About This Blog
My name is "Enki-Du" (not a real name). I am a Japanese. I listened to and watched BABYMETAL on YouTube and was surprised by their performing abilities. And then, I've learned that not a few people outside Japan are also interested in BABYMETAL. I want YOU to know more about BABYMETAL's songs. That's why I here present my translations and notes.
There are already some translations of BABYMETAL's songs. But, reading these translations, I've felt that Japanese lyrics are difficult to translate. Japanese sentences are grammatically ambiguous and the Japanese don't say what the listeners would understand even if it is omitted. Needless to say that it is difficult for people in other cultures to understand the meaning of the word that people in the same culture can easily understand.
I'm not an English speaker. So I would have done many mistakes in English. I'm sorry that I sometimes change the translations when I reread later and find the word somewhat misleading (e.g. dearness → dearest-ness), or hit on a more suitable word (e.g. crying face → tearful face).
As I try to keep the original word ordering as possible, if you feel the lines are hard to understand, please rearrange the words by yourself so that it would be understandable. Every sentence begins with a capital and ends with a period. And I put "!" on the ends of all imperative sentences and none else but some exceptions.
I try to translate literally, that is, "female fox" for "megitsune" which sometimes means "a woman who deceives men". Even if there is a suitable word for this meaning, I may not use it because I think "megitsune" without "fox" as nonsense. So, please read the notes (if any) for the detailed meaning.
One of the biggest difficulties is that Japanese predicates need no grammatical subjects. They are not hidden but don't exist. All Japanese sentences are like "It rains." of English. And so-called subject is added for focusing, like "in Tokyo" of "It rains in Tokyo." (="Tokyo wa ame da"; there is a joke of the Japanese speaking English like "Tokyo is a rain.", "I am a coffee." etc).
Another one is that the Japanese don't care the ambiguity. For example, "sensei no kirai na seito" has two possibilities: "the student that dislikes the teacher" and "the student that the teacher dislikes". So I once told a school boy to use other expressions to avoid the ambiguity. But he answered clearly "The meaning is clear because the teachers are not allowed to dislike the students!". Yes. He is right.
I write too many and too long notes. First: it is to show what most Japanese think about that word (e.g. fox). I'm afraid that the minimal explanation for understanding of the lyric might let the reader mistake a special meaning for the general one. So I write longer (but it may still be short for this purpose).
Second: when I find difficulty in translation, I explain what I want to express with that phrase. I refer to many Japanese words such as "setsunai". I do so when I disagree with other translators (of BABYMETAL's songs or else) on the interpretation of these words.
About Romaji Lyrics
"[ *** ]" are the words of YUIMETAL and MOAMETAL, but their words are not always enclosed in brackets. "[[ *** ]]" are spoken in the death growl (="desu-bo" in Japanese). I use "???" if I can't hear what words are said and "???word(s)??? if I feel like hearing such. I may omit some repetitions.
Some lines are omitted in the official lyrics, but I write them as possible. I write the foreign words in upper case when they are written with alphabet in the official lyrics (usually not in upper case). If I find a difference between the official lyric and what is actually sung and the latter is natural in speaking too, I take the latter (e.g. "i" is omitted in "-te-iku" vs. "-te-ku"; something like "go ...ing").
Here I repeat "the official lyric". The Japanese CD packages always contain the lyric card. And such lyrics are registered in the list of the copyright collecting agency (that is, the whole text is kept in their archive). I say "official" in this meaning. There are several web sites that presents the lyrics with agency's permission. There you can find many many Japanese songs.
As I was not familiar to writing romanized Japanese before starting this blog, I am not sure how to write in romaji. And I find myself troubled with long vowel. For example, the big city "Osaka" written with four kanas "O-O-SA-KA" and pronounced with one long vowel and two short vowels. But it is originally with four shorts and there is different "Osaka" with three shorts. How should I write (especially in such a case that both are not famous)?
There is another problem about Japanese lyrics. Please note that the sound of Japanese language is based on moras rather than syllables. A long vowel has two moras and a closing "n" by itself has one mora. For example, the word "junjo^" (=pure-hearted) has four moras and is actually sung on four notes (=JU-N-JO-O) at the end of "MEGITSUNE". But sometimes it is sung on three or two notes like "junjo^ aijo^ kajo^ ni ijo^" at the beginning of "Yamatonadeshiko Shichihenge". You will find this if you play the melody by piano, etc.
In my notes, I use three kinds of "...". The first is to quote the exact phrase or sentence that is actually sung, spoken or written. The second is for something like a Japanese sentence meaning "I love you.", etc. The third is only to show the attached word "..." is Japanese (e.g. they dance "kagura"). And I use (...) for the additional words or phrases and (=...) for replacing or paraphrasing. When talking about words, we should use properly "say", "mean", etc. But I may not use so. I'm sorry.
About English Lyrics for Singing
I try to find such a phrase that the syllable with accent comes on the note with accent in the melody. I use a free text-to-speech system on internet for checking, but I may mistake both accents. As said above, note that usually a closing "n" have one note and a long vowel has two notes. I'm sorry not to write the music score.
I attach the underscore "_" after the word when I put one long vowel where the original lyric has two moras. For example, "female_ fox" for "(watashi wa) megitsune" on the melody of "Sakura Sakura". Sometimes there are two moras in the lyric but only one note is actually sung because Eastern Japanese sometimes omit "i" and "u". I put "_" at the head of a line and "_" separatedly between two words when I omit the corresponding note.
I write like "(be)cause" (=because), "(a)bout (=about), "(a)lone" (=alone), etc. when I insert a weak syllable before a strong syllable where the melody doesn't have such a weak note. It should be rather omitted than sung. I see many "'cause", "'bout", "'lone", etc. in many lyrics. I write like "could(n't)" (=couldn't) when I insert a weak after a strong where the original has only one.
The enclosed word such as "(I)", "(but)", etc. at the head of a line is what is required grammatically but sometimes omitted in singing. I see many like this too. If you sing it, insert it as a weak note before the original melody. And such as "(who)" in the middle of a line is what is omitted in singing and sometimes in spoken English.
単語の後に付くアンダーバー "_" は、日本語二文字に英語の長母音を当てたところです。スラーで結ぶか一音で歌ってください。行頭や両側の単語から分離した "_" は対応する音を歌わないところです。
"(be)cause" (=because), "(a)bout (=about), "(a)lone" (=alone) などは、強い音節の前に弱い音節を入れるのですが、歌うときはふつう省略します。アポストロフィ付の "'cause", "'bout", "'lone" などは、英語の歌詞でよく見られます。 "could(n't)" (=couldn't) は日本語一音に二音節当てたところです。 ( ) 内は弱く歌ってください。
括弧に入った行頭の "(I)", "(but)" などは、文法的には必要ですが、歌うときはときどき省略される語です。もし歌うならば、メロディの前に弱く入れてください。行中の "(who)" などは歌うときは省略してください。英語の会話でもときどき省略されます。