“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.
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.
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.
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”.
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).
Today I’ve decided to feature a translation of “Ichibanboshi” by new translator, Daniel. He expressed his desire to contribute translations to the site about two months ago and will be doing so by posting them to his Tumblr blog. There are seven more that I will post sometime.
Before I read the translation, back when I first heard the song and didn’t know any Japanese, I had assumed it was a wish on the first star of the night. Of course, this being Oku Hanako, it isn’t as simple as that.
The singer is reminded of someone when she sees the first star of the night and she wants to use the star as a way to communicate to that person. It reminds me a lot of the song “Somewhere Out There” by James Ingram and Linda Ronstadt from the movie, An American Tail.
There’s a lot of interesting language used in this song, some that you don’t typically find in her other songs. What interesting lines do you see in this song? Let us know in the comments.
Thanks again, Daniel, for your hard work! I look forward to reading more of your translations.
Today we step into some Oku Hanako history. Kataomoi, according to her old biography page, was made in 1996 and is her first completed song. Her friends were making songs, so she gave it a shot. She was 18 at the time.
Kataomoi was first released as track 7 on vol.best and a live version was later included in her 2007 TIME NOTE concert release.
I found a translation of this song by Nakari Amane which I’ve included later in the post. I edited it somewhat because I felt certain lines could have been worded better and I have to say, the lyrics are quite impressive, especially for her first song. The lyrics are very rich. The lines that hit me the most are the last two lines of the last chorus:
片想いでも 友達でもいいから あなたを好きでいたい Kataomoi demo tomodachi demo ii kara Anata wo suki de itai
でもいつか私の気持ちに 答えてくれると信じさせて Demo itsuka watashi no kimochi ni Kotaete kureru to shinjisasete
which Nakari Amane translated as (with my edits):
It’s fine even if it’s unrequited, even if we’re just friends
I still want to love you
But let me believe that someday you will answer my feelings