Translation for Ashita Saku Hana / 明日咲く花

Ashita Saku Hana / 明日咲く花: “the flower that blooms tomorrow”.

Happy (middle of) May! Cherry blossom season just ended in some parts of the Northern Hemisphere, and so this song is quite apt. Speaking of which, this was possibly the most difficult translation I’ve done yet! There are just some Japanese phrases that don’t have a literal English translation upon first glance. For instance:

もう一度は僕らは 想い描いてゆく 真っ白な世界を
Mouichido bokura wa omoi egaite yuku masshiro na sekai wo

Omoi (思い) means thoughts or feelings; it can be connected with verbs like dasu (出す, “to come out”) to become a new verb (in this case, omoidasu: 思い出す, “to remember”, or literally “to draw out a thought”). Now, egaite yuku (描いてゆく) means “to draw/paint away”… so when you string that with omoi, what do you think it means?

At first I thought it meant “to paint from one’s feelings”. Then, I decided to look up the (semi-)infinitive form omoiegaku (思い描く). It turns out it means “to imagine”! Literally, it means “to paint thoughts”. What a beautiful way to convey that concept! 🙂

I don’t think I did this song justice, but I hope you get a feel for its beauty through this translation!



I want to search for it,
All the way to the place that shines,
In order to entrust to you the flower that blooms tomorrow

Being swayed away by the wind, still walking along an unseen path,
At my feet, there is a small seed that has fallen onto the ground

It’s beautiful, isn’t it?
I want to show it to you—this seed that sparkles like a gem
Right now, it’s even illuminating the path that I must face

To someday be able to go to the place that shines,
I will continue to search for the light that exists somewhere in this earth
What I found, what you lost
We’re starting to walk once more

I wanted you to see the beautiful seed, but when we met up,
The seed had already lost its glow inside this hand of mine

Just when did I forget those precious things?
This seed can’t go on living in the palm of my hand

I’m sure I’ll be able to return to the place that shines, so
I will continue searching for the light that exists somewhere in this earth
The way things should be, the strength that holds fast,
Once again, we’ll be imagining away a pure white world

Beneath the expansive sky, time is flowing on
Passing through the ever-changing seasons
Making our flowers bloom

To someday be able to go to the place that can shine,
I will search for the light that exists somewhere in this earth
What I found, what you lost
In order to be able to pass on the flower that blooms tomorrow
The way things should be, the strength that holds fast,
We’re starting to walk once more

Translation by Rosanne


Translation for Ajisai / 紫陽花

Ajisai / 紫陽花: “hydrangea”. (紫: “violet”; 陽: “sun”; 花: “flower”).

Hey there! Hope you all have been well; I promised tPenguinLTG a post or two while he was on hiatus, so here’s one. I really enjoyed this song—the melody is soothing; the lyrics are poetic.

One part of the lyrics that I found interesting/tricky was the following line:

いろんな形で あなたを守れたのに (ironna katachi de anata wo mamoreta no ni)

The phrase “no ni” (のに) usually means “despite this”/”but even so”/”and yet”. I’m used to seeing it used the following way: “十一時なのに、おなかがすいた。” (juuichiji na no ni, onaka ga suita; It’s already 11 pm, but I’m still hungry.) With this in mind, the above lyric would translate to something like “I was able to protect you in many different ways, but…” After consulting some Japanese resources, however, I realized that “no ni” at the end of a sentence is used to express regret for an action (or inaction). So a better translation would be: “I would’ve been able to protect you in many different ways (if only I were more of an adult).”

Such a difference a little change makes, eh?



I wasn’t able to say goodbye
That word is much too sad
If it hadn’t been raining that night,
I would not have been able to decide to part with you

If there were only two people in the entire world,
Would it also have been possible to start over again?

