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On Juhu Beach

Title: On Juhu Beach 1 2
Released: 2001
Label: Nursecall; Yoyo 3

Jump to the table of contents

Liner notes 4 5

(paper 1):

5 songs recorded in iowa
10/99 – 02/00

(paper 2):

訳詩 宮川一春 (jamaican cheek) 6

(paper 3):

<John's signature>
アメリカ・アイオワ州にて 7

Table of contents

  1. Hotel Road
  2. Bad Waves
  3. Transjordanian Blues
  4. Burned My Tongue
  5. World Cylinder

Hotel Road 8

Thirty-story hotel overlooking the sea
Friends on either arms supporting me 9
It's hard to walk now
But I will go down somehow
I'm going down the old road
I'm going down the old road

Children kick a soccer ball around in the street 10
Kalpadruma trees 11 melting in the heat
It's hard to walk here
Where the waves shine so clear
I'm going down the old road
I'm going down, down the old road

Above the swollen ocean, the burning yellow sun
Hits the hotel's Mylar windows 12 catching everyone 13
It's hard to say why
I should come here to die
I'm going down the old road
I'm going down the old road

Bad Waves 14

Beachfront hotel
Twenty dollars a night
Sun yellow and bright 15
Too exhausted to think or to talk
Young boys from Bangladesh 16
Breakdancing on the sidewalk
And the waves will tear them all to pieces
The waves will tear them all to pieces

Twinkling Waterford crystal 17
In the banquet hall
Childlike religious paintings 18
Lining the wall
I will try to gather my strength
And I will rest up all week
All I can say to them, yeah
When I open my mouth to speak, is that the waves
Will tear us all to pieces
The waves will tear us all to pieces

Transjordanian Blues 19 20 21

"One, two, three, four."

This church is rotten from the top down
This church is rotten from the top down
But I, I am going to clean house tonight
And it's going to go back into the earth it rose from

These walls can't keep the world at bay
No, these walls can't keep the world at bay
Our time, our time is limited and precious
And this place, this place is limitless and pernicious

Would you all just follow me
Out into the open
Leave your coats and handbags, damn it all
Can't you see the floors are smoking 22

Yeah, this church is not long for this world
This church is not long for this world
If you're wondering who to blame, I want to praise his name with songs and feasting
Follow me to the open field, where the truth will be revealed if you're really listening

Hosanna, hosanna 23
I am saved by the blood of the lamb 24
Yeah, one day when I was lost
He died upon that cross 25
And I am saved by the blood of the lamb

Burned My Tongue 26

Woke up this morning about a quarter to five
Said the prayer you taught me to keep myself alive 27
It burned my tongue
It burned my tongue

Fried some grains in butter, said a simple grace
Sat down at the table, fed my greedy face
It burned my tongue
It burned my tongue

Looked out at the ocean, I could see it so clear
Said the only name I can ever stand to hear 28
It burned my tongue
It burned my tongue

When I ask you to sing with me, I wish you'd sing along
Thirty years in this world, thirty years too long
It burns my tongue
It burns my tongue

You took away my friends, you took my will to live
I gave you all I got, what more have I got to give
It burns my tongue
It burns my tongue
It burns my tongue
It burns my tongue

World Cylinder 29

I don't like going to the doctor
I don't like looking in the mirror
I like looking out the window
Watching the waves break
Do I have to hit you over the head with it 30
Do I have to hit you over the head with it

I'm tired of talking to the suckers 31
I'm tired of talking to the wealthy
I want to talk to men and women
Who haven't got anything left
Do I have to hit you over the head with it
Do I have to hit you over the head with it

Carry me down to the water
Where I used to play when I was five
Let me go, let me go down to the water
Don't bring me back alive
Do I have to hit you over the head with it
Do I have to hit you over the head with it

  1. On Juhu Beach, Nall, accessed May 1, 2014.


Caliclimber gets a special thanks — not only did his Flickr page provided the album art, but I pestered him incessantly about getting high-quality scans that I could get translated, which he did. Caliclimber, thank you, you are awesome.


  1. John's commentary on the forum about the album:

    people are free to fileshare this if they like, even here - it's out of print, and is going to remain out of print forever, since the cool-ass packaging would be unfeasible at a larger level (the sleeves were handsewn) and I'm not interested in seeing it packaged any other way

    I am fond of this release, it's really different and out-there and some of the songs were heading in directions that I didn't end up pursuing further - makes me wonder how a cycle I was working on concurrently ("Montenegrin Suite," of all the pretentious titles in the world) might have turned out if other work hadn't reared its head"

    Given that the album is now available on iTunes, purchasing there rather than downloading is preferable. For people who want to recreate the album, an awesome project containing instructions for how to duplicate everything about it is available on the wiki.

