Kumo Yori mo Tooku / 雲よりも遠く

Kumo Yori mo Tooku / 雲よりも遠く: “Further Than Even the Clouds”

kumo / (くも)
“cloud”
yori / より
“more than”
mo / も
A particle meaning “also” or “even”
tooku / (とお)
“distant”

The Delta Aquariids meteor shower peaks this Friday night/Saturday morning, and meteors are certainly farther than the clouds.

“Kumo Yori mo Tooku” is the first track on her self-produced indies single vol.1, reappearing again as the second track on vol.best.

I never realized how much of a sad song this is. We have a translation today by Icepath that reveals the singer longing for a former lover who left her for someone else. Her love is out of reach, further than even the clouds. Heavy stuff; this is her indies for you.

The chorus features Oku Hanako trying to hit higher notes. Not surprisingly, she doesn’t hit them as well as she would today (for example, see Ai to Iu Takaramono / 愛という宝物); it comes out a little airy and a bit jarring. Because of that, I wouldn’t recommend having someone new to Oku Hanako’s works listen to this just yet. For those of us who have been fans for a while, we can use this to show just how much she’s improved as a singer. That said, I’ve heard this song enough times that it doesn’t sound out-of-place for me.


Kumo Yori mo Tooku-Oku Hanako **Sub español+ Letra romaji** by Azura Allazjward Kurosu [YouTube]

She really brings out the longing in her singing, and the hikigatari piano adds a fitting sense of loneliness.

On the lyrics, I wonder if the singer is actually meant to be male. The singer went to lengths to buy a ring, which is traditionally bought by the man, and she uses the masculine pronoun boku / 僕.

Lyrics →

Chiisana Hoshi cover art (crop)

Chiisana Hoshi (Oyasumi version) / 小さな星(おやすみversion)

Chiisana Hoshi / 小さな星 : “tiny star”

chiisana / (ちい)さな
“small”, “tiny”
hoshi / (ほし)
“star”
oyasumi / おやすみ
“good night”

This one is a rare find. You were probably aware that Chiisana Hoshi was released as a single in 2006, and you might have been aware that it was one of her indies songs released on vol.best, but did you know that there’s a third non-live version? Look again at the 2006 single: the last track is this “oyasumi” version. This version appears to serve as the hikigatari version of the single; whereas her later singles featured instrumental versions, her first five singles featured hikigatari versions.


小さな星(おやすみversion) [Nico Nico Douga]

It certainly lives up to its name. Her soft singing and heavy reverberation of the accompaniment really makes it sound like a lullaby. Her vocalization at the interlude and at the end is a nice touch.

This version reminds me a lot of one of her indies song, Waratta Kazu / 笑った数. I’m not surprised, though, since Chiisana Hoshi was originally an indies song, and this version was released close enough to her major debut that her indies era still had a great influence on her style.

Comparing it to the other versions, although I like this version, I still prefer the original indies version; it strikes a nice balance between this version and the single version. All the reverberation in this version can be a bit difficult to get through sometimes, and I feel the single version loses some of the feeling of the original in its arrangement.

Lyrics →

Boku ga Umareta Machi / 僕が生まれた街

Boku ga Umareta Machi / 僕が生まれた街: “The Streets Where I Was Born”

boku / (ぼく)
“I”, usually masculine
ga / が
Particle indicating the subject of the modifying clause
umareta / ()まれた
Past tense of umareru / ()まれる, “to be born”
machi / (まち)
“street”, “district”, “quarter”

“Boku ga Umareta Machi” is the second track on Oku Hanako’s 2007 album “TIME NOTE”. Fittingly, it was used as the CM song for a 2007 Chiba Prefecture tourism commercial (she was born in Chiba).

Unlike her more recent albums, half of the songs on “TIME NOTE” were hikigatari. This song was in the half that wasn’t.


奥華子_僕の生まれた街 by レオン・シュタイナー [Nico Nico Douga]

While coming up with things to say in this post, I accidentally wrote a translation (apparently in less time than the rest of the post). I haven’t checked it for any idioms and less obvious subtleties, but I think it’s clean enough to post. My translation notes are available.

Commercial and lyrics →

Featured image

Haruka Tooku ni Mieteita Kyou released!

