exist†trace – GINGER

So much for a schedule… (^o^;)

I started doing this back in early June to have it ready for the 9th, but got stuck on several things. The first was that I didn’t recognize a reference to a proverb, so while I thought I understood what was going on, I couldn’t justify my interpretation. The second was that the way “GINGER” is used here is ambiguous; it seems to be referring to both the characters singing the song, and the object of their affections (which I initially took to be a person, but who knows, maybe it is a literal object that they both want to steal and keep for themselves). Throw in the fact that in the music video the whole band seems to be one big robbery team, but the lyrics specifically say that the phantom thief “Ginger” consists of two people, and you get some confusion. Well, I got some confusion. So I set it aside for a while and “a while” turned into three weeks. (^_^;)

Anyway, the Japanese lyrics can be found here on J-Lyric. Romanization and translation of the lyrics below, as well as a translation of a miko blog post about this song.


“You can’t catch me, I’m the ginger bread man…”

tsukamaete misena yo kamitsuite misete yo
anata ga sono ki nara zokuzoku shitekichau wa
yozora no shita kirakira temaneku daiyamondo
itadaku ze nan datte futari wa kaitou “GINGER”

ano hito akireru kashira? yokokujo okuritsukeyou
“nusumi ni ukagaimasu wa mangetsu no gozen reiji”
omeate wa hairisuku ni mona riza miro no viinasu
tsukamaetemisete yo anata no sono te de

sekaijuu marugoto ubattemitemo mitasarenai
futari ga nani yori hoshii mono wa anata dake yo

tsukamaerarekkonai wa
Say goodbye, goodbye
tsumannai hibi ni sayonara saa
nigasanai no sa GINGER

nigeashi no hayasa maru de yakitate jinjaa bureddo man
azamuku nara mikata kara zurugashikoi aibou ne
toki ni wa chie wo dashiai to omoeba yokodori shichau
demo konkai wa yuzurenai shinken shoubu yo

korekushon marugoto uritobashite mo kamawanai
anata no seigi ni ne wo tsuketara ikura kashira?

anata wo muchuu ni sasete
Say goodbye, goodbye
omamagoto wa owari saa
watashi no mono yo GINGER

emono wo nogashita nante! watashi no seitte iitai no?
futari ga momeru no wa anata no sei yo

hora, kita wa saachiraito
ki wo tsukete
Say goodbye, goodbye
yume miru no wa owari saa

tsukamaerarekkonai wa
Say goodbye, goodbye
tsumannai hibi ni sayonara saa
nigasanai no sa GINGER


“You can’t catch me, I’m the ginger bread man…”

Catch us if you can, come at us
If you’re up for the chase we’ll be thrilled
Beckoning diamonds sparkle under the night sky
Thanks, we’ll help ourselves! We’re the phantom thief “GINGER”

Will the mark be surprised? Maybe we’ll send our calling card:
“Coming over to steal at midnight when the moon is full”
We’re after high-risk scores: the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo
Catch us if you can, with your own two hands

Even if we take the whole wide world, we won’t be satisfied
What we want more than anything else…is you!

There’s no way we’ll ever be caught
Let’s set out
Say goodbye, goodbye
Goodbye to boring days
We won’t let you get away! GINGER

Escaping fast as a fresh-baked gingerbread man
“To fool the enemy, first deceive your allies” —What a sly partner!
Sometimes we share intel —Sometimes I move on my own
But I’m not giving anything up this time —It’s on now!1

I don’t care if I have to sell the whole entire collection
If you put a price on your justice, how much would it be?

I’ll make you crazy for me
I’ll have you all to myself
Say goodbye, goodbye
No more playing house
You belong to me! GINGER

How could you let our prey get away?! —Are you saying it’s my fault?!
It’s YOUR fault the two of us are fighting!

Here comes the searchlight
Be careful
Say goodbye, goodbye
Oh well, no more dreaming

No way we’ll ever be caught
Let’s set out
Say goodbye, goodbye
Goodbye to boring days
We won’t let you get away! GINGER

miko Blog, May 12, 2012

Alright, it’s time for the fourth installment in my series of daily posts explaining songs and their making-of stories! Today is for “GINGER,” the fourth song on the album. The music video is out, too!

