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 →


Kimi no Egao (album ver.) / 君の笑顔(album ver.)

Kimi no Egao / 君の笑顔: “Your smiling face” or “Your Smile”

kimi / (きみ)
no / の
A possessive particle indicating that the previous word modifies the next word (almost equivalent to “of”)
egao / ()(がお)
“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.

【あさがおと加瀬さん。】 アニメーションクリップ「キミノヒカリ」【Kase-san and Morning Glories】 by Anime PONY CANYON [YouTube]

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.

Lyrics →

Aitai Toki ni Aenai / 逢いたいときに逢えない

Aitai Toki ni Aenai / 逢いたいときに逢えない: “I Can’t See You When I Want”

aitai / ()いたい
“want to meet”. This is the desire form of 逢う (“to meet”).
toki / とき
“time”, “when”
ni / に
A particle indicating the time of reference
aenai / ()えない
“cannot meet”. This is the negative potential form of 逢う (“to meet”).

“Aitai Toki ni Aenai” is track 5 on Oku Hanako’s 2010 album “Utakata” / うたかた. Being placed between the more energetic “Hane” / 羽 and the slower “Trump” / トランプ, it serves as a good transition both in tempo and in mood between the two songs.

Although I don’t have a translation for you today, it seems to be a song in which the singer can’t get over her break-up and can’t help but keep loving her former partner.

逢いたいときに逢えない 【奥華子】 by Phys peop [YouTube]

If I’m not mistaken, that’s an accordion in the accompaniment, perhaps her only song that has one.

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
to / と
denwa / (でん)()

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 →