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.