Japanese uses three systems of writing: Kanji, or Chinese-derived pictograms, Furigana (two syllabaries used with native Japanese and foreign loan words respectively), and Romaji, the English alphabet (used mainly--and sparingly--with media for young people). The Kanji represent ideas, and often have several sounds ascribed to them depending on the context.
For those of us studying the language, I've included both a full Japanese transcription, which uses both Kanji and Furigana, and a Romaji version which complements it. In other words, for those of you seriously studying Japanese, you ultimately want to be able to read the Kanji/Furigana version, but if you are still learning the Furigana and/or know only a few Kanji, the Romaji will provide the sounds of those words so you can easily look them up in a dictionary and know the correct pronunciation.
Remember that for every Kanji used, that character could also be a represented by one or more Furigana syllables. In conventional Japanese certain words which could be represented by Kanji are often written using the simpler-to-use Furigana. For the sake of completeness and study, however, I've used many Kanji which are optional in daily use. This is handy to know when you are reading something else and find a familiar set of sounds without the memory aid of the Kanji pictogram there.
In normal Japanese no spacing is used between words, which I'll honor here, but for the Romaji version my spacing will have to be a little arbitrary. If you have trouble finding a word in a dictionary, experiment with splitting the word to see if you can get two. Likewise, if you're looking up a word starting with "o" and having trouble, try dropping it. It's often just an honorific.
You might find you have a lot
of trouble find words in the dictionary—this is perfectly normal. Japanese, as an agglutinative
language, simply adds words onto other words like glue (especially verbs) or will use a sort of conjugation system to change a word’s meaning, rendering its spelling very different from the original. You may have to skip certain words until your grammatical knowledge improves.
I've made every effort to align my transcription with the English translation for ease of study, but Japanese, on top of more or less reversing English word order, also will usually reverse the order of phrases in long sentences (compare the "photo" stanza of the opening theme for an example).
In Furigana, the symbol for "ha" is pronounced "wa" when it's used in the sense of "is," and the symbol for "he" is pronounced "e" when used in the sense of (to go) "to."
One last note on Romaji: Japanese has a long "O" sound which is variably represented in Romaji as "ou" ("oo" for a few words) and an O with a line over it. Your dictionary could use one or the other. I'll use ou/oo (easier to type!).
You'll notice a few spots marked with asterisks (*); these follow the occasional word or sentence that I had trouble hearing. If you think you know the correct language, or spot an error in the text, write me at linn.cole_!REMOVEfirstname.lastname@example.org .