Iroha

by Cats on Mars

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Paul From Sweden Angelic voice. Great music. Favorite track: イロハ 〜君ノ咲ク春〜 (feat. chiyoco).
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1.
05:40
2.
3.
4.
5.
02:05

about

for Natalia Alexeeva (Sept 20, 1984 - Feb 26, 2018)

Natalia, for and about whom "Bombay Beach" was written, left this world on February 26, 2018. Nat and I visited Japan together in the fall of 2012, one month after the events I wrote about in "Bombay Beach," and one year after the Great Japan Earthquake of 3/11 had canceled what would have been her first trip to the country to see the sakura bloom. Although we made a trip before her health made that impossible, it ended up being in the autumn (both of that year, and, it turns out, her short, beautiful existence). Natalia never got to see the cherry blossoms herself, a unique and overwhelming experience I had always hoped that I would take her back to see. If "Bombay Beach" is about the best reason Nat and I could find to keep on living -- "to see what happens next" -- then "Iroha" is its companion and epilogue about finding the strength to move on, to take the very concept of "next" to... well, the next level.

The Iroha (いろは歌) is a famous Japanese poem that, much like Natalia herself, remains exceptional for its brilliance, brevity, and depth. The entire text of the poem is a pangram of the Japanese language (and thus used as a traditional ordinal for legal documents, musical scale tones, etc. akin to "a, b, c"), but this unique novelty does not constrain the depth of the poem's expressiveness; indeed, the word "Iroha" has become a synonym for the scattering of cherry blossoms and its implied metaphor for the fleeting beauty of life itself.

When Nat passed, a system of gentle storms passed over California, and LA saw an uncharacteristically invigorating, cool spring spell. We spoke of feeling her energy all around us, seeing her constantly in the pink blossoms and deep sunsets of orange and blue. This single brings together the sense of gratitude, loss, and hope expressed by Natalia's dear friends from around the world, peppered with influences and memories -- phrases she used, tweets she made, and songs she shared. Each chorus of the song ends with the word "saku" (咲く) -- meaning "[it will] bloom" in this context -- but the last time, as if a message from Natalia herself about how to best keep going, it is written "作" -- which is still pronounced "saku," but with the character for "create" instead of "bloom."

The lyrics and production work on "Iroha" were completed on March 26, 2018, the one-month anniversary of Natalia's departure. (In Japan, monthly anniversaries are known as 月命日 - "tsuki meinichi.") The single was completed on the two-month anniversary (April 26), releasing on April 30, 2018.

credits

released April 30, 2018

Composed by Tommy Pedrini
Produced by Tommy Pedrini & Chiyoko Yamasato (chiyoco)
feat. chiyoco
Mixing & Mastering by Madeline Lim (deltaBouche)
Art by Lindsay Collins (Linzb0t), on photos by Tommy Pedrini

🌸 for Natalia Alexeeva (1984-2018) 🌸

Special thanks to:
Olga Alexeeva, Bob Baker, Enrique Moreno, Catie Wilcox, James Montagna, Anton Bex, Yosuke Nozawa, Hiromi Nozawa, Vincent & Valerie Diamante, Charleett Romero, e.D. Xu, Rachel Lastar, Tom Pedrini III, Francisco Castillo, Karen Olympia, Robbie Altschuler, and Jake Kaufman

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all rights reserved

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about

Cats on Mars Los Angeles, California

Cats on Mars is an electronic/rock band from Los Angeles founded by composer and performer Tommy Pedrini and a diverse group of talented musicians. Featuring evocative, narrative lyrics and catchy but clever musical twists, the band chronicles the journeys of everyday universes, from life in the city to love in the stars. ... more

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Track Name: Iroha
Buds in the muddy season
Wondering as they open
What comes next

A brilliant sea of color
The scent of rain on the wind
And suddenly, they scatter

A breath, a roar, a whisper, a laugh
A window and a wall
A dark but gentle storm

The pilgrim petal snow
The city alight in sunset after dawn
“I like thunderstorms,” you know
and I realize: I’m raining too

🌸 Will you ever see the cherry trees in bloom?
It seems the Jacaranda trees will simply have to do
Though wind and rain may wash away the brightest, pinkest hue
Another spring, another day, somehow...
咲く。

A barren branch once aglow
Nine types of light
in a sea of purple

Pink aflame in yellow
The birds in flight
Sing inadvertent poetry

Pigs in planes and Cats on Mars;
The Titans at the door;
The dinosaurs!!

