10 Nen / 10年

10 (Juu) Nen / 10年: “10 years”

nen / 年
“year”, counter for years

I thought it fitting to post this song with all the 10s floating around recently: Oku Hanako’s 10th anniversary of being a major artist, and with Windows 10 having been released yesterday, and even Thoughts on Oku Hanako’s second annviersary (2 is written 10 in binary).

10 Nen is track 7 on Oku Hanako’s most recent album to date, Kimi to Boku no Michi / 君と僕の道. I’d say it’s a pretty typical Oku Hanako song, but I again mean that in a good way; it even has her signature arpeggiated chord at the end, unlike a more recent song (yes, I’m still a little upset about that).

10年 [music.163.com]

I like this song. Maybe it’s my preconception of it, but for me, it invokes the feeling of “Look how far I’ve come! I’m glad I ended up where I am, and thank you to everyone who has helped me get here”; a sense of accomplishment, looking back, if you will.

Lyrics →


Translation for Hanabi / 花火

Hanabi / 花火: “fireworks”.

This translation is just in time for the summer, and for Oku Hanako’s 10th anniversary re-release of the same song. The lyrics of this song capture that wistful feeling of a lost summer’s love quite well (especially that last line!). One of the strongest and most poignant parts is the following few lines (direct translations in parentheses):

待ち合わせ 浴衣姿の君
Machiawase (a rendezvous) yukata-sugata no kimi (you, in the figure of a yukata)
(in embarrassment/awkwardness) nani mo ienakatta (can’t say anything)

You may have noticed that the lines above are almost entirely composed of just predicates. Aside from leaving out explicit pronouns, Japanese songs also tend to leave out prepositions and conjunctions (e.g. the Japanese particles for “at”, “in”, “and”). It’s both a cultural and a musical thing—if you think about it, many English songs also leave out those little connector words. Without these particles, it was a little tough to figure out what the song was actually trying to convey. Using the context, however, the lyrics could be interpreted as: “We met up (as planned), and you were in a yukata. (This time) It felt awkward, though, and so I wasn’t able to say anything.”

What do you think?



The summer’s day I fell in love with you,
Hearing the sound of ocean waves on the way home
That was the first time we kissed, wasn’t it?
We were always making promises to each other
Quietly sneaking out in the middle of the night, we searched for stars together

That day’s scribbles written on the sand
Still haven’t vanished from my heart, even now

The fireworks we saw as we looked up at the summer night sky
Burned in my heart until it hurt
You tried to reach for them on tiptoe countless times, and laughed
With your tears, and my weakness—I believed we would have the same future
I hid away into the night sky the feelings that threatened to spill out

If I had been more affectionate,
If I hadn’t been hesitant,
Would I have been able to take you far away?

We met up, you clad in a yukata
But in my awkwardness, I was unable to say anything

The fireworks we saw as we looked up at the summer night sky
Burned in my heart until it hurt
Colliding with a surging crowd and trying to cut through,
We were looking for a place to be alone by ourselves
I believed that the answer was on the other side of the passing breeze
I gripped your hand tightly so that our interlocked hands wouldn’t break apart

I love you,
I love you!
I shouted it out but my voice didn’t carry
The fireworks we saw as we looked up at the summer night sky
Burned in my heart until it hurt
I believed that the answer was on the other side of the passing breeze
I clung on tightly to the feelings that threatened to spill out

The summer’s day you were there

Translation by Rosanne

Second anniversary on Thoughts on Oku Hanako

It looks like Oku Hanako isn’t the only one celebrating an anniversary. I can’t believe I forgot about it, but Thoughts on Oku Hanako turned 2 a few days ago. If my records are correct, I signed up for the pltgokuhanako.wordpress.com domain on July 20, 2013. I posted the arranged version of Garnet / ガーネット last year, but this year is all about the 10th anniversary.

I’ve been pretty busy this year, so I haven’t posted that much as I wanted to, but I’ve posted a lot of lesser-known songs, and we’ve had an increase of new translations thanks to Rosanne and Edward. To the two of you, your work is very much appreciated, and we look forward to more translations!

To the rest of you readers, thank you for yet another year enjoying Oku Hanako’s songs and adding your opinions. This blog is for you, and I hope you continue to enjoy the site.

Here’s to another year!

Kusabi (single) / 楔 -くさび-

Kusabi / 楔: “wedge”, or according to Generasia, “bridge”, or according to J-talk, “linchpin“. The single’s title includes the pronunciation in hiragana (くさび) like it did when the song first appeared on vol.4.

Oku Hanako’s 10th anniversary single is out! Her first release a major artist, Yasashii Hana / やさしい花, was released on July 27, 2005. If you haven’t been following along, in honour of her 10th anniversary as a major artist, she has arranged and re-sung Kusabi / 楔, one of her indies songs released on vol.4, and later vol.best.

More info, the song, and lyrics →

Translation for Fuyu Hanabi / 冬花火

Fuyu Hanabi / 冬花火 : “winter fireworks”

fuyu / 冬
hanabi / 花火
“fireworks” (lit. flower-like fire)

hana / 花
hi / 火
“fire”. Pronounced bi / び because of rendaku.

Edward recently posted his translation of Fuyu Hanabi. While a good one, he did also link to one by Misa-chan. I’ve decided to give priority to translations from the original Japanese and that’s what I updated the post with, but they’re both worth a read.

To comment on the lyrics, they are indeed about a girl and her unrequited love being likened to winter fireworks, as I posted way back when we were still waiting for the single to be released. She likes a guy who likes another girl, one of her friends. The singer and the guy are presumably close friends because he confides in her about his feelings for her friend. I feel for her, and Oku Hanako does a great job at expressing those feelings in the song.

Unrequited love isn’t a new theme that’s explored in Oku Hanako’s songs. One that immediately comes to mind is Kataomoi / 片思い (“unrequited love”), one of her indies songs. However, Kataomoi takes a different attitude towards it because, as much as she wants to be together with the one she likes, the singer is more okay with being just friends.

Thanks again to Edward and Misa-chan for doing these translations!

Lyrics →

Fake / フェイク

Fake / FEIKU / フェイク

This is a fun-sounding little song. It reminds me a little of Wasurerareta Kinenbi / 忘れられた記念日 and Watashi no Migigawa / 私の右側, although more so of Chocolate / チョコレート at the chorus.

I have a feeling that the lyrics aren’t as fun as the song sounds, although I can’t tell from a machine translation.

Fake appeared on Oku Hanako’s 2010 album, Utakata / うたかた, as the third track. With strong vocals and good playing, it’s overall your typical upbeat Oku Hanako song, and I mean that in a good way.

フェイク [music.163.com]

Lyrics →