Japanese person would read it like that way or not. I might just be overthinking it due to the hiragana.

[4] This strikes me as weird even in the original Japanese so for that reason I'm a little hesitant on the translation. If you think about it, it's really depressing, though, so maybe it's right...

Is this really that sad of a song or am I on crack? ( ノД`)シクシク…

Friday, September 7, 2012

燃えるハートで〜レッドリボン軍をやっつけろ〜 - Wonderland Gang

Was searching for Dragon Ball on YouTube randomly and found this song that happens to correspond to the arc I am reading right now!

With a Heart on Fire: Beat the Red Ribbon Army! - Wonderland Gang

In the city, in the wilderness, rushing in [1]
with an over-developed sense of entitlement—hell soldiers
On the wing of their flying machine blocking out the sky
is an ominously red ribbon, ribbon, ribbon [2]
Don't be frightened of this encroaching evil's power
You can't lose
No matter who the enemy, head for your dreams
with no fear, fighter [3]

Let's go, Red Ribbon
This is gonna be one heck of a thrilling struggle
You have a friend who will fight against their evil ambitions [4]
Beat'em, Red Ribbon
For the best future [5]
Awaken your wild side
Set your heart on fire, go fight!

Over the sea, in the desert, across the great plains [6]
the roaring devil's murderous weapons
Wound around the arms of
these fearless killers: red ribbon, ribbon, ribbon
Yes, that's right—in anyone's heart lies
the bravery to protect their love
Believe in the intense bonds you have formed [7]
and outrun the wind, fighter!

Let's go, Red Ribbon
It's gonna be an exciting brawl [8]
You have a friend who will leap, even into a hazardous trap [9]
Beat'em Red Ribbon
For the sake of my wonderful friends
I'll summon a miracle
Set your life on fire, GO FIGHT

Go after the seven dreams
scattered around the world
Don't hand them over to the bad guys
We'll defend the future, fighter [10]


[1] This 走る was kind of a pain in the neck.
[2] This would be really unfortunate to do as plural, i.e. "On the ribbons, ribbons, ribbons" so I did it singular...
[3] Made this a noun to be more sounded so wonkadonk to say "without being afraid" or something, SO.
[4] I went back and forth between "their" and "these" but even though "their" kind of comes out of nowhere it sounds better, I think. No qualification sounds...too weird, I think.
[5]イカした未来 was a new one on me. Any advice appreciated :P Briefly considered going ultra cliché and saying "For a bright and shining future" but...not really appropriate :P
[6] Perhaps an unacceptable level of embellishment given it's all just に、に、に...
[7] What "bonds?" Sorry, I tried to make it make sense...
[8] I used "brawl" above initially and then changed it to "struggle" so I could use "brawl" for 大暴れ...
[9] This phrasing is pretty awk, but honestly I think it's kind of awk in the original too : /
[10] Translated "tomorrow" as "the future," yep, sorry. I dunno. I could see "fight for tomorrow" but "defend tomorrow" or "protect tomorrow" is a little rough sounding...Idk. I guess at some point in these songs it's all a bit rough sounding.


Update: Wow, now I know no one paid attention to this entry. You guys let me typo "desert" as "dessert" V_V #weallwantcake #corrected