Many posts later: old lyrics, new experiences, podcasting

Hi guys, it’s me!

I’m alive (?) and back. Not really. But I felt like I neglected this blog a bit too much and wanted to kinda put some words from me on the top page of the blog instead of some of my old works.

Speaking of old works, how did you like my reboots of some of my old translations? I personally found it a great experience that made me realize how pretentious I was, but also how much my Japanese skills have increased in the last years. So yeah, I kinda re-touched most of my translations up until July 2017, so you might want to give them a look, in case some doubts I had at the time have been cleared up.

I don’t know how often I’ll be able to post from now on. The reason is simple: I got my first full time job!!! Since it’s 40 hours per week, I can see myself kinda getting overly tired and unable to post anything, but I promise that I’ll give it a shot just for you! Also thank you for following the blog for this many years: I didn’t even realize, but WordPress just told me a couple days ago that this is the blog’s 5th anniversary. Like, how????

Finally, I have to do a shameless plug of my stuff here to. I’ve started podcasting. It’s a podcast in Japanese about two foreigner talking about Japanese culture and haiku in a comic and chill out vibe. The name is “ピアディーナ計画ラジオ” (Piadina Keikaku Radio), it’s on Spotify for free and we even uploaded our episodes with subtitles in Japanese, English and Italian on Youtube. Why not give it a listen? Honestly, I’ve a lot fun recording and editing it, so I’d love to see people sharing my same enthusiasm.

That’s it for now! Wish me luck for my new job and stay safe!

己龍 (Kiryu) – 百鬼夜行 (Hyakki Yakou) Translation

Kanji-Romaji

Translation

Title: Night March of Demons*

 

You sew, patch up and sew again your disguise**, your fake smiles and allign to the norm,

once cut, it wriggles as if it was in pain, but that tongue of yours that speaks about your true feelings is just a lizard’s tail***.

 

Shackles, a life in chain, small light floating swaying here and there.

Wandering in the dark just like drowning in a sea of darkness, at the end of path of anyone following there’s just tedium.

 

One after the other, dripping and dripping,****

 

insects crawl inside your head.

 

One after the other, dripping and dripping,****

 

hesitation squirms and eats inside your plucked off nails.

 

What are you chasing? What do you desire? What are you clinging onto?

Without seeing or understanding any of that, you follow a night march of demons.

In the noisy orchestra of this feast, the insides of your heart cry and scream.

Only if you bite off the windpipe of lies your true voice will come out.

 

You are afraid of the lie of caressing the darkness, and so, like a wiggling light,*****

your life burns and melts, dying as a lie.

 

One after the other, dripping and dripping,****

 

insects crawl inside your head.

 

One after the other, dripping and dripping,****

 

the laid down insect eggs drip down like goo.

 

Tainted by the mud to which got used to, your mind becomes hazy.

While being led by a cruel hand, you follow a night march of demons.

In the noisy orchestra of the feast the present world agitates.

You plug your hears and tremble without stopping, both going ahead and going back are frightening.

 

The lie on which you ran your tongue is a sweet nectar, unable to wake up from your dizzines, you vomit again and again.

 

Nearby… suddenly, a disguise’s mask fall of, on the inside of it there are countless lies.

 

What are you chasing? What do you desire? What are you clinging onto?

Without seeing or understanding any of that, you follow a night march of demons.

In the noisy orchestra of this feast, the insides of your heart cry and scream.

Only if you bite off the windpipe of lies your true voice will come out.

 

Will I die struggling not to drown? Will I die pawing on the darkness trying to destroy it?

The night wind carries a wavering paper lantern, my life is nothing but incoherent footsteps.

 

Notes and Other

I’m extremely not confident about this translation, so please don’t hesitate to tell me if there are mistakes or thing I may have missed.

*=I chose to translate the title in a literal way, but it is an expression that means “veritable pandemonium” and “group of evil spirits and monster plotting something evil”. Forcing the meaning and try to see over the lyrics, one may say that the march represent the conformist society, forcing people to conform .

**=the expression generally refers to some kind of disguise, but turns actually into a pun in the context of this song since it literally translates as “a monster’s skin”.

***=lizard are infamous for cutting their own tail off in order to use that as a decoy to ran away. Kiryu reutilize that image for the tongue of fake people, who pretend to express their true feeling just to distract/deceive the other about their true nature.

****= Kiryu actually love these kind of expression that mimic the sound of a certain action, especially since they use it describe very crude images. The intent is, of course, to make them feel even more realistic.

*****=I still haven’t completely figured it all about this “light”. The term used is kinda vague, meaning that it may look like a “will-o’-the-wisp” of Japanese folklore (floating blue lights, usually said to be seen near graveyards), or like a lantern. I saw some Japanese listeners pointing out the term kinda comes back at the end of the song (but here they specifically say “a paper lantern”) where the light looks like one’s life direction. I want to like this interpretation, but I still feel like something is missing.