Two white tigers
Playing in the starry stream
Holding hands as they open
Open the gate from winter to spring

🌸 Will we never see these cherry trees in bloom?
We only had the autumn leaves;
Oh, how can that be true?
There’ll never be another spring that feels this close to you
And now I see the lights fade to blue…
咲く。

いろはにほへと ちりぬるを
わかよたれそ つねならむ

Wishes hang above the city
Colors dance again like stars
Ah, hope sprouts so tenderly
In a ruined paradise

うゐのおくやま けふこえて
🌸 Someday we’ll see the cherry trees in bloom
The sunlight comes after the freeze
and wraps us up in blue
The early season’s pinks and greens
The color of our youth
Until our spring can come again,
To the next season, look ahead…

あさきゆめみし ゑひもせず
And now we see the cherry trees in bloom
Like blossoms flowing in the breeze,
There’s still no one like you
Your colors everywhere with me
The melodies come through
And so springs forth another song, somehow...
作。


*Japanese Translation*
*日本語翻訳:*

泥まみれの季節
顔を覗かせながら
「これから何をしようかな」
と興味深々に綻ばまいとする新芽たち

きらめく海
風に乗る雨の匂い
それらは全て、なんの前触れもなく散っていく

呼吸、轟音、ささやき、笑い
窓と壁
そして暗くて優しく包み込むような嵐

まるで宿命であるかの如く舞う雪の花びら達
夜明けの夕焼けに街は光を灯す
「雷の嵐大好き」と言っていたね
あゝ、どうやら僕も雨になってしまったようだ

🌸 君が桜が舞う姿を見られる日はいつか来るのだろうか?
今はジャカランダに代わりをしてもらうしかないようだ
これ以上ないくらいにこれでもかと輝いている桃色を風と雨が洗い流そうとも
いつかの春のある日、どうか・・・
咲く

いつかは輝きを放っていた廃れた枝
紫色の海に浮かび上がる9色の光

金色の炎にゆらめく桃色
空の鳥は図らずも詩を歌う

空でハンドルを握る豚と火星の上に佇む猫
ノック音の先に扉に立ちはだかる巨人
恐竜達‼︎

星の河で戯れる二匹の白虎
手を握り合いながら
冬から春への門を開く

🌸 僕たちが共に桜を眺める日は永遠に訪れないのだろうか?
僕たちが見たのは秋の枯葉だけだった
そんなことってあるのだろうか
こんなに君を近くに感じる春はもう二度とは来ないのを知ってる
そして今、光が紺色に飲み込まれ薄れていく
咲く

いろはにほへと ちりぬるを
わかよたれそ つねならむ

街の上を歩く願い事たち
色達はまた星のように踊る「あゝ荒れ果てた楽園でさえ
希望は凛と胸を張って芽を出すもの」

🌸 いつかきっと一緒に桜を見れる日が来る
凍える寒さが終わりを告げ
真っ青な空から差す光に包まれる
春先のピンクと緑は若き青春の色
僕たちの春がまた来るそのときまで
次の季節に向かおう−−−ひたすら前へ

🌸 今僕たちの目に映るは満開の桜
風に乗せられた花びら達のように
唯一無二の君
君の色はいつでも僕を彩りメロディーを紡ぎ出す
そしてそれはまたひとつ新しい歌を生んだ
作。
Track Name: イロハ 〜君ノ咲ク春〜 (feat. chiyoco)
いろはにほへと ちりぬるを…

そぉっと頬撫でる風
初々しく踊る若緑
甘く澄んだ香りも
春の使いもみんな

陽気であろうと務めども
空は孤独
春は息を吹き返して
きみを呼んでいるのに

🌸 花冷えにさらわれる君を
引き止めることも叶わず佇む
桜の約束果たさぬまま
どうして君はひとり
散った

濁った視線の先
渦巻く花びら達はまるで
塞き止められた心
代弁するかのごとく

「命は儚くそれ故美しい」
慰めなど意味を持たず
どうか黙って

🌸 嵐に打ちのめされようと
舞い続けることしか知らない君
吸い込まれそうな澄んだ瞳
あゝ僕の道しるべ

🌸 手に残る君の温もりも
遊び心満点な君の音も
甘酸っぱいくしゃくしゃの顔も
永遠に心溢れ
咲く


*ローマ字* 
Romaji:

(Irohanihoheto chirinuru wo...)

Sotto hoo naderu kaze
Uiuishiku odoru wakamidori
Amaku sunda kaori mo
Haruno tsukai mo minna

Youki de arou to tsutomedomo
Sora wa kodoku
Haru wa iki wo fukikaeshite
Kimi wo yondeiru no ni...

🌸 Hanabie ni sarawareru kimi wo
Hikitomeru koto mo kanawazu tatazumu
Sakura no yakusoku hatasanu mama
Doushite kimi wa hitori
chitta

Nigotta shisen no saki
Uzumaku hanabira tachi wa marude
Sekitomerareta kokoro
Daibensuru ka no gotoku

“Inochi wa hakanaku sore yue utsukushii”
Nagusame nado imi wo motazu
Douka damatte

🌸 Arashi ni uchinomesare you to
Maitsuzukerukoto shika shiranai kimi
Suikomaresouna sunda hitomi
Aa boku no michishirube

🌸 Te ni nokoru kimi no nukumori mo
Asobigokoro manten na kimi no ne mo
Amazuppai kushakusha no kao mo
Towa ni kokoro afure
Saku


*Official English Translation*

The wind caresses my cheeks
As newborn greens dance excitedly
The sweet, clear scent of nature’s rebirth
The messenger of Spring, and everyone…

Although the sky pretends to be cheerful,
We can feel his loneliness in blue
The reborn Spring, breathing once more,
Is calling out to you… so, why?

