Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sakigake Chamorro #4: Gantz

With some of the stress of the writing and defending a dissertation over now, I can finally enjoy the breaths that I take and try to relax a little bit. As some might be familiar with on this blog, one of the ways that I relax is by writing songs or poems in Chamorro, or translating lyrics from songs into Chamorro.

The past month while I’ve been furiously writing my dissertation was the longest period of time since 2000 that I went without opening up my Chamorro dictionary. As I’ve been shut away in my computer for so long, and without doing much talking, thinking or writing in Chamorro, I’ve actually felt at times the language fading from my head. That’s why it was exciting recently, after defending my dissertation, to finally open up the dictionary again and start work on translating another song.

This post is the fourth installment of a feature that I call Sakigakke Chamorro! In this feature I take a song from a Japanese anime and translate it into Chamorro. The translation is never meant to be a literal or a direct one, but one which is more interested in exploring potential imagery in the Chamorro language and imaginary. In many anime songs, the lyrics aren’t meant to be serious, but are instead playful in a paradoxically deep poppy sense. They collapse words or images together in creative and sometimes apparently random ways, in order to make catchy or intriguing lyrics. In my translations I attempt similar things.

The first anime that I translated a song from was Sakigakke! Cromartie High School, hence the name of the feature “Sakigakke.” The second was from FLCL, while the third was the song “Blue Bird” from the anime Naruto Shippudden.

For this installment, I’ve chosen the song “Last Kiss” by Bonnie Pink from the anime Gantz. I began reading the manga a few months back and got hooked on it. (Gof paire este na kamek). I haven’t watched any of the anime yet, but I came across the Youtube video and lyrics for the song while I was searching for more info on the manga. Otro fino'-ta, bei hu tuge' mas put Gantz gi otro biahi, sa' ayu yan Berserk i mas ya-hu na mangan pa'go. Yaya-hu ha' Naruto, lao mas para famagu'on Naruto, yan este otro na dos para i manggaiidat.

As usual, here’s the lyrics in Japanese to get us started.


Akaku moeru kokoro kotoba ubaware sansetto
Tatazunda jikan to omoi no fukasa wa ikooru
Tatta hitokoto de tabidatsu no?
Kare no inai ashita wa
It's bitter like beer for kids

Yaseta yubi ni kisu wo shita
Anata wo zutto wasurenai yo
Tatoe hanarebanare demo
Saigo no kisu wo oboete iru yo oboete iru yo

Hajimari wa dare demo junshinmuku na beibii
Nigai mi kajittemo kujikecha dame yo walk straight
Satta koto dakedo ame no naka zukizuki itamu yo
I'm lonely as floating ice

Yaseta yubi ni kisu wo shita ano nukumori wo wasurenai yo
Tatoe hanarebanare demo anata no kisu wo oboete iru yo

Doushitemo wakariaenu nara mitodokeru yo kawa no you ni
Dare wo nani wo semetemo ii ai shita koto dake wa kegasanaide

Yaseta yubi ni kisu wo shita
Anata wo zutto wasurenai yo
Itsuka aeru to shinjite saigo no kisu wo kamishimeru yo
Yaseta yubi ni kisu wo shite naita anata wo omoidasu yo
Kore de owari da to shitemo
Saigo no kisu wa wasurenai yo wasurenai yo

Kare no kisu wo wasurenai yo wasurenai yo


Since I don’t speak or understand Japanese, I have to rely on the random translations of these songs on the internet. From other J-pop Bonnie Pink songs I’ve heard, she often mixes in a little bit of English with her songs, making them interesting in making Chamorro translations, because there’s always an important decision about whether or not to maintain that creative dynamic, and to mix together some English and Chamorro instead of Japanese and English.


My heart is burning red hot, the sunset has taken away my words
Time is standing still, equal to the depth of my love
Are you leaving with just one word?
Tomorrow without you
It's bitter like beer for kids

You kissed my slim fingers
I’ll never forget you
Even if we’re apart
I’ll always remember, remember our last kiss

Everyone begins as an innocent, pure baby
Even if you bite into a bitter fruit, you can’t give up, walk straight
The rain has passed, but it’s still stinging me
I'm lonely as floating ice

You kissed my slim fingers, I won’t forget the warmth
Even if we’re apart, I’ll remember your kiss

You’ll eventually make sense of what you can’t understand at all, like a river
You can blame anyone, for whatever you want, but don’t dirty our love

