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Song Parodies -> "Mistake-Prone Samurai"

Original Song Title:

"American Pie"

Original Performer:

Don McLean

Parody Song Title:

"Mistake-Prone Samurai"

Parody Written by:


The Lyrics

I thought it was time I presumptuously rubbed shoulders with the major-league parodists and attempted one of the 'Big Seven'. 'Edmund Fitzgerald' seems to be the sexy theme at the moment but but I don't know it well so I'm tackling the old Don McLean favorite. The title may be misleading - it's a language theme rather than a military one, based on 15 years of EFL teaching in Japan. Most of the conversations herein really took place.


Nihon, long time ago
I can still dismember now
That usage - used to make me rile
And I knew if they had no chance
Of English language excell-ance
Ah maybe they'd be happy, force a smile
But February made me shiver
With every lesson I'd deliver
Summer - Oz in full step
I'm freezin' through my whole prep
I laughed, remember, till I cried
When she said right out, my future bride
'David, want you in my side'
Such ways the language died

So bye, bye, mistake-prone samurai
Loved your levity, the brevity was heavy, good try
Them good-bad clauses clinking risky-awry
Singing: 'At the shrimp I play because die.
Many many drinking, kampai!'*

' Did you just say: (ugh!) "Who you rub?"
Sigh! First repeat: "Who do you love?"
I'm your bible. Tell it so!'
'Eh? I'm rub makizushi roll.
What food are you? Cup-ramen bowl?'**
And 'Can you, teacher, one more, please, say slow?'
'Well now, where were you last night, Miss Kim?'
'Boifurendo house - so! I was in him.
Of course we take off shoes
It must please taking off you's!'
I heard this vintage plonkin' muck
In the railway station, in Daihatsu truck
That English grammar demon struck
The way my language died

(I started cringin')

'Nai, nai, Mika, Mariko, fie!
Pronounce heavy just like "hebi"? No not happy - know why?
This crude ol' noise too freakin' frisky!', I cry
'List'ning bristles me, your way makes me sigh
This is how you say that - apply!'

Now for ten years I've taught tense and tone
You can't get blood from a temple stone:
'But that's not "was'd", it's "used to be"!'
Like a jester: ' "Rang", not " I ping-pong'd" (scream!);
Not "What means?" Try "What does this word mean?"
And avoid "Ah so!" Say "Oh I see!" '
'Oh, my blain is panic!' Kenji frowned
'Is my blain panic?': Mai's rebound
The lesson was adjourned
No syntax was interned
And while I recorded choice remarks
They waited for me in the park
For karaoke after dark
No way the music dies

(We were singin')

'Bye, bye, baby baby, goodbye'
'He name's Flunkie Barry? Spunky? Yellow Monkey, hai hai?***
Them girls and boys: Suntory whiskey - you try?'
Thinkin' this'll be my day, next to Mai:
'Sensei, you have pretty blue eye!'

Held her, smelled her, she said 'Why you telled her
My words say off !' And so I couns-elled her
Eight shots high and falling fast
Landed somehow on the grass
I played ace, tried for a forward pass
But my quest for cute pick-up lines didn't last
The night-time air, her sweet perfume
The buskers played headbanging tunes
We found a club to dance
Oh but 'lub' neber stood a chance
'Coz her 'brain was panic', lips were sealed
Spoke Japanese, refused to yield
'Yamato-na-desh'ko' revealed!****
That day our music died

(I started singin')

'Sigh! Sai-sayon-ara sweet Mai
Have you never been to Neverland - why sever our tie?
'Them good old joys are sinking, is kiss-goodbye?'
Thinking sore wa sugo-i itai
Kekkon sh'te, Mai-chan, onegai*****

So and there we were in classroom space
Inebriation, lost no face
It's show time now, let's start again:
'So come on, Tak' be simple, Tak' be quick:'
'I'm car clash, steer-handle stick.'
The pond is swimming in the frog. The end.'
And as I watched him turn the page
My anus clenched. Still at this stage?
My English-no-speak hell:
'How make this spelling spell?'
But as the flame yearned Mai that fateful night:
'We hope that you enjoyed your fright'
They had me laughing with delight
Although love's fuse, it died.

(I was singin')

Bye bye, strict grammarian guy
Swallow standards like oldhanders, think what brand is your tie
Them good old students they will mis-key but try
Singing 'Whistle day by day, don't ask why.
This'll mean your brain will not fry.'

I met a girl named Emiru
She asked Shin 'How long are you?'
And I just smiled and turned away
I walked along historic wall
Where lies Toyotomi's final fall******
But the man there said 'Gomen, we're closed today.'
Narrow streets, the Hondas screamed
And noodle shops, hot water steamed
No broken sentence spoken
My senses were awoken
And I thought about that warrior host
Their mortal life now mere hollow boast
I thought 'The last train matters most.'
That day confusion died

(And I was singing)

Hai, hai, Misses Saki and Kai
English messing with my blessing, not distressing this guy
You good girls/boys are thinking crisply, my my
Singing this'll be the way keeps me high
To communicate, that is why

(We were singing)

Fly, sky, little Yumi and Dai
Express any, words are many, yes again-y you try
Some good ol' noise, yes I'm insisting - not shy
Second-language kids,whizz kids, bye bye bye

original recording here.
* For the understandably baffled, intended meaning: 'I go to the shrine to pray and contemplate my mortality. Then I go out and get drunk. Bottoms up!'.