I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, those of you who want to hear it for yourself first, be warned!

Well then, let’s see… Where should I start? LOL

Hmm, yup, it’s gotta be that.

We tried out twin vocals again!

On our previous track “Little Mary and the Blue Danube of Hate,” I sang the part of Mary. This time, I play one of a pair of phantom thieves with Jyou.

GINGER, the phantom thief duo, throw out all their treasures, but find what they want most.

Ultimately, are they able to get their hands on it? How does it all end? Well, the music video goes one step further into that world.

Then, there’s what everyone is probably dying to know: “Why ‘ginger’ (=the plant)?” It might leave you scratching your head, but allow me to explain.

If you listen closely, at the beginning of the music video you’ll hear the line “You can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread man.”

This is a line from the fairy tale The Gingerbread Man. It’s such a famous line that I dare say there’s not a single child in the United States who doesn’t know it. Of course, I heard it so much while I was there that I nearly got sick of it. LOL2

In that story, the Gingerbread Man slips away from the humans’ hands and escapes, all the while teasing, “Catch me if you can!”3 In the end he gets tricked and eaten by a bad fox.

I always found the character interesting, and wrote it down in my secret idea notebook. The idea then meshed together with this “phantom thief” concept and became this song.

But also…it just has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? “GINGER, GINGER〜♪”

This song makes use of shuffle beats like “KISS IN THE DARK” does, so at the live shows, feel free to stomp your feet, dance, clap, or enjoy it however you like.

The guitar in this song is like it was for “HONEY”: I made a point of playing as dirty as I could! LOL On the intro phrase I hit extra strings on purpose, and got a really awesome tone with my muting.4 Likewise, while recording the guitar solo with Master Omi, the engineer said to us, “Those aren’t sounds that girls make.” LOL Fine by me! It’s good! It goes really well with the horn section during live performances, so I think it brings out a great flavor.

There are several other things I’d like to say about this song, but I’ll add only one last thing:

If you listen reeeeally closely, you can hear sound effects like those from American cartoons hidden in the song. Did you notice?

Boing boing, woof woof woof!, fyuuuuu, click!

I put sound effects I liked where I liked, so when listening with headphones there are various sounds coming at you from the left and the right.

No matter what you’re focusing on, it’s worth it to listen to this song over and over again, so please do!

…Once this song’s available in karaoke, I wonder if they’ll treat it as a duet? Will they color-code the lyrics? I’m kinda looking forward to it. LOL

1. In contrast to the previous verses, where Jyou and miko are finishing each others’ sentences, in this verse it’s more like they’re talking to themselves about each other; their partnership is falling apart.

2. I don’t remember whether I knew this already or not, but apparently miko lived in the US for a while. In this blog post from 2018, she mentions that the first time she went to see a live show was when she was living in Dallas, Texas. She saw the Spice Girls.

3. “Catch me if you can” is the direct translation of what miko wrote, which I assume is the Japanese translation of the famous “You can’t catch me” line in English.

4. EDIT (7/11/2020): After some input from reader Kouhaku, who does play guitar, in the comments, I’ve changed this translation from “got in the sweet spot with the mute” to “got a really awesome tone with my muting.” My original footnote was this: I don’t play guitar so I’m not sure I got this right. I’m especially unsure about the mute. A literal translation would be “I made the mute quite sweet.” I googled “sweet mute guitar” and among the results was this page on Fender’s website about palm muting, so I’m going on the assumption that she means she was hitting the “spot in the middle where the note will sound chunky but not dead.” My first guess was that she meant she used muting a lot.