    Mountain Goats forums. On Juhu Beach, April 18, 2007. See also (2). Retrieved April 30, 2014.

  2. Juhu Beach is a prominent beach on the Arabian Sea in Juhu, a district or suburb of Mumbai on the west coast of India. Despite the Japanese packaging, I'm not aware of a Juhu Beach in Japan.

  3. Originally, the album was an extremely limited release by Nursecall. However, there may be multiple releases. Some discussion by people who own the album revealed that there are both professionally printed and sans label versions both bought officially from Nursecall. All are in the middleweight canvas packaging on a 3" CD.

    By 2008, it was released on iTunes by Yoyo, who apparently now own the copyright. John himself was surprised by the release, which was apparently not orchestrated by him.

    Mountain Goats forums. On Juhu Beach on iTunes, May 14, 2008. Retrieved April 30, 2014.

  4. The liner notes are contained on a photocopy that was folded inside the sewn record, appearing to be cut and pasted pieces of paper with typed Japanese kanji characters on top of a parcel air package mailed by the United States Postal Service in Ames, Iowa to Nursecall in Japan. You can see what this looks like on Caliclimber's Flickr page.

    Almost everything on the page is in Japanese. When translated back into English, most of the text turns out to be the lyrics to the songs. For those who are interested in reading the translated and modified lyrics (and the somewhat hilarious results you sometimes get translating them back into English), you can see the lyrics and their translations here. Some lyrics are completely different or have some additional meanings in the Japanese translations; I've annotated these in the individual songs when significant. Above, I've included all of the liner notes but the lyrics and the basic biographical information written in English.

    Two particular pieces of paper are of note. One reads:



    This translates as "Appendix 1: Appendix — 'Explanations of the songs'". The rest of that piece of paper provides some brief perspectives on the first two songs, Hotel Road and Bad Waves. The second piece of paper reads "別紙2", meaning "Appendix 2", and describes the remaining songs, Transjordanian Blues, Burned My Tongue, and World Cylinder. These commentaries are included with each song.

  5. On Juhu Beach also had a promotional poster (viewable on Nall's site). Unfortunately, the Japanese is sufficiently obscured as to render it untranslatable. If you have access to this poster and could send me a photo of the Japanese text, I'd love to translate it.

  6. This translates as "Lyrics translated by Kazuharu Miyagawa". Jamaican Cheek is Miyagawa's really, really awesome Japanese postrock band, and you should go listen to their awesome music. They rock.

  7. Translates to be:

    I hope to see you again soon.
    <John's signature>
    May 1
    Iowa, USA

  8. From the Japanese liner notes:

    1. Hotel Road. 老僧はインドにあるホテルの高い階の窓から海を見て、独りで歌う。

    In English, this reads, "Hotel Road: An old monk sings alone looking over the ocean from a hotel window of an upper floor in India."

  9. In the Japanese lyrics, written as "Please, someone lend me some power".

  10. Written in the Japanese lyrics as "Children are playing soccer on the street without any thought for the people around them".

  11. Kalpadruma tree is another name for the kalpavriksha tree, a mythological wish tree in Hinduism granted by Parvati, being formed in the churning of the ocean of milk that created many other holy plants, animals, and artifacts. It does not have a clear botanical counterpart.

  12. Mylar, a brand name for biaxially-oriented polyethylene terephthalate, is a reflective plastic sheet material presumably used here to reflect the sun.

  13. In Japanese, written as "Shattering the Mylar windows of the hotel, and starting to attack everyone".

  14. Written in Japanese in the liner, John states:

    2. Bad Waves. 彼は学生について話をしようとしている。しかし、いいたい話がいえないと心配しています。

    Translated back into English, this reads, "He is trying to talk about (a) student(s), but is worried/concerned that he cannot express himself in the story as he wants to." The translator commented to me that as Japanese lacks singular and plural forms and as this short explanation doesn't provide enough context, it's unclear whether it should read student or students.

  15. These lines are rearranged in the Japanese transcription. This line is removed entirely, replaced by "That's enough", after the line describing the price.

  16. Bangladesh is a country bordering India to the northeast, formed in 1947 as part of Pakistan and gaining independence as Bangladesh in 1971.

  17. Waterford Crystal is a major Irish crystal manufacturer.

  18. Written in Japanese as "Childish Hanuman pictures drawn on the walls".

    Hanuman is a monkey-headed Hindu god loyal to Rama and fighting against Ravana in the epic Ramayana.

