Mangekyou no Hitotsubu / 万華鏡の一粒

Mangekyou no Hitotsubu / 万華鏡の一粒: “Kaleidoscope Bead”

mangekyou / (まん)()(きょう)
“kaleidoscope”. The characters literally mean “ten thousand”, “splendor”/”shine”, and “mirror”
no / の
A particle indicating modification.
hitotsubu / (ひと)(つぶ)
“A single bead”

I haven’t been very good at posting in the last couple of months, so I’ll treat you to something a little extra today.

Have you ever looked through a kaleidosope? If you haven’t, you should do yourself a favour and buy one or make one for yourself. Pictures and videos don’t do the experience justice.

In 2011, Oku Hanako went on a trip to Hokkaido and was featured for the second season of STV’s “Hokkaido Under Sky” series[jp]. The four videos are posted on YouTube (1, 2, 3, 4). She visits a kaleidoscope museum in the second video and composes a song inspired by it in the fourth; the song is called “Mangekyou no Hitotsubu” / 万華鏡の一粒.

To my knowledge, that video is the only place where this song appears, so I was surprised when I saw that someone posted the lyrics for the song[jp]. I haven’t done any translation work in a while and I missed it, so I decided to try my hand at a translation. My translation notes are available and feedback is always appreciated.

I highly recommend watching the videos (later in this post) to get the context and other goodies like her improvised melody in the second video, but if you just want to listen to the song, here it is:


【STV】北海道アンダースカイ 2ndシーズン第4話 (奥華子) by 札幌テレビ放送 公式ch [YouTube]

Videos and lyrics →

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Sora ni Hikaru Clover / 空に光るクローバー

Sora ni Hikaru Clover / 空に光るクローバー: “The Clover that Glistens in the Sky”

sora / (そら)
“sky”
ni / に
A particle indicating location, or a particle indicating the passive agent
hikaru / (ひか)
“shine”
clover / KURŌBĀ / クローバー
Transliteration of “clover”

Happy birthday, Oku Hanako! Time sure flies. She turns 40 today, if you can believe it.

“Sora ni Hikaru Clover” first appeared as track 2 of her 2008 single, Tegami / 手紙, then later reappeared as track 4 on her album, Koi Tegami / 恋手紙, released a couple of months later. It is the theme song for the 2008 movie Chii-chan wa Yuukyuu no Mukou / ちーちゃんは悠久の向こう (“Chii-chan is on the Other Side of Eternity”(?); Wikipedia[jp]). I’ve included a video of the promo for the DVD.

I chose this song mostly because it was released 10 years ago, but as I was translating the song, I realized the lyrics would be a perfect message to send for her birthday: although most of us can’t practically meet her, we’d still like to thank her for the musical gifts she’s brought to us.

On that note, I made a rough translation in about 30 minutes. It should be polished enough to be readable, and thankfully this was an easy song to do, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there are any errors. As usual, my translation notes are included.


空に光るクローバー (Sora ni Hikaru Clover) [Zing]

Musically, this song is lightly arranged and fits well with the style of the rest of the album. She does try to hit some higher notes in this song; you can tell she’s gotten better since her indies days, but she has some room to improve, as shown in her later albums. There’s nothing really that stands out about this song, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

DVD Promo and Lyrics →

HAPPY 40th BIRTHDAY — HANAKO OKU

Here’s a post by Denny while I work on mine. Stay tuned!

Denny Sinnoh

She is a great musician who stands alone in her field!

Birthday wishes going out today to “The Little Great One” — Hanako Oku born this day March 20th 1978.

This might be a tough one for her … She turns FORTY!

Ha. Age is just a number though, … at least I tell myself that.

Oh, of course there has to be a song. The song I would like to share for this special day is “Panorama no Kaze”.  This was from a live performance in 2008. It is one of the Oku ballads that always takes me there. (gulp)

Of course, she is a great artist in any decade.

Starlight: Wanna see my collection?

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Koi no Hajimari / 恋のはじまり

Koi no Hajimari / 恋のはじまり: “The Start of Romance”

koi / (こい)
“Love”, “puppy love”, “romantic love”. Contrast ai / 愛 (“true love”)
no / の
A particle indicating that the previous noun modifies the following noun.
hajimari / はじまり
“start”, “beginning”

Valentine’s Day is long over, but let’s have a song about love anyway.

“Koi no Hajimari” is track 2 on Oku Hanako’s 2017 album, Haruka Tooku ni Mieteita Kyou / 遥か遠くに見えていた今日. At just over two minutes in length (2:03), this song is the shortest on the album. It’s actually the third-shortest in my collection, beat out only by Hataraku Neko / 働くネコ (1:43) and an earlier radio cover of Mikazuki / 三日月 (1:59), although that may change as I slowly add more of her radio covers.


Koi No Hajimari – Hanako Oku [Zing]

Today we have a translation by Edward. Be sure to read his translation notes.