You kissed my slim fingers
I’ll never forget you
I’ll kiss you for the last time, I believe that we’ll meet again
I remember how you cried as you kissed my slim fingers
Even if this is the end
I won’t forget, won’t forget, our last kiss

I won’t forget, won’t forget, his kiss


I should note now (as I often do) that my translations of these songs aren’t really translations. They take some of the tone, the imagery, the words, or the spirit of the song, but I also have no problem simply coming up with my own variations when it suits me. When I put the English retranslation of the Chamorro translation below you’ll see. I do these sorts of exercises in order to help myself practice, to keep my brain soft and spongy as my grandmother sometimes says. I don’t do it to show how awesome I am at duplicating the spirit word for word, or copying the soul of Bonnie Pink.

A lot of what choices I make for words and images are chosen simply because I think the words are cool, and I’d like to find a way to use them (especially when I don’t get to normally use them in everyday conversations). Or there are images or metaphors that I’ve never imagined could be crafted in the Chamorro language, and so I’d like to see if I can pull it off.

One of my favorite words that I enjoy using in songs, but hardly get to use in real life is kifan, which means in one sense to make something worse or to aggravate it, and in another sense means to have a broken or dislocated jaw. One word which I always feel is very poetic in Chamorro and try to find ways to use is kilili. Kilili means to have something be carried away, or have it draft away by a current. I first used it in a song that I wrote several years ago called “Mattochihu” which means to have one’s limit reached in Chamorro.

In one chorus of that song I wrote the following:
Taifinakpo’ I tasi, enkubukao-hu taiguihi,
(The sea is without end, my confusion is like that)
Sesso un na’kilili, guaha na biahi nai un goggue yu’
(Sometimes you make me drift away, sometimes you save me)
Incidentally, the word kilili is also a family name in Saipan and the current non-voting delegate from there is known as Gregorio “Kilili” Camacho Sablan.

Sin mas kuentos, or without further complication or explanation, here's my version of "Last Kiss" by Bonnie Pink.


Uttimo na Chiniku

I korason-hu gumafi, sinakke’ ni’ i tininok atdao-mu
(My heart become fire, stolen by your sunset)
Chumilong i hinasso-ku yan i minaleffå-mu
(What I remember and what you forget are the same/equal)
Kao enao ha’ i sinangån-mu
(Is that all you have to say?)
I agupa’-ku sin Hågu
(A tomorrow without you)
Maolekña binenu sin binu
(Better to have poison without the wine)

Un chiku i kalulot-hu
(You kissed my fingers)
Ti para bai hu maleffa hao
(I won’t forget you)
Achokka’ umafa’sahnge
(Even when we are separated)
Para ta hasso este, hasso este chiniku
(Will remember this, remember this kiss)

Gi kada tinituhon-ta, todu taiisao yan tailachi
(In each of our beginnings, we are all without sin and without mistakes)
Achokka’ i sakkån-mu siha sen mala’et, na’tunas hao mo’na
(Although your years are so bitter, keep moving ahead)
I ichan muna’kifan i minaleffå-ku siha
(The rain is what worsens my forgetfullness)
Mahalang yu’ kalang un islan sin tåsi
(I miss you like an island without the sea)

Un chiku este na agaga’-hu, hina’me i ante-hu
(You kiss this neck of mine, and my soul wilts at the warmth)
Achokka’ umafa’sahnge,
(Even if we are separated)
Bai hu hahasso ha’ i chiniku
(I will still remember the kiss)

Yanggen ti siña umakomprende, pues bai hu na’kilili hao esta ki i machom saddok
(If we can’t understand each other, I will let you flow until the end of the river)
Sukne maseha hafa na birak para i piniti, lao i guinaiya cha’mu yumuyute’
(Blame whatever demon for the pain, but don’t throw away love)

Un chiku este na labios-hu, ti bai hu maleffa hao
(You kissed these lips of mine, I won’t forget you)
Hu hohongge na para ta asodda’ ta’lo,
( I believe that we will meet again)
ya hu go’go’te i chikinu para ayu na ha’åni.
(And I am holding this kiss for that day)

Achokka’ este i finakpo’-ta, ti u mafñas i uttimo na chiku-ta.
(Although this is our end, this last kiss will not fade)
Ti para un maleffa
(You won’t forget)
Ti siña maleffa
(It can’t be forgotten)

Ti bai hu maleffa i chiniku
(I won’t forget the kiss)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.




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