Hotarubi / 蛍火

Hotarubi / 蛍火: “glow of fireflies”

hotaru / 蛍
hi / 火
“fire”. Pronounced “bi” / び because of rendaku.

“Hotarubi” is track 10 on Oku Hanako’s 2009 album “BIRTHDAY”. The first time I heard this song, I was in a dark room with not much more light than that from my laptop. That’s probably part of what contributes to my opinion here, but I think the feel of the song is very fitting to its title: dark, with a soft source of light.

A little warning, though: don’t listen to this song when you’re in the mood for something upbeat because you probably won’t appreciate it. Try listening to it before you go to bed.

蛍火 (Hotarubi) – Hanako Oku []


The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

Two years ago today, I was bored and watched The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (Japanese title: Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo / 時をかける少女; often abbreviated to “tokikake”). I found it somewhat annoying, but the movie redeemed itself for me when Oku Hanako came in singing Kawaranai Mono / 変わらないもの. I have this movie to thank for introducing me to Oku Hanako, and I have no regrets watching it that day.

I can’t reasonably run an Oku Hanako fan site without going into some detail into the movie that made her famous, thanks to Garnet / ガーネット being its theme song, so here are twin reviews of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time by the Stereo Otaku ladies.

Stereo Otaku

The Girl Who Leapt Through TIme


Watched via DVD/BD



PLOT:The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is a re-working, or “sequel” of the original classic Japanese novel by the same name. The general premise of both stories is pretty much the same with a young school girl discovering her ability to travel through time and falling in love with a man from the future (also the cause of their time traveling abilities in the first place).

What’s great about the plot of this movie is that the story is rather timeless. Everything is so simple, that it transcends generational gaps. Sure there is some re-working to make it easier to relate to, such as how goofy Makoto is, but overall anyone can easily follow and relate to this story. That goes for non-Japanese watchers as well.

Makoto is your typical high school student, not particularly talented, with no…

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Gekkou / 月光

Gekkou / 月光: “moonlight”. 月: “moon”; 光: “light”

You’re in for a treat today. “Gekkou” is one of Oku Hanako’s earlier indies songs, appearing as track 2 on her 2000 debut mini album, Ai no Shizuku / 愛のしずく.

I find Gekkou to be somewhat ahead of its time, almost like something that you’d expect from her 2010 album, Utakata / うたかた. She sings with a full voice, and it’s very apparent that she’s singing from her diaphragm. She also sings in her lower range—that’s something that’s actually more common in her indies songs than you might think, but it’s not something that we’re used to in her major career. I even hear a hint of vibrato in there.

奥華子 「月光」 [Nico Nico Douga]

Ah, quite refreshing.

She released a re-sung version in 2012 for disc 3 of Oku Hanako BEST -My Letters-. I’ll post that version eventually, but I think the indies version is much better than the new version. The way she sings in the indies version captures the mood better than the cute voice we all know and love.

Lyrics →

Lyrics for Umikazedoori / 海風通り

Umikazedoori / 海風通り: “sea breeze avenue”

First off, I want to correct myself: Kaifuudoori / 海風通り is actually Umikazedoori / 海風通り. I see how it is now given the lyrics (she says “umikaze ga” / 海風が near the end).

Thanks goes to reader “rishab” for donating the Japanese.



Tokai no biru no ma wo
surinuke te surinuke te
kuruma no mado no sukima ni
shiokaze ga oosawagi
michiyuku hito ga yubi sashi te
waratteru yo dekoboko kuruma
anata wa doko ka chotto hokorashige ni
supīdo ageteru
nandaka yaki mochi yaichau na
watashi mo kuruma ni nari tai na
dakedo handoru nigiru yokogao
hanashi taku nai
hajimete no natsu ga ki ta
futari no natsu ga
shibafu ni nekoron de
sora wo kazoe ta
taiyou ga mienai no wa
mabushi sugiru kara?
soretomo anata ni sokkuri na
kao wo shiteru kara?

tooku ni chiisaku ukabu
ano fune wa doko he iku
hadaka de ason de iru
kodomo tachi wa doko he iku
anata wa nani wo kangae te
kono umi wo nagameteru no
koushite tonari de miteru koto ni
kiduiteru no?
donna toki mo
donna koto mo
wakachiai tai
anata no me no naka de
oyogitsuduke tai
ima konnani setsunai no wa
soba ni iru kara?
kono umi ga yuuhi ni
somatte iku kara?

yagate yoru ga otozure te
hikari ga kono machi wo saratte mo
ichi miri no sukima mo nai kurai
dakiatte iyou
anata to iru watashi ga iru
ima kono basho ni
anata no me no naka ni
utsuritsuduke tai
kore de ii kore ga ii
kore ijou nai
soredemo madamada ue ni
ike sou na kigashita
umikaze ga
futari wo
tsure saratte kureru kara

