Archive

Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Last Christmas Cover

December 19th, 2008

If you live in Japan, then Christmas to you means hearing Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You and Wham’s Last Christmas (pop-up video!) about seven million times apiece in the month of December. But this year is different. EXILE has released a cover of Wham’s seasonal tune, in Japanese. What to do with that? How about learn all the words and sing it at karaoke? I mean, you’re going to hear it seven million times anyway – why not make it educational? Below you’ll find a karaoke-style video (also still currently available on YouTube thanks to user ghislain03091981), the full text of the Japanese lyrics AND a reasonable translation, as well as links to the iKnow video list that I created. And I tried to make it good – there are 30 vocabulary words, they all have lyrics from the song associated with them, and I even recorded myself speaking the lyrics so that you can do dictation practice if you want to. Go try it out and rate it. Then let us know how you performed at the karaoke box in the comments. Of course, all other comments are welcome, too. ;-) Oh – and yes, this post was also submitted to the special Christmas 2008 edition of the Japan Blog Matsuri, hosted by the community driven JapanSoc Blog! While you’re over there, check out the main page of JapanSoc, the Digg-style social network for the English-speaking Japan-related web.

Last Christmas 今はまだ思い出になんてできないよ
でも愛はもう ここにはいない this year
Last Christmas ふたりなら 願いはかなうと信じてた
まだ越えられない 君は今でも special

Last Christmas – I still can’t call it a mere memory
But love – you’re already not here this year
Last Christmas – if we were together, I believed my wish would be fulfilled
I still can’t get over it – you’re still special, even now

出会って気づいたよ 本当は僕も淋しがりやだと
ねぇ君は覚えてるかい? ふたりで交わした初めてのキス
思えば僕は 君にはたぶん重すぎたよね
わかったふりの強がり 張り裂けそうな my beating heart

We met and I noticed, the truth is that I’m a lonely person too
Hey, do you remember? The first kiss that we shared
When I think about it, maybe it was too serious for you
You pretended like you knew, it was as though my beating heart would burst

Last Christmas 今はまだ思い出になんてできないよ
でも愛はもう ここにはいない this year
Last Christmas ふたりなら 願いはかなうと信じてた
まだ越えられない 君は今でも special

Last Christmas – I still can’t call it a mere memory
But love – you’re already not here this year
Last Christmas – if we were together, I believed my wish would be fulfilled
I still can’t get over it – you’re still special, even now

悲しみもせつなさも 僕たちが生きてる証
失ってみて 初めて知った 大切なもの 大切なひと
もうあの頃には戻れない 君のほほ笑みは戻らない
(Show me your smile)
Ooh ooh この胸の痛みを覚えてる

Our grief and pain are evidence of being alive
When I tried to lose it, I realized for the first time, that it was important, that you are important
I can’t go back to that time, your smile will not return
Ooh ooh – I remember the ache in this chest of mine

Last Christmas 今はまだ思い出になんてできないよ
でも愛はもう ここにはいない this year
Last Christmas ふたりなら 願いはかなうと信じてた
まだ越えられない 君は今でも special

Last Christmas – I still can’t call it a mere memory
But love – you’re already not here this year
Last Christmas – if we were together, I believed my wish would be fulfilled
I still can’t get over it – you’re still special, even now

もうあの頃には戻れない 君のほほ笑みは戻らない
Maybe, next year!
だけど今でも 君は今でも special

I can’t go back to that time, your smile will not return
Maybe, next year!
But even now – you are special even now.

Ok – now that you’ve seen the goods, go try out the iKnow video list! If you want to jump right in and you’re already an iKnow user, you can click one of the buttons below to start the iKnow study application or the iKnow dictation application immediately. DO IT! :-D

iKnow Study:


iKnow Dictation:

This was my first attempt at making a list, and I think I botched at least one thing. There are an equal number of sentences to words, which is messed up. In total there are really only 12 sentences. I pulled the 30 words from them. But I wanted to link the sentences to the words, so I created sentences on each one. It works for studying, but the Dictation gets really repetitive really fast…which might be good if you’re attempting to memorize the song. Yeah….that’s the ticket… But seriously, if you have any list-building experience in iKnow, and you want to help me out, please let me know how I can avoid this problem in the future. Thanks!

Customary Drivel, JBMatsuri, Media, Music, RIH Entries, Video, 日本語

Tottori Sand Dunes

November 11th, 2008

(Bigger version!)

