Tag Archives: Japanese

Some Music for the Soul

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A few weeks ago, I surfing around online for some inspiration – in the form of instrumental music. And I was lucky to have come across Mr. Kyle Landry’s YouTube channel. The following piece is the first I heard of his, and it was so beautiful, so touching, I could feel it reach all the way down to my soul. Mr. Josh Chiu, who plays the violin here, only further enhances that effect.

This is Mr. Landry’s arrangement of one of Utada Hikaru‘s most famous songs, Hikari (which means “Light”). This particular arrangement of his is actually quite well-known. I’m surprised I hadn’t come across it sooner.

I felt compelled to share this here. Mr. Landry’s work is so inspiring and heart-rendering that every time I listen to his music, I’m charged with poesy by the end of the experience.

Be sure to don some earphones for this – the effect is best that way!

Without further ado, here you have it:

My favorite line from the original Japanese song has definitely got to be: (in Romaji)

Kimi to iu hikari ga watashi wo mitsukeru
Mayonaka ni

I really haven’t been able to translate it in a way that makes that line as lovely as it really sounds. This seems to be the most common rendering:

“A light known as ‘you’ finds me/ In the middle of the night.”

I love the way this is reflected in Mr. Landry’s version! There’s this tender and also epiphanic feeling when I hear it.

If today’s post were to be a prompt, I’d say “Hikari”/”Light“. Do you have somebody who’s like a light in your life? Who found you when you least expected it? Perhaps it’s a lot of somebodys (like a close group of friends, or comrades) or maybe even a something.

I hope this piece is as inspiring for everyone else as it is for me 🙂

(And I hope Mr. Landry continues his beautiful work. If you have time, be sure to listen to some of his other recordings, too!)

Happy writing folks! 🙂

Friday Reflections: Parting

How’s the poeming coming along, folks? I hope everyone’s had a productive week! I’ve been keeping up, though yesterday’s was a close call (I only got around to it late at night, at around 11:30 p.m.!). Days like those really make the challenge a challenge! In contrast, I churned out today’s poem right in the morning, fresh out of bed 🙂

Here’s your weekly Reflections post to give you some more to think about and some more to write about!

Today’s prompt: Parting

“Parting is all we know of heaven,
And all we need of hell.”
-Emily Dickinson

We’ve all experienced some form of parting or the other; it may not necessarily be the same as the one Ms. Dickinson has spoken about – it may be something not so final as death, it may be just a “see you tomorrow” casually muttered to a friend at the end of a school day. It could be death, also.

An Ending

For some reason, though, the word “parting”, or even “goodbye” or “farewell” seems to ring the bell of tragedy, for me. Maybe it’s my fault, maybe I shouldn’t have committed Ms. Dickinson’s poem to memory! I’d once took the very phrase, “see you tomorrow”, and scribbled a tragedy out of it. One could guess, the characters didn’t get to see each other “tomorrow”. Or, well, maybe they did, in afterlife?

Another phrase from a poem I am reminded of is from Thomas Gray’s famous Elegy: “…knell of parting day”.

You could consider “parting” as an ending, as I did for that short story. In my case, it was an abrupt, unexpected ending. You could talk about “goodbye” in general – consider the various circumstances in which people say these phrases that are used in place of it:

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I see potential for a list-poem 🙂

Try digging into the etymologies for these commonplace phrases and situations may play through in your mind – entire narratives, perhaps – of people going different ways forever, people expressing the hope of meeting again, people saying “hasta la vista, baby,” in the most nonchalant way possible… Or maybe they’re completely serious, and with knitted eyebrows and longing eyes, say, “Until we meet again…”

“Sayonara” – if it is to be that way…

Every language seems to have various ways of saying “goodbye”, and the history behind each is very interesting (I find it reveals a lot about the culture and the people). Goodbye, for instance, is a contraction of God be with ye.

“Sayonara”, of Japanese origin (now used rather commonly in English the way Hasta la vista is), is one of my personal favorites. It translates directly to, “If it is to be that way…” and comes from more complete phrases, such as one translating to, “If it is to be that way, I will be leaving.” I’ve always felt like this hints at a reluctance to leave. One does not really wish to leave, does not really wish to part, but it must be so, and therefore, one leaves. (Which reminds me of this lovely piece of music.)

I also love some of these French phrases: au revoir (which literally translates to to the seeing again), à demain (until tomorrow) and à bientôt (see you soon).

Farewell and godspeed, on the other hand, seem to suggest a journey of some sort, perhaps one that is long and arduous, or a mission that someone must rush to complete.

Cheerio, then! (here’s a music-prompt)

I hope that gives you something to write about tonight 🙂

I’ll add one more music-prompt here before I sign off:

This Étude, by the great poet of the piano, Frédéric Chopin, was one which the composer himself believed to be his most beautiful. Though he never gave it any title, it has also been identified as “Tristesse” (Sadness), “Farewell”/”L’Adieu” and in Japan as “Wakare no Kyoku” (Song of Parting).

Dig deep, my fellow writers. All the best for the rest of NaPoWriMo, my fellow poets – we’re nearly at the half-way point! Happy writing!

Day Two (two prompts for you!)

I’m back for Day Two of the Poem-A-Day Challenge, here to offer a couple of prompts and another  link (which I can’t believe I’d left out in the previous post!): the NaPoWriMo page!

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NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), which takes place in November, seems to be more popular than NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month, designed after the former), but Poetry’s getting more popular these days 🙂

I have two prompts to offer today 🙂 It’s day two, after all, and I happened to write two poems last night, on the first day of the challenge.

Prompt Number One

The first prompt is a quick one, and a little cliché, but it always amazes me how I seem to have something new to write about it every time:

Love.

Yes, cliché. But perhaps it’s because it’s such a prompt (suggested by one of my friends), I am able to stretch out and write differently with each attempt. I am able to look at it from new angles. See new stories under this word. I always believed that we love each loved one in a special, unprecedented way. Especially since everyone seems to have their own take on the word itself.

So take this prompt and write something fresh; look at love in a way you’ve never seen it before. A simple example: it could be unrequited love, for someone who has always gotten enough love. It could be the other way around, too!

Today’s prompt

I finally got around to jogging this morning! And a lot of things run through my mind when I jog. And that’s how I happened about today’s prompt 🙂

I was thinking about my posture as I was jogging and I realized I kept staring dead ahead of myself. And that made me remember this phrase (in Japanese/Romaji given below):

Mae o muite

I’d roughly translate that to “look forward“/”face forward“/”look to the future“.

This phrase made me recollect these lines from a Japanese song, in turn (in Romaji, again):

Mae wo muitereba
Mata aemasu ka?

(Song: Passion by Utada Hikaru)

A rough translation of this would be: “If I look to the future, would we meet again?

So that shall be today’s prompt 🙂 Looking forward!

I’ve given a couple examples through mention of the prompt’s origin. You could also consider a “look forward when driving” kind of perspective!

Celebrating National Poetry Month, I’ll just add a link to a favorite classic here, in connection with this prompt 🙂 This one’s quite a direct poem, but I still love it. Particularly the “footprints in the sands of time” line!

Well, that’s all for today, folks. Happy Writing!