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.
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.
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).
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.
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”.
Sonna Fuu ni Shika Ienai Kedo / そんな風にしか言えないけど: “Even Though I Have No Other Way to Say It”
sonna fuu ni / そんな風に
sonna / そんな
fuu / 風
ni / に
A particle indicating a passive agent (“by”; Wiktionary etymology 2, definition 4)
shika / しか
“only”. Must be used with a verb in the negative form.
ienai / 言えない
“cannot say”. Negative potential form of 言う (“to say”). However, since this is used with shika / しか, the meaning is “can say” with a limitation.
kedo / けど
Valentine’s Day is here! Even though the majority of Oku Hanako’s songs are about love, it’s still difficult to choose one for today because about half of them are about unrequited love or a breakup.
“Sonna Fuu ni Shika Ienai Kedo” is one of Oku Hanako’s earlier songs, first appearing as track 4 on her first major album, Yasashii Hana no Saku Basho / 優しい花の咲く場所, released in 2006. It was later released in her Oku Hanako BEST -My Letters- 2012 collection as track 12 on disc 2.
Edward provides us with the translation for the title for today’s song (as well as the song itself). I chose his translation over the more literal translation “But I Can Only Say It That Way”, the one I put in the Generasia wiki, because I felt it fit better with the song. As usual, I encourage you to read his translation notes.
This song was apparently also used as a CF song for a JA Kyosai[jp] commercial, but I unfortunately can’t find the commercial. According to Wikipedia, the English name for the company is the National Mutual Insurance Federation of Agricultural Cooperatives. Edward has this to say about a possible reinterpretation of the song:
If the chorus is used in a commercial, as was the case when Kimi no Egao was used in a commercial, then a change in interpretation would be due to a change in who is delivering the message. In the song, it is someone who loves you. In an insurance company’s commercial, it’s someone who wants to do business with you. In the commercial, the message I imagine would be along the lines of “If you’re worried about something, why don’t let us worry about it instead? We can’t solve the problem for you, but we can insure you so that you don’t need to worry (about paying for anything) if the worst should happen”.
Perhaps it’s influenced by the title, but I feel the slow tempo, broad strings and reverb creates a grand atmosphere. It’s a good contrast from the more upbeat first track of the album, Saishuu Densha / 最終電車 (“Last Train”). Interestingly, one of the lines in this song mentions two people at a (train) station.
This line caught my eye:
kokoro no oku de kimi ni katarikakeru donna kotoba mo monotarinakute
I speak to you with my inner feelings. Words will not do.
No, I don’t have a translation of the song, but I included my translation of the line there. What caught my eye wasn’t so much the meaning, but the first three words: “kokoro no oku” / 心の奥. Does the last kanji look familiar? It should, because her name is 奥華子. The phrase itself means “inner feelings” (kokoro / 心: “heart”, “feelings”; oku / 奥: “inner part”); it’s very much a stretch, but what if we also interpret oku / 奥 to be Oku-san? If we consider Oku Hanako as the speaker, interpreting 奥 as referring to her wouldn’t really change the meaning of the line because “my inner feelings” would be the same as “Oku’s inner feelings”, but it would more strongly affirm that she writes from her heart.