The kana reads: tsu ga ri wo hi to tsu ki te ku re But it sounds like: tsu gar ri wo shko shkin de ku re
You're missing a yo in both lines, and an i in "kiite": tsu yo ga ri wo hi to tsu kii te ku re
In fluid speech, it's not uncommon for /hi/ to be pronounced more like /shh/ when the /i/ after it is devocalized. It's just what the mouth naturally does when you're talking fast. And don't forget that /u/ and /i/ can be devocalized between unvoiced consonants and after an unvoiced consonant at the end of a word.
So I guess a representation of the line that's closer to how it's actually being pronounced here would be:
tsuyo gari wo shhto tskiite kure
The rest sounds perfectly like what's written there, and you seem to be just mishearing it. Try using a program like Audacity to slow the audio down and that should elucidate it for you.
Also the "h" sound in "hi" is different from the "h" sound in ha, he, and ho. It can sound like "sh" although it's not the same sound. Pronouncing ひ as the English word "he" (i.e. he/him/his) gives you a foreign accent. (The IPA symbol for the consonant in ひ is [ç].)
And as JimmySeal says, devoiced vowels (or "whispered mora" or whatever term your book uses) is a very important concept. It's said to be a feature of Tokyo Japanese although I'm sure it's present in some other dialects as well. The basic rule is that a vowel is devoiced when it's between two voiceless consonants, or at the end of a phrase/sentence after a voiceless consonant.
Last edited by yudantaiteki (2012 May 29, 6:44 pm)