6 thoughts on “exist†trace – GINGER

  1. Hey! I’ve been meaning to comment this but kept forgetting. For your note #4 – I’ve been playing guitar for a little bit, thought I’d pitch my two cents. I went back to listen to the track and it sure sounds like she’s palm muting with distortion through the whole intro section – but when she says 甘くする I don’t think she’s really talking about hitting the “sweet spot”. The grammar would be weird, and if she’s muting at all she should be hitting the sweet spot anyway. I googled some stuff because I haven’t a clue on Japanese guitarist lingo and I’ve never heard someone use “sweet” to describe a mute before. The best I got was this yahoo page (https://detail.chiebukuro.yahoo.co.jp/qa/question_detail/q1439252259) with somebody asking what it means to call a mute sweet. I don’t know how widespread the usage is, but it sounds like some guitarists at least use 甘い to describe a general subjective “good” sound, the cool, thick tone you want from palm muting – maybe kind of analogous to how we might say “that sounds sick” or some such thing, there’s no real definition for “sick mute” or “sick sound” but it’s just an expression of how you think it sounds really good/cool. Anyway, that would mean in her post that Miko was just saying she did the mute really well, in such a way that she got that awesome tone in the intro. I don’t know how you would translate that nicely into English, lol, but that’s my guess.

    1. Thanks for your input, and the link to that page! I had searched in Japanese ギター ミュート 甘い but didn’t get that result. Should’ve put 甘い in quotation marks, maybe. (^_^;)

      Hm, I’m still a little confused though. What I gathered reading Fender’s site and watching some tutorials on YouTube was that the goal of palm muting was to lessen noise, right? And how firmly you press down, how far up/down the neck you are, etc determine the degree of muting. But the best answer on that Chieburkuro page says that ミュートが甘い is the same as ツメが甘い which means that there is a LOT of noise. The next person down says that this usage of 甘い isn’t in the sense of “sweet” but rather of “poorly done.” So…would that mean then that when miko writes 「ミュートをかなり甘くした」she’s saying she didn’t use it to lessen noise to the highest degree possible, and that’s why she was “playing dirty”? Which would be a sick (=awesome) sound but then that means she didn’t do the mute really well, she did it “poorly” but with the goal of making a sick sound…maybe?

      …I’m reminded of the phrase “writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” LOL

      1. Haha, I don’t think my search terms were all that different. I put in various permutations of the same words and the one that got me that page was like 甘いギターのミュート or something. Googling is weird.

        Palm muting in practice does lessen noise, but the goal of doing it isn’t to play quieter, it’s to dampen the ringing of the strings so that you can change the tone – the end goal is the tone. So “muting well” doesn’t necessarily correlate with “muting a lot”. A guitarist might be doing some muting to achieve the sound that they want but still be playing loud – and as you can hear on the track, mike is still playing the intro quite loud=with a lot of noise. What I got from ツメが甘い and ノイズが多い was that the tone she was trying to get was one that didn’t necessitate all that much muting, i.e. she would be putting her muting hand closer to the bridge than you would expect for maybe a “standard” palm-mute. So I agree with your interpretation that “she didn’t use it to lessen noise to the highest degree possible”. If you’re evaluating her muting technique based on how much she muted the sound, then you could call this “not done well” which is what perhaps the second person meant – but if you’re evaluating based on how well she achieved the tone she wanted, then this is muting “done well” because it sounds sick=awesome.

        I don’t even know what conclusion we’re at anymore lol. And all this for just half a sentence. That quote is hilariously accurate.

        1. It’s been one of my favorite phrases since I first heard it. LOL

          I think I’m gonna change the translation to “and I got a really awesome tone with my muting” and add to the footnote “please see discussion in the comments.”

          Thanks again for your experienced input!

          1. songmanjohn

            As a guitarist of 56 years muting always means to not let the notes being played ring on for a long time. In other words play the note and stop it right then and there. You can start with a note and stop it from ringing on and then play the next note. The rest of the notes you play and stop them from ringing is determined by how proficient of a guitar player one is. A person who
            is a good guitar player can play multiple notes in this fashion fairly fast and make it sound decent. It would also include adjusting the guitar’s and amplifier’s tone controls.

          2. Hello Song Man John, thanks for the comment! It’s helped me understand the process of muting itself. That said, what I wasn’t sure of was what the guitarist meant by saying her muting was “sweet” (甘い amai in the original Japanese).

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