** Makizushi - vinegared raw fish and fresh cucumber on rice rolled into a 'loaf' with fried tofu and sliced. A ceremonial dish at some Kansai festivals
Ramen - Chinese-style thin white noodles served in large bowls of (usually) pork-based broth, very popular, ubiquitous counter-style office lunch fare

*** Flunkie Barry = Frankie Valli, not especially well-known in Japan; 'Yellow Monkey' was a popular 90s Tokyo-based boy band. They've been long since eclipsed by the likes of 'Mr Children', 'Kinki Kids' and 'Glay' (Let's not go there)

****'Yamato-nadeshiko - loosely 'pure, unsullied, old-fashioned flower of Japan', similar to 'English rose', used jokingly these days to refer to prudish young women, what men used to call 'professional virgins'. 'Deshiko' is a native flower found in the Yamato river area of the Nara basin, the cradle of ancient Japanese culture. The national women's soccer team, which won the world championship in 2011, call themselves the 'Deshikos', but Yamatonadeshikos they are surely not.

***** 'This is going to hurt very much. Please marry me, I beg you.' 'Shite' (pron. 'sh'tay'), the imperative form of 'do'. No, not what it looks like to the English-speaking eye.

****** The 1615 fall of Osaka Castle and subsequent emasculation of the Toyotomi clan completed the unification of Japan under the Tokugawa shogunate, ushering in the 'Edo' period of isolation, which persisted until 1868 and opening of the country to international trade under the Meiji restoration.
'Gomen' - sorry (informal), more politely 'gomen nasai'

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Pacing: 5.0
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Overall Rating: 5.0

Total Votes: 6

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Wendy Christopher - December 13, 2012 - Report this comment
My god Lifeliver, your brain must've been throbbing when you finished this one - this has some of the most intricate and perfectly-paced wordplay I've seen in a long time. So many laugh-out-loud funny lines - particularly loved "And while I recorded choice remarks/They waited for me in the park/For karaoke after dark..." I bow down to your brilliance - a definite 555.
AFW - December 13, 2012 - Report this comment
I agree with Wendy..extremely funny..and almost like a comedy club routine on teaching English in Japan...not its, but it's...a superbly composed submission
Timmy - December 13, 2012 - Report this comment
I agree with AFW; it was like a comedy routine - some great lines in this one.
Leough - December 13, 2012 - Report this comment
555! Awesome! You're well on your way to earning that Big 7 medal!
John Barry - December 13, 2012 - Report this comment
I'm with Wendy. Amazing piece of work!
Callmelennie - December 13, 2012 - Report this comment
LL, what are the Big Seven in your opinion? I'm guessing "American Pie", Modern Major General", Wreck of Edmund FitzGerald" and possibly "Along Comes Mary" What are the others?
Lifelivr - December 13, 2012 - Report this comment
Arigato, everyone. I am happiness.I was gratified to be able to vary the choruses every time. It's a classic case of success through writing about what you know. I'd also like to make it clear that I've met many Japanese whose English is excellent, but they're less fun to write about.
@ Wendy - your comments are always so generous. I rub you, kekkon sh'te! Fyi, it took me a whole day. I can usually knock one off in a couple of hours.
@ AFW - Thanks for praise and it's a pleasure to see 'it's' licked. Go up to next level.
@ Timmy - Thanks - the funniest thing about broken English humor is that it's unintentional, I think. We should try not to feel too superior. Many times I've had Japanese in stitches with my stumbling attempts at their own mysterious and complex language.
@ Leough - Not sure yet if I can handle all seven but time will tell.
@ JAB - Coming from you, I treasure that comment
@ Callmelennie - good question. I know 'Supercalifrag' is another. 'Eve of Destruction'? Anyone? I can think of a few 60s Dylan epics that qualify like 'Desolation Row, '119th Dream,'A Hard Rain' and 'Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands'. I know JB's done a couple of those. There are some very long trad folk ballads like 'Matty Groves' and 'Barbara Allen'. A while back I did Joni Mitchell's 'Song for Sharon' but that's not a popular choice.
Meriadoc - December 13, 2012 - Report this comment
Gleat job! I especerry lubbed the forrowing:

"I'm your Bible"

The lesson was adjourned
No syntax was interned

And of course your sad, failed attempt at the forward pass.... :-D
Meriadoc - December 13, 2012 - Report this comment
The Big Seven:

American Pie

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

Bohemian Rhapsody

I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General

Supercalifragilistic etc.

Blinded By the Light

Be Our Guest

In my opinion, ones that should be added are: Desolation Row, One Week, Life is a Rock and Cleaning Out My Closet...
Lifeliver - December 13, 2012 - Report this comment
Thanks for filling us in, Merry. I guess contributors would have various other candidates. 'Supercal' and 'Major-Gen' are the only ones that interest me, tbh, but there are plenty other epics out there. Sorry, DK the last three you nominated.

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