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Thursday, December 23, 2004

Translations (1) A Tiring Summer (ENGLISH)

Make of these lyrics what you will. Probably the hardest point of this translation was (and you'll get this if you just point your nose down at the Japanese transcription below) the English they insert into the song at various places. In some attempt at accuracy i've kept the English in pretty much the same place that it appeared originally. Depending on my feelings later, this might change, but for now this is the definative version. It should also be said that i'm not making any defence of the actual quality of these lyrics. I translated them mostly to test my Japanese but also (I suppose) as a curio for any interested parties or divorcees or love bitten early 20's. Way to suck all the fun out of a blog! On we go.


A TIRING SUMMER

It’s a tiring summer for the girl (*1) with fleeting dreams, crying alone
In the end of summer, as night falls your sunburnt skin is gonna cool down

The sun’s beating its ultraviolet light down in the middle of the summer
But I don’t care about the UV’s, finally I’ve made it to this pure white beach

I caught a glimpse of you by chance, moving slowly into my view
Speaking nicely, reaching out suddenly, I fell in love

Before I knew it I was enraptured, and right next to you Eminem was flowing
Flowing like the milk in the shake I just bought

And yeah of course my hair was flowing down too, your fingers caught up in it like in a dream,
I’m next to you, you’re next to me, and in a flash you’ve got my heart beating like mad

It’s a tiring summer for the girl with fleeting dreams, crying alone
In the end of summer, as night falls your sunburnt skin is gonna cool down
The night breeze is blowing my feelings away into the twilight
The summer we shared is over, we gotta say good-bye

Its over now, isn’t it (bye, bye) Is it the right time? (maybe?)
Well I’ve got my heart and my body (uh!) and I’m not ready to give them up yet (yeah!)

Yeah I know he’s popular with the girls, but I hate that cocky grin
That’s just you though, I’m used to that same old line “just meet”, look! He’s coming on to me again(*2)
Eyes glued and staring at the bodies of the girls going past,
If that’s the case then my line’s gonna be “Hey! Look up here!”

Pay attention, attention, attention to me
The only one I want you to pay attention to is me

It’s a tiring summer for the girl with fleeting dreams, crying alone
In the end of summer, as night falls your sunburnt skin is gonna cool down
The night breeze is blowing my feelings away into the twilight
I know it’s our summer together but hang on, something’s not right

Tropical! Night on the beach! On the cool sand, I’m a peach!
Walking hand in hand, i'm feeling a sweat, check this out! I can hear his breathing; my heart is pounding, but…hang on

Whats that? This looks bad! No way! Not yet!
Its really happening! I’m gonna die, someone please help!

There’s no one here but us! Am I supposed to be prepared for this?
His eyes are like an animal! Hey, I’m not that easy!
That’s it, those hands that were joined together have come undone,
In a word? SA-YO-NA-RA!

I’m not going back, I wasn’t getting hurt
I’m not bothered, I won’t cry
I’m not bothered about that guy,
I’m not bothered, everything’s fine
Then again, what was I thinking?
I really liked him.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
*1 'Otome' in Japanese means young girl, but can also mean 'virgin'. I'm guessing the implication was intentional.
*2 So yes, in Japanese she says "hes giving me a kiss" not "coming on to me" but it was the best sense I could wring out of that line.
Have you ever noticed that a charming lyric in Japanese becomes considerably less charming when translated into English?

For a second opinion, look here.

Translations (1) おつかれSUMMER (A Tiring Summer)

I've just finished the kanji to romanji transcription so I thought that I may as well post this first. I'm working on the English now, so chin up and best foot forward.

