About Aki Angela

I am not a fan of J-pop. And no offense to the fans but I just can’t force myself to like AKB41, Morning Musume, Arashi, that group with Takuya Kitamura and the guy who got naked at a park in Tokyo (I forgot the name and I can’t be bothered to look it up), and most everything managed by Johny Co. So, (again no offense to the fan) sometimes living in Japan and walking in a shopping mall or along at Shibuya or Shinjuku where there are many giant TVs showing these singers in action can be a torture (OK, I am exaggerating a bit, or maybe not :p). And I am not judging the people who like it, who am I to judge? It is just my personal taste. Somehow, seeing AKB41 and those J-boys makes ME want to kill myself (OK–this IS an exaggeration :D)

I do like many Japanese musicians and their songs, and some people might call those I like as J-pop (honestly, the definition is a blur to me), but in my humble opinion as a pure listener (not a profesional musician), these people can sing; Hirai Ken, Misia, Southern All Star, Kome-kome club, Hikaru Utada, Angela Aki.

One of the singer I really appreciate is Angela Aki. She writes many of her songs, the songs are easy to listen to, but what I really like about her is; she stands out as someone who presents her music, not so much her appearance. When I saw her on TV singing her hit song ‘Kiss Me Goodbye’ on FF Voices Concert 2006, I was impressed not just by her voice (and she plays the piano by herself btw), but what she wears: she was singing and playing piano on stage, with a full blown orchestra (I mean seriously full blown orchestra: violins, cellos, the maestro in tuxedo, etc) and she was wearing jeans, white T shirt, yellow sweatshirt, and sneakers. How fresh can that be? In a country where most women do not leave home without full make up on (let alone the celebrities), she dares to be different. And people like her anyways, because she is talented.

One of the song I like is Tegami — haikei juugo no kimi he — (手紙 –拝啓十五の君へ–) = Letter — dear the 15 year-old you–. This song is so popular up to the point where my friends would protest if I tried to sing this at karaoke, lol, but I like the lyrics. In my own interpretation, this song describes Angela Aki. As someone with American mother and Japanese father, she was called haafu (a derogatory  nick name for people with only ‘half’ Japanese blood), and she saw how her mother struggled living in a small village in central Japan, where people stared and treated her differently because she is not Japanese. Angela finally went to school in the US and finished her college in the US, and in the end, she ‘found’ herself, and became a star in a country that used to treat her differently.

Another plus is, she spent her teenage and a little of her adulthood in the US so even though she is fluent in Japanese, and she writes most of her song in Japanese, her song is easy to understand. A plus for someone who is still struggling with this confusing language! :p

Here is my version of the song ‘tegami’ ‘s free translation: (disclaimer: many apologies in advance if I have some mis-translated words :p). The song is about a letter written by a 15-year-old about her confusion and sorrow (apparently, this letter was written by Angela when she was 15 for her future self) and a reply written for the 15-year-old by her future self.

Dear you who are reading this letter, where are you and what are you doing now?

It’s me, a 15-year-old, and I have something that is worrying me, that I can’t talk to anyone about

But if I address this letter to my future self, for sure I can truly confide to myself

Right now, I feel ldefeated, I feel like crying, I feel like I’m disappearing.

I don’t know whose words I should trust?

My one and only heart has been broken into pieces over and over again, 

And I feel like I am living with this pain in my heart, 

Dear the 15-year-old-you, thank you for the letter, I have something to tell you

If you keep asking yourself which direction you should go to, the answer will become clear to you

The seas of adolescence can be rough

But keep sail your boat toward your dreams and the shores of tomorrow

Now, don’t feel defeated, pelase don’t cry, when you feel like you’re going to disappear

Trust your own heart,

As an adult, I still get hurts and still have those sleepless nights,

But I am living my bitter sweet life.

There is a meaning in everything in life, so don’t be afraid to follow your dream,

and keep on believing..

Right now, I feel defeated, I feel like crying, I feel like I’m disappearing.

I don’t know whose words I should trust?

Now, don’t feel defeated, and please don’t cry, when you feel like you’re going to disappear,

Trust your own heart,

No matter what phase in life you are,  you can’t run away from sorrow,

So hold your head up, smile, and live your life to the fullest

Dear you, who are reading this letter,

I wish you all happiness…

Angela Aki singing live in front of high school students: (I feel sad reading comments on the youtube clips, some comments came from high school students who had to face bullying at school😦  )

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