Learning Through Lyrics, Part 1

A Japanese learner asked me to translate the lyrics of a particular song, “Trust me” by Yuya Matsushita, and to explain the vocabulary within. In the interests of education, I intend to do this in manageable steps. I am not being paid for this in any way; this is 100% for educational value.

First Line

I’m here そばにいるから     call me 僕がいるから

Translation

I’m here – because I’m by your side   /   call me – because I’m right here

Vocabulary/ Grammar Notes

Soba

Not the noodle. Rather, this “soba” means side. As in, “I’m right by your side.” Japanese: そば、側

Ni

The particle “ni.” Indicates that the preceding word modifies that which comes after the “ni.” Japanese: に

Iru

In this case, “iru” is the counterpart of “aru.” It is an existence verb affirming the existence of an animate object, which means either a person or an animal. (Plants are living things but are not animate, so “iru” does not apply to them.) Therefore, as a matter of course, this “iru” should be read like the English “am” (I am, you are, we were, etc.) Japanese: いる, 居る

Kara

In a very technical way, “kara” as a suffix means arising out of the previous (part of the sentence). In practice, it can be read like because, since because indicates (in a situation like this) that something is true because of what was stated just prior to the word “because.” Japanese: から

Grammar Notes

Lacking a stated topic/ subject, the reader should assume that the speaker is the unstated topic/ subject and that the phrase applies to “I/ me” (1st person perspective). In this case, the English thrown out, and the second phrase in the line, make this very clear (and is probably one reason they’re included).

Boku

“Boku” is a plain – that is, not rude but definitely informal – 1st person pronoun favored by introverted boys and men. It is rarely used by girls, but it is not unheard of. Japanese: 僕、ぼく、ボク

Ga

The particle ga indicates that the word immediately preceding it is the subject of a sentence. In Japanese, the topic of the entire sentence can be separate from the subject of a verb in the sentence. Japanese: が

Grammar Notes

Because of the particle “ga,” “boku” (that is, the speaker) is the subject of the verb “iru.”

Also, the English used here acts as the conclusion of the sentence, and also, therefore, acts kind of like the topic:

I’m by your side, therefore, I’m here.

I’m here, therefore, call me.

This establishes the tone of the song to follow.

That’s all for this time. Thank you for reading!

J Sensei

About J Sensei

Blogger, writer, linguist, former Japanese> English translator, rusty in French, experienced in Japanese, fluent English native. Writing for Technorati.com and various blogs. Skype: jeremiah.bourque (messages always welcome). E-mail: jeremiahbourque@gmail.com
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2 Responses to Learning Through Lyrics, Part 1

  1. Anonymous says:

    thank you so much for this. I’m trying to learn this song to sing to someone special. Also this is helpful for my learning Japanese in general. *bow*

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