Being an anime fan, I’m interested in the musical component of my hobby, the OP and ED (er, opening and ending themes) and character image songs that add so much enjoyment to a given anime or game. When I was studying Japanese at SDSU, I made a point of using Japanese songs to improve my language skills, transcribing and translating lyrics to help me memorize new vocabulary, since you can always sing the song to yourself if you forget a certain word. It’s interesting to analyze the lyrics that make up many anime songs — they’re often completely bereft of meaning, instead capturing an emotion like walking up a sloping hill (sakamichi) with the sun setting all around you (tasogare, tah-soh-GAH-reh) while the cherry blossoms (sakura) blow in the breeze. In the Clannad After Story opening song, there’s an interesting stanza:
The cold mornings continue, even though spring is already here
I wake up before the alarm clocks rings
Looking at you as you make breakfast for the three of us…
It’s fairly meaningless on the surface, but if you know the show it evokes a powerful emotion that can possibly make some fans’ eyes get damp (poor Nagisa…). If you want to explore fun Japanese songs in many forms, we humbly recommend the iTunes Japan prepaid cards that we sell, which let you browse and buy cool only-available-from-Japan anime, J-POP/J-ROCK, traditional and other songs on any standard Mac or PC with iTunes, as well as an iPhone or iPod touch from anywhere in the world.
Japanese songs often focus on evoking certain emotional images in listeners.