April 01, 2008


山下翔央, Yamashita Shoon, Ya-Ya-yah
EDIT: awesome news flash for Shoon fans ~ Shoon is going to be on the next Hyakushiki show. Looks like the juniors are getting this show back? Hope so. =D

A couple of days ago I was filing some of my Ya-Ya-yah/Shoon clippings and noticed something I had read but missed in the 2008.02 Duet Shoon article. They ask him the usual questions: "favourite food", "favourite colour", and so on, which I imagine he's fed up with and when he's asked "favorite song" (「好きな曲」), he replies it's Arashi's Kotoba yori taisetsu na mono (「言葉より大切なもの」).

Now, when it comes to songs sometimes I'd rather not know what the lyrics are about, because, say you're listening to a really cool song, like Des'ree's Life (watch clip below), which is one of my favourite songs, and your understanding of English is limited. It may seem a very phylosophycal song because of the "life, oh, life" in the refrain, but the lyrics are plain nonsense: I'm afraid of the dark. Especially when I'm in a park. When there's no one else around. Oh, I get the shivers. I don't wanna see a ghost. It's the sight that I fear most. I'd rather have a piece of toast. Um... yeah. LOL

So sometimes when I listen to a song in Japanese I grasp bits, but I don't try to trasnlate it or google for a translation because sometimes it's so disappointing. -_-

So when I first listened to Kotoba yori taisetsu na mono, which was on SC 2007.06.10 -I know, I'm a total JE-illiterate ^^;;; In my defence, though, I've only been in the fandom for a little over 2 years now- I thought "oh, catchy song", but I didn't have any special interest in knowing what the lyrics said.

Now, things changed when I learned it was Shoon's fave song of course. ^__~ So I googled for a translation, and I was so surprised. The lyrics are actually pretty deep, and maybe it's just me, seeing too much into things as usual, but they fit with what Shoon, as well as Taiyô, Yabu, and Hikaru have gone through.

[download this clip] - [download mp3 rip]

If you didn't recall this performance immediately, as it happened to me before rewatching it, you were probably waiting anxiously to see Ya-Ya-yah appear, weren't you? For a moment I was almost worrying they wouldn't appear there at all, and I started wondering why I had posted that clip at Never Stop the Music, my Ya-Ya-yah SC performances site. Obviously that's a consequence of the nightmare the past months have been. It still feels so strange sometimes when every group appears, and you find yourself waiting and waiting, and Ya-Ya-yah doesn't appear. Well, the thing is that, in this clip, as in so many other SC clips of the "Ya-Ya-yah era", this last minute appearance was a stage trick to build the audience anticipation. And gosh, did it work. I remember anticipating breathlessly their appearance with every SC opening. I wonder if that happens to HSJ fans, if there's that same anticipation for them. I loved that feeling. It was just beautiful. It was like a wave gathering strength slowly in your chest, and then, when Ya-Ya-yah appeared at last, to take the centre of the stage, that wave turned into a sense of pride that washed over you, because you had seen them from day one, you had seen them happy, nervous, moody, tired... you had even seen them cry, and above all else you wanted them to get to the top.

The following translation is a mixed version of 5 translations and bits I changed or added [sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. It may seem ludicrous that I've gone to the extent of comparing 5 translations, but that's what in Spanish we call "deformación profesional" - e.g. when you're a translator, like me, and you are so obsessed with your work you can't even read a translated book without picking out the errors. I'm not fluent in Japanese, but translations must, above all, sound natural.

言葉より大切なもの (Something more important than words)

I kept on repeating the clipped melody so as not to forget it, // because there’s something more important than words in it. // Caught up in the strong wind, I don't even have a reason to force a smile. // My dream, turned into a warped dream, has been torn apart, and the fragments lay scattered on the ground. // What kind of song can I sing that will convey my love while pretending not to care? // Well, let's go on with our life. // I stored that invisible melody in my heart so as not to lose it, because there’s something more important than words in it. // Why is my dream so unreachable when I can almost see it and touch it? // I couldn't help feeling bitter, and I cried so no one could see me hurting from my weakness. // Now, let's see what, being honest to myself, I will make of tomorrow, // of this hope we call “life”. // Fling your dreams into the faraway sky and wipe away those tears; words won’t give you the answer you’re looking for; you’ll find it in your heart. // If, for example, you play a tune, // the dawn of that time will dance down and separate the two of us, // even if we part with a "see you", // I will still have had that one summer with you. // On this splendid day, the clouds roam the skies trustingly again. // There will never be a love greater than yours. // I kept repeating the clipped melody so as not to forget it. // I've sent it to you because there’s something more important than words in it.

