Music shouldn’t be overlooked as an important learning resource for those studying Japanese or any other foreign language. Though song lyrics can be difficult to understand (I’m notoriously horrible at comprehending them, even in English), on the flip side you can get exposure to different vocabulary you normally wouldn’t be in touch with. Also, by listening to songs over and over, certain words stick in your head and become easy to memorize without much effort. Just be careful to not spend too much time copying the pronunciation of singers, since they often speak in an exaggerated or artistic fashion, which can be quite different than typical pronunciation.
Except for a few singles here and there, I haven’t been too much into Japanese music recently. However a few years back I was listening to the band Quruli (くるり）a lot, and still regard them as one of the better Japanese groups out there.
Though their lead singer is arguably a bit 音痴 (tone deaf), I was always amazed at the wide range of the songs they wrote and performed. Hard rock, techno, pop, and even country – it seems that there is little they couldn’t do. The lyrical content of the songs is also quite diverse, touching on everything from fireworks, to games, to romance. If I had to compare them to an English-speaking band in terms of their creativity, diversity, and overall style, I’d pick U2. Though of course their world popularity isn’t nearly as great.
I haven’t heard much of their new music, but it seems they are still making albums, and I can only assume they haven’t lost the knack of putting out great songs.
Here are two of their older, but classic, songs that I recommend.
バラの花 (Partial PV)
As for the origins of their name, くるり is a word that means to spin or change quickly. It is used expressions like “くるりと回る” and “くるりと変える”. Considering their quicksilver-like ability to jump genres on a second’s notice, I think this is a perfectly fitting name.
Side note: This morning I had an idea for an interesting language learning website. It will take some time but hopefully I can make a basic prototype, and if that goes well I’ll eventually release a beta version here.