exist†trace – I feel you (Updated)

I originally posted this translation in August of 2020. At the time, I knew that miko had done a series of blog posts explaining each track on the album VIRGIN. I didn’t know that she had done the same thing for the tracks on the EP THE LAST DAYBREAK—even though she literally mentioned reader comments for that EP in the blog post I did look at. I just didn’t think to go looking for said posts. So It wasn’t until I did the translation for “Hana no Sakanai Machi” a few days ago, when I did a keyword search of her whole blog, that I found that series of posts.

Now that I’ve read what miko wrote about this song back then, I’m much more confident in my translation of this song, as her post showed me that my interpretation—which I wasn’t sure of because I thought I was just putting my own experience into it—was correct after all. The only thing I’m changing in the translation are the very last words; originally I had put an alternate possible meaning in the footnotes, but I’m now pretty sure that was actually the intended meaning. 

I’m also adding the translation of the relevant portion of miko’s blog post from the LAST DAYBREAK series, and keeping the summary of the post from the VIRGIN series.

So, on to it! Lyrics in Japanese can be found here on J-Lyric.

I feel you

togisumashita kisetsu no hajimari ni
mimi wo nazoru hikisakareta oto
zawameku mune anata no kata furueta
namae wo yobu koe

osanai boku wa chigireta ito wo
sururi tsukamezu ni naiteta

I feel you
tsumetai kaze ni nori anata wo mitsukedashi
I feel you
sora ni kakaru akairo musubou anata no machi e to

kazoeta kyori kuuhaku no naka tsumori
boku wa hitori ano machi wo omou
zawameku mune zattou no naka sagashita
namae wo yobu koe

kotoba wa chuu ni burasagatta mama
gurari genjitsu wo kobanda

I feel you
anata ga ima dare to utagoe kawashite mo
I feel you
kioku ni kakinagutta namae wo yondekureru nara

I feel you
tsumetai kaze ni nori anata wa kimagure ni
I feel you
sora ni kakaru aoiro no niji ni natta
So I feel you
boku no namae sura wasureteite mo ii sa
koko de mou ichido deaou nani mo iwanaide

I feel you

At the beginning of the clear season1
A torn sound traces my ears
My heart stirs, your shoulders trembled
A voice calling my name2

Unable to grasp the shredded thread,3
I cried in my childishness as it slipped away

(I feel you)
I’ll ride the cold wind to find you,
(I feel you)
connecting the red that spans the sky, heading for your town

The measured distance piles up in empty space
Alone, I think fondly of that town
My heart stirs, searching within the crowd
For a voice that calls my name4

With the words still hanging in midair
Shaking violently, I rejected reality5

(I feel you)
Even if now your voice is raised in song with someone else,
(I feel you)
if you’ll call the name quickly scribbled in your memory…

(I feel you)
You rode the cold wind on a whim,
(I feel you)
and became a blue rainbow spanning the sky
So I feel you
Hey, it’s okay if you’ve forgotten even my name6
Let’s meet here once again, without saying anything7

miko Blog, October 16, 2011

I recorded this song with my Marshall [amp] and blue Strat, but I wanted to push a little more to give the sound more personality, so I added some distortion with Fulltone USA’s Full-Drive 2 compact pedal. I forgot to take a photo of it, but it’s the blue one with white knobs.

During the interlude, the guitars are each playing their own unique phrases, so check it out.

The title “I feel you” comes directly from the lyrics in the chorus:

I feel you tsumetai kaze ni nori anata wo mitsukedashi

I feel you sora ni kakaru akairo musubou anata no machi e to

The lyrics and soundscape gradually developed from these words. These lyrics exemplify the watercolor painting style (like “Hana no Sakanai Machi” and such) of the original miko world.

I’ve said various things about this song in magazines. On the surface, it’s about a young boy’s faint feelings of love. But actually, it’s also about my own real-life experience.

When I was little, I lived in the United States for a while. Between cross-country moves and the way schools are over there, I of course ended up having to change schools a lot. Every six months I’d go to a new school, make friends, leave, make new friends, leave. Soon enough I wouldn’t be able to meet even the people I really really liked, what with the ocean between us.

As a kid, I was powerless to do anything about it…

Thinking that way, I gradually became detached from other people, save for my family. I thought to myself sadly, “I bet everyone will forget I even exist.”

But now that the years have gone by, I’ve come to think of it this way: if I ever meet them again, then all I have to do is say “Nice to meet you, let’s be friends,” and start over from scratch. That’s not giving up or anything like that, because whether they remember me or not, there’s no change to the fact that they are important to me.

Rather than lament the pages that were left blank in the past, I want to color in the pages that are open now.

…This is how everyone becomes an adult, right? LOL

When I hear this song, I think back to how I was as a child and get all nostalgic.

