11 May 2010

Learning Japanese through song lyrics

As a child I was highly influenced by Japanese songs from 1970's and 1980's that my dad used to play on his guitar. The music genre from this period is typically called 'Folk' in Japan, which can be described as a beginning of "Japanese Pop" rather than traditional music.

The post-war generation in Japan sought to participate and take action in social problems. This is reflected in the 'Folk song' lyrics. I wish young people in Japan today would show passion and take action as students did in the 70's...

I love J-pop, but I will probably always listen to J-Folk. I remember that these song lyrics were my first texts in order to learn Japanese.

A cosmos by the rail crossing
waving as the train passes
and the train disappears
disappears into the sunset

(海援隊 Kaientai (1978) :「思えば遠くにきたもんだ」(I came a long way) )
A famous song about a guy who is looking back on the path of life. The dream he chased seems far away. He believed the rails would lead him the way... He is wondering what he has found and where he is going.

On the way to Montilla Morriles, Spain
In the mountains of Onta, Japan