Songs About Food and Futons? – Uchikubigokumondoukoukai

Hello hello!

To the blog’s newest followers from First Friday, hello and thank you for following the blog ❤

The last time Japanese music made me laugh so hard was with the anime Tesagure! Bukatsumono’s opening song “Stand Up!!!!” The song was very deep and well constructed, and was magnificently, obvious. If I had to pick an anime opening that takes the title for most meta, it would be that one. But this time I won’t be looking in to Tesagure’s hilarious opening, but I will be putting the video down below in case you’re curious.

Now if you are a fan of Japanese music I assume you already know that there is such a thing as J-Rock, aside from J-Pop. The differences are obvious, with Babymetal probably being somewhere in between the two. Now if you’re not, let me ask you a simple question.

At any point in time, if you use Facebook, have you heard a song about “I don’t want to get out of the futon?” I don’t know if it will help, but it features a cute little penguin sleeping inside its little futon (Japanese style bed). If that still doesn’t ring a bell, here’s the video.

If you remember, good job! If you don’t, well still read on because you might probably become a fan of theirs.

Uchikubigokumondoukoukai, aside from having a really long and distinctive name (Japanese: 打首獄門同好会) is a Japanese hard rock band. I recently started to listen to their songs because of that exact video I just referenced.

If I were to describe their songs, I would say, they have a way with words. The lyrics are so deep, and well constructed, and they’re so artistic. In fact, my most favorite one is when the— OH WHO AM I KIDDING, THE LYRICS ARE THE BEST. In fact  They’re really not as deep as you think. In fact, it’s more on the comedic side of things, even some songs will make you scream “what the hell did I just listen to,” in a good way. At first glance, you might think to yourself, gee, these are some catchy songs! I wonder what they are about? And we will get to that later!

Though really, even though it might give the impression to some that these people simply ran out of ideas and decided to write about super mundane everyday things, and seriously I don’t blame them for thinking that way, I personally think this is a charm in itself. Let’s face it, it’s not everyday do you hear a hard rock song about something bad happening to a smartphone. It gives off this light and playful aura that gives a nice contrast to the very strong and powerful sounds given off by their hard rock style of music. It’s a good change of pace, and is good for a quick laugh or two.

Other than this, their music is highly relatable to an extent. Let’s go to the futon song for example. I’m pretty sure most if not all of us have experienced not wanting to get out of bed because it is so cold outside. There’s a reason, why when I first stumbled across this band, the Facebook page that shared it put a caption saying “this is your winter anthem,” or something similar. It’s relatable content like this that come close to rivaling those cheesy love songs that get annoying once 5 radio stations and the nearby store overplays it when it comes to relatability.

Let’s go through some of my personal favorites from this very creative band! May I highly suggest giving the song a listen before reading anything if you don’t understand Japanese, but you’re welcome to just read on, that’s fine.

#1 Nihon no Kome wa Sekai Ichi | 日本の米は世界一

The bowl of rice at the start is the subject of this song. Yes, the title of this very, taste bud provoking, hunger inducing song translates to: “Japanese rice is the best.” But Ayappi, isn’t “gohan” the word for rice? Yes, while normally we use ご飯(gohan) for the rice that we eat on our table, 米 (kome) can also be used to refer to rice, although it may be unnatural to use.

The song lyrics are 75% Japanese food names, 10% 食!食!(Shoku shoku) which just means food. And the remaining to be justifications and expressions on how Japanese rice is, the world’s number one rice.

 

#2 Shimaguni DNA (島国DNA)

The title card of the music video translates to: “Japan’s fish.” And this is exactly what the song is about, Japan’s (edible) fish. The song proceeds to list down, much like the first song in this roundup, Japanese food based off of fish such as Shiokara (imagine Natto but fishier), Sashimi and others.

Out of all the lyrics though, one line stands out in the chorus: “We Japanese people love fish.” This song in my opinion, wanted to express the identity of the Japanese people being from an island nation. The fact that there are so many fish based dishes in Japan, as well as the abundance of fish itself thanks to the country being surrounded by water, their claims might as well be true. Regardless, I think they did their job well. If we take a look at the title too, “Island nation DNA.”

Just remember that the Japanese are humans too and not all love fish.

Fun fact: When they scream “Whoa whoa!”, that’s actually not whoa whoa. It’s “uo, uo!” In Japanese, it’s 「魚、魚!」which translates to “FISH FISH!”

#3 Nikutabeikou (ニクタベイコウ!)

 

I’ll admit I only included this song because I kept laughing at 29, which is a number pun for “meat” in Japanese. However, I think I can try to make sense out of the video.

It shows a video of children playing, and repeatedly slams meat names and dishes at your eyes. Now I remember the times when me and my family or friends would grill food, either at a restaurant or at the beach. Two things are certain:

  1. Meat, meat, and lots of meat!
  2. It brings people together, mostly

I don’t really have that much memories of playing outside because of my parent’s looking out for my security, but I know for a fact that children playing outside is a way of connecting with others, with the world. I think what the song is trying to say, other than the fact that there are so many delicious meat dishes out there, is that we are a community!

