Saturday, January 2, 2016


Here are some comments on the translation of the NES/Famicom game Faxanadu.

1. Localization Changes

—Religious references:
priest → Guru

church → Guru (Guru's House in the manual)

prayer → mantra

god/spirit of the spring → old man of the spring
Pope of Dwarves  → The Evil One

魔界丘 (makaikyū: "world of evil spirits" i.e. hell + hill)
"Infernal Knoll"

the underworld / evil place
This word appears two times in the game. In the beginning of the game it is translated as "the underworld", near the end as "the evil place". In the English manual it is called "The Evil Place" and depicted as a huge cliff. Why would anyone call that a hill? Don't ask me. Also, had the elves always called that an evil/infernal place, even before the dwarves went crazy? Sounds kind of racist.
Apparently the meteorite is enshrined in the Tower of Suffer.
You will find the tower above the church.

The meteorite is meditated on at the tower of Suffer.
You'll find the Tower above a Guru.
The dwarves worship a piece of the meteorite as if it were a god

The Dwarfs are chanting their mantras to a segment of the meteorite

The dwarves hailed the meteorite as a messenger of God

The Dwarfs regard the meteorite as a cosmic messenger

—Place names:

Fortriss → Fortress

Forehaw → Forepaw

Daydrake → Daybreak


エオリス → Eolis / Eolith

ゼニス → Zenis / Zenith

ス (su) is the closest thing phonetically Japanese has to th (the voiceless θ) which is still pretty far away and is a good source of confusion. Players of Final Fantasy 7 should be familiar with this fact.

—Miscellaneous changes:
ducats → Golds

oil → ointment

Ginji the pickpocket → the pickpocket Gingi (changed to sound less like a Japanese name?).
A reference to the actual person Shitateya Ginji, a ringleader of pickpockets in the Meiji era. Also, スリの銀次 (suri no ginji) is a character that appears in the game Momotarō Dentetsu (released after Faxanadu).

 2. Omissions


城壁のそとをグルッとまわりやっといりぐちを  みつけた..
Following the town wall I finally found a way in...

A complete line has been left out.


ここはエルフの都  エオリス
This is the capital of the elves, Eolis

This is the Elf town of Eolis

Later in the game there is a character who refers to the town as the capital.


A shield will protect you from dwarven projectiles

[The shield]'ll protect you from Dwarf attacks


Open the door to the shack below with this key

Use this key to open the door below

It looks like I am lost.
My spells Hien and Mankintan have no effect.

I'm lost.
My magic does not work.

This is a reference to the Famicom game Momotarō Densetsu. Hien (flying swallow) let's you teleport into a town you have visited. Mankintan (name of a medicine) is a healing spell. It's pretty obvious that this should be omitted as no one would have gotten the reference.

Offensive magic is effective, but it consumes a lot of energy.

Magic of offence is effective, but it consumes power.

—Castle of Fraternal:

ドラゴン スレイヤーをキンググリーブよりてにいれた
I obtained the Dragon Slayer from King Grieve.

I've got the Dragon Slayer. 

3. Errors

bottle of poison → jar of poison

Although ビン (bin) could be translated either way, the graphics look more like a bottle than a jar.


Fly into the blue sky.
You should find the Sky Spring.

Go below the blue sky.
You'll find a fountain in the sky.

For some reason the translator has missed the word fly. Also, the spring is called a fountain. Graphically they do all look like fountains though.

Earth Spring

the first spring / the first fountain

The translator has confused the word だいち (daichi, earth) with the word だいいち (dai'ichi, first). In a second line he again calls the spring a fountain.

Tree Spring (or Spring of Wood)

spring of Trunk
A strange change, considering that there is a Tower of Trunk in the game and it is not the tower in which this spring is located.
It looks like the poison is almost gone.
This should be a good time to restore the spring back to normal. (Literally: "should be a good time to restore")

The posion is almost gone so it's all right to wake him up.

The translator has mistaken the god of the spring talking about restoring the spring as the player character talking about waking him up.

There is also a shop outside the town.
It is in an inconvenient place but sells useful things.
I wonder if you can find it.

There are stores outside town.
They sell useful items, though it's inconvenient to get there.
I wonder if you could find them.

Japanese does not have a universal plural form so this kind of mistake is entirely understandable. The NPC is talking about a unique hidden shop though.
Which leads us to...

Dwarves have occupied abandoned houses outside towns.
Never let your guard down.

The house outside town was abandoned and the Dwarfs are living there.
Watch out for them.

Using plural here makes a lot more sense, since there are more than one of such houses.


鎧とヘルメットを てにいれたなら神父様のところへ  おいきなさい
When you have the armor and the helmet, go see the priest.

When you get the shield and helmet, go to see the Guru. 

