Friday, August 10, 2012

幽霊の気分で ー 坂本慎太郎

Was looking absentmindedly at blog stats and noticed lots of people seem to like Shintaro Sakamoto. WELL, so I do. Here is the first track off his recent solo album:

In a Phantom Mood [1]

I died on a wide street. Wandered in on purpose. [2]
I want to melt into the scenery [3]
Hum a melody to a far away friend
and send it on a gentle breeze

So where should I go? What should I be?
In a phantom mood
So what should I do? What should I be?
With my transparent body

I flew where I wanted, along a dark road
Threw away everything in my bag
Old textbooks, manga, my name, keys, and address
My games and my drawings, threw them all away

So where should I go? What should I be?
In a phantom mood
So what should I do? What should I be?
With my transparent body

So where should I go? What should I be?
In a phantom mood
So what should I do? What should I be?
With my transparent body

I flew where I wanted
Melted into the scenery
I flew where I wanted
Melted into the scenery

Notes:

[1] This is the official English title of the song, so I didn't mess with it.

[2] First line was the hardest line to translate! I dunno if I did it right. を死ぬ does not make sense to me. I tried to look it up. If anyone has advice... The second part of the line, too; the context is not entirely clear to me, but I read this whole line as basically, "I committed suicide in traffic today by wandering into the street on purpose." Could be wrong D:

[3] みせる in this case seems unnecessary to translate literally... It's not about "showing" or faking it. This dictionary example sentence informed my decision: "できるだけ若く見せる|make oneself look as young as possible"


3 comments:

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  3. You're quite correct to say that "何々を死んだ" doesn't make sense, but that isn't really what's going on here. Rather, を is marking 通り as the object of 彷徨った, in the phrase 広い通りを...彷徨った ("I wandered along a wide street.") However, the object and the verb are separated by a phrase that tells how he wandered, specifically 死んだつもりで. In this case, つもり does not mean "plan" or "intention," as one learns in first-year Japanese; rather, it refers to a counterfactual feeling. Hence, "I wandered along a wide street, feeling as if I had died."

    Also note that he isn't telling someone else to hum a song; rather, he himself is humming a song, and he is actually addressing the song itself, telling it to catch the breeze and float off above the rooftops to his distant friend. There's really no way to translate this into natural-sounding English, but the gist is "Tune that I hum, catch the breeze and float off above the rooftops, to my friend far away."

    Otherwise, this is a fine translation!

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