In the end, I highly recommend you give their music a chance to be in your own music collections. All their videos and music, mostly, are available on YouTube and on Apple Music or Spotify. If you’re a fan of Uchikubigokumondoukoukai, which song is your favorite?

Alright, thank you for taking the time to read my little article! I hope you have a great day and rock on ❤

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The Busy Anime Fan’s Guide to Studying Japanese

Nowadays everything is faster. From things such as your phone being probably faster than your old laptop (well based on the Geekbench scores at least), to the way we communicate with people from any corner of the globe, to how fast we could access that new episode of Uma Musume. But with this new fast paced and busy lifestyle comes a cost; less time. Less time means less time to study Japanese which could mean, it’ll be easier and FASTER to forget everything you’ve learned in Japanese, or really any second language, especially if you don’t live in Japan.

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That’s unfortunate

So what can we do then? I want to study Japanese but, priorities and the newest episode just came out of Gun Gale Online so now what? Do we just accept our fate as it is and let everything we learned go to waste, or have no time to study at all? Well, no. Please keep reading as I will give you some tips on how you, the anime / manga fan, could still learn and retain their Japanese despite the lack of time.

Now as an anime fan, I will be assuming that you are getting around 5-8 hours of sleep, a total of 3 hours for the appropriate mealtimes and daily routines, 8 hours of work and/or school, an hour for transportation, 2 hours for studying and 2 hours for watching anime (6 episodes). I will not be including social media time because, this can happen any time really.

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Busy life is normal for our day and age

This guide is assuming you already know Hiragana and Katakana. If you don’t, please make yourself some flashcards or a table, and memorize the two alphabets before even proceeding with anything else. Try memorizing 5 a day per alphabet, preferrably in this order:

Day 1: あ い う え お ア イ ウ エ オ

Day 2: か き く け こ カ キ ク ケ コ

Continue the sequence, starting syllables are さ、た、な、は、ま、や、ら、わ

Memorize only these first, because the rest of the sounds are only modified by adding two lines or a circle to the character, with the exception of な、や、ま 、わand ら characters. To illustrate

か becomes が

た becomes だ

Starting and continuing to study with romaji is the one of the worst things any Japanese learner could ever do to themselves. The reason why is for another article.

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Let’s not get to this point shall we?

Okay, so let’s say you only have an hour per day to learn and practice Japanese on your desk. Let’s go to grammar first, because that’s what’s most important in my opinion. What I suggest is that for every two days, learn only one grammar point and stick to mastering that one point. You could extend this to three days, but really just go with your pace. For me, two days is my self-imposed deadline for learning a grammar point. For every day after this time interval, try to recall and review the past grammar you have studied.

As for vocabulary, try not to push yourself by memorizing entire vocabulary lists. In my opinion, especially given the possibility of you being mentally tired and stressed after a busy day, this is counter-productive. Instead, what I would recommend is just learn the words when you need to know them. What do I mean by this? Until you want to say something, do not learn the word. When the time comes that you want to say, let’s say: “I want to eat vegetables,” then you only look up and learn the word for vegetables when that time comes. The same principle applies for kanji, and I actually learned kanji this way for the past two years.

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Time to put that Japanese podcast/Jpop collection to good use too!

Okay so far we have grammar and vocabulary/kanji covered, but how about listening, reading, speaking, and writing? For one thing, writing would have to be done alongside the grammar and vocabulary sections during note taking, so that’s alright. As for speaking, unless you have a partner, or are willing to speak to yourself, then you’re in trouble.

Now this is where it gets interesting. Listening and Reading could actually be done while you’re watching anime and/or reading manga. While the accents in anime are questionable, the one thing that is accurate is the speed and vocabulary. Your skills at listening and vocabulary recognition will be practiced as you watch anime. As for reading, you guessed it, manga will help. Sure, the vocabulary you might pick up might be a bit questionable (especially if all you watch is shounen or obscure and deep titles) but listening and reading will be practiced. This is actually the method I personally use if I can’t talk to my Japanese friends, friends who can speak Japanese, or relatives in Japan.

The trick here is maximizing exposure time. The mere fact that you are watching anime (preferably without subtitles), counts as exposure time. So long as you could use the Japanese that you learned, or you place yourself in situations where you have no choice to learn, then you could retain or possibly improve on your Japanese. You could also try putting your entire phone in Japanese, whatever works! Just make sure you get to see even just one hiragana each day! It sounds hard,  but trust me it isn’t.

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マイペースでやりなさい!

To be clear, you don’t have to follow this guide exactly as I say. We all learn differently and I simply wrote what I have proven, to be an effective way of learning Japanese in a busy lifestyle. You could even multitask and study Japanese while, let’s say as your driver drives you to school, or as you eat dinner. Just please, however, do not forget to do your responsibilities. Once you get in “the zone” I know it’s really really hard to stop studying, but please remember that there is no point in studying Japanese if you will just starve yourself to death, or die of lack of sleep in the end.

So I think that pretty much covers it! Thank you for reading and I hope you have a great Japanese language journey! ❤

P.S. Please don’t die. Seriously.