So, it turns out that there are sand dunes in Tottori Prefecture. Why? I have no idea. They are naturally occurring, though. Or at least they are under protection as a natural monument according to the Japanese Wikipedia entry. But in any event, they are a tourist attraction now. On my most recent visit to Tottori City, I made the trek out to see these mythical dunes. (And by trek, I mean short bus ride from the station.) It is really uncanny how the greenery sort of abruptly becomes coarse, patchy, and then…well…desert-like. The area has a number of attractions.

For instance, there are (obviously) the sand dunes themselves. You can walk out barefoot, like I did, carrying your shoes. I’m told that this is impossible in summer due to the intensely hot sand. You can also take a horse-drawn cart ride down to the beach – but it looks really boring. ;-) Just trying to save you a few hundred yen. You’ll find the lady standing on a pole (which was newsworthy just a while back – no rhyme or reason to it other than she causes people to look at her curiously) and the horse carts at the closest point to the parking lot. You can also take a camel ride there, which seems very similar to a pony ride or any other 2 minute loop around a set track carnival ride would provide. It’s cheaper if you ride 2 to a camel.

When you’re done checking out the dunes, you can wash your feet off just to the left of the stairway back down to the parking lot. If you’re like me, you’ll gaze at all of the license plates as you walk by – there were people from ALL over Japan at these dunes. I was honestly pretty surprised. Once you’re clean and you’ve got your socks and shoes back on, you can go grab some Asian pear (nashi) soft serve ice cream. This stuff is amaaaazing. I’d have gotten it twice before leaving had I any room in my stomach. Ha ha. You’ve really got to try it. You can walk through the typical souvenir shops, too, if you like. Then you can head into the “Sand Museum.” It’s basically a collection of sand sculptures that are semi-protected from the elements. They were pretty cool for the most part. After you’re done with that, go wait for the bus back into the city.

Below you’ll find some pictures that I took, but I’d urge you to check out this gallery for some much cooler pictures of the dunes without people stomping all over them. They look far more….authentic. Also – the dunes are a bit of an optical illusion. It is really difficult to judge distance up and down them for some reason. The pictures don’t do them justice. Perhaps I’ll upload one of the faux 3D shots I took to help you get a feel for the distance. Anyone who is capable of crossing their eyes and wants to see a 3D shot, let me know in the comments and I’ll edit it and get it up here for you.

Bonus: I accidentally came upon an enka song by Mizumori Kaori called Tottori Sakyuu or “Tottori Sand Dunes” when I was searching in Japanese. It’s interesting – and if you’re at an intermediate level in Japanese, it’s pretty easy to understand the lyrics. Click here to watch it in a pop-up overlay – the clip was originally found on YouTube here, but embedding is disabled, so I’ve hosted it here.

Customary Drivel, Media, Music, Photos, Trips, Video

Birdhouse in Your Soul

June 13th, 2008

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


It’s time for another crazy song attempt here. This time, I chose Birdhouse in Your Soul by They Might Be Giants. I hope you enjoy it. It’s a really rough translation, and the words are…difficult in the first place. It seems to be a song written from the point of view of a nightlight – shaped like a small blue canary. How could you possibly go wrong with a premise like that?

The lyrics are all included here, after the jump. Read more…

Customary Drivel, Humor, Media, Music, 日本語

O Fortuna

June 6th, 2008

You may have seen the opera item in my Shared RSS links earlier. (You can see them on the bottom left hand side of this page.) If not, check it out. I already owned the song O Fortuna from the opera Carmina Burana, by Carl Orff. It’s a pretty sweet song. I looked up the lyrics (original Latin from the Carmina Burana Codex), the English translation, and the Japanese translation and thought I’d present them. Then, I thought, why not re-translate the Japanese lyrics into English. (I am not capable of re-translating them back into Latin, though. Sad. Chuck?)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


First, the Latin and its English translation.

O Fortuna
velut luna
statu variabilis,
semper crescis
aut decrescis;
vita detestabilis
nunc obdurat
et tunc curat
ludo mentis aciem,
egestatem,
potestatem
dissolvit ut glaciem.
***
Sors immanis
et inanis,
rota tu volubilis,
status malus,
vana salus
semper dissolubilis,
obumbrata
et velata
michi quoque niteris;
nunc per ludum
dorsum nudum
fero tui sceleris.
***
Sors salutis
et virtutis
michi nunc contraria,
est affectus
et defectus
semper in angaria.
Hac in hora
sine mora
corde pulsum tangite;
quod per sortem
sternit fortem,
mecum omnes plangite!
O Fortune,
like the moon
you are constantly changing,
ever waxing
and waning;
hateful life
first oppresses
and then soothes
as fancy takes it;
poverty
and power
it melts them like ice.
***
Fate – monstrous
and empty,
you whirling wheel,
you are malevolent,
well-being is vain
and always fades to nothing,
shadowed
and veiled
you plague me too;
now through the game
I bring my bare back
to your villainy.
***
Fate is against me
in health
and virtue,
driven on
and weighted down,
always enslaved.
So at this hour
without delay
pluck the vibrating strings;
since Fate
strikes down the strong man,
everyone weep with me!