🌸 The cruel cold took you from me
As, unable to stop it, I could only stand in place.
Why, like the cherry blossoms we promised to see together,
Did you scatter all alone?

My clouded sight cannot see ahead
To the whirling petals as they try to tell me
To feel the feelings I locked away in darkness

They say, “A life is beautiful because it’s ephemeral.”
So what? Platitudes do nothing,
So don’t even say such a thing

🌸 Even as the storm beat down on you,
You could only put forth your absolute best to flourish
And even as I lose myself in the lore handed down through your deep, expressive eyes,
Ah, you always lead me to the proper road ahead

🌸 My hand still remembers the warmth of yours
My ears still hear the sound of you, full of playfulness and cheer
We laughed too hard to remember, before the sweet and sour face we shared
My heart is filled to the brim with your eternal bloom.
Track Name: Iroha (Karaoke)
Buds in the muddy season
Wondering as they open
What comes next

A brilliant sea of color
The scent of rain on the wind
And suddenly, they scatter

A breath, a roar, a whisper, a laugh
A window and a wall
A dark but gentle storm

The pilgrim petal snow
The city alight in sunset after dawn
“I like thunderstorms,” you know
and I realize: I’m raining too

🌸 Will you ever see the cherry trees in bloom?
It seems the Jacaranda trees will simply have to do
Though wind and rain may wash away the brightest, pinkest hue
Another spring, another day, somehow...
咲く。

A barren branch once aglow
Nine types of light
in a sea of purple

Pink aflame in yellow
The birds in flight
Sing inadvertent poetry

Pigs in planes and Cats on Mars;
The Titans at the door;
The dinosaurs!!

Two white tigers
Playing in the starry stream
Holding hands as they open
Open the gate from winter to spring


🌸 Will we never see these cherry trees in bloom?
We only had the autumn leaves;
Oh, how can that be true?
There’ll never be another spring that feels this close to you
And now I see the lights fade to blue…
咲く。

いろはにほへと ちりぬるを
わかよたれそ つねならむ

Wishes hang above the city
Colors dance again like stars
Ah, hope sprouts so tenderly
In a ruined paradise

うゐのおくやま けふこえて
🌸 Someday we’ll see the cherry trees in bloom
The sunlight comes after the freeze
and wraps us up in blue
The early season’s pinks and greens
The color of our youth
Until our spring can come again,
To the next season, look ahead…

あさきゆめみし ゑひもせず
And now we see the cherry trees in bloom
Like blossoms flowing in the breeze,
There’s still no one like you
Your colors everywhere with me
The melodies come through
And so springs forth another song, somehow...
作。
Track Name: イロハ 〜君ノ咲ク春〜 (カラオケ)
いろはにほへと ちりぬるを…

そぉっと頬撫でる風
初々しく踊る若緑
甘く澄んだ香りも
春の使いもみんな

陽気であろうと務めども
空は孤独
春は息を吹き返して
きみを呼んでいるのに

🌸 花冷えにさらわれる君を
引き止めることも叶わず佇む
桜の約束果たさぬまま
どうして君はひとり
散った

濁った視線の先
渦巻く花びら達はまるで
塞き止められた心
代弁するかのごとく

「命は儚くそれ故美しい」
慰めなど意味を持たず
どうか黙って

🌸 嵐に打ちのめされようと
舞い続けることしか知らない君
吸い込まれそうな澄んだ瞳
あゝ僕の道しるべ

🌸 手に残る君の温もりも
遊び心満点な君の音も
甘酸っぱいくしゃくしゃの顔も
永遠に心溢れ
咲く


*ローマ字* 
Romaji:

(Irohanihoheto chirinuru wo...)

Sotto hoo naderu kaze
Uiuishiku odoru wakamidori
Amaku sunda kaori mo
Haruno tsukai mo minna

Youki de arou to tsutomedomo
Sora wa kodoku
Haru wa iki wo fukikaeshite
Kimi wo yondeiru no ni...

🌸 Hanabie ni sarawareru kimi wo
Hikitomeru koto mo kanawazu tatazumu
Sakura no yakusoku hatasanu mama
Doushite kimi wa hitori
chitta

Nigotta shisen no saki
Uzumaku hanabira tachi wa marude
Sekitomerareta kokoro
Daibensuru ka no gotoku

“Inochi wa hakanaku sore yue utsukushii”
Nagusame nado imi wo motazu
Douka damatte

🌸 Arashi ni uchinomesare you to
Maitsuzukerukoto shika shiranai kimi
Suikomaresouna sunda hitomi
Aa boku no michishirube

🌸 Te ni nokoru kimi no nukumori mo
Asobigokoro manten na kimi no ne mo
Amazuppai kushakusha no kao mo
Towa ni kokoro afure
Saku