Sayonara wa Iwanai Mama / サヨナラは言わないまま

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 / ()わない
“Will not say”. Negative form of iu / ()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.

サヨナラは言わないまま (Sayonara Ha Iwanai Mama) – Hanako Oku [Zing MP3]

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.

Lyrics →


“Oku Hanako no Hikigatari Dark Night☆” released!

Oku Hanako’s newest video release, “Oku Hanako no Hikigatari Dark Night ☆” / 奥華子の弾き語りダークナイト☆, came out a few days ago on June 20! I don’t have much to add to the previous announcement post, other than the cover art:

Oku Hanako no Hikigatari Dark Night ☆ cover

I’m somewhat surprised they spelled “hikigatari” wrong. Sure, 語り is katari / かたり on its own, but when put after hiki / 弾き, rendaku applies, turning the ka / か into a ga / が.

Mangekyou no Hitotsubu / 万華鏡の一粒

Mangekyou no Hitotsubu / 万華鏡の一粒: “Kaleidoscope Bead”

mangekyou / (まん)()(きょう)
“kaleidoscope”. The characters literally mean “ten thousand”, “splendor”/”shine”, and “mirror”
no / の
A particle indicating modification.
hitotsubu / (ひと)(つぶ)
“A single bead”

I haven’t been very good at posting in the last couple of months, so I’ll treat you to something a little extra today.

Have you ever looked through a kaleidosope? If you haven’t, you should do yourself a favour and buy one or make one for yourself. Pictures and videos don’t do the experience justice.

In 2011, Oku Hanako went on a trip to Hokkaido and was featured for the second season of STV’s “Hokkaido Under Sky” series[jp]. The four videos are posted on YouTube (1, 2, 3, 4). She visits a kaleidoscope museum in the second video and composes a song inspired by it in the fourth; the song is called “Mangekyou no Hitotsubu” / 万華鏡の一粒.

To my knowledge, that video is the only place where this song appears, so I was surprised when I saw that someone posted the lyrics for the song[jp]. I haven’t done any translation work in a while and I missed it, so I decided to try my hand at a translation. My translation notes are available and feedback is always appreciated.

I highly recommend watching the videos (later in this post) to get the context and other goodies like her improvised melody in the second video, but if you just want to listen to the song, here it is:

【STV】北海道アンダースカイ 2ndシーズン第4話 (奥華子) by 札幌テレビ放送 公式ch [YouTube]

Videos and lyrics →

“Oku Hanako no Hikigatari Dark Night☆” announced for June 20

Oku Hanako is releasing a Blu-ray of the live event she had in Osaka on November 23, 2017. It will be called “Oku Hanako no Hikigatari Dark Night ☆” / 奥華子の弾き語りダークナイト☆, after the concert, and it will be released on June 20, 2018. There will be two editions: a limited edition restricted to PCSC (Pony Canyon Shopping Club) preorders, worth ¥5875, and a regular edition, worth ¥5000. Preorders for the special edition are being accepted until May 17. Details can be found on the Pony Canyon page for the release.

There’s no cover art yet, but Pony Canyon released a digest video on YouTube:

【LIVE】Blu-ray「奥華子の弾き語りダークナイト☆」ダイジェスト映像 by ponycanyon [YouTube]

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Sora ni Hikaru Clover / 空に光るクローバー

Sora ni Hikaru Clover / 空に光るクローバー: “The Clover that Glistens in the Sky”

sora / (そら)
ni / に
A particle indicating location, or a particle indicating the passive agent
hikaru / (ひか)
clover / KURŌBĀ / クローバー
Transliteration of “clover”

Happy birthday, Oku Hanako! Time sure flies. She turns 40 today, if you can believe it.

“Sora ni Hikaru Clover” first appeared as track 2 of her 2008 single, Tegami / 手紙, then later reappeared as track 4 on her album, Koi Tegami / 恋手紙, released a couple of months later. It is the theme song for the 2008 movie Chii-chan wa Yuukyuu no Mukou / ちーちゃんは悠久の向こう (“Chii-chan is on the Other Side of Eternity”(?); Wikipedia[jp]). I’ve included a video of the promo for the DVD.

I chose this song mostly because it was released 10 years ago, but as I was translating the song, I realized the lyrics would be a perfect message to send for her birthday: although most of us can’t practically meet her, we’d still like to thank her for the musical gifts she’s brought to us.

On that note, I made a rough translation in about 30 minutes. It should be polished enough to be readable, and thankfully this was an easy song to do, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there are any errors. As usual, my translation notes are included.

空に光るクローバー (Sora ni Hikaru Clover) [Zing]

Musically, this song is lightly arranged and fits well with the style of the rest of the album. She does try to hit some higher notes in this song; you can tell she’s gotten better since her indies days, but she has some room to improve, as shown in her later albums. There’s nothing really that stands out about this song, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

DVD Promo and Lyrics →


Here’s a post by Denny while I work on mine. Stay tuned!

Denny Sinnoh

She is a great musician who stands alone in her field!

Birthday wishes going out today to “The Little Great One” — Hanako Oku born this day March 20th 1978.

This might be a tough one for her … She turns FORTY!

Ha. Age is just a number though, … at least I tell myself that.

Oh, of course there has to be a song. The song I would like to share for this special day is “Panorama no Kaze”.  This was from a live performance in 2008. It is one of the Oku ballads that always takes me there. (gulp)

Of course, she is a great artist in any decade.

Starlight: Wanna see my collection?

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Koi no Hajimari / 恋のはじまり

Koi no Hajimari / 恋のはじまり: “The Start of Romance”

koi / (こい)
“Love”, “puppy love”, “romantic love”. Contrast ai / 愛 (“true love”)
no / の
A particle indicating that the previous noun modifies the following noun.
hajimari / はじまり
“start”, “beginning”

Valentine’s Day is long over, but let’s have a song about love anyway.

“Koi no Hajimari” is track 2 on Oku Hanako’s 2017 album, Haruka Tooku ni Mieteita Kyou / 遥か遠くに見えていた今日. At just over two minutes in length (2:03), this song is the shortest on the album. It’s actually the third-shortest in my collection, beat out only by Hataraku Neko / 働くネコ (1:43) and an earlier radio cover of Mikazuki / 三日月 (1:59), although that may change as I slowly add more of her radio covers.

Koi No Hajimari – Hanako Oku [Zing]

Today we have a translation by Edward. Be sure to read his translation notes.

I wish I could have a disproportionately long post for such a short song, but I don’t really have much to say about it. I could do a comparison with her other songs, but I can’t pinpoint any particular one that compares well. I will say that the song almost feels like an “upgraded” radio original, partly because of its short length. It might also be because her voice doesn’t seem to have a full sound; have a listen to the third stanza, which is about halfway through the song.

All in all, though, it’s a song I’ve come to expect from Oku Hanako. No complaints, really.

Lyrics →