Thursday, October 30, 2003

*Recording is going pretty well*

I enjoyed reading various opinions from you like "No need to be that complicated, we can understand it and that's just OK!" or "I wonder what Japanese language will be in the future . . . " about my recent messages. Some people say "You're being so hardheaded! Are you always thinking about things like that, Hikki?", but . . . hm, honestly that's exactly what I'm always thinking about!! (lol)

To sing, means not only to express the meaning of each word but also to take words apart into pieces, sound by sound! I write the lyrics considering them as a series of sounds, while at the same time trying to write something that can convey my philosophy to you all, with some nice verses. You know what "rhyming" means, right? Besides that I rack my brains like doing a puzzle till I finish the lyrics, like "A word without a voiced sound would be nice for the phrase here" and "The first sound with quickly-ascending melody here, would sound better with the vowel o, so I've got to think up a word like that," "The first word's vowels go a/i/o . . . then a word with the same a/i/o order would be good for the second half part with the same melody," etc.!

I do research on this and that, like "The vowels '?' and '?' (trade secret(lol)) are easy to express sadness or pain when singing" and "When it comes to the consonants that can be sung energetically, the lines '?' and '?' (another trade secret) are the best choice," and so on. I've been doing this since my first album era. That's why I write the lyrics after I fix the melody.

Some of you might consider this a limitation, but actually it's a very good stimulation on creating something, that working-out process is needed. Here I think, not only imagination and emotion but scientific thinking is important as well for writing the lyrics/music and singing! Especially I suppose music and math could be closely connected with each other.

In the past several years in America, quite a few schools have stopped teaching music classes for cutting costs. And VH1, a music channel on TV, is now supporting the movement of "That's not good! Save the Music!". I heard there is data saying that the children learning to play musical instruments or studying music since a young age are also better at math and other subjects, and I do agree with it! Cause while writing lyrics I feel the same sense of brain-burning, which I felt when working out math equations thinking "Damn what the heck are these things, so difficult, but interesting! I'm gonna figure them out for sure!". You know, my dear Sting holds a title (or qualification?) of math teacher, and Inaba-san of B'z holds it too if I remember right.

I feel sorry for the kids who just ignore math saying like "We won't use it outside of school." The math part of their brain might work when they come on to their favorite person, when they try to write a love letter and when they aim to be a rock n' roller or singer/songwriter!

. . . Well, study-ish stories have lasted from "Huh? Y, Yankees?" thing . . . I suppose it's OK, just once in a while!

Lastly a quiz from me! Give it a try if you have some free time. - well then this leads to "You mean I'm an idle person cause I solved it!?" (lol) (maybe the idle person is me who's setting a quiz like this(lol) - No, no, that's not true! Now I'm able to connect to the internet in the studio, so I can write messages at break times~*) If you're interested or insomniac, just try it, please!

To what song is the episode in the sentence above that the writer thought "The first word's vowels go a/i/o . . . then a word with the same a/i/o order would be good for the second half part with the same melody" related? (hint: the song is in the writer's first album, "FIRST LOVE")

Everyone who gives a correct answer will get . . . nothing really. Mwahahaha!

Monday, October 27, 2003

The future of Japanese language

Woow~! I'm glad to get a lot of feedback from the people having the same question in mind~. Thanks to all who let me know about some good sites and informations!

I understand that foreign languages are somewhat modified to be easy to accept when they are adopted in Japanese, but seems like the problem is there is no specific rule of modification.

Now let me show you a good example I got by email:

For example, McDonald's can be "MakudonaruZU(z)" or "MukudonaruZU(z)" but actually it's called "Makudonarudo" without the possessive "s," while Mister Donut is not "Misutaadoonatto" but "-doonattsu(s)" with the "s" added.

Though I haven't thought about this "'SU' or 'ZU' of borrowed words" thing actually being discussed, there are the people who have been considering this as a big issue! I found a story about how hard it was to remember the team names on the site made by a Japanese announcer, and it was very interesting to read. It says, whether the word ends in "-SU" or "-ZU" is likely to be vaguely defined in Japanese regardless of its English pronunciation, and he/she really needs to be careful not to make a mistake on the air.

And here is another information! It's like, Mr. Haruki Murakami has been suggesting we pronounce it correctly as "Yankeezu" as something is wrong with "Yankeesu," for a long time! This surprised me a bit. So everyone is concerned about it too!

It's interesting we notice various things if we pay attention to all the information flowing in our brains, not only in class but in life. You guys who are studying English in junior or senior high! Why don't you throw this question to the English teacher of your school, and discuss what the increasing borrowed words should be and the future of Japanese language?

The proper nouns have to be as they are, but I wonder if it's OK that needless borrowed words increase too much in number. Every language has been developed, affected each other by borrowing a lot of words from other country's languages, so they are always changing. See the Japanese classics, it's almost Greek to us.

This might be old-fashioned of me, but when I think of the current Japan I can't take it as a good stream to replace Japanese words with borrowed words one after another, though it doesn't actually need to do so . . . . That makes us think the original Japanese is unnatural, doesn't it? Once you start to care about it, you'll be surprised to find katakanas on TV, in the street, in magazines, everywhere.