OTSUKARE SUMMER

Otsukare summer awai yumemishi otome ha hitoshirezu, crying
In the end of summer, hi ni yaketa sono suhada ha koyoi cool down


Hikaru hikaru manatsu no tayou sun sun to furisosogu shigaisen
UV care nado okamai nashinashi yattekimashita mashiro na beach

Totsuzen shikai ni uruwashi no kimi gyakusan body ni chisana speed
Suteki na speech ikinari na reach watashi ha koi ni ochimashita peace
Itsu no ma ni yara watashi ha nemunemu anata no tonari de nagareru Eminem
Sakki katta bakkari shake ha sukkari milk no you ni sara sara de
Watashi no kami mo mochiron sarasara de anata no yubi ga karanjyau yumimite
Hatto shite gutto kite anata ni patto no mune odour

Otsukare summer awai yumemishi otome ha hitoshirezu, crying
In the end of summer, hi ni yaketa sono suhada ha koyoi cool down
Ki no muku mama yokaze ni fukareta tazumu tasogare night
Otagari summer otoko to onna chara da kara say good-bye


Saa mo owari ne (bye bye) shirodoki kana? (maybe?)
Kokoro to karada (uh!) ima ha agenainainainainai (yeah!)

Moteru otoko da to wakacchiru kedo kuttaku no nai sono kaou ha mukatsuku
Kimi dake da yo sono nareta serifu de just meet hora watashi ni kuchi zuke
Yukikau boin ni shisen ga kugitsuke sore nara kokozo to watashi no kuchiguse

Kamattte kamatte watashi ni kamatte kamatte kamatte watashi ni kamatte
Kamattte kamatte watashi ni kamatte kamatte kamatte watashi dake

Otsukare summer awai yumemishi otome ha hitoshirezu, crying
In the end of summer, hi ni yaketa sono suhada ha koyoi cool down
Ki no muku mama yokaze ni fukareta tazumu tasogare night
Otagari summer wakatterun dakedo chotto matte majide tsurai na


Tropical! Yoru no beach! Sumetai sunahama watashi ha peach!
Shikkari tsunaida futari no te to te ga shittori asebami check this out!
Aitsu no iki zukai ga kikoeru watshi no shinzou ga furueru
Nani kore? Are yabai kamo? Are yada! Chito hayai kamo?
Maji ni naru! Yatara sweet! Zetai zetsumei tasukete please!
Futari igai hitokage mo nai! Konariya kakugo su shika nai?
Aitsu no hitomi ha kemono mitai! Watashi ha karui onna janai!
Shikkari tsunaida te to te wo hodoite hitokoto sa-yo-o-na-ra!

Otsukare summer awai yumemishi otome ha hitoshirezu, crying
In the end of summer, hi ni yaketa sono suhada ha koyoi cool down
Ki no muku mama yokaze ni fukareta tazumu tasogare night
Otagari summer otoko to onna chara da kara say good-bye

Modote kotanaitte kizu tsuchanai
Doutte kotanaitte naite nanka nai (uh!)
Douttte kotanaitte anna otoko
Douttte kotanaitte daijyoV

Douttte kotanaitte naite nanka nai (uh!)
Douttte kotanaitte anna otoko
Douyu koto maitta aitsu ga suki na no

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Discography

All their releases so far have been on the For Life Music Entertainment label. O.T.F (which stands for Oshare Track Factory and comprises DJ FUMIYA and Ryo-Z of Rip Slyme) claimed credit for production of the two albums and all the singles except BABY BLUE!, which was produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka (aka Fantastic Plastic Machine) and Japanese rapper Verbal. I've listed everything chronologically as they were released.

Singles
1.Tandem
2. Electric Teacher
3. Giri Giri Surf Rider
Albums
1. Halcali Bacon
Singles
4. Strawberry Chips
DVD
1. Halcali DVD
Singles
5. Marching March
6. BABY BLUE!
Albums
2. Ongaku no Susume ('Recommended Listening')

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Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Reviews (2) Strawberry Chips (sg.)

