We've all been unfortunate enough to hear that catchy* Britney Spears song, If You Seek Amy. The song, of course, contains a double entendre--"if you seek amy" sounds like "f-u-c-k me."
My friends and I have recently started a Death Note marathon. About half-way through the series, the opening song changes. We're talking about the second opening song here.
I originally watched the show with my cousin in Mexico, and the subtitles were in Spanish done by a fan group. For the opening songs, every other episode, the subtitles would be either the romanji of the Japanese lyrics, or the translation into Spanish. [You have to watch the video below for this post to make sense, beginning at 0:42 for the part I'm talking about here.] When it was in the romanji, the subtitles read "hey, hey a ningen sucker, a ningen ningen fucker."
The version my friends and I are watching now is the official version, subtitled officially into English. Khya is a big all-things-Japanese/anything-Asian,-really buff and when we watch this show, he has his Japanese dictionary on the coffee table, and throughout each episode he'll insist on pausing or rewinding to a certain phrase so he can look it up in his dictionary, exactly.
Needless to say, we've already come to many interesting linguistic conclusions and observations because of this. My comprehension of Japanese language function has increased slightly, too. --but only in theory.
When we came to this song, I was, of course, singing along. (--can't deny it's a great song.) The subtitles were only translated into English (no romanji), and he said, "Chela, they're not saying 'sucker' and 'fucker' in Japanese. That kind of u sound doesn't exist. They can't be. Let's listen again." And so we did, over and over again, and he concluded that they were not actually saying sucker and fucker. "They're doing the Britney Spears. This is the If You Seek Amy of Death Note."
Indeed, we looked up the romanji. They're saying
Hey Hey Ningen sanka ai nige ningen fuan ka?
Our English subtitles said
HEY HEY! Human paean, does love escaping make humans nervous?
which is what threw us off. The words here, "sanka" and "fuan ka" work with the theme of the song in translation. However, it is obvious that the artist chose these words specifically for the double entendre with the English words sucker and fucker.
I also later noticed, instead of saying WHAT UP, people?! they say WHAT'S UP fuanzai ippai.
Very clever, indeed.
It's a great show. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes to think.
*That stupid If You Seek Amy song was written by the same two guys who wrote the even worse Three song she does. If we want to discuss good pop song writing, we should discuss Lady Gaga. Gaga originally wrote "Telephone" for Britney Spears, however, Spears' label rejected it and Gaga recorded the song as a collaboration with Beyoncé Knowles for The Fame Monster. Additionally, the guest vocalist was originally going to be Spears, but for an "unknown" reason, Gaga made Knowles the featured vocalist instead. My guess is that because Britney's probably opposed to wearing rotary telephones on her head.
On Mon, 5 Apr 2010 14:07:14
And here I just thought their accent was really really really bad when singing in English. None of the fansub groups I watched caught it.
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