YAPOOS – CITY OF PRAYERS [INORI NO MACHI] (1988)

Lyrics and music by YOICHIRO YOSHIKAWA

Another track off of Daitenshi no you ni / Like an Archangel, this one features a debatably orientalist portrayal of an unnamed Middle Eastern city. It’s difficult to track down information about this song – like what inspired it – but my guess is that someone took a trip to the Middle East, came back, and wrote this song. Instrumentally it’s probably one of my favorites on the album, though I do wish the subject matter had been handled with more… care.

Translation and notes under the cut:

The red afternoon sun sinks in the sky
In the city of Yasar (1)
Japan is far away
105,000 kilometers
You can’t use coins
You can’t drink alcohol
And in Hakaruk Square (2)
The Quran rings out

The sun overflows with light
In an unending blue sky
Children riding donkeys
Reaching out their hands for baksheesh
The day off is Friday
You can’t drink alcohol
The glittering alabaster mosque
Kneeling people

The white morning sun rises
In the city of Yasar
Children digging up stones
People selling camels
People and livestock both
Often die upon the street
And in Hakaruk Square
The Quran rings out


1: Obviously this is supposed to be a place. Some research reveals there is a place by that name in Turkey, but I’m not sure if that’s what was meant.
2: Shot in the dark with the spelling on this one. I can’t find anything that remotely resembles the expression in Japanese, and the spelling doesn’t bring up any non-Yapoos hits.

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