Sayonara wa Iwanai Mama / サヨナラは言わないまま: “I Won’t Say Goodbye”
- sayonara / サヨナラ
- “goodbye”, with a connotation of finality.
- wa / は
- A particle indicating the topic.
- iwanai / 言わない
- “Will not say”. Negative form of iu / 言う (“to say”).
- mama / まま
- “to stay in a certain state”
A more literal translation might be “I Will Leave Goodbye Unsaid”.
It’s been quite a while since my last post, but no, this isn’t me saying goodbye (nor saying goodbye without actually saying it, as the song might suggest).
“Sayonara wa Iwanai Mama” is track 5 on Oku Hanako’s 2012 album, “good-bye”. It’s one of the few hikigatari pieces on the album, and my, what a powerful one it is.
We have a translation by Edward today. As usual, you can go over to his site to read his translation notes, as well as a translation of Oku Hanako’s self liner notes for this song.
It appears that the song is about a pair of secret lovers, and it seems that the listener has to leave for good, leaving the singer behind. The singer decides not to say goodbye, because saying goodbye would signify finality, something that she does not want to accept.
The hikigatari really drives the point in. Oku Hanako singing solo with just a lone piano highlights the loneliness of the singer. She sings with emotion, perfectly conveying that the singer really doesn’t want this and is emotionally strained. Musically, the song is written in the key of E♭ minor, which further enhances the sadness (minor keys tend to sound sad).
Sayounara / さようなら (or sayonara / サヨナラ, as in this song; the usage of katakana here likely functions as italics or quotation marks), has a connotation of finality to it. When you say goodbye to your friends at the end of the day, you’d normally use something like jaa ne / じゃあね or jaa mata / じゃあまた, which you can translate as “see ya” or “see you again”. You’d probably say sayonara / さよなら if they were leaving for an extended period of time. In the second line of the first verse, the listener says jaa ne / じゃあね instead of sayonara / さよなら, either out of habit or familiarity, or possibly implying that their relationship isn’t over yet and they’ll see each other again sometime.
When I first heard this song, I liked it as another one of her hikigatari pieces, but now that I’ve taken the time to analyze it, my appreciation for it has grown deeper.