Aitai Toki ni Aenai / 逢いたいときに逢えない: “I Can’t See You When I Want”
aitai / 逢いたい
“want to meet”. This is the desire form of 逢う (“to meet”).
toki / とき
ni / に
A particle indicating the time of reference
aenai / 逢えない
“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.
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.
My first encounter with Trump was while reading solarblade’s reviews back in 2013 or 2014. Piano ballads aren’t really his thing, so of course he found it was boring and said that it wasn’t really worth listening to. Unfortunately, having read his reviews, I listened to the song and, being influenced by his opinion at the time, also found it boring.
However, I listen to it now and I think it’s great, even if the lyrics are a bit painful. She also has a live version of this song on Cinderella, her 2012 single, which I think is just as good, if not better (and as usual, that will be posted eventually).
Komorebi no Naka de / 木漏れ日の中で: “In the Sunlight Through the Trees”
komorebi / 木漏れ日
“sunlight filtering through the trees”
no / の
a particle that indicates the previous word acts as a modifier
naka / 中
de / で
a particle indicating location (“at”)
The title of this song is a tough one to translate because komorebi / 木漏れ日 is one of those words that doesn’t really have an equivalent in English. The aim is to come up with a short title that captures the meaning of the original; “In the Sunlight Through the Trees” is my best attempt. If you can come up with something better, please suggest it in the comments.
“Komorebi no Naka de” is track 8 on Oku Hanako’s 2010 album, Utakata / うたかた. It has a very nice piano+guitar arrangement and offers a nice contrast to other songs on the album such as Utakata / 泡沫 and Garasu no Hana / ガラスの花.
Comparing it to some of her other songs, I’d say it’s most like Harukaze / 春風 from Yasashii Hana no Saku Basho / やさしい花の咲く場所 (2006) and the version of Suteki na Michi / 素敵な道 from Kimi no Egao / 君の笑顔 (2011).
Hatsukoi: it’s one of Oku Hanako’s 2010 singles and is undeniably one of her most moving songs. She almost always ends up looking emotionally drained after performing this song live, and if I get really into the song, it can get me, too.
It’s a sad song, telling about a couple who had recently broke up. The girl still likes the guy and begs him to remain friends. Well, it’s a little deeper than that; I’ll leave you to read the translation.
Musically, the song is tastefully and appropriately arranged. There are four main instruments: drums, guitar, strings, and of course, piano. They all add to the inherent sadness of the song, especially the strings.
This song also features, in my opinion, the best of her music videos:
Utakata / 泡沫: “bubble” (on the surface of a liquid), “foam”. May also be “ephemeral” or “transient”. More commonly pronounced as houmatsu / ほうまつ.
To avoid ambiguity between the album and the song, I will use Utakata / うたかた to refer to the album and Utakata / 泡沫 to refer to the song. This is how they’re listed in her discography.
Here we have the opening and title track of Oku Hanako’s 2010 album, Utakata / 泡沫. It’s a very strong opening, but also a very different one. If you’re completely new to Oku Hanako, you may want to consider listening to another song first.
I’ve always considered Utakata / うたかた as somewhat of an album of experiments, and Utakata / 泡沫 is a good summary of the album (quite fitting, isn’t it?). It’s heavily arranged, has a solo piano bit, and plays around with low tones.
Overall, this song is quite powerful and it’s definitely one of my favourites.
Listen carefully during the interlude (~2:51); you’re in for a treat.