Transliterated using the J-talk Kanji Converter


すり抜けて すり抜けて
潮風が 大騒ぎ
笑ってるよ デコボコ車
あなたは どこかちょっと誇らしげに
なんだか やきもち焼いちゃうな
それとも あなたにそっくりな


今 この場所に
これでいい これがいい
それでも まだまだ上に

Donated by rishab

Saishuu Densha / 最終電車

Saishuu Densha / 最終電車: “Last Train”

saishuu / 最終
“last”. sai- / 最: “most”; shuu / 終: “end”
densha / 電車
“electric train”. den / 電: “electric”; sha / 車: “vehicle”

I went on a three-day train ride last year and “Saishuu Densha” was the song that I thought of the most.

This song is the opening track of Oku Hanako’s 2008 album, Koi Tegami / 恋手紙, and it serves well as an opening track. It’s a love song with some sad undertones (typical of her) and its style is more or less representative of that of the album: soft and lightly arranged.

I’m a little confused about the lyrics. Everything seems consistent except for the first verse, the one about the number of emails and calls decreasing. From the lyrics, I get the impression that there’s a couple who are being separated temporarily (perhaps because of work, school, or a long-distance relationship) and the speaker, who I’m going to assume is female, does not want to be separated, even for a short while. The chorus implies that they’ll be reunited soon, but I find the first verse implies that they’re drifting further apart from each other. Perhaps this is just me and my inability to analyze poetry, but maybe one of you can offer an explanation.

奥華子_最終電車 [Nico Nico Douga]
Lyrics →

Yuudachi / 夕立

Yuudachi / 夕立: “evening rain”

Ooh, one of my favourites! In fact, I think this is the song for which I completely let go of The Predicament, for which I removed any restriction with Peter Cetera songs.

I’m not going to say anything until after the song. Clear your mind and just listen:

【薄桜鬼MAD】 ~夕立~ 【藤堂平助】 by mana4708

It has a very clean and clear sound. She sings the strong melody very well and the introduction of the instrument voices is well timed. At first, I didn’t like how the bridge was low in energy, but after listening to it a few times, I realized that it was : the low energy is contrary to the expected, making the song more interesting to listen to. Besides, this is Oku Hanako, and it’s not unusual for her to do something unexpected. The song fades out and ends satisfyingly, yet it left me wanting more, in part because the song is shorter than average.

Funny, I recall not liking this song the first time I heard it and I avoided it for a few months. The issue was probably similar my first experience with Peter Cetera’s The End of Camelot: my sound was muted. If it wasn’t that, then I probably wasn’t in a mood to hear too many synth sounds, not that this song has too many of those. I’m glad this happened, though, because I’m sure I wouldn’t have such a deep appreciation for this song without it. After all, a struggle makes things more desirable, and I should know.

It’s brilliant! What makes it even more impressive is that this song was released on her first major release: her first single, Yasashii Hana / やさしい花 (2005; track 2). If I weren’t paying attention, I would think that this was released on Koi Tegami / 恋手紙 (2008).

Any louder and I think I’d blow my eardrums. *thud*


Translation for Chocolate / チョコレート

Chocolate / CHOKORĒTO / チョコレート

I decided to translate this song because it sounded sweet (ha-ha), light-hearted and fun! Despite its cuteness, though, there are still some sad undertones that caught me by surprise. Like bittersweet chocolates indeed.



I wonder when I started to fall in love with you
Feeling happier just by gazing at it,
Not letting anyone else see,
Wanting to keep it to myself—
This love is like sweet chocolates in a box

Straight away, straight away
I leapt right into your heart

Saying “I love you” many times over
In an almost-crushing embrace
Hand in hand, I felt that we could go anywhere
I want to gaze at you always
And be closer to you than anyone else
My heart feels so warm, that the sweet chocolates
Look as if they’ve already melted away

Even if I stretched myself, I wouldn’t be able to close the distance with you
And it’s a little painful, like bittersweet chocolates
Just being by my side, even my uneasy feelings are forgotten
Don’t laugh at me on the side for being so naïve

Wherever you are,
Whatever you’re doing
I can only think about you

Always saying “I love you”
In an shy-like embrace
This scent, this place—
I don’t want to give it away to anyone else
Your hand on my shoulder has made me melt even further
I’ll try to hide them in the refrigerator
The sweet chocolates are already only mine

Straight away, straight away
I leapt right into your heart

Saying “I love you” many times over
In an almost-crushing embrace
Hand in hand, I felt that we could go anywhere
I want to gaze at you always
And be closer to you than anyone else
Two people’s hearts melting together;
It looks as if the sweet chocolates have already melted
Translation by Rosanne