Of Love and Plagiarism

The other day I was in a Walgreens here in Florida and quite suddenly my ears caught a remake of the 1965 Beatles song, It’s Only Love.
I thought, how nice it is to hear the younger generation give the nod to the classics.
It would be like Jack Kerouac beating out a Shakespearean quote. Or Shakespeare sonneting Chaucer. Or Chaucer … Well, you get the picture.
I opened my mouth to voicelessly—and inconspicuously—sing along with the singer. “It’s only lo…”2016-05-19_0218
The singer—gasp—messed up the lyrics. He didn’t know the lyrics to the song he was remaking.
No. It was something far worse. He didn’t know he was doing a remake of a classic.
This new song itself isn’t bad and the part in question appears to be just a bridge or mini-chorus. It has a catchy synthesizer riff that makes the song memorable without needing to plagiarize.
I have no idea who sings the song or what it is called—at my age (42) it would be downright embarrassing to know that—but if you are 20 and have never heard of the Beatles, lend me your ears and I’ll play you the chorus of It’s Only Love. Brace yourself: you’ll instantly shout, “Those rascally Beatles stole that from so-and-so!”
Only, barring the slim possibility the Beatles possessed time travel abilities, it was the other way around.
(Here is a very well-done cover of the song. Listen to the chorus.)

George Harrison, of course, had a similar problem. My Sweet Lord rips He’s So Fine. And honestly, his indiscretion was much worse. He didn’t have the youth excuse. He should have known better.

Japanese Reader Collection Vol 2: Momotaro, the Peach Boy

Momotaro, the Peach Boy

Newly updated and soon to come out in paperback, Japanese Reader Collection Volume 2 now includes a revised Momotaro story and The Tortoise and the Hare. A download link for the MP3s of the story is also included.

Just for fun, see how CJ Martin went from this:


to this:


Click to read about the process on his blog.

(The Temporal, a thriller by CJ Martin and in English is FREE now for Kindle.)

Three New Videos on Japanese Idioms

It is kind of plug and play–hope you don’t mind, but I uploaded three new Japanese Idioms videos last night:


This is used when someone speaks only a little or is very quiet. The antonym of this expression is 口が軽い。 kuchi ga karui. One’s mouth is light.
Literally, “mouth is heavy.”


kuchi wo waru
confess; spill the beans; tell all

hannin wa, youyaku kuchi wo watta.
The criminal finally spilled the beans.


kuchi ga katai
tight-lipped; able to keep a secret; lips are sealed

kare wa, kuchi ga katai node, himitsu wo hanashitemo daijoubu da.
He is pretty tight-lipped, so even telling him secrets is fine.

Japanese Proverb: 猫に小判 To Cast Pearls Before Swine


[ねこ に こばん neko ni koban]

Cast Pearls Before Swine

[audio http://thejapanesepage.com/audio_files/kotowaza/1neko.mp3 ]

 This is a useful and common Japanese proverb that is similar to the biblical “cast pearls before swine.” Literally, this means to give a cat a koban.

A koban was an oval-shaped coin used in the Edo Period. Being valuable, giving one to a cat naturally would be foolish.

Koban. Image from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koban_%28Japanese_gold_coin%29



  • 猫に neko ni (give) to a cat [に shows direction]
  • A 小判 koban was an oval-shaped gold coin used during the Edo period.
  • 豚に真珠 buta ni shinju Pearls to a pig. This proverb from the Bible is also often heard in Japanese and means basically the same thing as 猫に小判.



 houseki ni kyoumi no nai hito ni daiyamondo wo agetemo, neko ni koban da.
For someone who has no interest in precious stones, even giving that person a diamond would be casting pearls before swine.

 [audio http://thejapanesepage.com/audio_files/kotowaza/1neko-f.mp3 ]

  • 宝石 houseki—precious stones; gems
  • 興味のない人 kyoumi no nai hito—a person not interested in…
  • に ni—indicates the 興味のない人 is the receiver of ダイヤモンド
  • ダイヤモンド daiyamondo—diamond
  • 上げても agete mo—even if you give (him a diamond)

This lesson is found in our Kotowaza, Japanese Proverbs and Sayings book. It is available in ebook and paperback formats. To learn more, go here on Amazon and here at TJS.com.