Prayer by 大鴉-TAIA- [lyrics + translation]

Since last week, I’ve mostly been listening to Taia’s asymmetry in preparation for translation attempts. I also recently finally listened to the Super Dangan Ronpa 2 original soundtrack, and, wow. While I was playing the game, I registered that the soundtrack was good, but I was too busy actually playing the game to listen properly. But now that I have it playing while I wear headphones I realise that it’s actually really damn catchy. But I better not make talking about a completely separate piece of music in my translation posts a pattern…

As promised, here is a Taia translation. It is one of the only two I could do out of their first album asymmetry, since lyrics were really hard to find online and were also very difficult to hear. I think the vocalist Seika drawls too much, and the emotional singing style means that things like glottal stop sounds, double vowels and similar-sounding consonants like t and d become very ambiguous. Still, Taia (named after Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven, which is what the kanji means) was a great band. Seika’s voice is strong and yet during emotional moments of the song it can sound like a single strand of spider thread. (This simile was intentionally chosen.) The instruments are all played relatively cleanly (though heavily) so the overall aural picture isn’t too muddy.

Compared to the song I translated last week, by another Japanese rock band, ACIDMAN, Taia is noticeably heavier and potentially crosses over to metal territory. Indeed, it is listed as metal on its Wikipedia page. (It’s so sad that it has an English WIkipedia page but not a Japanese one…) If ACIDMAN’s heavy songs are a squall, a quick tropical storm, Taia’s songs (which are basically all heavy) are the muggy, plodding, seeping industrial heat.

Please note that the translations may not fully match, since English and Japanese have different word order. I have marked the lines with asterisks (*) when the line order is flipped in the TL. (As in, the first line in Japanese is translated in the second line in English as the first and second lines form a complete sentence.) The lyrics may also not be fully accurate since the ones I found were noticeably wrong (though they did provide a good base) and I tweaked them based on what I heard. Otherwise, this translation was pretty simple! Unlike all of Taia’s other songs that I like… which is why I probably won’t be able to post their translations anytime soon…

Continue reading

Advertisements

Kau Kee Restaurant (Curry Beef Brisket Noodles): Spices Calm the Nerves After Reckless Driving

Sorry for photo quality. I'll bring my digicam next time...

Curry beef brisket and tendon tossed with flat rice noodles (咖哩牛根腩撈河粉)

Today, I went to my first ever driving class. I dunno how it is for other people, but for my first ever experience behind the wheel (and only having read like 20/127 sections of the road code, though that was my fault) I was expecting to just learn what the buttons and levers did, and maybe drive slowly along a straight road and make crappy gentle turns, but nah, driving instructor decided after a few circles around a building block that it was time to run for the hills. Literally. Then I ended up driving for at least an hour up and down winding hilly roads. They were single-lane as well, so I was basically resident asshole for all the poor cars behind me. (My teacher actually told me not to be so polite/slow on the road… I get that it’s dangerous.) It was terrifying! But also kind of awesome!

Anyway, at the end of the drive I ended up at around the Sheung Wan/Central area, basically the opposite side of the island to where I live. It was also just past 2 and I really needed lunch. (Today I also learned that driving while hungry is pretty bad.) It didn’t take me even 5 seconds to decide where I wanted to go. Yeah, I made a show of walking around and checking out the nearby places while I went to visit my old workplace since I was in the area… but I had already decided within seconds of getting off my instructor’s car that I was going to Kau Kee Restaurant.

Kau Kee Restaurant / 九記牛腩
Continue reading

ACIDMAN – id-イド- (Lyrics translation & interpretation)

[Click through and scroll down for the translation]

The title of my blog is a pretty accurate description of my current state of affairs. I’ve been trying to plot a story using just about every story model I can find, to no success. So I turned to music, which has really helped me a couple of times, not just in setting the mood of my brainstorming, but also in generating or influencing its content through lyrics. Listening to Japanese music for the better part of a decade means that I can kinda-basically-although-not-really understand it, and today a couple songs by the relatively unknown band 大鴉-TAIA- really leaped out at me and seemed like they’d be relevant to my story and characters. Unfortunately, my Japanese isn’t good enough to accurately translate the songs so quickly, so today I’ll post another translation that I did a few years ago.

ACIDMAN’s genre is probably best described as soft or alternative rock. (Alternatively: “nature rock”. I definitely feel like I’m under the canopy, deep in the forest when I listen to their stuff.) Their songs range from mellow and soothing, like 香路 (Kouro), to songs like 飛行 (Hikou), which can basically be considered screaming as far as the vocalist is concerned. This song, “id-イド-” definitely falls on the intense side. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a video of it on youtube (the official ACIDMAN account hasn’t got it uploaded, maybe because they didn’t make a PV for it) so we’ll just have to make do with this drum cover.

While the influences and style of each of their songs can differ considerably, most ACIDMAN songs contain lyrics that are poetic and evocative. Metaphors are plenty and the lyricist Ohki Nobuo (who is also the vocalist) frequently pairs abstract concepts with concrete images. Not the best combination when coupled with the indirectness of the Japanese language and my lack of skill in it, but it’s fun to try to understand the lyrics and come to my own conclusion on them. There’s a pretty unfortunate story when it comes to this song, actually… for the longest time, I thought that the “id” in this song stood for “identity” (but not even in broad terms; I had imagined ID cards and such). Then I actually read the katakana and found out the title actually referred to a facet of our personality as theorised by Sigmund Freud. I was a psychology student in university by then, so I felt really dumb, to say the least. Briefly, according to Freudian theory, the id is the part of our personality that is governed by impulses and base urges (such as hunger and sex). It is in direct conflict with the superego, our rational side, and both structures frequently battle each other when faced with temptations. (There’s also the ego, which mediates their conflict. More info here.) For the purposes of this translation, it’s probably sufficient to see the id as our fundamental instincts/greed for survival.

Anyway, on to the actual translation.

Continue reading