(NOTE by Nuuk)
"Mr. Haruki Murakami" ... a Japanese novelist.

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Sorry to bring this up during the Nihon Series, but . . .

Huh? Y, Yankees?

I wrote like "Yankees(zu in katakana)" in my previous message and some people kindly pointed me out like "Hey, what are you saying Hikaru-chan, that should be spelled 'Yankees(su).'"

Are you serious? (@_@ ; )

Does anyone know why it should be?? I mean, usually we pronounce it as "Yankee'z'" . . . the last "s" of the team name stands for the plural, so it's pronounced "z."(basically, except the cases like if the word ends with "t," the "s" attached is pronounced "ts(tsu).")

Wonder if it's because the team proposed to write it so in Japan? Or maybe they preferred "su(s)" because it reminds us something like the roughnecks' hangout if written as "Yankeezu" in Japanese? (lol)

This is where I started to wonder what other teams are written in katakana . . .

Maarinzu(Marlins)?? Dojaasu(Dodgers)?? Cardinarusu(Cardinals)?? Zu? . . . those are all I can remember right now. Perhaps it goes like, the team names which have "n" right before the last "s" are written as "-zu" and others as "-su"??

The mechanism of Japanese pronunciation is fairly detailed, right? For example, the same "n" has two syllables, "m"-ish one and "n"-ish one, like "Gan(m)baru(=to hold on)" and "Ton(n)garu(=to get sharp)."

Whether to write this "s" - which is pronounced same as "z" - as "SU" or "ZU," is also a part of adapting borrowed words or proper nouns to the appropriate pronunciations as Japanese when their katakana spellings are chosen, you see. It may be sensuously hard to pronounce "ZU" right after the stretched sounds like DojAAsu or YankEEsu.

Then how about music?? Let's check out the katakana spellings of overseas bands!

Biitoru . . . zu(Beatles)??
Venchaa . . . su(Ventures)?? No that's Venchaazu, isn't it?

. . . it's random, after all? (lol) Yes! Cause we see it as the Nihon Sirii"ZU"(Series)!! I see, it's because the "Nihon SiriiSU" doesn't look so cool . . . "Siriisu" still looks/sounds suck, anyway . . .

So are their katakana chosen by how it just feels??

Hm . . . this makes me anxious but how can I examine it further? (lol)

(NOTES by Nuuk)
"the Nihon Series" ... Japan's professional baseball version of MLB World Series.
"Yankee" ... in Japanese it also means juvenile delinquents, besides its original meaning.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

"A talk about my precious fan"

This is what I mentioned a bit here a while back. Today I'm finally going to tell you about it.

I'd say I'm quite a rare breed in this industry, who still doesn't have an official fan club! I really like give-and-take with you like this, distance between us like this, what can I say, our natural relationship, and I feel so comfortable with this feeling cause I'm not a sociable person at all. For example, some people read this board and email me but don't have my CDs - all sort of things like that. (lol) I'm happy to see various kinds of people here!

I'm a person like this, but there is, there was a person I'd like to send the "Fan Club Member number 0001," even now . . .

Besides this official homepage, there exist a number of unofficial Utada Hikaru fan sites full of contents, full enough to make me think "They almost defeat Toshiba(EMI), don't they??(lol)". The bigger the site gets the harder it will be to keep it on I guess, costing money and effort as well. Sometimes we find disputes arising on popular/active boards, and it's often up to the personality of the site manager if the site can create a cozy atmosphere. The site manager - who had been running one of the biggest, longest-established site among my fan sites all by himself which remains from when I debuted - passed away half a year ago.

I hadn't met him before. I hadn't talked with him before. But wherever I was and whatever work I was doing, I visited the site almost everyday. I sort of liked its mood and often checked the site's board worrying about the trends of it. The site encouraged the 16-years-old girl very much, who was shocked to find some boards on which heaps of slanders were written, when she just debuted. And for all that, I've never thought what the site manager - giving his name as WEBMASTER - is like, if the person is male or female, how old he/she is, what kind of work he/she does, where he/she lives, if he/she has a family. How come I haven't thought about it.

I got to know many things after he died. He really was a good site manager, giving advices to the people come and go, teaching them about the internet, supporting those who was interested in launching a site. And he died young, having kept his illness secret throughout. It might be self-centered of me to think of him like "Why had he spent his precious time on my support?" but this is a shock, I mean it's like, "How come you are that modest! How come all of these end up as a beautiful story! Why!". For me he was the person who had been doing wonderful things through the net where we couldn't see each other's faces, while there are a bunch of people who are doing irresponsible, stupid things by hiding behind the anonymity of the "same" net. But for that site, a number of other fan sites might not have started. Neither might this message section.

So, I just wanted to say thank you to him, rather than something like sending flowers to his funeral. I could say it anytime, actually.