Oku Hanako’s ninth album, titled Haruka Tooku ni Mieteita Kyou / 遥か遠くに見えていた今日 (“Today When I Could See Far in the Distance”), has been released! I missed posting all the status updates in the past month, so I’ll cover everything here.

The album comes in two editions: the regular edition and the limited edition. The limited edition comes with a DVD.

Here are the album covers:

Album art for "Haruka Tooku ni Mieteita Kyou (CD+DVD)

Album art (CD+DVD)


Album art for "Haruka Tooku ni Mieteita Kyou (CD only)

Album art (CD only)

The final track list:

  1. Rainy day
  2. Koi no Hajimari / 恋のはじまり (“Beginning of Love”)
  3. Ai to Iu Takaramono / 愛という宝物 (“A Treasure Called Love”)
  4. Propose / PUROPŌZU / プロポーズ
  5. Kanojo / 彼女 (“Her”)
  6. 365 Nichi no Hanataba / 365日の花束 (“365-Day Bouquet”)
  7. Kimi no Hana / キミの花 (“Your Flower”)
  8. Honobono Ikou / ほのぼの行こう (“Let’s Go Warm the Heart”)
  9. Omoide ni Nare / 思い出になれ (“Become a Memory”)
  10. Saigo no Kiss / 最後のキス (“Last Kiss”)
  11. Mail
  12. Ice Cream / AISU KURĪMU / アイスクリーム
  13. Stamp Rally / SUTANPU RARĪ / スタンプラリー
  14. Haruka Tooki ni / 遥か遠くに (“Towards the Distance”)

Already released in previous singles were “Ai to Iu Takaramono“, “Kimi no Hana“, “Omoide ni Nare”, and “Saigo no Kiss”. “Honobono Ikou” were previously released online. “Rainy Day” is a re-arrangement of her 2003 indies song. “Propose” is the CM song for a December 2016 MAST commercial.

More info and digest video →

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 →

Genki de Ite ne / 元気でいてね

Genki de Ite ne / (げん)()でいてね: “Take Care”

genki / (げん)()
“healthy”, “energetic”, “good mood”
de / で
A particle marking indicating the means by which to do the action
ite / いて
te / て form of iru / いる (“to be” for animate beings). The te / て form makes this a request.
ne / ね
A particle that adds (light) emphasis.

The ne / ね is lost in translation, however, it need not be. You could translate the title as “Take Care, Okay?” to make the ne / ね explicit.

Today is Oku Hanako’s birthday! She turns 39 today. Because of time zones, the day is already mostly over for them in Japan.

The song I picked for today is a song of inspiration and perfectly says what I want to say to her this year: “Do your best, take a step forwards so you don’t regret doing nothing, and take care this year.” Genki de Ite ne was first released as the second-last track on Utakata / うたかた in 2010, and the seven years since then have been quite a journey for her. We have a translation of the lyrics from Edward today, and as always, make sure you read his translation notes.

This song has also been on a bit of a journey: at least two other notable versions of this song have appeared in her releases. The first is the 2012 acoustic version included as the second-last track on the Ai no Uta disc of her “Oku Hanako BEST -My Letters-” compilation. The second is an a cappella live version included with her “CONCERT TOUR ’12 Hikigatari ~5th Letter~” DVD release. These two versions are considerably more mellow than the original. The version I’m featuring today is the original upbeat pop-style version.


元気でいてね 奥華子  genkideitene okuhanako YouTube by 大畑浩士 [YouTube]

Happy Birthday, Oku Hanako! お誕生日おめでとうございます!

Lyrics →

New album announced: Haruka Tooku ni Mieteita Kyou / 遥か遠くに見えていた今日

Pony Canyon announced today that Oku Hanako will be releasing a new album on May 17. Its title is Haruka Tooku ni Mieteita Kyou / 遥か遠くに見えていた今日 (“Today When I Could See Far in the Distance”). This will be her ninth album.

The album will have a total of 14 songs. These are the ones announced so far:

The first four of these are the A-sides of her most recent double A-side singles. “Propose” is a new CM song for MAST, which I expect to be distinct from the MAST jingle that she’s already known for. “Rainy Day” is one of her indies songs from 2003. Based on the article, I expect to hear an interesting arrangement, possibly with layered voices, but I really hope it doesn’t turn out like the new arrangement of Tsumiki / 積木.

In addition, the first orders will also have an accompanying DVD with music video clips for Kimi no Hana, Saigo no Kiss, “and others”.