Yes, going through this song once again was hell (*sitcom laughtrack*).

The song is calling about in Kiryu’s fashion all the people who, too afraid of making their own choices, end up accepting other people’s lifestyle and just follow the norm. They basically “line up” behind everyone else, an image that Kiryu link to “the march of demons”, an expression used to describe a bad omen. All the details about it are explained in the asteriscs part, so give it a look!

 

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ペンタゴン(Pentagon) – ポップコーンモンスター (Pop Corn Monster)

Kanji-Romaji

Translation

 

Let’s join this parade of dreams and hope holding our hands,

we are all friends, but you are marching all by yourself.

 

When we were child, the world we dreamt was like a panorama,

and it spun and spun like a merry-go-round, as if we were striving white rats*.

 

By getting to know only good and evil, the world will turn dimmerI

and the Ferris wheel will only lift up high the greed…

 

“So, to all the adults reunited here.

What do you think our young children lack?

Determination? Good-sense? Morals? Good environment? Resolution? Dreams? Hope?

 

That must be it. So, as we thought, what they lack,

shouldn’t we avoid to speak about it to our young children, should we?”

 

It’s not like that!

 

Popcorn Monster,

I’m not your toys,

I’m not a clown, so scream!

Popcorn Monster,

The dreams, the hope and all the rest have become dimmer and dimmer,

When you throw away everything, in the end

the dazzling world would already will be already dead.

 

If I look around you, there’s a misteryous mirror house,

it reflects everything and my dirty self is in it.

 

“So, dear young people.

I understand you saying you don’t want to do this and that,

but, you see, you don’t even find things you want to do,

if you start to work, you soon say you want to stop,

isn’t that too selfish, is it?”

 

Always saying that person is like that, that one is no good,

before worrying about the others, try to keep it together a bit more!”

 

Popcorn Monster,

you are not someone’s toys,

you are not a clown, so scream!

Popcorn Monster,

Sure is sad that coffee cup**,

spinning round and round.

 

Popcorn Monster,

let’s dance tonight,

come on, forget everything.

Popcorn Monster,

play with me,

come on, throw away everything.

 

Enjoy your holiday in this closed*** amusement park.

 

Notes and Other

*=maybe it’s obvious, maybe it’s not, I’ll clarify just to be sure. The association here is between the Ferris wheel of the amusement park (linked to the concept of dreams and hope) and the wheel usually put in the cage of hamsters and rats whose purpose is just to make them run without them acutally going forward. The mices are also white, creating a further association with lab rats, as if the “youngsters” weren’t treated differently from a product.

**=since the song references a bunch of amusement park attractions, this is not the classic cup of coffee, but the spinning carousel where people ride on big coffee cups.

***=it can be both intepreted as “closed off/secluded” and “exclusive”.

Once again, I got the main point, but I failed in the translation.

The song is an anthem for the younger generations of Japan who are considered lazy and unmotivated by the adults. Since the ’90s Japan is facing crescent tension in the relationship between generations and the attitude of the establishment, mainly composed by elderly people, is not helping the situation at all: this song is blatantly calling them out. The title plays on the concept of “popping up” (hajikeru in Japanese), which can mean “to pop up/explode” (like kernels becoming popcorn) and “suddenly becoming crazy/ doing something crazy”. While grown ups tend to consider newer generations “wretched” and “crazy” (hajikeru is a viable translation for both of these words) because they stray from the common norms, Pentagon play on the words indicating that, claiming that they and the newer generations are harmless and playful, just like pop-corns in an amusement park.

These kind of songs have a large audience among the public of Visual-Kei, since most of their fans are minorities, from young woman to pretty much anyone who doesn’t feel at ease feeling in the general image of a “normal Japanese person” (whatever that might mean). No wonder then if they lyrics invite the public to join the band in sabotagin the establishment: both Pentagon and the fans are definitely on the discriminated part of Japanese society.

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Reign – AKANE Translation

Kanji-Romaji

Translation

Title: Madder Red

 

Please don’t cry anymore
I am always with you
Please don’t cry anymore anymore

 

That madder red* bids goodbye to you

who are going to a far away place.

If only that day we could have watched the sky together

until you and sun sunk, we would have…

 

“Hey, I want to stay a bit more with you…”

I prepared those words to say to you

but in the end I couldn’t let them go from my chest and, day after day,

my feelings got stuck in there.

 

And if they were to overflow, they’d do it so fast

that I couldn’t even breathe,

so painful and hurting…

If my feelings were to overflow

would I be able to convey what I want to tell you?

