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 →


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 →

Translation for Tomoshibi / 灯ーともしびー

Tomoshibi / 灯: “light”, “lamp”, or “lamp light”; possibly also referring to the light source. The pronunciation is given in hiragana (ともしび) because 灯 can be read in multiple ways.

Here we have another translation from Edward, this time of Tomoshibi / 灯. He actually posted this about a month ago, but as evident in my lack of recent posts, I hadn’t gotten the chance until now to share it. As always, I highly recommend you read his translation notes in his post.

Even with such a clear translation, I still have no idea what this song is about. Anyone with any insights, please do leave a comment and share.

Lyrics →

Kimi no Egao promotinal image

Translation for Kimi no Egao / 君の笑顔

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

kimi / 君
no / の
A possessive particle indicating that the previous word modifies the next word (almost equivalent to “of”)
egao / 笑顔
“smile”, “happy face”

Edward posted yet another translation-of-a-translation a few days ago, and this time it’s Kimi no Egao / 君の笑顔.

I quote:

I had difficulty translating the lines marked with * because they read like fragmented sentences to me. Eventually I decided to post the translation because I didn’t see myself making any progress and I wanted to move to the next translation. For all I know maybe those lines were poetic sentence fragments all along.

To address that, I think they really are poetic sentence fragments. I see relatively few particles in the original Japanese, and particles in Japanese serve to indicate parts of speech. I’ll have to double-check with someone who knows Japanese to confirm this.

I have to say, Oku-san continues to impress me. The way she uses all four seasons in the first stanza is brilliant, among other things. This is typical Oku Hanako: I can’t find the words to express my awe. It’s simply beautiful.

Thanks, Edward!



When I met you there was spring light and a breeze in the street*
My childish heart cheered in the distant summer night of that day*
I neglected loneliness as I passed through the autumn day*
A warm winter street reassured me of your warmth*

At all times you have a sincere look in your eyes. Even if you fall you will stand up again
I drew some strength from your profile that only gazes ahead

Your smile and your voice created my future
The time that began to move carved out slowly changing days
I should be able to overcome difficulty at any time because I have a dream
Now I have found something precious, something that I want to protect

I don’t know the reason for your tears that day
Beyond the upset I saw a path leading to a dream

I’m not afraid of mistakes. If I take a step forwards then I can have more faith in myself
People look towards the other side of sadness. This is what the sight of your back has told me

At my side, by your side, I could cry with longing to live in the moment*
A dream without end must lead to somebody’s future
Don’t give up. Whenever I heard your voice
I found something precious, something that I want to protect
I am not alone. I am always by your side because I want to see your smile

Translation by Edward from the Chinese

Suteki na Michi / 素敵な道

Suteki na Michi / 素敵な道: “lovely road”

suteki / 素敵
na / な
A particle that attaches to an adjectival noun to make them act as adjectives (Wiktionary)
michi / 道

“Suteki na Michi” is one of the songs on Oku Hanako’s 2011 compilation album, Kimi no Egao / 君の笑顔, that was previously unreleased. I can track the first appearance of the song to April 16, 2006, on her radio show, Kame Kame House / カメカメハウス, which suggests that this song might be from her indies era. This version is the re-recorded version; I’ll post the radio version some other time.

In my opinion, this version is the better one, but I’ll leave you to decide when I post the radio version.

素敵な道 []

It kind of reminds me a bit of Ashita Saku Hana / 明日咲く花. The song isn’t hikigatari, but it still has a very acoustic feel to it. It starts off with an acoustic guitar (possibly more than one), and the piano comes in at the end of the first chorus. Oku Hanako sings beautifully, and the song shines as a result.

Lyrics →

Tomoshibi / 灯ーともしびー

Tomoshibi / 灯: “light”, “lamp”, or “lamp light”; possibly also referring to the light source. The pronunciation is given in hiragana (ともしび) because 灯 can be read in multiple ways.

I just had a thought that Shunkashuutou / 春夏秋冬 may have been a more fitting song to post given the start of autumn and all, but Tomoshibi seemed to fit better in a playlist after Aisareteitai / 愛されていたい. They’re both very similar, anyway, so I suppose it wouldn’t have made too much of a difference. They’re both slow songs, so don’t expect to enjoy them too much if you’re up for an upbeat song. Having said that, Tomoshibi is a very calming and thought-provoking song, so you may find yourself surprised if you are in the mood for an upbeat song (provided you can get past the first chorus).

Tomoshibi is the last track on Oku Hanako’s 2009 album, BIRTHDAY. I’m not sure what it is about the song, but I find it has a familiar feel to it. It’s warm and somewhat reminiscent of Kaette Oide / 帰っておいで (2006) or the stuff on her radio show.

She shows of some of her best vocals from the album in this song, so this song is definitely worth a listen.

[中文字幕]奧華子 灯-ともしび-.wmv by Sasha Lin

We hear her experimenting a bit with voice layering in this album, and it turned out quite well with this song. The addition of the instruments after the first chorus help add energy and move the song along; apparently, it was enough for Solarblade to like the song, so you know it has to be good.

Lyrics →

Happy Days

Happy Days

Happy Days is one of Oku Hanako’s more upbeat songs. It was included as the third track for her 2009 single Waratte Waratte / 笑って笑って, and again as an album mix version on BIRTHDAY.

Apart from the inclusion of the audience from a live concert at the end, I don’t know what the difference is betweeen the two versions. Because of that, I’m lumping both into one post, instead of having separate posts for each version.

Original version on Waratte Waratte / 笑って笑って:

Happy Days – Hanako Oku []

“Album Mix version” on BIRTHDAY

Hanako Oku – Happy Days (Album Mix Version) by Zelkiiro [YouTube]

I have to admit, this song isn’t one that I tend to go back to. It’s fun and all, but it’s fairly repetitive and somewhat unvaried. It’s good, as all her songs are, but it doesn’t stand out to me.

Lyrics →