exist†trace – Garden

A square watercolor painting. Nearly the entire picture plane is taken up by a round blue figure which appears to be composed of the hair of a woman. Above her are eight faces with peaceful and/or sleep expressions. The painting is by Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh and is entitled Mysterious Garden.Kinda wish I had this done in time for Earth Day even though it’s not particularly about the environment. If anything, we can probably put this into the “Songs based on fairy tales” category along with “GINGER.”

This song has been in my head for like a whole week now. (Before that it was Matthew Good’s “Weapon” from his album Avalanche. What a swing.)

Anyway, the other day I realized that I hadn’t checked miko’s blog for posts about The Only Garden. She did indeed do a series talking about the tracks from the mini album. I went back and added a summarized translation of her blog post for “EXISTENCE” to my translation of the song. For “Garden,” I found it easier to just translate miko’s post rather than to summarize it, and have included that below the translated lyrics.


kimi wo sagashi ni yukou kindan no machi wo nukete
tsuki no uragawa kakureta mama no Blue Bird
saa oide

jouhou no kouzui wo tobikoete kimi no
furueru koe wo kobosanu you ni
nani mo iwanakute ii
hitomi de hanashi wo shiyou yo

oshiete My Lady nigenaide misete
kaze ga kuru sono mae ni
tsuyoku yasashii hito nakenai kimi dakara Oh
koko ni ite kimi wa hanasenai

shiawase to yobu takarabako ni iretai mono wa nan dai?
tookute chikai kako mo mirai demo nai ima1

“chotto susumeba motto ikanakucha”
“chotto tomareba mou dare mo inai”
daijoubu itsu datte ibasho wa
koko ni aru kara

kimi wo sagashi ni kita yo kindan no machi wo nukete
yume no deguchi ni shagami konda mama no
otona no ko

uso to hontou no kousaten kimi to
boku to no ruuru de surinukete
nani mo iwanakute ii
hitomi de hanashi wo shiyou yo

oshiete My Lady nigenaide misete
kaze ga kuru sono mae ni
tsuyoku yasashii hito nakenai kimi dakara Oh

kizutsuita My Lady senaka no kizu wa
tsubasa ni naru
sou ieta nara tooku jiyuu ni ikeru sa
sore made kimi wa kaesanai

kimi wo sagashi ni yukou kindan no machi wo nukete


I’ll cut through the forbidden town to look for you
The Blue Bird still hidden on the dark side of the moon2
Hey, follow me

Jump over the flood of information
So you don’t let slip your trembling voice
We don’t have to say anything
Let’s talk with our eyes

Tell me My Lady, show me you won’t run away
Before the wind blows
Because you’re so strong and kind you can’t cry, oh
Stay here, I can’t let you go

What do you want to fill the treasure chest called “Happiness” with?
Just the far yet near, neither past nor future, here and now

“If I move forward a little I’ll hafta keep going”
“If I stop for a little I’ll be left behind alone”3
It’s okay
Because there’ll always be a place for you here

I came to look for you, cutting through the forbidden town
An adult kid,
Still sitting there crouching by the exit of a dream

At the intersection of lies and truth
Let’s slip past with our own rules
We don’t have to say anything
Let’s talk with our eyes

Tell me My Lady, show me you won’t run away
Before the wind blows
Because you’re so strong and kind you can’t cry, oh

My Lady, though you’re hurt,
The wounds on your back will turn into wings
Once they’re healed you’ll go far, free as a bird4
I won’t let you go back until then

I’ll cut through the forbidden town to look for you

miko Blog, July 28, 2020

[The first two paragraphs are about The Only Garden going on sale the next day, and how people who want to listen to the album first to form their opinion of it should skip this blog post.]

“Garden” is the only newly-written song on The Only Garden. This is the first time we release something with hardly any new material on it, which itself somehow feels fresh.5 I didn’t think about trying to make this song fit in with the others at all. Rather, I cleared my mind, and gave shape to what I wanted to convey right now as simply as possible.

The songwriting process began right in late March.

Coronavirus spreading. Shows getting canceled. An uncertain future. There was a mountain of things to worry about even from just the point of view of the band. Surely everyone was facing their own specific fears and hardships. In the midst of all that, I thought ‘what I want to convey with music is this,’ and worked to create the song mainly from the lyrics rather than the sound.