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usIf by now you can feel your obsession with Halcali growing stronger by the day, then dont worry! It's only natural. Whats that? Having one of the best albums of 2003 on repeat play for an entire week isn't enough to satisfy your craving for these kids? You'll probably be reaching for the new album then. Before you do, try to pick up a copy of the Strawberry Chips single. Released last Christmas, accompanied by one of my favourite promos ever, its a wintery, daring heartbreak-up record. Not daring as in subject matter, but song structure. In these days of quick fixes and instant hooks, S.C seems to flounder on first listen, and its myriad sweet subtleties (yes, thats right) only coming into effect on the 3rd or 4th listen. By modern pop standards, its was an unbelievable choice for a single, but a gorgeous track once its had time to settle. Even stranger, thats not even the best song on the single. For that, you've got to wait until track FOUR, スラローム’03 "ゲレンデの女王" (Slalom '03: Queen of the slopes), a smooth, effortlessly hip rap, its 15 miles of fun that knocked everything you could imagine out of most of the other stuff released in the commercial J-charts that year. The two other tracks are great too, firstly the sparkling, yet oddly downbeat pop song この世界に、この両手に (In this world, in both my hands) and the bizzare robotic nod to 80's electronica 二福星 (Two lucky stars). As a companion to Halcali Bacon, I can't recommend it enough.

Amazon.co.jp
YesAsia.com

Friday, December 17, 2004

wallpaper?

Yes, thats right. Ok this page is in Japanese, but the ideas the same. Right click on it and all the rest. Go on, get Halcali on your desktop...

I DARE YOU

Videos (1) Tandem. Directed by Hideyuki Tanaka

watch a clip

After sitting down for hours in front of Space Shower TV and trawling through endless ho hum promos advertising endless ho hum bands, Tandem came on. Now then, the video is great in and of itself. Placed in the context of the drivel that constituted mainstream Japanese pop circa 2002 though, and it becomes kind of monumental. Seriously, it does. Can you think of another video that encapsulates all the elements of the band its promoting so well? Or another that features such a stylish mash up of ideas, homages and parodies? Yes, Halcali exist in an ugly framework of overgrounds commercial necessity, but they'll demonstrate that there's still enough potential, and enough excitment here to warrant our interest in it.
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Wednesday, December 15, 2004

well ok

enough of all that nonsense for the minute, although let me say that yesterday I got a copy of the new Halcali album- yes that means NEW SONGS- 音楽ノススメ (recommended listening). Some more about that later probably but yesterday I stuck the word HALCALI into the google search box to try to find out the extent of their western invasion. I stumbled across a few reviews i'm kind of shocked to say. If anything was to restore your faith in humanity, for a while at least, its that i'm not the only one.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Reviews (1) Halcali Bacon

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usOriginally released in 2003 after the two singles タンデム (Tandem) and エレクトリック先生 (Electric Teacher) and featuring them both, Halcali Bacon was the rarest of things in contemporary, chart bound pop- it took risks. By that, I dont mean 20 min drum solos but by regular pop standards, its pretty strange. In an irresistable, POP, rapping (with skill I might add) sharp as hell we're-both-16 kind of way. Theres almost nothing traditional about it, nothing that you can easily label or pin down as sounding like this or that. Its a record that shakes you up and well as being easily the most FUN (capital letters, fuck it) you could have with Japanese pop in 2003. It sounds intentionally cheap and glitchy, theres something that says HOMEMADE about the whole album. Its not of course. Halcali were originally the pet project of two members of Japans hugely popular hip hop (not that you should take them seriously for more than a few seconds) combo Rip Slyme, namely RYO-Z and DJ FUMIYA. Their contributions are like broken down kids TV theme tunes, in particular the excellent interlude Conversation of a mystery, which cuts up samples of the two girls talking about that and this over what could be 'choose your character' video game BGM. These two are in charge essentially, handing out the three singles (the other being the nonsense rhyming of ギリギリ サーフライダー(girigiri surf rider)) and acting as overal producers. Unusually for a record of this type though, the gems lay elsewhere. DJ Fantastic Plastic Machine provides something which is easily the greatest number 1 single never to have been released おつかれSUMMER (a pun on "Otsukare sama!" the traditional way to thank someone for a hard days work) which contains a beautifully twisted hook and semi-disturbing lyrics about the girls refusing the advances of slobbering boys on the beach. ok, bear with the japanese again for a sec, but it kind of takes you off guard when a 16 year old girl sings 私は軽い女じゃなーい!"I'm not a slut!". The whole record takes you off guard in fact, particuarly because its likely that you wern't expecting much from two high school girls singing about queuing up for a cream bun and writing about boys they like in their notebooks. How else can I put it? Halcali are the dazzling pop injection that your life is sorely missing. Put away that Ordinary Boys lp! Pack up your Kasabian CD's and your copies of Face! Need more proof? Halcalism has a chorus you'll dream about and stylee stylee is the best song that Cibo Matto never wrote. For such a number of different contributors taking writing credits, its all the more to their credit that the thing hangs together so well, and the girls rap with confidance and skill. For anyone with even the slightest interest in contempory Japanese pop, I cant recommend this release enough. After I bought it, it sat on top of my 'must listen to' stack of records. A year and a bit on, and its still there.

