Translation for Anata to Denwa / あなたと電話

Anata to Denwa / あなたと電話: “On the phone with you”

anata / あなた
“you”
to / と
“with”
denwa / (でん)()
“phone”

It’s about time I’ve posted another translation. You like listening to this song on your morning commute, so here’s Daniel’s translation of Anata to Denwa.

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).

If you’re interested, Edward also has his own translation from the Chinese.

Lyrics →

Translation for Ichibanboshi / 一番星

Ichibanboshi / 一番星: “First star” (of the evening).

Today I’ve decided to feature a translation of “Ichibanboshi” by new translator, Daniel. He expressed his desire to contribute translations to the site about two months ago and will be doing so by posting them to his Tumblr blog. There are seven more that I will post sometime.

Before I read the translation, back when I first heard the song and didn’t know any Japanese, I had assumed it was a wish on the first star of the night. Of course, this being Oku Hanako, it isn’t as simple as that.

The singer is reminded of someone when she sees the first star of the night and she wants to use the star as a way to communicate to that person. It reminds me a lot of the song “Somewhere Out There” by James Ingram and Linda Ronstadt from the movie, An American Tail.

There’s a lot of interesting language used in this song, some that you don’t typically find in her other songs. What interesting lines do you see in this song? Let us know in the comments.

Thanks again, Daniel, for your hard work! I look forward to reading more of your translations.

Lyrics →

Translation for TAKOYAKI

TAKOYAKI: “Fried Octopus Balls”

Time to start posting all those translations I’ve neglected to post in the past few months.

Today we have a translation for TAKOYAKI by Edward from the official Chinese translation. Edward also includes a translation for the self-liner notes included in the album for the song.

I had noted in my post that it was a cute song, and in many ways it still is. What I didn’t sense was the longing. Until I read Edward’s translation I had thought it might have been about celebrating something by making or eating takoyaki. It seems I was mistaken. It’s about a couple who haven’t spent much quality time together and the singer expressing her wish for her partner to make takoyaki so that they would spend more quality time.


Lyrics

Translation

I want to eat takoyaki; you will make it for me
I want to eat takoyaki; make it with pride

“Today I will be working late again”, you said on the telephone
Lately, we don’t even have time to have proper conversations
It was for our sake that I started working
But it meaningless, we seem to just go past each other all the time

Cleaning, laundry, cooking, everything … you don’t do any of it
Occasionally you bring out the takoyaki pan and meticulously make takoyaki for me
That makes me really happy

I want to eat takoyaki; you will make it for me
I want to eat takoyaki; make it with pride

For our next holiday, I want us to go out together
To buy a new tablecloth

Immediately after saying “I’m home”, you opened a can of beer
You left your clothes in a mess after stripping them off; I followed you to pick them up
Living every day like this might be okay

I want to eat takoyaki; you will make it for me
As I say things like “Another one! Delicious!”
I want to eat takoyaki; you will make it for me
I want to eat takoyaki; make it with pride

Translation by Edward

Translation for Tomoshibi / 灯ーともしびー

Tomoshibi / 灯: “light”, “lamp”, or “lamp light”; possibly also referring to the light source. The pronunciation is given in hiragana (ともしび) because 灯 can be read in multiple ways.

Here we have another translation from Edward, this time of Tomoshibi / 灯. He actually posted this about a month ago, but as evident in my lack of recent posts, I hadn’t gotten the chance until now to share it. As always, I highly recommend you read his translation notes in his post.

Even with such a clear translation, I still have no idea what this song is about. Anyone with any insights, please do leave a comment and share.

Lyrics →

Translation for Ashiato / 足跡

Ashiato / 足跡 : “Footprints”

It’s about time I’ve gotten around to reposting this. Edward posted his translation and notes for Ashiato. I’ve reproduced his translation here, but be sure to read his notes as they do give some extra insight.

Reading this translation, I can see why Oku Hanako chose to close the album with this song. It’s nice to end with a reflective tone, and it’s very fitting for an album titled “good-bye”. I don’t know if she knew it at the time, but “good-bye” was a transition into a new Oku era, from the “Birthday”/”Utakata”/”good-bye” era to the “Kimi to Boku no Michi”/”Prism”/(probably also whatever the next one is) era.


Lyrics

Translation

If you try retracing your footsteps
What kind of people will you meet?
What kind of things will make you happy?
Where will you shed tears?

The seasons pass before your eyes
The warm light stirs your existence
Now, be strong in your chest to continue living

Gentleness is not something that can be given
It is something that, when realised, remains in someone’s heart
Happiness is not something that can be changed into
It is something that must be slowly discovered in the heart

If you try retracing your footsteps
What kind of dreams did you have?
What kind of things will be fun for you?
Who will you shed tears in front of?

Looking back to yesterday, searching for words
Being surrounded by many people
Now, you are still alive in your chest

Sadness is not something that will disappear
It is something that should silently sleep in the heart
Happiness cannot be seen by the eye
It is something that must be slowly discovered in the heart

Gentleness is not something that can be given
It is something that, when realised, remains in someone’s heart
Happiness is not something that can be changed into
It is something that must be slowly discovered in the heart
It is something that must be slowly discovered in the heart
Translation by Edward

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)
照れくさくて何も言えなかった
Terekusakute
(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?


Lyrics

Translation

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

Translation for Fuyu Hanabi / 冬花火

Fuyu Hanabi / 冬花火 : “winter fireworks”

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

hana / 花
“flower”
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 →