“Teppuu surudokunatte” by Number Girl

鉄風鋭くなって

作詞:MUKAI SHUTOKU

発狂した飼い猫を
川へ捨てに行って
念仏唱えてさようなら
中古の戦車を拾って帰る

Aという名の野良猫は
3丁目でくたばった
泣いてるポーズの野球帽
マンガのバッチがとれかかる

風 風 鋭くなって

鼻水たらして 斜めの角度の野球帽

夕暮れ時間 オレ いる 橋の上

ボルトの赫サビ 墨田川
屋形船では花遊び

風鋭くなって 鉄の鋲打たれた橋
オレ いま橋の上 鉄風あびて 鋭くなって
夕焼けあびて 侍 余裕の花遊び
風鋭くなって にっこり笑った 芸者の少女

都会の野良猫 眼光鋭くなって
鉄風の中 少年たちは球ひろい
そう 鋭くなって 笑った少女と目があった
風 鋭くなって 都会の少女はにっこり笑う!!
にっこり笑って 鋭くなって 笑って笑って 風鋭くなって

* * *

The Iron Wind Sharpens

Lyrics: Mukai Shutoku
Trans.: Alex Fyffe

He went down to the river
to toss in his crazed cat
said farewell with a little Buddhist prayer
and went back home in a used tank he found there

The stray cat he called A
dropped dead in 3-choume
but he’s crying because he lost
the manga badge from his baseball cap

the wind, the wind’s getting sharper

snot drips from his nose, he wears his cap at an oblique angle

In the evening I am standing on a bridge,

bolts rusted red, on the Sumida River
someone plays with flowers on a pleasure boat

The wind’s getting sharper, slams against the iron rivets of the bridge
I am on the bridge, the wind envelops me, getting sharper
sunset washes over a samurai who has time to play with flowers
the wind’s getting sharper, grinning geisha girls

The light in the eyes of the stray city cats is getting sharper
boys pick up baseballs in the iron wind
yes, it’s getting sharper, and they meet the eyes of the grinning girls
the wind’s getting sharper, and the city girls grin!!
grinning, getting sharper, laughing, laughing, the wind is getting sharper

Notes:

Trans. 2008. Revised 2011.

3-choume = district 3.

“TEENAGE CASUALTIES” by Number Girl

TEENAGE CASUALTIES

作詞:MUKAI SHUTOKU

どこかの誰かが優しい声で 恋人にささやく夜
どこかの誰かが散弾銃を ぶっぱなそうか考える夜

学生通りは午後6時 アイツ、自転車でこぎまくって笑いながら
ガールフレンドの家にでも 行くのかな

どこかの誰かに惑わされて アイデンティティを問われる夜
どこかの誰かが自分を待ってる そんな気がして街さすらう夜

さりげなく遠くで聞こえる小学校のグランドのかけ声
昼寝を覚ましたオレは それをすっと聞いていた

どこかの誰かが被害者
どこかの誰かが加害者

* * *

Teenage Casualties

Lyrics: Mukai Shutoku
Translation: Alex Fyffe

Somewhere someone whispers sweetly to his lover in the night
Somewhere someone thinks about freeing himself with a shotgun in the night

A student laughs as he races along on his bike at 6 p.m.
Probably on the way to his girlfriend’s house

Somewhere someone is lost and questions his identity in the night
Somewhere someone has the feeling he is waiting for himself, wandering the city at night

From far away I could hear shouts from the elementary school
They woke me from my nap and I listened for a long time

Somewhere someone is the victim
Somewhere someone is the assailant

Notes:

Trans. May of 2007.

“Sentimental Girl’s Violent Joke” by Number Girl

SENTIMENTAL GIRL’S VIOLENT JOKE

作詞:MUKAI SHUTOKU

殺人的なジョークで死にたい あの娘は泣かない
笑い狂う部屋ん中は 32インチのスピーカに
マヒったやつらでいっぱい
さらって と あの娘は言った

笑わせて

笑い飛ばす なんでもかんでも
無気力と感傷 行ったり来たり
真夜中は何食ってもうまい
笑いながら あの娘はそう言った

草たばこ すいながら 笑いながら キメながら

暴力的なジョークで死にたい あの娘は笑う
ジャマイカたばこをキめながら
笑う 笑う あの娘は笑う

笑う狂う 殺人的に

* * *

Sentimental Girl’s Violent Joke

Lyrics: Mukai Shutoku
Translation: Alex Fyffe

She murderously jokes that she wants to die, but she doesn’t cry
The room is mad with laughter, filled with people
numbed by 32-inch speakers
Take me away from here, she says

It makes her laugh

She laughs at anything and everything
Her lethargy and her sentimentality come and they go
Everything tastes good in the middle of the night
She says, laughing

Smoking weed, laughing, playing it cool

She violently jokes that she wants to die, and laughs
As she poses with some Jamaican tobacco
She just laughs and laughs and laughs

She goes mad with laughter, like a killer

Notes:

Trans. April of 2008.