Every now and then, you can take time to think of a friend you haven’t seen in a long time, or a teacher who made a difference in your life, or your first love, or someone else like that, and let yourself soak in sentimentality for a while. How about it?

miko Blog, May 20, 2012 (Paraphrased Summary)

“I feel you” was used as the opening song on a DVD that was part of the Plenus Nadeshiko League & Challenge League guidebook for 2012. [Note: These are soccer leagues; Nadeshiko Japan is Japan’s national women’s soccer team.] This tie-in came about because someone working on the guidebook was at an exist†trace show, heard the song, thought it would go well with the footage of the players, and asked for permission to use it. miko goes on to say she hopes the tie-in will get soccer fans interested in exist†trace, and exist†trace fans interested in soccer, because everything from music to sports, from fashion, art, and politics to education, everything and everyone has to come together because we live in a society humans can’t live alone.

Then, miko says that what exist†trace most wants to “feel” right now (right then) is everyone’s voices. She encourages fans to leave their thoughts on the album in the comments once it releases, saying that all the comments they got for THE LAST DAYBREAK gave them the strength to keep working on the tracks for this album. She ends the post by saying “Let’s make exist†trace together!”

1. I’m really confused by this use of 研ぎすます (togisumasu). In reference to blades or cutting tools, it means to sharpen or to polish. It can also be used idiomatically to refer to “sharpening” one’s mind, senses, intellect, etc. So, in reference to the seasons…what does it mean? I went with “clear” because the Japanese definition of the first meaning says “to polish until there is no cloudiness,” indeed, “togisumasu” itself is a compound that can also be written 研ぎ澄ます, the second kanji meaning “clear.” But then, what is the “clear” season? Spring? Or perhaps late summer, once the rainy season ends?

2. The subject is largely omitted throughout this song. This verse could just as easily be “A torn sound that traces the/your ears, your/our heart(s) stir, your shoulders trembled, a voice/voices calling out names/my name/your name.” The only subject that’s specified is that it is “you” whose shoulders trembled, and in the next line, it is “I” who cried while unable to grasp the shredded thread. So, I’ve chosen to go on the assumption that the “shredded thread” and “torn sound” refers to “you” calling out [my] name, but “I” was unable to reconnect with “you” in that moment, hence the rest of the song.

3. I assume this is a reference to the “red thread of fate,” which usually does not tear.

4. Three things in this verse. First, “The measured distance piles up in the empty space”: I’m seeing this as an airplane reference, like watching the little animation of where your plane is at that shows you how far you’ve flown.

Second, I translated 想う (omou) as “think fondly” because that’s kinda the difference between 想う and 思う (also “omou” meaning “to think”). The former is more emotional, and is usually used in these types of contexts (as opposed to, say, thinking about algebra).

Third, the “for” in this line (“For a voice that calls my name”) is my own conjecture, the line here is the same as it was in the first verse, just “A voice that calls my name”—though as stated before, that could also be “voices calling out names” or “a voice that calls out your name” or “voices calling out your name,” etc. Given miko’s earlier blog post though, I’m now 99% sure that “voice that calls my name” is the correct interpretation.

5. 宙 (chuu) most often refers to space or the atmosphere, but it can also refer to memory. For example, in English there’s the idiom to recite something “by heart,” but in Japanese you would be reciting “by space” to mean “from memory.” So the first line here might be “With the words still hanging in my memory,” especially since memory is brought up a few lines later. But I chose to go with “midair” here because of all the other space/air/sky imagery in this song. I’m willing to bet that we’re meant to understand it both ways.

In the second line here, again because the subject is omitted, I’m not sure if it really was “I” who rejected reality. Perhaps it was “the words” which were a rejection of reality.

6. すら (sura) is one of those words that makes you laugh when you compare its entry in the Japanese-English dictionary with its entry in the Japanese dictionary. The former says “even” then redirects you to さえ (sae). The latter throws an obscene wall of text at you, almost as obscene as looking up the word “the” in an English dictionary. For the purposes of those who just want to know what this song says, suffice to say that “sura” implies that whatever it was that “even” happened was to some extent expected, so the character in the song knew that being forgotten was a possibility. For those who want to go a little deeper into the difference between すら and さえ、I recommend this Japanese article that has a one-panel comic that I think explains the difference very clearly.

7. Grammatically both “without saying anything” and “don’t say anything” are possible translations of 何も言わないで (nani mo iwanaide). In my old translation of this song, I went with “don’t say anything,” primarily because I figured if miko really really meant to say “without saying anything,” she could’ve made that clear by writing 何も言わずに (nani mo iwazu ni) instead and having Jyou figure out how to deal with that being one syllable short for the melody. But after reading miko’s older blog post, I’m sure she means “we don’t have to say that we’ve met before and been separated etc.” 

One thought on “exist†trace – I feel you (Updated)

  1. Pingback: exist†trace – I feel you | Warped Frost

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