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Lesson Transcript

Naomi: ジャパニーズポッド101でございます
Naomi: Welcome to the Japanese Children Song Series at JapanesePod101.com. In this series, you will learn Japanese language and culture through Japanese Children Songs. Go out site to hear the full versions of the songs, sung by professional singer Kana Mizushima. Visit JapanesePod101.com and claim your free lifetime account now.
Naomi: ナオミです。
Peter: Peter here.
Naomi: ジャパニーズポッド101.comの童謡レッスン3へようこそ。
Peter: Welcome to our third Japanese Children Song Lesson. Naomi 先生, can you tell us the name of the song we’ll be focusing on this time?
Naomi: 富士の山
Peter: “A song about Fuji-san” or “Mount Fuji”.
Naomi: This song is a really well known song that celebrates Mount Fuji. Peter さん, to Japanese people, Mount Fuji is a very special mountain, but, I don’t think it’s that well known outside of Japan.
Peter: Really?
Naomi: うん、じゃない?そんなことない? Does anyone know Mount Fuji?
Peter: I think it’s pretty well known, but it could be –you could be right. I mean, people who have visited Japan probably know about Mount Fuji, but those who’ve never been to Japan or those who that don’t know much about Japan may not know much about Mount Fuji. So, let us just quickly explain, just in case. Mount Fuji, as some of you may know, is the tallest mountain in Japan.
Naomi: Not only the tallest, but also most beautiful mountain in Japan.
Peter: According to Naomi 先生. We talked about Mount Fuji in our “All about Japan” series. So, please check that out.
Naomi: Also, you know, the Japanese indigenous religion, 神道 is based on nature worship. So, in ancient Japan, the mountains were worshiped as 神道 Gods.
Peter: And for those reasons, Mount Fuji is so special to Japanese people. So, about the song, Naomi 先生 what can you tell us about the song? For example, where and were did it originate?
Naomi: This song was released in 1911 as a song for third grade elementary students. These days, you can actually hear the melody of this song being played at traffic lights in 静岡 prefecture, where Mount Fuji is located. Even some train stations near Mount Fuji use this song melody for when the train leaves.
Peter: So, if you’re in Japan and you hear this and you point it out to a Japanese friend, I think they’d be quite impressed that you noticed.
Naomi: そうね。
Peter: Now, as you mentioned, Japanese people are really proud of Mount Fuji. So, it doesn’t surprise me that they’re a famous song about Mount Fuji.
Naomi: I say nearly all Japanese people know the song.
Peter: So, let’s get into the lyrics. Shall we?
Naomi: Sounds great.

Lesson focus

Peter: Now, unlike some other songs we’ve covered, the lyrics of this song are in modern Japanese. So, it’s not that hard to follow along. But, some of the vocabulary and phrases might be unfamiliar, right Naomi 先生?
Naomi: そうですね。 That’s right.
Peter: So, what we’re going to do is go through it line by line. Naomi 先生, what’s the first line, please?
Naomi: 頭を雲の上に出し
Peter: “Holding its head high over the clouds.”
Naomi: If you noticed, there’s actually no subject here.
Peter: Right. But assuming the title, they’re talking about Mount Fuji, right?
Naomi: ああ、そうですね。 Right. So, let’s go through this line. First, we have 頭を
Peter: The word for “head” plus the object marking particle を.
Naomi: Next we have 雲の上に、雲 is “clouds” and 上 is “above”. So, 雲の上 means –
Peter: “Above the clouds.”
Naomi: After that, we have 出し. This is the A masu stem of the verb 出します which means “to put out” or “to reveal” or “to show”. The [must stamp] works kind of like the te-form here.
Peter: So, can we hear the whole first line again?
Naomi: Sure. 頭を雲の上に出し
Peter: “Holding its head high above the clouds.” So, Mount Fuji has its head high over the clouds.
Naomi: Kind of cute.
Peter: Yeah, you can think of the peak of Mount Fuji sticking above the clouds.
Naomi: Right.
Peter: Okay, and how about the next line?
Naomi: 四方の山を見下ろして
Peter: Let’s break this up a bit. First we have 四方の山 is “mountain”, but Naomi 先生, what’s 四方?
Naomi: If you look at the kanji, it’s pretty easy to figure out. 四 is “four” and 方 is “direction”. So, it literally means “four directions” or “in all directions”.
Peter: So 四方の山 literally means “The mountain’s in all four directions.”
Naomi: That’s right. 四方の山を見下ろして
Peter: 見下ろして “To look down on”?
Naomi: うん、そうですね。 Yes. This is a compound verb, actually. So, we combine 見る
Peter: “To look”.
Naomi: With 下ろす
Peter: “To lower”.
Naomi: So, we get 見下ろす which means “to look down on”.
Peter: So, Mount Fuji looks down on all other mountains around it.
Naomi: そうです。
Peter: Like it has a sense of superiority.
Naomi: ああ、そうね。 Exactly.
Peter: Again, in the sentence there’s no subject. But, we already know that all these lines talk about Mount Fuji. So, Naomi 先生, can we hear the full line one more time?
Naomi: 四方の山を見下ろして
Peter: “Looking down on all the mountains around it.” So, remember the first line. Here’s Mount Fuji with its head sticking above the clouds. Now, it’s looking down on all the mountains around it, because it’s bigger than all of them. Next line?
Naomi: 雷様を下に聞く
Peter: 雷様 “Lightning”. But, isn’t just 雷“lightning”? How come 様, the most honored suffix is in there?
Naomi: It’s like “Mr. Thunder”. Actually it’s a good point. 様 is a polite name suffix, but we sometimes add it to 雷 to express our respect.
Peter: So you attach that suffix to kind of express your awe and admiration.
Naomi: そう、そうね。
Peter: It is pretty amazing. So, 雷様, makes sense. It’s kind of like you’re expressing your awe and admiration.
Naomi: そうです。
Peter: For this incredible thing that’s happening. Alright, what about after that? We have 下に聞く. “To hear down below”?
Naomi: Right. It refers to Mount Fuji hearing the thunder rumbling below it.
Peter: Now, the English translation reads: “It hears the thunder rumbling from below.” So, this song is talking about Mount Fuji being above the clouds, looking down at the mountains below, hearing the thunder below. I kind of sense a theme here.
Naomi: そうですね。 The lines of the song are emphasizing how tall Mount Fuji is in different ways.
Peter: Tall and big.
Naomi: そうですね。
Peter: Bigger than other incredible things in nature.
Naomi: はい。
Peter: And now for the last line of the verse?
Naomi: 富士は日本一の山
Peter: “Mount Fuji is the best mountain in Japan.” Japan is にほん but it’s often pronounced にっぽん.
Naomi: そうですね Right. And 日本一 is a phrase that means “The best in Japan”. It combines the word for “Japan”, 日本, and the word for “one”, 一.
Peter: You can put different name places in front of 一, too.
Naomi: That’s right. For example, 世界一 it would be –
Peter: “Best in the world.”
Naomi: アジア一
Peter: “Best in Asia.”
Naomi: And so on. So, in this case, Mount Fuji is 日本一の山.
Peter: “The number one mountain in Japan.” And from the song, we definitively get that message. Loud and clear.
Naomi: そうですね。 So listeners, what did you think about the song? Please let us know!
Peter: All right. That just about does it for this Japanese Children Song Lesson. Thank you guys for listening.
Naomi: じゃあ、また。


Naomi: Find more detailed explication of the lyrics at JapanesePod101.com There, listen to the full version of the song and video format completed with beautiful pictures of Japan. Go to JapanesePod101.com to get your free lifetime account.

Song (Full Version)