Now, for the Japanese lyrics and re-translation into English.

おお 運命の女神よ
まるで月とそっくりに
いつも姿態が変わりやすく
しょっちゅう大きくなってみたり
あるいは小さくなったりする
まったく呪わしいこの人生は
意地悪な目つきをすると思えば
今度はまた愛想よくして見せる
ふざけた気持ちで 時に
は窮乏を 時には権力を
氷のようにかき消してみせる
***
恐ろしく非情に
しかも何の実もない (空しい)運よ
お前はぐるぐる回る車輪みたいに
怪しからん 悪性のものだ
その安心とて あてにできず
すぐに潰え去ってしまう。
今はすっかり影に隠れ
暗い姿で私のところへも掛かってくるのだ
それでもうお前の非道な戯れのため
私は現在 背中を蔽う衣さえ失くなってしまった。
***
心身の安全さと徳性との運も今は
私を見捨て去った
しょっちゅうそれは情欲と不足との
隷従に陥ってしまう。
さらばこの時に当たり
一刻の猶予も無く
脈打つ心にお触りなさい
時運によって強い者までとり挫いだ
それを私と一緒に
皆さんも嘆いてください!
O Fortuna
Resembling the moon in entirety
Your form always easily changed
Incessantly growing larger
Or shrinking down again
This life is truly cursed
Thinking of (your) evil looks
This time again displaying grace
On occasion playfully
Dispensing poverty or authority
Or having them disappear like ice
***
Dreadful, heartless,
Moreover, untrustworthy (vacant) fortune
You are like a furiously spinning wheel
A thing of unspeakable evil
Respite is not possible, for it
Immediately collapses
Now buried in shadow entirely
To the dark place where I am you come
Because of your unjust sport
Already I’ve turned my back on you
***
In the safety of mind, body, and character
Fate has abandoned me
Constantly due to lust and dearth
I fall into slavery
So be it that at this time and place
Without a moment’s postponement
Touch my pounding heart
With the tides of the times, even the strong
Are crushed, so now everyone
Lament together with me!

Obviously, this is not a professional translation. It’s beyond amateur. So feel free to submit corrections or suggestions in the comments. (Of course, regular comments are welcome as well!) Mmmm. Good opera. Very melodramatic. I’ll have another, please. (Not another helping of despair, mind you. Just more opera. Probably from that list I mentioned above.)

Customary Drivel, Media, Music, 日本語

Beauty & the Beast

May 27th, 2008

Ok – here’s my last post about the Beauty & the Beast musical that I saw in Hiroshima. I wanted to follow up on the last post by reporting that the words to the musical versions of a few songs, if not all of them, are entirely different from those found in the animated film. For a refresher, you can first listen to the English and Japanese film versions of Beauty & the Beast.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


If you’d like to see the lyrics and their translation, go back to this post and take a look. Now, check out the Japanese adaptation of the same number, but this time from the Broadway musical. It’s pretty much a completely different song from the get-go. The lyrics and translation are all here for your perusal “after the jump.” :-)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Read more…

Customary Drivel, Media, Music, 日本語

MiniMoni and Weezer

May 24th, 2008

Consider this Friday’s post, just delayed by a day. I recently saw the new Weezer video for their song Pork and Beans from a “New Self-Titled ‘Red Album’ out June 3rd, 2008.” I was quite amused by the video. It includes some internet video stars – mostly memes. One such meme was the dramatic prairie dog and Japanese pop group MiniMoni. Of course, unlike most of the real cameos, MiniMoni does not make an appearance. Nor does the prairie dog. By the way, a fellow South Carolinian is in the video, as well, making the most (to date) of her highly televised goofup. Here’s the source material.


MiniMoni on TV one day, doing their thing.

The meme-itized version of the clip that has been viewed millions of times on YouTube.

Another Japan related theme is in the video. It’s the classic “All Your Base Are Belong to UsZero Wing screwed up translation meme. But yeah. More coverage here and here and here and here and here.

Customary Drivel, Humor, Media, Music, Unsolicited Commentary, Video