Advent Calendar 09 Dec: Miyavi, "Jingle Bell"



Lyrics, with transliterations and translations, here. You may notice that Miyavi pitches some random French in there with the Japanese and the patchy bits of Christmas-themed English. He does that a lot. One of his recent ballads is half and half Japanese and English, and the video helpfully subtitles whatever language he's not singing in at the time. He makes it a point to do his intros in the local language whenever he goes touring, and occasionally some of it sticks. He's married to a Japanese-American lady who grew up in Hawaii, and apparently they speak English to the kids at home.

(His English is weird sometimes, you might protest. So it is. Let me assure you that his Japanese is weird in exactly the same way. His English vocabulary progressed in hilariously wonky fashion over time, mainly because of his total lack of attention span. He impressed me a lot quite a number of years ago now by not just knowing the phrase 'pigeon-toed', but knowing there was an English phrase for that in the first place -- the Japanese is just 'ashi ga uchi', legs/feet (turned) inwards. Obviously someone at some point noted that he was, and the phrase was weird enough to lodge in his head.)

The name may ring a bell for a few of you even if you don't follow Japanese music, because Miyavi has been doing press for Angelina Jolie's film Unbroken. He has a fairly prominent role credited under his real name, Takamasa Ishihara. (Most visual kei artists keep their real names a closely-guarded secret. Miyavi is weird even among the glam rock weirdos. Sometimes he compromises and uses 'Miyavi Ishihara',which I think is what his Facebook page is/was under.) How this happened, I have no idea. If I were looking for a native Japanese actor with fluent English to cast in my dramatic war movie, the first one I'd call is Gackt, who has a more than fair acting career at home and is known for doing historical epics. Which is quite possibly what they did, and got bounced to Miyavi instead because Gackt was busy or came across as too old to be cast opposite their American lead.

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