Christmas no Yoru / クリスマスの夜

Christmas no Yoru / KURISUMASU no Yoru / クリスマスの夜: “Christmas Night”

kurisumasu / クリスマス
no / の
A particle indicating modification
yoru / (よる)
A particle indicating modification

It’s a little late, but Merry Christmas! It’s been a few months since my last post, so I hope this post will do as a Christmas present… or a New Year’s present, if you prefer.

I somehow missed the announcement that Oku Hanako was going to release a digital single. Christmas no Yoru / クリスマスの夜 was released about a month ago on November 26.

Christmas no Yoru cover art

To my knowledge, this is the third original Christmas songs that she has done, with the previous two being Santa ni Negai wo / サンタに願いを and Boku no Christmas / 僕のクリスマス. In addition, she sang Silent Night during one of her concerts.

Luckily for us, Pony Canyon released a full lyric video for the song. Here it is:

奥華子/クリスマスの夜(FULL Ver.)【リリックムービー】 by ponycanyon [YouTube]

At first listen, I thought this was going to be a happy, heartwarming song, especially because of the line “boku wa kimi ga suki da yo” / 僕は君が好きだよ (“I love you”), but I realized I was mistaken as I was translating it. Nope, this is Oku Hanako we’re talking about: of course it’s not going to be a happy love song. I have a translation for you to read, along with my translation notes.

From a musical perspective, this song doesn’t seem to feature much piano. Yes, there is some, but it isn’t featured prominently.

The interlude seems to take inspiration from Pachelbel’s Canon. It’s everywhere, but it’s fitting for this song.

The song sounds a bit generic, but it’s also very solid, and the more I listen to it, the more it sounds distinctly Oku Hanako, even if the piano is not a big focus.

Lyrics →


Sayonara wa Iwanai Mama / サヨナラは言わないまま

Sayonara wa Iwanai Mama / サヨナラは言わないまま: “I Won’t Say Goodbye”

sayonara / サヨナラ
“goodbye”, with a connotation of finality.
wa / は
A particle indicating the topic.
iwanai / ()わない
“Will not say”. Negative form of iu / ()う (“to say”).
mama / まま
“to stay in a certain state”

A more literal translation might be “I Will Leave Goodbye Unsaid”.

It’s been quite a while since my last post, but no, this isn’t me saying goodbye (nor saying goodbye without actually saying it, as the song might suggest).

“Sayonara wa Iwanai Mama” is track 5 on Oku Hanako’s 2012 album, “good-bye”. It’s one of the few hikigatari pieces on the album, and my, what a powerful one it is.

We have a translation by Edward today. As usual, you can go over to his site to read his translation notes, as well as a translation of Oku Hanako’s self liner notes for this song.

It appears that the song is about a pair of secret lovers, and it seems that the listener has to leave for good, leaving the singer behind. The singer decides not to say goodbye, because saying goodbye would signify finality, something that she does not want to accept.

サヨナラは言わないまま (Sayonara Ha Iwanai Mama) – Hanako Oku [Zing MP3]

The hikigatari really drives the point in. Oku Hanako singing solo with just a lone piano highlights the loneliness of the singer. She sings with emotion, perfectly conveying that the singer really doesn’t want this and is emotionally strained. Musically, the song is written in the key of E♭ minor, which further enhances the sadness (minor keys tend to sound sad).

Sayounara / さようなら (or sayonara / サヨナラ, as in this song; the usage of katakana here likely functions as italics or quotation marks), has a connotation of finality to it. When you say goodbye to your friends at the end of the day, you’d normally use something like jaa ne / じゃあね or jaa mata / じゃあまた, which you can translate as “see ya” or “see you again”. You’d probably say sayonara / さよなら if they were leaving for an extended period of time. In the second line of the first verse, the listener says jaa ne / じゃあね instead of sayonara / さよなら, either out of habit or familiarity, or possibly implying that their relationship isn’t over yet and they’ll see each other again sometime.

When I first heard this song, I liked it as another one of her hikigatari pieces, but now that I’ve taken the time to analyze it, my appreciation for it has grown deeper.

