Life Stuff / Translation

exist†trace – Daybreak ~Juu-san Gatsu no Shikisai~

Things in the US have both changed and remained the same since the last time I posted something. They’ve changed because of the protests going on. But the protests are happening largely because things have stayed the same: we continue to see unarmed Black people murdered in this country at the hands of armed law enforcement agents, we continue to see disparities in access to health care lead to disparities in mortality rates from Covid-19, we continue to see so many instances of inequality and barbarism aimed at minorities in a supposedly “advanced” country.

It was difficult to focus on doing this at such a time. Yet the garish world painted in these lyrics seemed to fit the situation, too, and between mulling over the past few days and ignoring the Weltschmerz tying a knot in my chest while helicopters continue to circle overhead, I was able to put something together.

While in general we associate the coming of the dawn with new beginnings and positive things, and despite the relatively soft sound of this song and references to “rich colors,” the lyrics paint an apocalyptic picture. My translation may seem overly liberal, but it helps to keep in mind that the EP this song first appeared on was titled THE LAST DAYBREAK (emphasis mine). Then again, an apocalypse can be an end that heralds a new beginning.

Lyrics in Japanese can be found here on J-lyric. Below is my romanization and translation, as well as a translation of miko’s blog post about this song.

Daybreak ~Juu-san Gatsu no Shikisai~

warau meisaishoku no furamingo
umi ni maaburu CANDY puuru itoshii gasu masuku

mawaru kazamidori takawarai
juu-san gatsu wa fuete wa heru degitaru koyagi no dinaa

yuganda akai sora mimi wo tsunzaku keikoku
“kizuite sugu soba ni saigo no ashioto”

Daybreak asayake ga owari wo tsugeru
Daybreak azayakana ketsumatsu wo
Daybreak yorisoi nagameyou
Daybreak kimi to futari de

takaku ippou tsuukou no buranko
kita no ryuusei negai sando tobikau hakai no tori1

yuganda akai sora ganarihajimeru wakusei
“kizuite mou kore ga saigo datte koto”

Daybreak asayake ga someru chihei ni
Daybreak kage ochiru sunadokei
Daybreak byouyomi hajimete mo
Daybreak kimi to ikiyou

Daybreak asayake ga owari wo tsugeru
Daybreak azayakana ketsumatsu wo
Daybreak yorisoi nagameyou
Daybreak kimi to futari de

New age me ga kuramu gokusaishiki no
New age futashikana mirai nara
New age byouyomi sematte mo
Daybreak ima wo futari de

Daybreak ~The Colors of Undecimber~2

A laughing camouflage-colored flamingo
A marble into the sea, candy pool, beloved gas mask

The loud laughter of a turning weathercock
Tech savvy kids’ fortunes fluctuate in Undecimber3

Warped red sky, a warning that pierces the eardrums
“Pay attention! The final footsteps are right up on you”

(Daybreak) The morning glow heralds the end
(Daybreak) The brilliant conclusion
(Daybreak) Let’s cuddle up and watch it
(Daybreak) The two of us together

Flying high on a one-way swing
Northern shooting stars,
Wish three times on the embers of their dogfight4

Warped red sky, the planet starting to scream
“Pay attention! Realize that this is the end”

(Daybreak) The hourglass casts its shadow
(Daybreak) On the soil bathed in morning’s glow
(Daybreak) Even if the countdown starts
(Daybreak) I’ll stay alive with you

(Daybreak) The morning glow heralds the end
(Daybreak) The brilliant conclusion
(Daybreak) Let’s cuddle up and watch it
(Daybreak) The two of us together

(New age) If it’s an uncertain future
(New age) with blindingly rich colors
(New age) Even as the seconds count down to zero
(Daybreak) Let’s live this moment together

miko Blog, May 10, 2012

Hello!

This is the second entry in a series of making-of posts as we get closer to the release of VIRGIN. Today, I’m gonna talk about “Daybreak ~Juu-san Gatsu no Shikisai~,” which had also been included on THE LAST DAYBREAK.

Those who don’t want to read anything until they hear it for themselves, don’t read any further!

“Daybreak ~Juu-san Gatsu no Shikisai” was the lead song on THE LAST DAYBREAK. The music video for it was also pretty cool. Though I think this song has a strong association of being the first track on the five-track CD, it fits perfectly into the second slot on VIRGIN. I really think it can shine brightest in this position!

The visual concept for “WONDERLAND” was of a black and white world, but this is the total opposite, a world overflowing with rich colors. That sudden change alone makes it impossible to predict how the whole album will flow.