I actually teared up a little reading the lyrics and thinking of Ya-Ya-yah. Especially the lines "My dream, turned into a warped dream, has been torn apart, and the fragments lay scattered on the ground" and "Why is my dream so unreachable when I can almost see it and touch it?" (though I'd change that to "when I could almost see it and touch it").

It's been half a year since Ya-Ya-yah sang their last song together, and when I think of them now the melancholy is still there, as well as the resentment towards JE, but above all there's this questioning going over and over on my mind: "why?, why them?". The dream of a Ya-Ya-yah debut seemed so tangible in the months before the HSJ debut!

I could list reasons and fill a whole page: new songs, new versions of all of their old songs, more attention to Taiyô and Shoon... We all know those reasons. I can't believe we were all deceiving ourselves. I still believe JE was building a debut for Ya-Ya-yah. I don't know if it would have happened in 2 years or 5, but I am sure that had it not been for the Hey!Say!7 success Ya-Ya-yah would probably still be around.

But, oh, well, JE is not there to fulfill the boys dreams. All that "jumping to my dream" stuff is just prefabricated rubbish, part of the fairy tale the showbiz is. JE is not there to fulfill the fans dreams either. No, JE is there to make money.

My only comfort these days when I think of Ya-Ya-yah is that it was truly great while it lasted and that the warmth they filled my heart with will stay there for a long, long time. Just like when you read a good book and the story remains in your mind as you replay different scenes and details. =] I also take comfort in seeing Yabu, Hikaru, and Shoon smiling sincere, happy smiles again. Unfortunately I have no way of knowing first-hand how Taiyô is doing. However, I felt much relieved when I read just a couple of weeks ago on a Japanese blog that he had been seen at the Tokyo Globe Theatre. He went there to see Koyama's play Loss, Time, Life.

I wonder if he'll go to see Shoon's play too. I hope he will. I hope he, Yabu, and Hikaru could go together. =] I hope their friendship will stay strong, because there are certainly things more important than words. I could write pages and pages about Ya-Ya-yah, but not in a million pages could I convey the magic they wove together, the magic that ensnared me and holds me prisoner. Though I'm a very willing prisoner, I must say. ;-)

PS: Still replying comments. Please bear with me! m(_ _)m

PS2: This is slightly unrelated, but I'm on the brink of becoming an Arashi fan. One of the first JE songs I listened to was an Arashi song, and I loved it, and I've always thought they're all really nice guys, and there's even the Arashi-Ya-Ya-yah connection: they both staged Stand by Me, Shoon's first solo-singing was a song by Ohno, Shoon co-starred with 3 Arashi members in West Side Story, the last time we heard Taiyô singing solo on the Ya-Ya-yah show it was an Arashi solo... And now I learned Shoon's current fave song is an Arashi song too. =] In fact, I see a tiny bit of Shoon in Matsujun, something of Taiyô in Aiba, and something of Hikaru in Nino. Perhaps Yabu could be Ohno. Definitely not Sho. LOL Weird thoughts. The only thing that scares me about getting into a new fandom, and especially a fandom of a debuted group that's been around for so long is that I would go crazy trying to download every show they've been in. XD;;; That was absolutely crazy in Ya-Ya-yah's case, but gosh, I did it.

PS3: In case you're having weird thoughts too... no, the PS above doesn't mean this is going to become an Arashi blog. XD This is and will always be a Ya-Ya-yah blog. ^__^ ... But I came across the PV of the song, and it's so cute I just can't resist putting it here: I also came across a clip of Ueda destroying the song on SC ... that was disturbing @__@

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