Monday, August 9, 2010

暗闇坂むささび変化 ー はっぴいえんど

Note: Originally posted January 8, 2010.

I sort of want to start a HAPPY END cover band. How cool would that be? These songs are so fun to sing :) This one has been my project for the weekend. On the tribute CD, Happy Parade, this song is sung BEAUTIFULLY by つじあやの with ukulele :) Lyrics are here.

The Giant Flying Squirrel Monster[1]

The place is Tokyo, Azabujuuban,[2]
just then the early afternoon.
In the dark hills, an outburst of crickets chirping.
To my shining eyes in my black coat [3]
In broad daylight, appeared a monstrous apparition.

Flying squirrel,
Flying squirrel,
Oh-oh flying squirrel.

Butterflies go flap flap flap
Bats go whoosh whoosh whoosh
A suspicious cloud streams by
To my ears in my black hat, from a torn mouth
comes a worn out voice saying, "You never write..." [4]

Flying squirrel,
Flying squirrel,
Oh-oh flying squirrel.

If I try to remember,
in grandma's old stories, since I've met one of these I should say [5]
"Let me hear one or two of your tales of woe"
and take its hand even if it's just a dream [6]

Flying squirrel,
Flying squirrel,
Oh-oh flying squirrel.


[1] This is a more or less literal translation. As far as I can tell, though, this song really is about a fying squirrel "monster."

[2] Thank god for name and place dictionaries.

[3] This was probably the hardest line in the song (well and the one about 黒ソフト, but once you decide the first one the second one works the same way. I wasn't sure if it was supposed to be more metaphor or he was actually just describing the clothes he was wearing. I mean, I could be entirely wrong. I think it's the に that really through me off, since that should indicate direction, not location. Unless it's with ある, at least. See? It's hard. I'm not sure.

[4]草疲びれる This was pretty interesting. It took me a while to figure out this word, even though I knew right away what it meant because of the kanji for 疲れた (which means "tired"). Unless the dictionaries I use are mistaken, this: 草臥れる is the current kanji spelling of the word. Another of the dictionaries only seems to register the kana くたびれる.

[5] 以来, here, through me off. It's supposed to mean "since" in a time sense, not a "because" sense. I almost want to assume they botched the kanji, because 依頼 (also いらい) means "request," which totally makes sense, but I would have to change the rest of the verse, too. It'd be something like ,

If I try to remember
in grandma's old stories, the request from one of these when you meet is,
"Let me tell you a tale of woe or two..."
and it takes my hand even though I'm dreaming.

Orrr....something. But you get the idea. It would change from you offering to help it out (to save your skin!!) to it requesting your help (because it's a sad lonely spirit). It's hard because I understand the situation and even have a general idea of how a yokai encounter works, but I just can't get through this grammar.

This sort of runs into point [6] by now, but that も is sort of hard to parse. Normally も is something like "as well" or "too" but in this case I don't think he's been talking about any other "pipe dreams" (which I refuse to translate as pipe dreams because...well...we just wouldn't say it. I could maybe do it as "hallucination," but that seems a little too far from the original.) I guess I just took some liberities in this case and said "even though" because that seems to be the sentiment they are trying to convey. Like, "It's probably a dream, but this is what happened, so...what can I say?"


This past week a friend from Twitter sent me some notes on this blog post! I was very surprised and excited by this development :)

The main gist is to confirm my hesitations in [3] where I wasn't sure what to do with the black clothing mentions. The context is murky enough that it seems like you could go either way, but this translator went with the metaphor, which maybe does make more sense. Anyhow, I highly recommend checking out the notes!!

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