May 16, 2012

Karaoke: Love is Blue

Older readers may be familiar with Paul Mauriat. He is a composer that was very big in Japan. Japan made superstars (in Japan) out of many instrumental music makers (see the popularity of The Ventures in a previous karaoke post).
I only became cognizant of him after being intrigued by a track of his in the 20th Century Boys movie. But the man provided the background music of my childhood. Here is one of songs, that was a hit in America, in three languages


Or perhaps you are a purist and just want the orchestral version.
I have a French-fluent coworker, so I think we will tag-team this song.

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March 29, 2012

Karaoke: Webster City Connection Found

I just wanted to take this opportunity to point out that this song existed. I already blogged that part, but I have now confirmed it is available at your closest Utauga karaoke outlet. You can look for it by the name シティコネクション (shite konekushion *snort*) or look for his other songs under エマニエル (emanieru).

Which is more impressive, this or that time Pink Lady had an American TV show? In any case, history is weirder than we were aware.

BTW, yes, I know that most of the old karaoke posts on this site have been milleniumcopyrightact-axed. I'll try to work on fixing them.

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March 26, 2012

Bless This Bathhouse from Thievery

After consulting with the girlfriendal unit, I determined that going to a sento may be the best way for me to get over this week-long stiff neck. A sento is a traditional Japanese bathhouse. I've been to onsens (hot-spring water bathhouses) plenty of times, but this was my first time to a sento. I could take a bath at home, but it would be very hard, and maybe the cost in gas would be about the same as the 450 yen to access a sento (I don't know).
One thing to keep in mind if you visit a bathhouse is that unlike most onsens, you need to take your own towels and soaps. Outside the sento doors, we discovered an interesting charm stuck to the wall.

It reads:盗賊除神璽 touzokujyoshinji, burglar abolish imperial?/divine-seal (this bathhouse is under holy protection from thievery). That last character usually refers to an emporer's seal, but 神璽 can refer to either the emporer's seal or the Three Divine Regalia. Ultimately, it comes from 天(あま)つ璽(しるし) (The Mark of* Heaven), so I think this is actually referring to something like that in this case.

Also of note is that both 璽 and 盗 don't have the standard amount of strokes on this sign. Older/alternative forms, I'm guessing.
*つ is really old Japanese for の (of, the genitive particle).


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March 9, 2012

Why Dost Arnold the Negger of Schwarze Say Chichinbuibui?

Because that is what you say in Japanese instead of abracadabra. Video insanity:
(visit the original post if you can't see the vid) Alright, he actually mispronounced it on purpose (a first in foreign celebrity CMs) to evoke the product name and cast a spell on your wallet.  

What is that phrase all about? Well if you scrape your knee, your Japanese mom will say ちちんぷいぷい、痛いの痛いの、飛んでけ Pain, pain, go away come again another day. She is invoking an ancient imperial spell! And she is Japanese, which may come to you as a shock unless that was already her ethnicity in which case business as usual, you Asianoid (is my fake word offensive? I wanna be Asianoidish... or Ahnoldish). 

As I said, it can be used as a generic magical phrase, but some think it originates with the wet-nurse* of one of those Tokugawa dudes, who said to her young shogunling, "知仁武勇は御代の御宝".  And 知仁武勇 is pronounced ちじんぶゆう- (I don't know why Wikipedia put that bar after a う, but let's just roll with it) which got mumbled enough to change euphonically. The phrase means "wisdom and military might are the treasure of our fine imperial house, so shut up and go to sleep". 

Others think it comes from an old Buddhist word, 七里結界 (shichiri keikkai) which seems to be the establishing of 7 ri's† between you and the worldly world mcworld. Or really wanting to get away from people you hate (no really that is the second definition; I look all this crap up). 

BTW, abracadabra, presto-chango and the like are called おまじない in Japanese. ♪ The more you chant!
*funny thing, wet-nurse is pronounced mama in Japanese. Well, among other things and probably not properly, but still. 

†:2.44 miles. Duh.

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March 4, 2012

I always feel like a dancing camcorder is watching me

If you have visited a Japanese theater in the last few years, you have seen the odd anti-piracy notice below. I was always perversely tempted to film this thing. Luckily someone else illegally put it on YouTube.

Some wedding parties are starting to riff on it too.

Japanese Study Links

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February 12, 2012

What Edan's Partner Was Singing About

Today I finally solved a mystery that has been bugging me for like 10 years. What the heck was that kid singing about in Edan's old song Sing It, S***face?

Turns out it was an old children's song called Futa'atsu (Doublings or just Two drawn out in a sing-song-style). The lyrics: ふたあつ (tune/山口保治・lyrics/まどみちお)
ふたあつ ふたあつ なんでしょね
There are two, two, right?
お目々が いちに ふたつでしょ
One eye and two,
お耳も ほらね ふたつでしょ
And one ear plus two, eh.
ふたあつ ふたあつ まだあって
There are another couple of things
お手々が いちに ふたつでしょ
One arm and another
あんよも ほらね ふたつでしょ
and two widdle wegs.
まだまだ いいもの なんでしょか
But there is still another good thing
まあるい あれよ かあさんの
Those ro-ound things mom has
おっぱい ほらね ふたつでしょ
Breasts, see? There are two, aren't there.

J children's songs have no compunction about mentioning breasts (or maybe flashing them with the final line?). See the theme song for dragon ball. 
Also, in case you are wondering, all the body parts save for mammary glands in the song are mentioned in baby-language, which is usually a doubling of a given word, but anyo (legs/walking) is an exception.
J Lyrics via this site, where you can also hear the tune.