Being able to tell what we wanna tell to the person whom we wanna tell it to - that would be the happiest thing of all. Then things like unhappiness and sorrow would be "being unable to tell," I suppose. It's sad if we cannot communicate with the person close by, you see, if our words cannot reach our family, if we have something we cannot to tell our sweetheart who is supposed to understand everything each other. We feel sad when someone dies, I wonder if it is because we notice we'll never be able to tell anything to the person, forever.

It's impossible to tell all our thoughts to the people around even if we cannot tell when we will be torn apart, but . . . we've got not to miss the time to tell. It's quite easy actually, as we can speak the same language.

Today I somehow don't feel like deliverying Yatterman's punchline! (lol)
Whew! Finally I wrote this! You see, I just wouldn't have to write this long and sloppy if I had told him "Thank you" when he was alive. Thank you for reading all of this.

WEBMASTER, thank you. WEBMASTER's mother, thank you as well. You are and you will be my emotional support of musical activities.


(NOTES by Nuuk)
"Yatterman's punchline" ... Yatterman is a Japanese animation aired late 70's. Hikki used the punchline one of the characters often uses at the end of the last message. (Sorry it's technically almost impossible for me to explain the detail of this)
"WEBMASTER's site" ... "Utada Republic"

Sunday, October 19, 2003

Hikki, having the posting-phobia??

I took this title from one of your mails! Japanese punning is a great cultural tradition. - Uh oh, this sounds like I've been refusing to post here indeed! No no, I haven't.

I am a bit overwhelmed by a pile of all your reactions on my last message in spite of my long absence here. Only here I can have "The MLB Pitcher-ranked playing catch with lightning-speed" type communications, exclusively! Yes you're right, it would be better to write messages just in the mood to let off steam and stimulate my brain, rather than thinking too hard about the contents, being too selective in the choice of words and too conscious of my responsibility. It's hard to speak at the place like here where public and private are mixed up, but, it trains my consideration and imagination all the harder as I can't tell who's gonna come to read, and more than anything else I love to write Japanese.

I found many questions like "Girl what have you been up to, by the way?". Lately I've been concentrating on making my American album, trying to set the image in my head while recording, and I've been away from here for a while, cause it would make me complicated remembering myself who's been working in Japan if I drop in here. The image has been pretty set now and I've reached the point where I can expect the pace of the work and its completion! Just one more effort to finish-! Kiriya-kun has begun writing Director's Diary at his movie's homepage too, and I shouldn't keep playing truant cause I'm his senior in this, you know! So now I'm back here - !!!

Agh . . .
Long time no see and then I stepped on the gas too hard (- - ;)

Yes! Yankees won! All the boys in the stadium were so excited, especially my Dad! He was all frolicking and cute. (. . . it may be hard for you to imagine Zanecchi like that though(lol)) But seems like I'm a type of person who cannot understand the feeling of rooting for a team. I do empathy with each individual player though. You might have already detected it by that "MLB Pitcher-ranked playing catch with lightning-speed communication" thing, and actually I don't know about MLB very well, so much as the players' name. Probably I know better about Japanese professional baseball! Though I watch baseball games on TV when I'm in Japan, I seldom have a chance to watch them when in America as they are aired on sports stations only, except when I watch a real game with others in the stadium or something.

The grandma of a Studio Assistant Engineer passed away the day before and that day he was downhearted, but he seemed like he recovered his spirits a bit while rooting with others. I thought sports and music are just great.

We, who are doing this as a job, are doing this for ourselves I think. But there are the people who are always watching us kindly. Family, close friends, a sweetheart, enthusiastic fans, people watching TV zapping somehow, people watching yelling "Lose the game! Miss it miss it!" in their mind. The people's eyes which I sometimes recognize with a thud are urging me on in various meanings I guess, though I can't live my own life if I worry about them all the time. To shake the people's eyes off my mind like "Who cares!" - wonder if it is a "mature" behavior sometimes, or just childish . . .
Don't you guys sometimes run across the situation like this, in the office or between your friends?

The heaviest thud eyes might be my own eyes gazing at myself.

Long message came out of the clear blue sky! So that's all, for today. *click*

(NOTES by Nuuk)
"Japanese punning" ... in Japanese "posting" and "going to school" have same pronunciation, "Toukou" and usually "Toukou-kyohi" means "school phobia."
"Zanecchi" ... nickname of hikki's father, Mr. Teruzane Utada.

Saturday, October 18, 2003


It's been this long since I last updated here! FACE MARK

Errrrr I'm so sorry for you guys! Is there still anybody checking here? First of all I'd like to say to you, who's reading this over the monitor screen! - Thank you.

I would have already ended up fired by Toshiba(EMI) if my job had been something like "Message Poster." Fortunately, I'm a singer. (lol)

To escape from the pattern of thinking so seriously of where to start off and ending up writing nothing, I just need to write something anyway!! So here we go,

*click* I clicked the "Submit" button, and . . .

Whoops it scared me - I clicked the button without inputting the delete key and then I was redirected to "Input Error" page - I thought all I just wrote was gone!

Oh yes. This message doesn't have meaning important enough to be missed if gone, in the first place. (lol)

Please expect more to come after this - !!