The first line is a bit more difficult than the rest. The way it seems to read is “Wanting to die with a killer joke, she doesn’t cry.” I’m still confused about what he means by this, but I have taken it to mean, “With a joke like a killer she says that she wants to die, and she doesn’t cry,” though I could be misinterpreting it. This line parallels the one at the end that is similarly confusing: “Wanting to die with a violent joke, she laughs.” I’m not sure if he actually means she wants to go out with a killer joke, or if her joking is like that of a killer, so this translation still may not be complete. The above is what I have settled on, because it makes the most sense to me, but if anyone has any insight into those lines, please let me know in the comments.

“Nichijou ni ikiru shoujo” by Number Girl

日常に生きる少女

作詞:MUKAI SHUTOKU

スピーカが2つあるってことは そこに2次元の世界があるって
ことなんですねって オレに聞くあの娘

日常に生きるあの娘は普通に生きて
病気もせずに 惑わされずに
オレはホントにそれは正しいと思う

一人で映画に出かけたり 悔やんだり

日常に生きている あの娘 は 笑ってる 友達同士で笑いあう
それは女学生だったときの 放課後の風景
いまでも変わらない笑顔をするんです

寒い日にコートを着る人は多い
あの娘も可愛い赫の外とうを着こんだりするんです

並木道 影がのびる
空気の 冷たさに 気付く

* * *

Everyday Girl

Lyrics: Mukai Shutoku
Translation: Alex Fyffe

There are two speakers, she says, and in them there is another dimension.
Don’t you think so? she asks me.

Everyday girl lives an ordinary life,
without sickness, without confusion,
and that’s the truth as far as I know.

She goes out to a movie by herself, and feels sorry for herself.

She lives an ordinary life, laughing like she laughed with her friends
when she was a schoolgirl, outside after class.
She still has that same smiling face.

When it’s cold and coat weather,
She puts on a cute red overcoat.

Her shadow stretches down the avenue.
She becomes aware of a chill in the air.

Notes:

Trans. May of 2007

The title, “Nichijou ni ikiru shoujo,” means “A Girl Who Lives an Ordinary Life,” but, as I mentioned in an earlier post, Mukai Shutoku’s girls are usually named more simply (Tuesday girl, drifting girl, etc.), so I thought “Everyday Girl” worked best to capture the spirit of the title.

“When it’s cold and coat weather…” The line “Samui hi ni KOOTO wo kiru hito wa ooi” actually means, “On cold days, there are many people who wear coats,” which simply sounds like an awkward thing to say, so I changed it up a little for aesthetic reasons. The line that follows is also closer to “She also does things like wearing cute, red coats when she goes out,” which I altered a bit for similar reasons.

“Mappiruma Girl” by Number Girl

真っ昼間ガール

作詞:MUKAI SHUTOKU

真っ昼間から楽しんでる2人 ワタシも誰かとワケアリになりたーい
そうは許さぬ儒教のおしえ だけども誰でもやってる風

真っ昼間からとんでもないことやってる
ワタシは孤独を気取ってる 空元気 嘘いっぱい
ホントは本当はねさびしいの 誰が拾ってワタシを拾って

あ 万円でいいから 修羅場を見せて 落っことして
落っことして 落っことして 落っことしてムチャクチャにして
ワタシを ワタシを ムチャクチャにして

落ちるとこまでただ落ちたいの 諸行の無常を感じてたいの

真っ昼間から 飛び降り自殺見ちゃった
アッ夏のかぜ すずしいね
スカートふわり

* * *

Afternoon Girl


Lyrics: Mukai Shutoku
Translation: Alex Fyffe

There’s a couple fooling around in the middle of the afternoon. I wish I had someone to fool around with too
Confucianism teaches that it’s unforgivable, but it seems like everyone’s doing it

People do unseemly things in the middle of the afternoon
I make a big show of being alone, but it’s only bravado, a big lie
Really, honestly, I’m lonely. Someone, come pick me up

Oh, 30,000 yen sounds good. Show me chaos. Throw me down
Throw me down, throw me down, throw me down, fuck me up
Fuck me up, fuck me up

I just want to fall until I hit bottom. I want to feel the uncertainty of eternity

In the middle of the afternoon, I saw someone jump to his death
Oh, the summer wind is cool
It rustles my skirt

Notes:

Trans. May of 2007.

