Language and Humor

Quiz: (Song) Colorful? You’re Dreamin’!

Use the vocabulary below the song to fill in the blanks within this “California Dreamin’” parody.

The answers are at the bottom of the page.

[IMAGE: one woman in red coat amid sea of dark-clad Japanese] I’ll admit that not ALL Japanese fall/winter clothing is

But it seems that way. A few people, at least when I lived in the Kansai (Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe) area, wore a seemingly official auxiliary color in the fall and winter:

But for the majority:

Colorful? You’re Dreamin’!

By Kevin Sullivan, with apologies to “California Dreamin’” by The Mamas and the Papas (written by John and Michelle Phillips, 1963)

All the clothes are brown, or they’re black or gray
Fall and winter clothes, in Japan are that way
Why no others worn? “(?), (?)
Fall or winter season, all else is too (?).”

Stop into a (?), the twelfth along the way
Well, I get a (?), and warm my hands and pay
I notice more-than-usual starin’, I think I hear them say:
“(?), turquoise-wearin’? On such a winter’s day?!”

All the clothes are brown, or they’re black or gray
Starts October 1st, short sleeves (?)
Early fall’s still warm, why can’t you delay?
All they say is “(?), (?).”

Colorful? You’re dreamin’! Japan’s fall clothes? No way!
Colorful? You’re dreamin’! (?)

dewa kore made
ではこれまで: well, that’s it (literally: well, up to this)
gaijin
外人: foreigner (gaikokujin 外国人 is more polite, gaikoku no kata 外国の方 even more so)
hade
派手: flashy, gaudy
kankoohii
缶コーヒー: brewed canned coffee, often with milk and sugar and sold heated (invented by Japan’s UCC Ltd. in 1969)
konbini
コンビニ: convenience store—which are everywhere (short for konbiniensu sutoa コンビニエンスストア)
koromogae
衣替え: annual changing of dress on Apr. 1st and Oct. 1st, especially for student and receptionist uniforms (it’s even printed on some calendars)
[NOUN] mo dame
〔名詞〕もだめ: [NOUN] is/are also no good
Sss
(tsu): sound of sucking air against teeth in response to uncomfortable question (it also helps to simultaneously tilt your head to the side)
shoganee
しょうがねえ: (shouganai しょうがない) it can’t be helped, that’s just the way it is (-ee = coarse -ai, used by many Tokyo teens, used here for rhyme)
sou desu ne . . .
そうですね。。。: well, uh . . .

Answers below

Scoring

  • 7-10: Get a job at the United Nations (as a singing interpreter).
  • 4-6: Not bad.
  • 0-3: Do you dream in black and white?

Answers

Colorful? You’re Dreamin’!

By Kevin Sullivan, with apologies to “California Dreamin’” by The Mamas and the Papas (written by John and Michelle Phillips, 1963)

All the clothes are brown, or they’re black or gray
Fall and winter clothes, in Japan are that way
Why no others worn? “Sss, sou desu ne . . . .
Fall or winter season, all else is too hade.”

Stop into a konbini, the twelfth along the way
Well, I get a kankoohii, and warm my hands and pay
I notice more-than-usual starin’, I think I hear them say:
Gaijin, turquoise-wearin’? On such a winter’s day?!”

All the clothes are brown, or they’re black or gray
Starts October 1st, short sleeves mo dame
Early fall’s still warm, why can’t you delay?
All they say is “koromogae, shouganee.”

Colorful? You’re dreamin’! Japan’s fall clothes? No way!
Colorful? You’re dreamin’! Dewa kore made