February 11th, 2004


Anime reference in ragtime!

I was looking at a site about ragtime composers in Japan (there's quite a ragtime scene over there!) and while listening to MIDI files of contemporary rags written by Japanese composers, I noticed that the description for one called "Cat's Cradle Rag" was talking about Doraemon!

The composer writes (the original text was in Japanese): "The Doraemon character Nobita has special skills -- Nerukoto and Ayatori. I think they both are excellent skills. Now then, here's a question: What do you call Ayatori in English? The answer: Cat's Cradle!" He goes on, but I haven't looked closely enough to translate the rest.

I don't know what "Nerukoto" is (and I've not seen the cutesy kid's show Doraemon other than trailers), but it's written with the kanji for "go to sleep". So, I think he discovered the English term for Ayatori and found it ironic that it involves not only the concept of sleep with the word "Cradle", but of course Doraemon is a "cat-type robot" ...

OK, here's the original text, including the bits I haven't translated yet, for those who care to beat me to it:

ドラえもんに登場するのび太くんの特技は、“寝ること”と、“あやとり”だそうですね。私はどちらも素晴らしい特技だと思います。さて、ここで問題です。英語で“あやとり”のことを何というでしょう?・・・・・答えは“Cat's Cradle”です。“Cat's Cradle”は、もともと猫を寝かせるための揺り篭のことを意味するそうですが(名前の通り)、英語圏のあやとりには“Cat's Cradle”という技があるので、次第に“Cat's Cradle”があやとりを意味する言葉になったのだそうです。この曲の、第4楽節の右手の動きが何となくあやとりみたいだったので、そんな曲名にしてみました。