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Japanese lyric - help!

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We're in the process of writing a Japanese song lyric. Quite the challenge!

We're stuck on one line and would very much appreciate any help we can get.

Here's what we want to say:

"You know what the best thing is?"

(or something to that effect) in 6 syllables.

Any suggestions? (It doesn't have to be an exact translation.)

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Sai kyo mo no shi te ru? That's 7, but is fairly close. You could also try using zon ji ru instead of shi te ru, if you were being polite or something like that. To make 6... You could try doing ii instead of sai kyo. I'm not super dooper at japanese, but I do know some. Another one could be sai kyo no shi te ru. That means basically the same thing but has 6. Anyway, have fun.

By the way, what is this for?

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  • 2 weeks later...

First, I think you mean to say "saikou" (best/most/top) rather than "saikyo(u)" (no meaning?). Otherwise, there're a few different ways you can try this that come to mind, though it's tough to cram it into six syllables. Here goes (hyphens placed to delimit where you could place syllables--using a loose English, not Japanese, definition of syllable):

最高のは、知っている? Sai-kou no wa, shittei-ru? [gloss over the "i" in the "shittei" part to make it sound like six syllables]

- leaves it ambiguous what you're referring to

最高の事 理解/知っている? Sai-kou no ko-to ri-kai / shittei-ru?

- implies a non-tangible thing. 'rikai' sounds more stiff to me

最高のもの 理解/知っている? Sai-kou no mo-no ri-kai / shittei-ru?

- implies a tangible thing. Again, 'rikai' sounds more stiff to me

What context is this used in? There might be ways of restating what you're going for in fewer words by letting context fill the gaps. Oh, and there're a few other people on here that come to mind that're a bit better with colloquial Japanese than I am (Chipp Damage comes to mind). KF

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Hm, mono refers to a general category, doesn't it? Like, food and drink (tabemono and nomimono). You may consider the word koto こと - 事 instead, since it has the connotation of the singular.

saikou no koto shitteru ka?


Don't forget the question particle, ka か at the end

You may consider sticking a "you" pronoun like anata あなた or kimi きみ in there somewhere, too. What you use depends on the kind of feel your song's got. A more romantic, ballad-y song would be better off with kimi, as anata can be pretty distancing.

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'mono' just implies a physical, tangible object. By itself it'd more likely refer to something plural, but since it's preceded by 'the best []' then the context implies it's singular. However, it's more likely they're going for something intangible anyway, in which case, yeah, 'koto' would be more appropriate for that reason. (However, using 'saikou no wa' and letting context imply 'thing' is the most appropriate of the three, if you ask me.)

If I were just saying it in regular conversation, I'd say it more or less how Fenrir put it. But there're some adjustments for putting it in a song. The 'ka' particle is sometimes dropped in conversation, so it's not necessary to keep; though if it's a song, it's sort of hard to imply a question by tone alone without it. Also, pronouns are rarely used in regular conversation, but they are more prevalent in songs. As Fenrir said, 'kimi' is more common in pop songs and ballads (though 'anata' is as well - cf. Ayumi Hamasaki or Utada Hikaru); rock songs are more likely to use 'omae' (cf. X-Japan and L'arc-en-Ciel).

Y'know, this is one of the reasons I'm generally against inserting Japanese in song lyrics. There are exceptions, but very few of them. KF

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First, I think you mean to say "saikou" (best/most/top) rather than "saikyo(u)" (no meaning?).

Kind of funny... I think he may have taken my incorrect suggestion to heart, seeing as he hasn't come back yet. It's been a while since I was in Japan, and I guess I was even more rusty than I thought lol.

I do seem to remember that there was SOME meaning to Saikyo... ah yes, I looked it up and it does have meaning. I was thinking of saikyou, which means strongest lol. Saikyo itself means "another attempt" or "sanction" according to an online resource.

But yeah, words like kimi are very common in songs, especially in anime intros. I don't hear omae as much, but that is likely because I don't really listen to j-rock.

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