One step ahead from “POWER OF ONE,” I look into your eyes, as you face me, and sing. I think this became a song that envisions what the ‘garden’ that exist†trace makes would be like.

Speaking only about the melody, you might think, oh my, they’ve gone in a strange direction again. But surprisingly, once we played it as a band, we were able to make it our own. With a four-on-the-floor beat that’s a totally different animal from what we usually do, this was city pop in our style. Each one of us took our time on this one, crafting it with great care and precision.

All of my guitar work was was recorded with a borrowed Strat set to the neck pickup, and a clean amp with some compression applied. On the bridge and B melody I used a clean boost to bring it forward in spots.6

To us, the bridge is the part that goes “oshiete My Lady,” so this song features the enigmatic construction of intro –> A melody –> bridge –> interlude –> A melody –> B melody –> interlude (solo) –> A melody –> bridge –> outro –> A melody. So until we had it down pat, we would be raising a ruckus performing it. LOL

Personally, I really wanted to showcase the A melody, so it’s just popping up everywhere. This free feel’s pretty interesting too though, right?

[Photo of the recording session]

The last thing we did in the recording session was the “woh oh oh” part in the intro. But it wasn’t just the members who sang, our manager ASAKO and the staff joined in. All while maintaining covid safety protocols. LOL

I want to sing and clap with all of you at a live show!

[miko ends the post by promoting the online show slated for July 30, 2020, saying that she will surely cry when in-person shows can finally resume, and plugs the exist†trace web shop.]

1. Jyou sings 今 “ima” (now) for the written lyric 現在 “genzai” (the present).

2. Don’t know if this is common knowledge, but I didn’t know despite hearing a lot of songs mention bluebirds: bluebirds symbolize happiness or good fortune in many cultures. Reading the Wikipedia article about it, I found three things particularly interesting. One, in Chinese mythology the blue bird was the messenger of Xi Wangmu, who had “evolved into a Daoist fairy queen and the protector/patron of ‘singing girls, dead women, novices, nuns, adepts and priestesses…women [who] stood outside the roles prescribed for women in the traditional Chinese family.'” Two, Maurice Maeterlinck wrote a play called The Blue Bird, which inspired (among many other things) the Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh watercolor painting The Mysterious Garden, which I used at the beginning of this post. It’s currently held in storage by the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. Lastly, that same play was adapted into an anime in 1980 which featured character designs by Leiji Matsumoto.

3. A literal translation would be “If I stop for a little there won’t be anyone left,” but I think that can be misinterpreted as “If I stop for a little there won’t be anyone left [i.e. they’ll all be dead]” so I went with this instead.

4. The “as a bird” part is my own addition; the original just says “freely.”

5. As none of these songs had been released on a recording before, I think miko means “Garden” was the only song they hadn’t already been performing at their live shows.

6. These two sentences sent me on two hours worth of research because I’m not a guitar player. Also because terms which are written in English in Japanese aren’t necessarily called by the same English words in English. Case in point: the neck and bridge pickups on an electric guitar are identified in Japanese with the English words “front” and “rear” respectively, and miko didn’t write the word “pickup,” she wrote just “Strat’s front” so at first I was like…what? She played with the just the front of the guitar? Or is “Front” a submodel of Stratocaster? Luckily I searched some combination of words or other and eventually came to the correct information; I found the above linked Fender page, and this blog post from Japanese guitarist and blogger Kobayashi.

I’m not sure about what I translated as “with some compression applied.” 「プラスコンプ」would literally just be “plus comp,” where “comp,” from context, must stand for either “compressor” or “compression.” I wonder if she was actually specifying the name of either a specific compressor—Keeley Electronics’ Compressor Plus? Or was she using the Xotic AC Booster-Comp, Amazon reviews for which were the only instance I could find of 「プラスコンプ」besides miko’s own blog?

2 thoughts on “exist†trace – Garden

  1. silphion

    Thank you for another excellent translation!
    It’s amazing how Igu can move so adeptly between styles/genres – speaking of huge swings. 🙂

    1. You’re welcome, and thank YOU!

      Definitely, from The Heretic Elegy to The Only Garden is a 180. I know some fans were upset when Igu started to move away from the screaming death metal—I myself was wary hearing the lead singles for World Maker—but in the long run, I think they made the right choice broadening their scope. No one batted an eye when GACKT defied genres, there’s no reason why Igu can’t be equally versatile!

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