Overflow already, if you have to, and reach her…

 

That madder red* bids goodbye to you

who are going to a far away place.

If only that day we could have watched the sky together

until you and sun sunk, we would have…

 

I hide my hands in my small pockets, pretending in vain to look cool,

but I actually to reach out my hand to yours and gaze at the night sky,

one day, with you, when we’ll be adults…

 

That time I still didn’t know.

That time I still didn’t know what was the regret.

 

When I can’t meet you I call for your name

and alone, I talk to you, alone*.

For the first time I presented you with a bouquet,

but in reality I just wanted to see your happy face.

 

If my feelings had overflowed, if my feelings had overflowed, now you would…

 

Seeing you tainted by the colours of dush was a miracle until yesterday,

but I understood that I won’t meet you ever again,

so, (my feelings), overflow already!

 

That madder red* bids goodbye to you

who are going to a far away place.

If only that day we could have watched the sky together

until you and the sun sunk, we would have…

 

Notes and Other

Words in Italic are in English in the original lyrics.

*=the image is here is painted as if the main character is practising alone how to approach her loved one.

This song too needed some overdue polishing.

The better understand the imagery of the song, let’s try and picture the scenery of a brilliant sunset. It is perhaps the most “charged” moment of a day, as the sun (an extremely bright star) is visible as a sphere in the sky, as if its light was somehow constrained in a small circle that doesn’t seem enough to contain its force. The author wants to create link between this image and his feelings, boiling yet unable to get out of his chest because of his shyness. However, even though during the sunset the light seems to dim and more, it somehow feels like everything is more lit by such light: everything gets tainted by this yellow-reddish light. This is what makes the author associate his scorching pain generated by his unability to speak up to the sunset as something that looks like its about to explode, even though it’s actually getting darker and darker.

This is that for the more “poetic” part. If I were to offer a more cynical view on the song (and I will), I’d say this a love song written by a tsundere character, pretending be tough. But I still apprecciate the whole product: the song has energy and the harsh vocal of the singer that sometimes stand between the more “traditional” sound are something that is rarely seen. Something like enka went punk.

 

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DIV – Butterfly Dreamer Translation

Kanji-Romaji

Translation

 

The unending rain falls down in stripes and I, standing still, am its prisoner,

the wind which blows against me is the border, I’m caught in this entangled net.

BUTTERFLY DREAMER

 

Rain drops, someone’s tears are playing parade.

 

This trampled music sheet won’t be heard by the people who only care about being first,

while avoiding the puddles, they scramble for a [safe] foothold, but they are already too many*

no matter how many they kick down…

 

The unending rain falls down in stripes and I, standing still, am its prisoner,

the wind which blows against me is the border, I’m caught in this entangled net.

BUTTERFLY DREAMER

 

The scenery they gazed at on their tiptoes now looks like a mirage,

like a picture slowly falling down.

 

Secluded in a virtual world that they built over a grid,

who will be next target? It’s like an audition for who will be the next one to mock.

BUTTERFLY DREAMER

 

Fluttering, the proof of what we call “real” dims and fades away

until it will rot completely

it will be the dream of a butterfly.

 

An absurdly tall castle towers over everything, and only dreaming butterflies** are the ones looking up at the sky,

now, my song, open your wings made of dreams, and be heard to all of you!

BUTTERFLY DREAMER

 

Notes and Other

Words in Italic are in English in the original lyrics.

*= the term here is definitely business related, which kinda sounds out of place in the song, but it might also suggest that the song is jabbing to the mindset of big companies, which foster this absurd sense of competition and picture people as number of sellings instead of human beings.

**=the word literally translate to “dreaming bird”, but it is actually the way in which the butterfly of Zhuangzi’s riddle was translated. Basically, Zhuangzi, a legendary Taoist master, dreamt that he was a butterfly, then woke up and realized that he wasn’t sure if he was Zhuangzi dreaming to be a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming to be Zhuangzi. The whole point of the riddle is to point out how even the reality we see with our eyes might actually be a dream or even false and should make the readers question the true essence of existence.

I love how I was kinda on track with the references of the song, but how somehow I completely failed to identify the core message of the song.

The whole point of the song is to accuse people of having lost touch with reality: when people become numbers, when every information can be turned into data, is this world made by codes and number as real as the people from whom they extracted such infos? Perhaps, in our rush to optimize everything, striving to arrive earlier than anyone else, we forget that we are creating a system in which, eventually the weaker and us will crumble down. In that moment, what will be real? The system that feeds off people’s competition, or the sufferings of those who have been excluded by it?

Playing on such contraddiction, DIV picture the image of a dreamer, painted like Zhuangzi’s butterfly, showing how there can be a way out from such sand-castle-society that obstructs everyone’s sight.

 

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