The last leg on the journey of recording is called mastering. This is where you settle on the final sound of every single song, as well as decide how many seconds there will be between tracks. At that stage, we really struggled with how much space to put between “WONDERLAND” and “Daybreak ~Juu-san Gatsu no Shikisai~.” We fine-tuned them over and over, until we were finally able to find a thrilling timing.

When it comes to putting a CD together, sometimes there’s a great deal of thought hidden into even those spaces where there is no sound. So the best way to listen to an album for the first time is probably to listen to it somewhere quiet, where you can concentrate. The second time, listen while reading the lyrics. Then the third time…catch the rhythm and sing along! LOL

That’s what I always do when I listen to a new album! LOL

I wonder how all of you go about it? Whatever you like to do, I hope you do it while listening to this!


1. Here Jyou sings “tori,” most likely meaning “bird.” The written lyrics give the kanji compound 機体 which means “fuselage.” This compound is usually read “kitai,” but in the lyrics トリ (“tori”) is written as furigana for 機体. So the imagery is of an airplane as a “metal bird” and continues the earlier bird imagery.

2. In modern Japanese, the months of the year are named simply with ordinal numbers, e.g. January is “ichi gatsu” meaning “first month,” February is “ni gatsu” meaning “second month,” etc. The “juu-san gatsu” in the title can more literally be translated as “thirteenth month.” I went with “Undecimber” instead mostly because I just think it’s more interesting to go down the rabbit hole of calendar history, which includes such tidbits as: “December” comes from the number 10, and “undecimber” comes from 11, so technically, while undecimber would be the 13th month, its name is more like “11th month”; by extension “Tredecimber” would be a literal 13th month but that would become a 15th month in our calendar; the old Japanese lunar calendar had 12 months with names (as opposed to just ordinal designations), but whenever a leap month was needed to realign the calendar with the seasons, the leap month was designated by simply adding 閏 (uruu meaning “intercalation”) to the name of the previous month (according to this Q&A site); and lastly (though there IS more that could be said) I considered using “Mercedonius” as its use for political rather than time-keeping ends seemed to be in line with the warfare imagery of gas masks and destructive planes but…I figured that would read more like the name of a person to most people, whereas “Undecimber,” even if interpreted as “Not December,” is still more easily understood as referring to a month.

3. First: In Japanese 風見鶏 (kazamidori) can mean “weather vane,” though it’s literally closer to “weathercock,” a weather vane in the shape of a rooster. It can also mean “an opportunist,” and apparently “weathercock” carries this meaning in English as well, i.e. it’s someone who is always “turning” wherever the popular winds blow. Second, I don’t get what’s going on in the second line in this verse. A direct translation would be “In Undecimber / increasing and decreasing / the digital kids’ dinner.” I’m not sure if “digital kids” should be interpreted literally, like they’re Tamagotchis or something, or if we should take it figuratively as “tech savvy kids.” I don’t know if the “dinner” is literal or figurative either. At first I had written “In Undecimber sometimes the digital kids get dinner, sometimes they don’t.” But that’s really long and clashes horribly with the staccato rhythm of the other lyrics. So I went with this more figurative interpretation.

4. A direct translation of this verse would be “Up high one-way swing / Northern shooting star(s), a wish three times, metal birds of destruction fly about.” I let these fragments form an image in my mind and what I saw was a dogfight (close aerial combat between fighter planes). Basically I’m taking the “one-way swing,” “shooting stars,” and “metal birds of destruction” as all being metaphors for warplanes. But I could be wrong on that. While I’m pretty fond of my interpretation, if I had to change it to something more direct, I’d go with “Flying high on a one-way swing / Wish three times on the northern shooting stars / Destructive metal birds fly about.” Ehhh…it just doesn’t have the same punch, especially without the word “dogfight,” even though I lose the direct reference to the word “bird.”

6 thoughts on “exist†trace – Daybreak ~Juu-san Gatsu no Shikisai~

    • Thanks! I’m physically pretty good. It is an exceedingly crazy time and I can’t help but imagine where it’s going, but I know it’s crucial to keep a level head so I’m remembering to take a step back and breathe. Hope you’re well too!

  1. Good luck with your project. You have worked hard on this translation. I could never even begin to touch Japanese songs because I haven’t a clue what the hidden meanings are all about. I’m always happy to cheer on anyone who will take them on. Keep having fun.

    • Thanks! Ultimately I may be missing out on some hidden meanings but I think as long as I’m open about it with readers it’s okay. It was interesting reading on miko’s blog for the song “Unforgive You” that she hadn’t even told the rest of the band exactly who the song was about at first. But the band could perform it nonetheless. Maybe with artistic expression something will always be “lost in translation” even if everyone’s speaking the same language.

Let's talk!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.