Sunday, February 19, 2006

Let's Learn Japanese: Sukkiri!

Sukkiri! (interjection)
When you rack your brain or search for information for an extended period and then finally come up an answer, the subsequent feeling of relief is expressed by the word
sukkiri. There is no literal English translation for this, but it means something like "refreshing!"

I eat an awful lot of Indian food, considering that I live in Japan. A few months ago I was having lunch with Girlfriend at Samrat in Shinjuku (home of some of the best naan in Tokyo) and this totally catchy Hindi-sounding pop song came on the loudspeakers. I couldn't understand any of the lyrics, but the song's melody was stuck in my head all day long (along with a humorous approximation of the words to the song). The more I thought about the song, the more I wished I knew more about it. It was like that episode of The Adventures of Pete & Pete when Little Pete hears that "I was around / nobody knows" song and then spends the whole episode trying to remember how the song went. Only in my case, the lyrics in question weren't "I was around / nobody knows." They were "Totay, totay."

At first I tried asking the friendly staff of an Indian restaurant in Shimokitazawa called 2x2=8 for information about the song. But of course, I didn't know the song's title, and I could only sort of sing the "totay, totay" they weren't able to shed any light on the matter for me. (Pretty funny, actually...I sang "totay, totay," and the cashier was like, "Oh yes, totay, totay.") Incidentally, they were equally unhelpful when I asked why their restaurant was called 2x2=8. If memory serves, the sign says "2x2=8," but under that there are hiragana spelling out ni nin ga yon, which means "2x2=4." Go figure.

I tried searching online for the song, but of course that was no easy task since I had no idea how I should romanize the words "totay, totay," or if I was even hearing them correctly. Then, last week, it occurred to me that the song was most likely from a Bollywood movie soundtrack, so I narrowed my search and finally found out that the song is "Dil Tote Tote Ho Gaya" by Punjabi singer Hans Raj Hans, and appears on the soundtrack to a movie called Bichhoo.


[ Listen to "Dil Tote Tote Ho Gaya" ]

No comments: