~castells de sorra~


Concerts in Japan are definitely a unique experience, from how you get the tickets to the very way the concert itself is organised. I’m not gonna spoil it, but this guy says it all in case you’re curious about it.

The thing is that while I was in Sapporo, I had the chance to catch amazarashi’s opening concert of their 2016 tour last January, and today I finally got to watch the DVD. Despite the nostalgy, watching it at home is nowhere as exciting as sitting there with that huge semi-transparent screen standing in front of the band members where they project videos. All their concerts are like that:

I actually found out about them thanks to V., an Okinawan Peruvian friend from my dorm. She used to sing their songs every time we went to karaoke, and while I’m honestly not so into J-POP as I used to when I was younger, amazarashi is really a different animal. Their concerts aren’t the only thing that makes them so special. Their lyrics are really deep, a blend of despair (or realism?) and hope at the end of the tunnel, but can sometimes address problems in the Japanese society or controversial issues as well.

Show/Hide translation

The Empty Sky is Crushing Me
(Source: amazarashi Global website)

As I have received too many letters, I had to throw away my belongings. I felt it filled my heart, but in fact it’s all empty again.
It’s better to have more money. It’s better to have more friends. It’s better to feel more secured. What is happiness anyway?
Being desperate means you’re ready to die, being absorbed means you’re in a dream. So desperately and absorbedly, we were racing through the season.
While I got more scars, I had a buddy to laugh away the pain together. Don’t feel jealous of your past self. That’s your virtual enemy.

So we can laugh when we have fun. So we can cry when we’re sad.
What can we do when we feel empty? Tell me. Tell me.
Saying goodbye with no regret, seasons just come and go
What should I expect from that? Tell me. Tell me.
The empty sky is crushing me.

After all, every human lacks a thing or two. The difference is if you feel something’s missing or if you feel something’s needed.
I carry minimal burden, still it’s more than enough for me. I think I’ll try to run again. I’ll run desperately and absorbedly.
Today draws in and today comes in. Not that I could go with the flow, but while I kept saying no to what I hate, I drifted to a day like this.
So today is a special day, to commemorate me who fought a good fight, but there’s only one problem: today is such an empty day.

So we can laugh when we have fun. So we can cry when we’re sad.
What can we do when we feel empty? Tell me. Tell me.
Saying goodbye with no regret, people and things I loved went too quickly.
What should I expect from that? Tell me. Tell me.
The empty sky is crushing me.

Does it make you feel better by showing your weakness? Does it make you feel better by crying your heart out?
Does it feel good to say you want to die? Don’t you want to step out of there?
I left something somewhere, either in a classroom or in my mother’s belly. Happiness means nothing if you can’t love your eternal void.

So we can laugh when we have fun. So we cry when we’re sad.
What can we do when we feel empty? Tell me. Tell me.
We come from some dark place, just to go back to some dark place
What can I do in between? Tell me. Tell me.
The empty sky is crushing me.

Some of their songs talk about morals, social norms and the human nature:

Show/Hide translation

(Source: amazarashi Global website)

Hey mom, it’s just as you say. They ought to be brought to justice.
They took away everything they could take. Collapsed buildings, tanks and the setting sun.

Hey mom, it’s just as you say. We ought to love our neighbors.
Son, there’s nothing uglier than backbiting. Take each other’s hands and exchange smiles.

Just trying to survive in times like these, it’s a tough work, my dear. I wish you much happiness.

Turning on my TV with sleepy eyes, my blurry head started to get force-fed.
Murders, robberies, fatal accidents. Trends, idols, shut up already.
Never have time to feel relieved, our days get worn away by going with the flow.
We’re looking for encouraging news. We’re looking for encouraging news.

Hey mom, it’s just as you say. We ought to kick others down.
Happiness is a reward for winners. Try not to lose. Try not to get away.

I cover my eyes, but I’m forced to hear a scream. I cover my ears, but I’m forced to open my eyes.

Rushed by the white morning sun, I was in a train on my way to her place.
There some fool was bragging out loud, and I saw it chased away a mother with a child to the next car.
With people’s thoughts colliding with each other, the packed train became a personal war zone.
I was busy trying to keep myself, but in fact I was just resting on someone’s shoulder.

Hey mom, didn’t you just say. That we would be punished if we tell a lie.
That we would be saved if we pray to God. That all efforts would pay off someday.
Hey mom, I came to find out myself. That all humans are equal.
That the world is beautiful as it is. That those are nothing but delusions.

