It's a natural question for an American guy studying Japanese: Why?
For many, the answer is "アニメ"; for me, not really. Besides the occasional Miyazaki film, I've watched a total of:
No judgement about anime superfans here; I'm just not a good source of recommendations. すすめがない。
If there's time, I probably will start up Cowboy Bebop (カウボーイビバップ), in which (checks Wikipedia) bounty hunters called Cowboys go bounty-hunting in a spaceship called Bebop. Though critics have praised the series with "masterpiece" and "one of the greatest anime of all time", what hooked me is the soundtrack. A friend linked me to the title theme "Tank!", and I was quickly off to find other works by the same artist.
Yoko Kanno, composer and keyboardist, and her band Seatbelts (シートベルツ) perform the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack. The music is fantastic. Let's listen to "Time to Know ~ Be Waltz" from the album "Cowboy Bebop OST: Future Blues":
There are lyrics here, starting about two minutes in, spoken by Hideyuki Takahashi. Although YouTube commenter Hayden Samuels provided lyrics in romaji in the link above, I wanted to find kanji and kana, which are easier to read and translate. Fortunately, a Livedoor page from 2006 by user "Ｎダ" had what I was looking for.
I'll say thanks to "Ｎダ" for this, but otherwise leave her alone. We'll take a look at her profile (自己紹介), and try out a convention of providing a very literal translation (blue) and more natural meaning (orange).
As for that, I'm absolutely not telling you. You [impolite] also I'm not telling.
None of your business.
Something about "Time to Know" caught the attention of "Ｎダ" as well. From her page:
Bebop's Movie CD, listening to because.
Because I'm listening to the Bebop soundtrack CD.
"Time to know"、好きなのに何言ってるか全然わからん.
"Time to Know" even though I like, what's being said I completely do not understand. (わからん is slang for 分からない: "I don't know.")
Even though I like the song "Time to know", I don't understand what is being said at all.
It's Japanese, to say, besides that I don't know.
All I know is that it's Japanese.
All right! Listening.
What does this mean? In French, guy who writes what he listens to. (フラ語 is slang for "French", and やつ is slang for "guy".)
What does this mean? In French, a transcriber.
Now let's get to the lyrics. Some of the meanings I can't puzzle out, and I apologize.
Flowing river's water, like, how about? Like this?
How about like the water of a flowing river? Like this?
value of conflict
that is a value added by humans
this is a fresh soul (たましい == 魂)
happy-now will live out so declare complete decisively
I'm gonna live my fun living happily
fun... I don't know ... glad... don't know (ワカンネ is even more slangy than わからん)
(let's look at the next section)
(from romaji transcription: Tanoshii yo sore wa ureshii tsumori nai CHANGE da shi) 楽しいよそれは嬉しいつもりないCHANGEだし
It's fun. That's a change without intent to be glad...?
That's fun. Unintentionally happy change?
win the conflict and advance to next round... I don't know (she got it right, though)
win the conflict and advance to next round
In flowing time do your hand like this is good
Do you like hands as it flows?
I'm advancing past the fun of advancing past the conflict?
Let's survive the fun winning the fight!
This is a fresh soul
And "Ｎダ"'s comments:
This way I heard it!
This is what I heard!
Fresh soul! (タマシイ == 魂)
Fresh soul! (more slangy)
The chords take some work to figure out as well. Here a few, starting at the lyrics portion: