Shiina Studies 101 – Sixth Lecture

There  is a collection of 2ch threads dealing with analysis of Ringo Shiina and Tokyo Jihen music [here].  Today I want to finish this series of posts by showcasing a couple of anonymous mini-analyses of Tadashii Machi on 2ch.


First off is a very nice paraphrase of the song that attempts to make the lyrics as explicit as possible (according, of course, to the interpretation of this one anonymous person in 2007).  Here’s my translation of the paraphrase:

The Right Town

I left (abandoned) Fukuoka and you on that day
even though you were right…
One day I turned to you and told you, with a suitable smile on my face,
that I was leaving Fukuoka to go to Tokyo.
My eyes weren’t smiling, though,
I just lifted the corners of my mouth without really caring.
Even though this trip to Tokyo was such an important subject
you didn’t try to stop me and remained silent
and this made my behavior get worse.
Then you were so downfallen that your forehead
was rubbing against the asphalt and said
“I thought we’d always be together”
but I didn’t reply to that.
You had draped everything around you with “ME”
so when we became apart
it was as if everything had become blank,
you had lost your surroundings
but I pretended I didn’t see this.
Why are those lips that so quietly and bluntly said “goodbye” when I left Fukuoka
kissing me now?
When we were still together, I always accommodated myself to your conversations
and agreed with you as if I had understood even when I hadn’t.
The truth is I didn’t understand what you talked about very well.
I kept on making red [=big] lies because I thought I could get closer to you.
I kept agreeing trying to make you feel I understood you.
The day before I left for Tokyo, you cried and tried to stop me
but I didn’t shed a tear, and just looked on.
Even though you tried to act tough and told me just before I left:
“There are so many cute girls you can throw them away”
now, one year later, you don’t have a new girlfriend and I wonder why.
Why did I have the outrageous dream of believing
I could go to Tokyo and become a great singer?
I told you “long distance relationships are no good, everyone knows that!”
and left you standing there.
But Tokyo is full of exhaust gas
and it’s the sort of place where not even the winter smells right.
There’s no Momochihama, no Muromigawa and no you, who shed tears for me.
I can’t return to Fukuoka, even though here is my rightful place.
I can no longer push this arrogant love on you and I don’t have a right to make selfish claims.
Therefore I’m going back to Tokyo tomorrow and when I do
I won’t be able to tell you to see me off at the airport.
The advice you and your friends gave me, “Are you really going to Tokyo?”
“It’s better not to go to the big city”
is coming back to me, the big city wasn’t a good place.
This must be my punishment.
I left (abandoned) Fukuoka and you on that day
even though you were right…


For the second analysis, we must recall the following line from the song as I translated it:

(7) I strung short lies until they became a red* one              [red lie = big lie in Japanese]
and concealed my real intentions.

In Japanese, a “red lie” is a big lie.  Sure enough many people that listen to this song think the “red one” means a “red/big lie”.  But someone on 2ch had a different interpretation back in 2006, hinging on the (originally) Chinese tradition of the red thread.

There is a red thread that binds soulmates together.  Now, in this case, the interpretation goes like this: 1) the man and the woman think that they are destined for each other, 2) therefore they tend to ignore the negative aspects of each other and pretend they’re perfect for one another; 3) this essentially means they’ve built a red thread out of lies.  The red thread isn’t real, and it’s bound to break, and this of course ties into the story of the song.


This post series ends here.  It was fun 🙂

~ by Haloed Bane on June 21, 2011.

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