Learning Japanese through Music, part 4: 今宵に月ように (Like Tonight’s Moon)

In Japanese by Skritter

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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 covers Japanese songs, along with their lyrics, and translations 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 this one, let’s do: 今宵に月ように (エレフャントカシマシ) — “Like Tonight’s Moon” by Elephant Kashimashi.

Japanese Lyrics:


今宵の月のように Ah… Ah…



あふれる熱い涙 Ah… Ah…Oh yeah…

いつのか電車に乗って いつかの町まで
君のおもかげきらりと光る 夜空に
涙も出ない 声も聞こえない




今宵の月のように Ah… Ah…

English Translation:

Muttering good-for-nothing
Putting on a face and walk
When will it shine again?
Hot tears that overflow

Will this go on forever?
Spitting it out, rolled over in bed
Will I shine again?
Like tonight’s moon

Passing into the evening, the lights of the glowing town
are swaying and painted in a sad color
Gather the fragments of memories you’ve given
Midsummer night’s sky, look up alone

The beginning of a new season
is blowing a summer breeze into the town

Where are we going today?
Going to search for love
When will it shine?
Hot tears that overflow

Walking with hands deep in pockets
Getting on that train until that town
Your face, shining brightly, in the night sky
Tears don’t shed, the voice cannot be heard

The day that will never return again,
we’ll continue running

Where are we going tomorrow?
Going to search for love
In the sky of the town that we’re used to seeing
there’s one moon that is shining

When will it shine
Like tonight’s moon

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