I wish I could have a disproportionately long post for such a short song, but I don’t really have much to say about it. I could do a comparison with her other songs, but I can’t pinpoint any particular one that compares well. I will say that the song almost feels like an “upgraded” radio original, partly because of its short length. It might also be because her voice doesn’t seem to have a full sound; have a listen to the third stanza, which is about halfway through the song.

All in all, though, it’s a song I’ve come to expect from Oku Hanako. No complaints, really.

Lyrics →

rebirth

rebirth

I’m a little late, but happy new year! What better song to start the new year off with than one about rebirth?

“rebirth” is the last track on Oku Hanako’s 2010 album, “Utakata” / うたかた. It is fitting to be the last because it was also used as the ending theme to the PSP game “Tales of Phantasian: Narikiri Dungeon X“, a remake of the Game Boy Color game “Tales of Phantasia: Narikiri Dungeon“, and the same game that featured Garasu no Hana / ガラスの花 as the opening theme and Hane / 羽 as the insert song, both of which can also be found on the album.

I couldn’t find a translation for the lyrics, so I decided to try to do one myself. I encourage you to read my translation notes.

Having not played the game, it’s difficult to make comments on how the song relates to the game. However, the original game’s Wikipedia article outlines the game’s storyline, which I will assume to be very similar to that of the remake. Spoilers ahead, so I’ll make my comments in the spoiler block below (this is really an excuse to try out the new details element):

Spoiler

At the end of the story, the player finds the two main characters reborn as babies as the flow of time is corrected.

That is the obvious connection between the game and the song’s title, but I can’t see anything to connect the lyrics to the title or story. It’s likely that I’m not reading closely enough, because I did just skim through the description of the story.


Narikiri Dungeon X: Rebirth by NortheasternWind [YouTube]

Along with Himitsu no Takaramono / 秘密の宝物, “rebirth” is the second of the two hikigatari songs on the fourteen-track album.

Lyrics →

blue green

blue green

“blue green” is track 3 of Oku Hanako’s 2014 album, “Kimi to Boku no Michi” / 君と僕の道. Out of the new songs on that album, this must have been the second one I listened to (the first one being Period / ピリオド). Just like Period / ピリオド did, this song left me breathtaken the first time I heard it.

We have a translation today by Edward from the Chinese translation. Be sure to head over to his site to read the translation notes. To quote Edward:

The lyrics appear to be about the singer breaking up with the listener. This surprised me because I found the tune mesmerising and tranquil, so I was expecting the lyrics to be about a reflection on living instead of on a romance.

Edward and I also exchanged some ideas about the meaning of the title “blue green”. Based on the information in an article about the meaning of colours in Japanese culture, we think it could refer to the purity or genuineness that the singer wants in her relationship. With all the references to the sky in the lyrics, it could also allude to the sky’s colour. While researching this, I also came across an interesting Wikipedia article discussing blue/green distinction in different languages.

blue green by Mochammad Farhan Amrozy [SoundCloud]

The reverberation in this song really adds the feeling of being alone in a vast expanse, and with all the references to the sky and being alone, it certainly fits. It kind of reminds me of “rebirth” with a drum line like Tsumiki / 積木.

Arrangement-wise, this song is actually pretty light in its instrumentation. From what I hear, the accompaniment is her keyboard with a lot of reverb, the drums and a synthesizer lead. I’m actually surprised that it sounds really full even with just these, but I guess a 16ths rhythm on the drums and adding lots of reverb is enough to do that.

Lyrics →

Dosanko Hanako no Uta / どさん子華子のうた

Dosanko Hanako no Uta / どさん子華子のうた: “The Song of Hanako of Hokkaido”

dosanko / どさん()
“a person from Hokkaido”
Hanako / (はな)()
A female given name (the same one in Oku Hanako / 奥華子)
no / の
A particle indicating the previous words modify the following word.
uta / うた
“song”

“Dosanko Hanako no Uta” is one of those songs from the third disc of Oku Hanako BEST -My Letters-, the disc included exclusively in the HANAKO BOX special limited edition.

According to what I can gather from Wikipedia[jp], this song has its roots in Oku Hanako’s radio show on STV Radio[jp] called “Oku Hanako no Dosanko Hanako” / 奥華子のどさん子華子 (“Oku Hanako’s Hokkaido Hanako”). The lyrics were made from submissions by the listeners of the radio program in 2011.


奥華子(오쿠하나코) – どさんこ華子のうた(훗카이도 하나코의 노래) by City Eternal [YouTube]

If I were hearing this song for the first time, I could probably guess that this was a radio song. This song has characteristics of her other radio songs: acoustic with a simple melody; nothing too fancy, nothing too complex, and the lyrics are probably straightforward.

It’s too bad I don’t have a translation for you today because it looks like the lyrics have some interesting verses. Equally interesting is that the song’s accompaniment seems primarily dominated by the guitar instead of the keyboard for most of the song, and the lyrics mention something about a guitar case. The lyrics also mention the Asahiyama Zoo and somehow ties it in with the singer wanting to waddle like a penguin.

Lyrics →