About Us

Hello Everybody!!
We are Anindya & Pratyay, Japanese Language teachers and translators. Presently we are teaching at a Japanese Language Learning Centre in our hometown, Kolkata-India.

The most interesting part of language learning is experiencing another culture. For, Language does not exist apart from culture, that is, the socially inherited assemblage of practices and beliefs that determines the texture of our life. The study of Japanese language offers unique insights into Japan’s fascinating national culture, which boasts a rich heritage in the fields of native craftsmanship, performance art, visual art, music, film and graphic design. Anyone who can see and feel the beauty of the Japanese Language and culture can improve her/his cultural understanding and international awareness. It also helps one to gain an enhanced perspective of one’s own language and culture.

Through this Blog we would like to offer and share our knowledge and exchange our views & ideas with you all on Japanese language and culture. Let’s expand our possibilities both professionally and personally by learning Japanese.

If you have any query regarding translation or interpretation from Japanese to English or vice versa,
please feel free to contact us.....
letter2anindya@gmail.com or pratyajayaditya@gmail.com

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Enka: Soulful Japanese music

Music in Japan is called ONGAKU, which literally means ‘sound for comfort’. Although mostly identified nowadays by the outside world for its pop, Japanese music is essentially an eclectic combination of musical influences from all over the world. As much as it possessed local tradition and history, the scales, instruments and styles however were borrowed and loosely adapted from other countries like China, Korea and Indonesia and has evolved to integrate Western musical styles such as jazz, rock, reggae, etc.

Developments in the late 19th and early 20th centuries opened the ears of the Japanese people to a new generation of music, called 歌謡曲(kayô-kyoku). 歌謡曲or Japanese popular songs can roughly be divided into two genres: Japanese pop/rock music (some call it "J-Pop") and "Enka." The former refers to music accepted more by the young Japanese and has more definitive Western influence. And the other one refers to a tradition of very heavily sentimental love songs. In Enka there is a definitive emphasis on words rather than the instrumentation. It is a type of music genre that is native to Japan. It started in the 1860’s as “speech songs” (anti-war protests) but later evolved into an extremely popular genre of modern music in the 1950’s-1970’s.
Enka is extremely emotional music, comparable to American country and western music. Most enka pieces are written in minor keys. Presumably, it is due to the songs' most popular subject: disappointed love and unrequited love. There are few enka pieces in a fast tempo, because the lyrical characteristic of enka does not fit a fast tempo. Enka suggests a more traditional, idealized, or romanticized aspect of Japanese culture and attitudes.

My favorite of all the albums I own has to be Amayadori by Mayumi Itsuwa. Her voice is deep, the music is wonderfully produced, and the words that come out of her mouth - although I can’t understand them - have emotion and meaning. I also enjoy Teresa Teng’s music a great deal. Teresa Teng was a Taiwanese singer. The two share a similar voice, but have a very different styles and sounds.
I honestly believe that enka music is better than any sort of current trend in Japanese music. Enka is what defines tradition. It’s gorgeous and soulful, mysterious and calm. It’s all so beautiful. It’s so addictive, and so wonderful. It’s the quality that is in the music itself: vocals, production, harmony, instruments. I love it.

If you love the language, music, and history of Japan, I recommend you listen to some Enka.

· Strange What Love Does
· Wikipedia

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Kurosawa and Indian movies

Akira Kurosawa's sketch by SatyajitRay
Akira kurosawa the Oscar recipient film maker has contributed a great deal to the the making of world cinema. Not only western movies like A Fistful of Dollars, but some Indian counterparts can be identified which bear traces the influence of Kurosawa's films on them.
"The effect of the film on me, personally, was eclectic.", writes Ray in his renowned writing Our Films, Their Films, recounting his admiration for Rashomon, the film for which Kurosawa was awarded Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival . Both Ray and Kurosawa being Oscar award recipient greatly apprecieted each other's films.
However two main stream Indian films can be identified as witnessing direct influence of Kurosawa's films. These are Sholay and Anand and their Japanese counterparts are respectively, Seven Samuries and Ikiru.

The plot construction in both the films Seven Samuries and Sholay remains the same, an obscure hamlet being plundered by robbers and how brave men save the farmers at the end of the film. Where as in Kurosawa's films this brave deed is done by the Samuries, in Sholay we find Veeru and Jai, the two petty criminals who fight courageously and eliminate the robbers . Needless to say, Sholay is a milestone in Indian cinema and is the highest grossing film of all time in Indian Cinema. It has earned Rs.3,84,41,00,000, equivalent to US Dollar 88 million.

The other pair is Ikiru and Anand.The word Ikiru in Japanese means 'to live', this film like Anand, its Indian counterpart delineate with the same theme, a man suffering from an incurable disease, and his quest for life. A film like Ikiru needs no introduction, Anand directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee, is gifted with wonderful lyrics for which it is popular even today.

Friday, May 1, 2009