Mangekyou no Hitotsubu / 万華鏡の一粒: “Kaleidoscope Bead”
mangekyou / 万華鏡
“kaleidoscope”. The characters literally mean “ten thousand”, “splendor”/”shine”, and “mirror”
no / の
A particle indicating modification.
hitotsubu / 一粒
“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:
Sora ni Hikaru Clover / 空に光るクローバー: “The Clover that Glistens in the Sky”
sora / 空
ni / に
A particle indicating location, or a particle indicating the passive agent
hikaru / 光る
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.
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.
A particle indicating that the previous noun modifies the following noun.
hajimari / はじまり
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.
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.
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):
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.
“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.
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.
Dosanko Hanako no Uta / どさん子華子のうた: “The Song of Hanako of Hokkaido”
dosanko / どさん子
“a person from Hokkaido”
Hanako / 華子
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
“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.
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.
Kimi no Egao / 君の笑顔: “Your smiling face” or “Your Smile”
kimi / 君
no / の
A possessive particle indicating that the previous word modifies the next word (almost equivalent to “of”)
egao / 笑顔
“smile”, “happy face”
This album version of “Kimi no Egao” might be more familiar to most Oku Hanako fans than the original hikigatari version. The original was the first and title track of her 2011 concept album, Kimi no Egao -smile selection-, which then reappeared as track 7 on the second disk of her 2012 compilation album Oku Hanako BEST -My Letters-. The album version was track 7 on her 2011 album, good-bye.
It has recently resurfaced (May 7, 2017) as the featured song in a PV for the yuri manga series called the Kase-san Series. The PV is titled “Kimi no Hikari: Asagao to Kase-san.” / キミノヒカリ ～あさがおと加瀬さん。～ (English title: “Your Light: Kase-san and Morning Glories”). It continues to make me wonder if Denny was right. Then again, I haven’t seen any announcements about this from Oku Hanako’s official streams, so it’s likely that she had minimal interaction with the project.
The video has some very light yuri and is relatively “safe” (mostly glances and some hand-holding), but there is a brief kissing scene at 2:55. Be warned.
Compared to the original, I think this album version is over-arranged. I had once described it as having been arranged for the sake of arranging it, trying to put in as many fancy embellishments as they could. I found the arrangement distracting and unnecessary. I still think so to some degree, but like many of her songs that I didn’t like at first, I slowly came to appreciate it. That said, I think that the original is significantly better and I would prefer to listen to that over the album version every time.