As it’s been denied that all humans are born good, we are the ones who have to clean up the mess.
With no way out, locked inside a small box, only escapism can give us a laugh now.
“Humans are fundamentally kind.” Wasn’t it you who showed that it’s just a lie.
Education, religions, morals. Whatever it is, just give us what’s next.

Hey mom, it’s just as you say. When you believe without a doubt that you are good,
Others are likely to see you as evil. And my dear, you are my only good.

Sometimes, their MVs can be very beautifully artistic:

Show/Hide translation

Love Song
(Source: amazarashi Global website)

There’s no future, no sunlight to come in, the catacombs that buried the times
Coughing from black smoke rising from oilfields, the little sister gives a smile
Gone to the barrack in the west for food rations, the big brother hasn’t returned yet
“Buy now before it’s gone,” only the voice from TV sounds lively here

You were born in a time of plenty, adults said so to make fun of us
Nowhere could we find peace of mind, it was too late when we realized that
As disturbing smoke rose up in the air, people started to shout the alarm
Those who did it disappeared one by one, and now the whole town became a graveyard

Some people don’t know anything about love, that’s for sure
Why can you ignore that, is it love to ignore the fact?

ATM, electric chair, Strelka and Belka, bills and coins
Love is everything
Next life and the one after, sociality, necklace made of human fingers, flower piece
Love is everything, I beg you to believe

In pouring rain, I was walking without an umbrella
Singing “I have no umbrella,” but in fact I have no money to buy one
Returning to my small apartment, it just made me feel miserable and want to die again
“Buy now before it’s gone,” only the voice from TV sounds lively here

Some are not allowed to have even a dream, that’s for sure
Can’t I sing about it? Or ignoring it will do?

Capitalism, non-fiction, fiction, private room video, emptiness, life retrospective
Love is everything
Signal and Signales, the first train, suicide, singers and commercialism
Love is everything, I beg you to believe

No hope for the future, I can’t even breathe, in the dark of night, I can’t sleep for worry
We talk about being loved, we talk about loving, but before everything, we’ve got to buy love
Consume, consume, from now on, we can’t live without it
Consume, consume, that’s what will save you

Social anxiety, pay for sex, reincarnation, love song, love song
Love and peace, dine and dash, tombstone
Love is everything
Automatic rifle, life insurance, material desire, video game and homicide
Love is everything

We’ve got to hurry to buy it, we’ve got to buy more than anyone, we’ve got to steal if we need to
We’ve got to buy love

Others, the lyrics blend with the MV to convey some message, like this one recorded in Aokigahara, a popular suicide spot in Japan:

Show/Hide translation

Digging holes
(Translated by yuji.ws)

I’m digging holes; where did I go wrong in life?
I’m digging holes; I’m sticking my shovel through myself to despair
In the forest where the wind groans, the nightjars are crying
The round full moon keeps vigil on me 25 hours a day

I’m digging holes; he finally fell
I’m digging holes; that’s the pitfall of the outcasts
I can wipe away my sweat, but not my regrets
My bad luck is the only medal I have clinging on my chest

Inside this swallowing darkness, the spectres of my childhood keep flashing in my mind
Dad used to say: “Even bad people can go to Heaven”

After all, even little brats know that God is a bad person
Whether you cry, shout or pray, the fact that we were born in this world is the very proof
Maybe life is just like that; the sooner you give up the better
I’ve already given up on myself; gave up in the very moment I was born

I’m digging holes; for that guy who used to be my friend
I’m digging holes; for that friend of mine who won’t move anymore
My shadow looks like the devil in the lantern light
In the streets of this town, death just gets old fast

If I could find the way out, everything was supposed to go right
Dad used to say: “Hope is what brings despair”

I’m digging holes; with a gun pressed against my back
I’m digging holes; I’m digging one that fits me
What an insignificant existence mine has been; it’s laughable
It’s driving me mad: why only me?
So vigorously that I’m tearing my life into pieces,
I’m digging holes, I’m digging holes
I’m digging holes, I’m digging holes

It was already defined since I was a kid that I’d be a bad person too, anyway
Whether you cry, scream or pray, you can’t choose where you come from
Maybe life is just like that; the sooner you give up the better
Otherwise, you’ll end up becoming a fool
And then you’ll end up becoming
And then you’ll end up becoming a stubborn person

I’m yet to find a band that can touch me in so many different ways as these guys…