This is an interesting one. The translator has simply been careless, because in the text of the game, a few lines above this one you will find:
The legendary shield and helmet are somewhere in the world of branches.

You'll find the legendary shield and helmet in the World of Branch.

Here the Japanese script itself contains an error since the helmet works as the best shield in the game.


You will find friends even in Dartmoor, the place they call the Infernal Knoll.

I have friends in Dartmoor which is known as an evil place.

Not such a huge mistake, since in Japanese a subject is not required to make a grammatical sentence and therefore it is often omitted.

4. Conclusion

Even with its typos and errors and occasional awkwardness, I do not think that the translation overall is that bad. In any case, it could be a lot worse.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Matatabi's Liner Notes for Raijin Sōsei

12th Album "Raijin Sōsei"

       Onmyōza's 12th album created with "thunder" as the key concept. Naturally it includes fierce pieces conforming with the image that the word thunder brings to mind, but this is Onmyōza after all. The elements of light and dark have been carefully incorporated; if anything, there are pieces that I believe will make you discover that there are different ways of perceiving the word and the phenomenon that is thunder, and above all, in this album all those elements are fired off as a bolt of lightning from the cloud that is Onmyōza. I am convinced that you will feel the heat of Onmyōza's soul that is still being distilled even though this is our 12th album. I proudly believe that this is an album unequaled in power which ties together even more securely the new musical elements displayed in Fūjin Kaikō with our unchanging nucleus.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Matatabi's Liner Notes for Fūjin Kaikō

11th Album "Fūjin Kaikō"

       Created with "wind" as the key concept, this is Onmyōza's 11th album. As the word wind can bring to mind everything from gentle zephyrs to violent storms, the range the pieces on this album cover is extremely wide. Still, as we have been known for expanding our musicality by incorporating various new elements into our music, it might be a little late to be discussing about the width of our range. Rather, I think that you can feel the pride of Onmyōza in the fact that no matter how much we may broaden our horizons, we possess a nucleus that will never be lost. Besides that, you get the sense that this is the opening of a new musical world for Onmyōza. I can assert that Fūjin Kaikō has indeed turned out to be such an album.

       This is something that can be said for both Fūjin Kaikō and Raijin Sōsei; it is not the case that they each contain only songs that have to do with either wind or thunder. Those were merely the keywords while creating the albums, and the keywords were to broaden my mental images instead of limiting them, so there is no need to fear that the albums contain only songs that are fixed on a single image. Just relax and enjoy them.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Back on Track

Sometime last year I made some kind of translations for the lyrics of Fūjin. I guess it's about time I finished them and started posting them. What can I say? Matatabi's lyrics are as impalpable as ever, so don't ask me what any of them are supposed to mean.

I am also going to post translations for Matatabi's liner notes from his blog.

As an unrelated note, it seems that I've been getting a few hits from the search "onmyouza lyrics" and at least for me Google gives my site as the second result.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Similar Words in Japanese and Finnish

A long while ago I used to have a list of similar-sounding words in Japanese and Finnish on my web page. I happened to be looking at it and thought that I'd post it here with some additions.

Even if the romanized forms are the same as the Finnish words, the pronunciation (and intonation) often differs to some extent. I have included such words despite the fact.
R, u, and ei in particular are pronounced differently. The Japanese /u/ [ɯᵝ] is somewhere between Finnish /u/ and /y/ and the Japanese /r/ between the Finnish /r/ and /l/. Ei in Japanese is pronounced /ee/.

I've used romanized Japanese as the headword. When needed, I've put the correct Finnish spelling inside curly brackets.

Some may be a bit forced. :)
I've marked with (?) questionable expressions and words that make little sense.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Kishibojin Preface

It is said that a demon accompanied by a child appears on that mountain.

Mountains spread as far as the eye can see.

Near the summit of one of the mountains, there stands (Demon) and a girl.

Around them the wind blows through the trees, making them rustle.

(Demon) is one-eyed. Her disheveled hair streams in the wind and from her missing left eye come rolling down tears of blood.

Her stark naked body is covered by something blackish, perhaps blood.

From the top of the mountain, the pair peers down at something below.

The girl is wearing what looks like a kimono rag.

(Demon) says something to the girl, but the girl does not react at all.

(Demon) silently calls the girl's attention by gently drawing her closer by the shoulders.

In response, the girl looks up at (Demon), and after giving her an innocent smile, she follows obediently after (Demon) without uttering a word.

The pair disappears into the mountains.

The wind grows stronger and its sough sounds like someone sobbing.


(From Zekkai no Kishibojin, Preface: "Kikoku")

Note: I have not read Zekkai no Kishibojin, but I think that (Demon) is in parentheses because her identity is not yet to be revealed, and she's not actually an ogre. In the original, double brackets are used: 《鬼》. As far as I know, they don't have a fixed meaning in Japanese.