Tracks

1. intro. HALCALI BACON
2. タンデム (Tandem)
3. ギリギリ サーフライダー (Girigiri Surf Rider)
4. 嗚呼ハルカリセンセーション (Ah, Halcali Sensation!)
5. おつかれSUMMER (A Tiring Summer)
6. ハルカリズム "CANDY HEARTS" (Halcalism, (we are the) Candy Hearts)
7. Coversation of a Mystery
8. Peek-A-Boo
9. Hello, Hello, Alone
10. スタイリースタイリ (Stylee, Stylee)
11. エレトリック先生 (Electric Teacher)
12. 真夜中のグランド (The Schoolyard at Midnight*)

*Kind of stumped with this one. グランド ("grand") can be used to mean "ground", as in schoolyard or sports field. Lyrically, thats supported with references to climbing Jungle Gyms with your boyfriend and staring up into space and so on (honestly, the songs a treat). Judging by Halcali's fractured use of English though, it could actually mean "grandeur". After listening to the song ("When I open my eyes, I see a sky full of stars. Even with my eyes closed, I see a sky full of stars...") you'll be tempted to suggest that it means both.

Amazon.co.jp
YesAsia.com

If you're in the UK, sadly it seems like there's no cheap option when it comes to actually wanting to buy Japanese music. Amazon's shipping rates are fairly steep if you want to get it in a reasonable amount of time. You either pay about £14 or wait anywhere up to 6 weeks. YesAsia offer free worldwide shipping as long as your shopping cart has at least $39 worth in it. So far i've been unable to find a cheaper UK alternative to this madness, but if you know better, let me know.

Extra stuff- the title might be meant as a pun on Cari Cari Bacon (meaning crunchy).

conversation of a mystery

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HARUKA (born 1988) and YUKARI (born 1987)

For your first post you're probably expected to hit it full pace with something grand, something catchy and straight from the hip. Sadly though, it transpires that my first and presumably only attempt at this will center on two high school girls rapping in Japanese. It's the hip popping 2 girl unit
HALCALI (put their names together). I first went to Japan summer 2001, largely clueless about everything- language, music, food. A terrible way to start perhaps, but the beauty part of such ignorance is that you're totally free and of course totally ready to assimilate everything on a grand scale. It was while watching MTV Japan one day that I came across Halcali's first single Tandem. It sounded exactly like 2 kids with a beatbox in their bedroom. It sounded nothing like i'd heard before (or since). It sounded glitchy, catchy and cheap. The girls (both friends since school from Meguro, Tokyo) have songs so dense with pop culture references it becomes difficult to catalogue them all (moving quickly from Missy Elliot in one song, to Tom Sawyer in the next), and an inventive, too-hip style that moves right through the songs, the videos, the posters, the TV clips, everything. They`re young, famous, funny and sharp and frankly isn't it about time you retired that Libertines album? So run, don`t walk:

http://halcali.com