“Kumo Yori mo Tooku” is the first track on her self-produced indies single vol.1, reappearing again as the second track on vol.best.
I never realized how much of a sad song this is. We have a translation today by Icepath that reveals the singer longing for a former lover who left her for someone else. Her love is out of reach, further than even the clouds. Heavy stuff; this is her indies for you.
The chorus features Oku Hanako trying to hit higher notes. Not surprisingly, she doesn’t hit them as well as she would today (for example, see Ai to Iu Takaramono / 愛という宝物); it comes out a little airy and a bit jarring. Because of that, I wouldn’t recommend having someone new to Oku Hanako’s works listen to this just yet. For those of us who have been fans for a while, we can use this to show just how much she’s improved as a singer. That said, I’ve heard this song enough times that it doesn’t sound out-of-place for me.
This one is a rare find. You were probably aware that Chiisana Hoshi was released as a single in 2006, and you might have been aware that it was one of her indies songs released on vol.best, but did you know that there’s a third non-live version? Look again at the 2006 single: the last track is this “oyasumi” version. This version appears to serve as the hikigatari version of the single; whereas her later singles featured instrumental versions, her first five singles featured hikigatari versions.
It certainly lives up to its name. Her soft singing and heavy reverberation of the accompaniment really makes it sound like a lullaby. Her vocalization at the interlude and at the end is a nice touch.
This version reminds me a lot of one of her indies song, Waratta Kazu / 笑った数. I’m not surprised, though, since Chiisana Hoshi was originally an indies song, and this version was released close enough to her major debut that her indies era still had a great influence on her style.
Comparing it to the other versions, although I like this version, I still prefer the original indies version; it strikes a nice balance between this version and the single version. All the reverberation in this version can be a bit difficult to get through sometimes, and I feel the single version loses some of the feeling of the original in its arrangement.
While coming up with things to say in this post, I accidentally wrote a translation (apparently in less time than the rest of the post). I haven’t checked it for any idioms and less obvious subtleties, but I think it’s clean enough to post. My translation notes are available.
Oku Hanako’s ninth album, titled Haruka Tooku ni Mieteita Kyou / 遥か遠くに見えていた今日 (“Today When I Could See Far in the Distance”), has been released! I missed posting all the status updates in the past month, so I’ll cover everything here.
The album comes in two editions: the regular edition and the limited edition. The limited edition comes with a DVD.
I think this is honestly one of the most adorable songs I’ve ever heard. I also think Oku Hanako’s voice is just perfect for this song. When I’m feeling down, this is a song I sometimes play to feel better (after a whole bunch of sad songs though, haha).
A particle marking indicating the means by which to do the action
ite / いて
te / て form of iru / いる (“to be” for animate beings). The te / て form makes this a request.
ne / ね
A particle that adds (light) emphasis.
The ne / ね is lost in translation, however, it need not be. You could translate the title as “Take Care, Okay?” to make the ne / ね explicit.
Today is Oku Hanako’s birthday! She turns 39 today. Because of time zones, the day is already mostly over for them in Japan.
The song I picked for today is a song of inspiration and perfectly says what I want to say to her this year: “Do your best, take a step forwards so you don’t regret doing nothing, and take care this year.” Genki de Ite ne was first released as the second-last track on Utakata / うたかた in 2010, and the seven years since then have been quite a journey for her. We have a translation of the lyrics from Edward today, and as always, make sure you read his translation notes.
This song has also been on a bit of a journey: at least two other notable versions of this song have appeared in her releases. The first is the 2012 acoustic version included as the second-last track on the Ai no Uta disc of her “Oku Hanako BEST -My Letters-” compilation. The second is an a cappella live version included with her “CONCERT TOUR ’12 Hikigatari ~5th Letter~” DVD release. These two versions are considerably more mellow than the original. The version I’m featuring today is the original upbeat pop-style version.
I reblog Denny’s birthday wishes to Oku Hanako every year, and this year will be no different. Sure, I reblogged them in previous years because I forgot to make a post, but I didn’t forget this year! My post will go up in about 13 hours so that the post is dated “March 20”, but in the meantime, to make up for the time zone difference, here’s Denny wishing her a happy birthday.
Japan is twelve hours ahead of me, so Snivy and I wanted to be the first in my time zone to wish “the Little Great One” Ms. Hanako Oku-san a HAPPY BIRTHDAY tomorrow (today) on March 20! She is lucky — her Birthday is always the Spring Equinox.
Ms. Oku has always been one of my favorites. Of course, Snivy is a huge fan. The adorable and talented Ms. Oku has written the opening theme song “Kimi No Hana” for the romance anime “Seiren” currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
The marketing geniuses at the Pony Canyon record company have blocked any and all Hanako Oku music videos in Unova, so it is difficult for us to share the song over YourTube, or Twatter, or Glueggle +, etc. One of these links might work however.