If only I were just a little bit,
just a little bit,
more of an adult
I would’ve been able to protect you in many different ways

I’m not lonely!
Even when you’re not around
Hugging myself tightly, pretending to be tough
In the sleepless nights,
The rains’ voices are noisy, beating against the window

Together with you I listened to it well,
The humming of that song
Please, rain, don’t stop
So that nobody else can hear it

If only I were just a little bit,
just a little bit,
more of a child
I would’ve been able to protect in many different ways

Outside the window, my tears flow down quietly
The hydrangeas are blooming, just like the ones we saw together that day
Translation by Rosanne

Ajisai / 紫陽花

Ajisai / 紫陽花: “hydrangea“. (紫: “violet”; 陽: “sun”; 花: “flower”).

2014-11-27: Added translation

Yes, I know I’ve posted this before, but I’m a little pressed this week and this song needs a proper post. Besides, it seemed to go well after Watashi no Migigawa / 私の右側, and it’s my last chance this year to exploit “… bring May flowers”.

The title contains a single word, but it’s packed with a lot of meaning. Just as Garnet is a symbolic birthstone, the hydrangea carries some symbolism. Hydrangeas can change colours depending on the acidity of the soil it’s in, so it’s often used to represent a fickle heart, and indeed, the song is a sad one because of a change of heart. The song also mentions rain many times; hydrangeas appear after Japan’s rainy season, and they’re thought to look best when wet.

I won’t deny that Ajisai is one of Oku Hanako’s slower songs. Even so, it’s often her slower songs that are more moving and have a greater impact, and Ajisai is one of those. That’s probably one of the reasons why I picked it for the announcement about Picasso.

Just close your eyes and let the song carry you away…

【宇治】紫陽花【三室戸寺】 by renaissa1218

She sings sincerely well, the arrangement isn’t distracting, and the interlude is a treat.

It’s touching; that’s what it is. Music sure has a way of speaking to you.

Lyrics →

Ashita Saku Hana / 明日咲く花

Ashita Saku Hana / 明日咲く花: “Flower that blooms tomorrow”

2015-05-14: Added translation

ashita / 明日
“tomorrow”. Notice the first character, 明 , contains 日, meaning “sun”, and 月, meaning “moon”. So, “sun” “moon” “sun”: “tomorrow”.
saku / 咲く
hana / 花

Clever, isn’t it? “April showers bring May flowers”. Don’t be surprised if you see another song or two related to flowers this month.

“Ashita Saku Hana” is Oku Hanako’s seventh single, released in 2008, and is the theme song to NHK‘s Sekai isshuu! Chikyuu ni fureru. Eko dai kikou / 世界一周! 地球に触れる・エコ大紀行 (“Around the World! Touch the Earth Eco-Travelogue”).

I think the best way to describe this song is, quite fittingly, “flowery”, especially the opening. It’s strongly, yet gently sung; there’s a sense of control and command in the song. I’d say this song is fairly representative of her style at this point in her career: the other songs might not be so extravagantly arranged, but starting here, she has started to experiment with fuller arrangements and her songs become more diverse. In her previous albums, Koi Tegami / 恋手紙 and TIME NOTE, there was arguably not much variation in the songs (whether that’s a good or bad thing is up to interpretation). The next album, BIRTHDAY, had a broader range in style.

Oku Hanako – Hashita Saku Hana by babyscorpion1986 [YouTube]

The drum line that comes in at the second chorus bothered me for a while because it sounded uncannily familiar. About a month or two later, I realized I had heard it in Spandau Ballet’s Through the Barricades, although I’m sure it’s a fairly common drum line.

Lyrics →

Farewell, Picasso

I have some sad news. Oku Hanako’s dog, Picasso, passed away two days ago[jp] in the morning of October 10, 2013 at age 13. I extend my condolences.

It’s strange, I don’t know her dog, nor even Hanako-san herself, yet I feel for her. I guess it goes to show how powerful her music can be.

Hanako-san and Picasso

Hanako-san and Picasso. From her blog

I felt this song was fitting to share at a time like this. It’s called Ajisai / 紫陽花 , from her 2008 single Ashita Saku Hana / 明日咲く花 .

【宇治】紫陽花【三室戸寺】 by renaissa1218

Lyrics →