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


2 thoughts on “Translation for 10 Nen / 10年

  1. Pingback: 10 Nen / 10年 | Thoughts on Oku Hanako
  2. I love this song of course, and it always takes me into my “Hanako Oku” zone of happiness.

    RE: “Readers, do you have any special memories … old school …?”
    I do, but I try not to remember them. All my high school memories all look like they are straight out of the Stephen King / Brain DePalma film “Carrie”.

    But that is all former life, the pre-Hanako Oku life. Now I can create new memories of happiness, zen-like quite reflection, compassion and forgiveness. Thank you once again, Miss Oku-san, for being the life-changing artist that you are.

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