Learning Japanese through Music, Part 1: Crazy Ken Band: タイガー&ドラゴン

In Japanese by Jeremy Arns

Often times the best study tactic is the one you enjoy most. Music is an incredible way to study a language without feeling like you’re “studying”, and songs have the tendency to get stuck in people’s heads (and repetition is key to learning things). Not to mention it certainly doesn’t feel like flashcards or a drill. It’s also a great way observe and absorb culture which is always essential, but can be particularly important for some languages like Japanese. It’s not surprising some people who become proficient in a second language like English for example, sometimes say they owe a lot to either music or television, two things people as a whole are generally interested in and can offer great ways of learning.  If you want more tips on how to make studying more efficient and fun, check out this post: Study Smart, Not Hard

This series of posts will cover Japanese songs, along with their lyrics, translations, and a Skritter list containing all the vocabulary so you can make sure you learn every word.

When translating Japanese, and especially for things like subtitles which are timed, there are times when the English translation sounds more natural when the line order is switched or combined, based on how the lines are broken apart in the lyrics in Japanese and the word order, since for instance what is sometimes said at the end of the sentence would be the beginning of what’s said in the English sentence. There are also times where something doesn’t match nuance, and so what’s said is actually somewhat changed. However when going the interpretation route versus direct translation route, the translation won’t always follow the flow, and also roughly match the English translation line by line. Since this is a song, and the musical emotion is timed with the Japanese lyrics, I’ve kept it as close to the Japanese flow as possible as far as what line corresponds to the English translation. Needless to say this might sound unnatural in English or a bit like Yoda in places, but butcher the song’s flow I want not! 

For the first one, let’s do: Crazy Ken Band: タイガー&ドラゴン (Tiger & Dragon)!

Japanese Lyrics:






English Translation:

If you go through the tunnel and you see the ocean,
just like that until the end of Mikasa park,
I’m wearing a gaudy jacket like back in those days,
and waiting for you so you better come quickly.

Listen to my story! I just need five minutes…
There’s no need to worry about things like loaned money.

The Yokusuka ocean that you love,
you should cry and be embraced by it’s kindness.

Listen to my story! I just need two minutes…
Only to you, I swear I’ll tell the real story.

It isn’t a tiger and dragon glaring at each other on my back,
there’s a battle inside me between myself and myself,
in the stagnant dark Yokusuka ocean,
there are electric jellyfish that float like the moon.

Link to Skritter list: https://skritter.com/vocablists/view/5030735163162624

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