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Let’s sing Japanese songs in English –May 2017
“Summer Memories” (Original – “Shonen Jidai”)

This month, I would like to introduce a Japanese song with English lyrics written not by me, but by somebody else. The original song is called
“Shonen Jidai” (Boyhood Days, literally), with Japanese lyrics written by Mr. Yosui Inoue and music composed by Mr. Inoue in collaboration with Ms. Natsumi Hirai. Mr. Inoue also sings the song very beautifully.

Mr. Inoue wrote beautiful and nostalgia-inducing lyrics here, depicting a man’s memories of his boyhood days, such as village festivals,
fireworks, starry nights and summer breezes. Coupled with equally kind musical tone, it has been loved by many people after its release in1990, and was recently used in a popular TV commercial.

An Irish/English singer named Mr. William Silk performs his concerts in Japan, and he came across Mr. Yosui Inoue’s songs, and liked them all, but “Shonen Jidai” in particular. He wanted to sing this song with his own English lyrics so that he may introduce to his home country, or perhaps to the world over. He made the lyrics, not in way of word-to-word translation of the original Japanese songs, as he knew that it would not be musically correct, but in way of recollection of his own boyhood memories, which, after all, were not quite different in the atmosphere. He told his intention to Mr. Yosui Inoue, and got Yosui’s permission, he says in his page.

Myself, I came across Mr. Silk’s singing of this song, which he named “Summer Memories”, on YouTube, and became a fan of it. I wanted to introduce it to more people. I wrote a note addressed to him using a fan site column in his homepage, telling him I would be posting the song (score sheet with lyrics, not the singing) on my BILOG.

I just wanted to say that it is not only this old nerd named Morris, but also other decent people who want to introduce good Japanese songs overseas and create “atmospheric translations” so that music fans overseas can sing them.

“Summer Memories”

  • English lyrics and title by William Silk, based on the original song written and composed by Yosui Inoue

Long, long ago, when I was but a child, I remember summer days were always warm and mild Long walks in meadows, carried by the breeze; Summer is the time of year that fills my memories.

Autumn brought the cold Turning leaves to gold Long and dark winter nights Dimly-lit Christmas lights The spring would never, ever come! With daffodils, she came, and then, at last, the cold departed

Far, far away now, all my friends have gone. Holidays and games we played all summer long. Those were the days when no one cared who won. In my heart, it’s summer scenes we always had such fun.
Where … have… they…gone…? Hmm – Where have…they gone?

Autumn brought the cold Turning leaves to gold. Long and dark winter nights Dimly-lit Christmas lights The spring would never, ever come! With daffodils, she came, and then, at last, the cold departed.

June saw the fireflies Floating on a stream. High above the stars were bright As in a dream.
Such were the joyful memories we made. Memories like fireflies and stars will surely fade.
Where…have…they…gone? Hmm – where have…they gone?