Hey guys, time for another Lost in Translation! This (short) entry comes from Episode 7 of Fukumenkei Noise where we are treated to a bunch of lame word puns, complete with dead pan delivery, care of Momo.
He has a couple of them, and in many ways I felt it was a bit odd given his character. But most song writers are actually crafty at this sort of thing, so I guess it isn’t all that surprising. The first pun is pretty straightforward, the word seishun (青春; lit. “youth”) is made to sound like the onomatopoeia for a sneeze, which is “hakushon” (ハクション).
But Momo isn’t done yet. In the next round of jokes, he gets his fix by redirecting the comedy back to Yuzu’s obsession over milk as a “cure” to his vertically challenged nature. After Yuzu’s complaints of being offered pretty much “milk with some coffee”, Momo makes for a silly little pun that wasn’t exactly portrayed as clearly in the translation below:
Momo’s original line is as follows:
Ja, kôi kôhî de ii no ka?
(lit.) Then good will coffee (be as) good (in manner) (interr.)
To understand this line, we need a little insight on some Japanese grammar. The de (で) particle functions as “the manner by which” some object is used. In this case, Momo is referring to the coffee he’s offering. When combined with the word ii (良い), it then has two connotations depending on the context — either as a statement of one’s preference (would you prefer ____?) or a statement of preferable state (think of it as_____?).
So now that we have that, the pun here is how the word kôi kôhî (好意コーヒー; lit. “goodwill coffee”) sounds like koi kôhî (濃いコーヒー; lit. “thick coffee”). The difference is very subtle, but there’s a long “o” sound in “kôi” (hence the circumflex on top of the “o”), which changes the meaning of the sentence to “then, just think of this coffee as a sign of my goodwill”. If it were a short “o” sound (i.e. “koi”), the sentence would become “then would you prefer dark coffee, instead?”
Pretty cool how context changes with a simple change in intonation, huh? That was some sneaky pun work, you flat-faced fiend.
But wait, Momo isn’t finished yet. He continues his onslaught of milk-related puns with this gem of a suggestion for a password:
We can get a better feel of this pun when we look at Momo’s original Japanese line:
pasuwâ ushi-chichi ttoka dou ka?
(lit.) password “cow nipple” (expl) how (about)?
This is basically a pun on the Japanese word for milk, gyûnyû (牛乳), which when we take the kanji and read out each character’s kunyomi or Japanese phonetic reading, gives us the words “ushi” and “chichi”, which literally translates to a cow’s udder. Talk about being fixated on Yuzu’s drinking habits.
And to close, the last few lines are simple alliterations where similar sounds make for strange-sounding words, like gashi-gashi isogashii (がしがし忙しい; lit. “loudly busy”) and kokukoku to kokuhaku (刻々と告白; lit. “bit-by-bit confession”). And in both instances, I think the translations were handled pretty well:
So yeah, if you’re wondering where that sudden outburst from Yuzu came from, it’s because he felt Momo wasn’t taking him seriously because he kept throwing out silly puns.
And there you have it! Japan sure has a penchant for using puns, but hopefully this enlightens you a bit as to the sort of kooky dynamic going on between Yuzu and Momo in this episode. Anything you think you might have seen Lost in Translation? Do feel free to share it in the comments below. Until next time, Ciao!
I mentioned the closing bits to my roommate. As a result he claimed we have the inferior language.
Thanks for the insightful post as always!
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Haha, true. Japanese is more fun that way I guess. 😛
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