  19. John writes in the liner notes:

    3. Transjordanian Blues. 説教であり、その半分は全くの絶望で、もう半分は無条件の称賛である。

    Translated, this reads, "Transjordanian Blues is a sermon; half of which is complete despair and the other half is unconditional praise."

  20. Transjordanian Blues is part of the informal series of Biblical references.

  21. This is a complex reference that could take meaning from several sources, all of some Biblical importance.

    The first, and most obvious, are from the geographical regions of Jordan and Transjordan, all referring to lands bordering and east of the Jordan River. Jordan is a present-day country as well as an ancient region bordering modern Palestine, Israel, Iraq, and Saudi Arabian. Transjordan is a Biblical term for Gilead, referring to the land owned by the Israeli tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh. The term literally translates to "across the Jordan" in Latin, coming from a Hebrew word for the same.

    Interpreted as, "Blues from crossing Jordan", this could refer to a number of Biblical events. Most prominent of these would be the crossing of the river Jordan after their exodus from Egypt, in which the waters recede to allow their crossing during the floods. Less obviously, this could refer to Jesus crossing Jordan to speak (or people crossing Jordan to hear him), or most importantly, his hiding place, which was described as being at the place of John the Baptist's baptismal site, "across the Jordan".

    Joshua 3, Matthew 19:1, Mark 10:1, Matthew 4:25, Mark 3:7 – 8, John 10:39 – 40. Holman Christian Standard Bible. Retrieved April 30, 2014.

  22. Translated in the Japanese as "Shit, don't you realize it's smoking from the floor?"

  23. Hosanna is a word meaning "save" or "rescue" in Hebrew and Aramaic, used in modern Christianity and Judaism services as an plea for divine help. It appears in numerous Bible verses, particularly the triumphal return of Jesus to Jerusalem, in which it serves as a joyous shout by the welcoming crowds. This story is told in all of the canonical Gospels.

    Matthew 21:1 – 11, Mark 11:1 – 11, Luke 19:28 – 40, John 12:12 – 19. Holman Christian Standard Bible. Retrieved April 20, 2014.

  24. This may be a variation of the lyrics to I Know It Was the Blood (described below), however, I haven't been able to find lyrics with these lines in them. More likely, these lines are John referring to the salvation of humanity through the crucifixion of Christ (at least, to those that ascribe to substitutionary atonement).

    The line blends several references. First, the lamb of God is a term for Jesus, first uttered by John the Baptist upon first seeing Jesus: "Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" The blood of the lamb could literally refer to the blood spilled by Jesus in his death. However, it could also refer to lines in Revelation, many of which follow the Lamb, an apparently slain beast as it carries out Revelation in a metaphor for Jesus. Specifically, Revelation 7:14 states: "These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."

    John 1:29; Revelation 7:14. Holman Christian Standard Bible. Retrieved April 30, 2014.

  25. A direct quote from the gospel song I Know It Was the Blood, which contains these lines in every verse. Different traditions sing different lyrics, but at an example, here is one version of the first verse:

    I know it was the blood,
    I know it was the blood,
    I know it was the blood for me.
    One day when I was lost
    He died upon the cross,
    I know it was the blood for me.

    The song describes how the death of Jesus resulted in the salvation of all sinners.

    Warren, Gwendolin (1997). Ev'ry Time I Feel the Spirit. New York: Henry Holt & Company.

  26. In the liner notes, John writes:

    4. Burned My Tongue. 彼は棋(チェス)というゲームの規則は公平であるかどうか神と議論している。

    Which reads, "He is discussing/arguing with God whether or not the rules of a game called chess is fair." The character 棋 can be read as chess, go, or another abstract strategy game, however, the parenthetical clause clarifies that he's referring to Western chess.

  27. Written in Japanese as "I mumbled the prayer that you taught me / Let's live it up today".

  28. Inverted in the Japanese translation, where this line reads, "I said that name / I couldn't stand hearing it".

  29. From the Japanese liner notes:

    5. World Cylinder. これは、ダンス音楽。お餞の全然もっていない人しかこの音楽にダンスできない。

    Translated, this says, "This is a dance music. Only those who have absolutely no money can dance to this music." I presume that "no money" in this context is an Anglicism to be interpreted as "uncool" rather than taken literally.

  30. This refrain is written in Japanese as "Is that why I need to punch your head…"

  31. "Suckers" is written as "poor" in the Japanese lyrics.