Prism / プリズム released!

Prism / PURIZUMU / プリズム

Today is October 28, and Oku Hanako’s new album, Prism / プリズム, has been released!

Cover art for "Prism" (CD-only)

Cover art for “Prism” (CD-only)

Cover art for "Prism" (CD+DVD)

Cover art for “Prism” (CD+DVD)

Box art for "Prism" (10th Anniversary Edition)

Box art for “Prism” (10th Anniversary Edition)

In Japan, the first people to get it got one of a number of bonus items depending on where they got it from.

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Kanashimi Dake de Ikinaide / 悲しみだけで生きないで

Kanashimi Dake de Ikinaide / 悲しみだけで生きないで: “Don’t just live with sadness”

kanashimi / 悲しみ
dake / だけ
A particle meaning “only” or the “limit” of something
de / で
A particle meaning “with”.
ikinaide / 生きないで
A negative form of ikiru / 生きる (“to live”). The de / で at the end causes this to become a request (this is a special case of the “te” / て form).

I hope you haven’t been too sad from the lack of posts lately. Busy, busy, busy…

Here we have Kanashimi Dake de Ikinaide, track 13 of 14 of her 2012 album, “good-bye”. It’s also the ending theme for the BS Nittere / BS日テレ original drama “Se no Me” / 背の萌, whose entirety has been uploaded to YouTube (unfortunately, the end credits have been muted, but she is credited for the song at 1:53:04).

As Edward pointed out in his translation post, this may very well be Oku Hanako’s saddest song. According to the self liner notes for the song (also translated in his post), this was composed at the request of a girl she met after the Great East Japan earthquake. “Instead of a song about working hard or offering encouragement, I hope you can compose a song about almost feeling at a loss as to what to do”.

The first half of the song expresses the singer’s sadness, with lyrics obviously inspired by the aftermath of the earthquake. The chorus is a command to keep on going, despite the sadness and the tragedy. The second half gives the reason for the command. As sad as it is, I think this can be taken as a song of encouragement.

奥華子 悲しみだけで生きないで by taekwonflyer [YouTube]

I’ve always thought that Oku Hanako’s songs deliver the emotion well because she had experienced the situation herself. Although that may be true for her songs of unrequited love (still speculation, though), it doesn’t appear to be the case for this one. The self liner notes say that she had not experienced something like that before, so she got the girl to describe her feelings. Either the girl was effective at pouring her heart out or Oku Hanako is very perceptive with emotion (probably both) because I picked up on the sad-yet-persevering outlook of the song before I read the translation.

Lyrics →

Translation for 10 Nen / 10年

10 (Juu) Nen / 10年: “10 years”

Happy 10/10! 🙂

I must say, the nostalgia in this song hit me right in the feels. Some of my very best friends were the ones I met at school, and the different good, bad and crazy experiences we went through together is reminiscent of the special “bond” between old friends that Oku Hanako sings about. Readers, do you have any special memories or bonds with old school friends?

For today’s Japanese translation tidbit, I’ll share something interesting I learned from the first line of the song:

Kudaranai hanashi de waraiatte

kudaranai (くだらない) = “useless, empty”
hanashi (話) = “talk”
 (笑い) = “laugh”
atte (from au 合う) = “to come together”

Initially I thought this whole clause meant “to come together and laugh while speaking empty words/making small talk”… but that definitely sounded too unwieldy for such a short Japanese phrase. I looked it up, and discovered that au (合う) added to any verb makes it reflexive or collaborative. Some examples of this use are mitsumeau (見つめ合う, “to look at each other”), shiriai (知り合い, “an acquaintance”), hanashiau (話し合う, “to talk with each other”). Waraiau (or waraiatte in the progressive form) hence means “to laugh together”, and the whole phrase means “laughing together with empty words”.



Saying things like “Just like old times!”
Laughing together at empty words,
Friends meeting again after 10 years
Are almost like they were back in their school days

Even the kids who, after looking for jobs in their hometown, are always busy with work and romance
And the kids who, after getting married and being blessed with children, are starting to look completely like moms

Everyone, in their own ways, are carrying both different sorrows and joys as they go on, aren’t they?
Even if not much is said, an air of contentment can be felt.

Even if we live in different towns,
Even if 10 more years were to pass,
Let’s meet again, alright?
We’ll be able to meet again, right?
I’m sustained by the never-changing memories

Those days, we did things however we pleased
There were times that we let loose, but
Since when did we start fearing getting hurt,
and being unable to do anything?

Exposing everyone’s weaknesses, there were times that we all cried together
Nowadays, as the number of things and people in our care grows,
Everyone everyday is fighting their own battles

Don’t you have any regrets,
Asking “What if, back then?” or “What if I hadn’t chosen this?”
Because the present—everything in front of our eyes—is a treasure

Even if our paths home are different,
And even if we don’t hear each other’s voices all the time
Keep laughing; wherever you are today, under the sky that connects us, I feel that I can keep going

If, for instance, from this moment onwards you are feeling hopeless and in the midst of adversity,
Don’t you forget that you have a supporting friend here too!

Even if we live in different towns,
Even if 10 more years were to pass,
Let’s meet again, alright?
We’ll be able to meet again, right?
I’m sustained by the never-changing memories

Translation by Rosanne