“Muchakucha ni shite” is a phrase meaning “to do wildly” or “to do like crazy,” and, in this case, I think she’s saying something like “do me like crazy,” which I’ve taken to its vulgar conclusion in order to parallel it with “throw me down.” It could also be translated as “Mess me up,” or “ravage me,” or something else. I chose what I chose because it seemed the most appropriate for the circumstance. The narrator’s imagery is quite violent and vulgar, and that moment of violence really contrasts with the last couple of lines in a devastating kind of way.

“Seiteki shoujo” by Number Girl

性的少女

作詞:MUKAI SHUTOKU

村の神社の境内で ヤったあの娘は街に出て
夏大学に入学決定 桃色、青に変わって 裸足の季節がはじまった

はじまって はじまって はじまって それからどーした?
あーじゃいこーじゃい なんじゃいこーじゃい

性的少女の見た夢は 真っ赤な烏(からす)を食らう夢
起きると部屋には誰もおらん
知らない誰かの吸いがらだけが 灰皿の上に山の様

山の様 山の様 山の様 それからどーした?
あーじゃいこーじゃい なんじゃいこーじゃい
歩いている 知り合いはいない
街ん中 誰も知らない
覚えているのは冷たい感触と 朝日が差しこむ部屋のあのカンジ

思い出したくないから忘れることにするよ
思い出す必要はないから すっかり忘れてしまった
どうせもいいから 思い出なんて
どうでもいいから 記憶なんて
忘れてしまうよ カンタンに
忘れてしまえば 楽勝よ

記憶を消して、記憶を自ら消去した
記憶を消して、記憶を己でブチ消した
忘れてしまった 忘れてしまった

あの娘は今日も歩いていた 知らない誰かと歩いていた。

* * *

Sexual Girl

Lyrics: Mukai Shutoku
Translation: Alex Fyffe

She did it on the grounds of the village shrine and went to the city
for college in the summer. Everything turned pink and blue, and so began the barefoot season

Sexual girl has a dream in which she swallows a crimson crow
When she wakes in her room, no one is there
Only some stranger’s cigarette butts piled up in the ashtray like a mountain

She takes a walk and doesn’t recognize anybody
She doesn’t know anyone in the city

Recollection is a cold sensation, the feeling of sunrise piercing her room

She doesn’t want to remember, so she chooses to forget
She doesn’t need to remember, so she forgets it all

Everything is fine
Her thoughts, her memories
She can forget them easily enough
It’s an easy victory

She erases her memories, purges herself of them
She’s erased her memory, wiped it clean
She can forget, forget everything

She was walking again today, walking with some stranger

Notes:

Trans. May of 2007.

はじまって はじまって はじまって それからどーした?
あーじゃいこーじゃい なんじゃいこーじゃい

I left these two lines out of my translation. The first line echoes the “hajimatta” of the first verse — “has begun, has begun, has begun, but what happened then?” The second line, from what I can tell, is mostly for sound: “aa jai koo jai nan jai koo jai,” and I’m not certain it really means anything (correct me if I am wrong).

“Kuromegachi na shoujo” by Number Girl

黒目がちな少女

作詞:MUKAI SHUTOKU

さすらっていた 中野の駅前
夕方はもう近い ハラヘってしょうがない

ラーメン食らって走り出したい

信号が変わる すれちがう人の数
いろいろな人がいるもんだ

派手に転んで ぶっ倒れて
俺は初めて 都市の匂いを知った

少女が黒目をきょろきょろさせて 何かを探していた

犬が俺に歌った 感覚が笑って
俺はまた酒が飲みたくなって
家に帰る 家に帰る

* * *

Dark-Eyed Girl

Lyrics: Mukai Shutoku
Translation: Alex Fyffe

I was wandering around in front of Nakano Station
It was getting close to evening, and my stomach was growling

I slurped down some ramen and suddenly felt like running

The traffic lights changed. There were all these people
There were so many people

I openly stumbled around, fell on my ass
It was the first time I really smelled the city

There was a girl shifting her dark eyes back and forth, searching for something

A dog sang to me, made me smile
I suddenly felt like having another drink
and then going back home, going back home

Notes:

Trans. May of 2007. If you haven’t noticed by now, I’m a huge fan of Number Girl (and of most of the bands they splintered into — Zazen Boys, Toddle, Vola & The Oriental Machine), and their final album, NumHeavyMetallic, is still one of my favorite albums of the past decade. This song is the perfect close to a perfect album.

I think the title is probably closer to “Shifty Black-Eyed Girl,” but I chose to keep it simple with “Dark-Eyed Girl,” keeping with Mukai Shutoku’s usual format of “(Something) Girl” (i.e. drifting girl, Tuesday girl, sexual girl, everyday girl, mid-afternoon girl, etc.).