Lyrics →

Mangekyou no Hitotsubu / 万華鏡の一粒

Mangekyou no Hitotsubu / 万華鏡の一粒: “Kaleidoscope Bead”

mangekyou / (まん)()(きょう)
“kaleidoscope”. The characters literally mean “ten thousand”, “splendor”/”shine”, and “mirror”
no / の
A particle indicating modification.
hitotsubu / (ひと)(つぶ)
“A single bead”

I haven’t been very good at posting in the last couple of months, so I’ll treat you to something a little extra today.

Have you ever looked through a kaleidosope? If you haven’t, you should do yourself a favour and buy one or make one for yourself. Pictures and videos don’t do the experience justice.

In 2011, Oku Hanako went on a trip to Hokkaido and was featured for the second season of STV’s “Hokkaido Under Sky” series[jp]. The four videos are posted on YouTube (1, 2, 3, 4). She visits a kaleidoscope museum in the second video and composes a song inspired by it in the fourth; the song is called “Mangekyou no Hitotsubu” / 万華鏡の一粒.

To my knowledge, that video is the only place where this song appears, so I was surprised when I saw that someone posted the lyrics for the song[jp]. I haven’t done any translation work in a while and I missed it, so I decided to try my hand at a translation. My translation notes are available and feedback is always appreciated.

I highly recommend watching the videos (later in this post) to get the context and other goodies like her improvised melody in the second video, but if you just want to listen to the song, here it is:

【STV】北海道アンダースカイ 2ndシーズン第4話 (奥華子) by 札幌テレビ放送 公式ch [YouTube]

Videos and lyrics →

Sora ni Hikaru Clover / 空に光るクローバー

Sora ni Hikaru Clover / 空に光るクローバー: “The Clover that Glistens in the Sky”

sora / (そら)
ni / に
A particle indicating location, or a particle indicating the passive agent
hikaru / (ひか)
clover / KURŌBĀ / クローバー
Transliteration of “clover”

Happy birthday, Oku Hanako! Time sure flies. She turns 40 today, if you can believe it.

“Sora ni Hikaru Clover” first appeared as track 2 of her 2008 single, Tegami / 手紙, then later reappeared as track 4 on her album, Koi Tegami / 恋手紙, released a couple of months later. It is the theme song for the 2008 movie Chii-chan wa Yuukyuu no Mukou / ちーちゃんは悠久の向こう (“Chii-chan is on the Other Side of Eternity”(?); Wikipedia[jp]). I’ve included a video of the promo for the DVD.

I chose this song mostly because it was released 10 years ago, but as I was translating the song, I realized the lyrics would be a perfect message to send for her birthday: although most of us can’t practically meet her, we’d still like to thank her for the musical gifts she’s brought to us.

On that note, I made a rough translation in about 30 minutes. It should be polished enough to be readable, and thankfully this was an easy song to do, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there are any errors. As usual, my translation notes are included.

空に光るクローバー (Sora ni Hikaru Clover) [Zing]

Musically, this song is lightly arranged and fits well with the style of the rest of the album. She does try to hit some higher notes in this song; you can tell she’s gotten better since her indies days, but she has some room to improve, as shown in her later albums. There’s nothing really that stands out about this song, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

DVD Promo and Lyrics →

Koi no Hajimari / 恋のはじまり

Koi no Hajimari / 恋のはじまり: “The Start of Romance”

koi / (こい)
“Love”, “puppy love”, “romantic love”. Contrast ai / 愛 (“true love”)
no / の
A particle indicating that the previous noun modifies the following noun.
hajimari / はじまり
“start”, “beginning”

Valentine’s Day is long over, but let’s have a song about love anyway.

“Koi no Hajimari” is track 2 on Oku Hanako’s 2017 album, Haruka Tooku ni Mieteita Kyou / 遥か遠くに見えていた今日. At just over two minutes in length (2:03), this song is the shortest on the album. It’s actually the third-shortest in my collection, beat out only by Hataraku Neko / 働くネコ (1:43) and an earlier radio cover of Mikazuki / 三日月 (1:59), although that may change as I slowly add more of her radio covers.

Koi No Hajimari – Hanako Oku [Zing]

Today we have a translation by Edward. Be sure to read his translation notes.

I wish I could have a disproportionately long post for such a short song, but I don’t really have much to say about it. I could do a comparison with her other songs, but I can’t pinpoint any particular one that compares well. I will say that the song almost feels like an “upgraded” radio original, partly because of its short length. It might also be because her voice doesn’t seem to have a full sound; have a listen to the third stanza, which is about halfway through the song.

All in all, though, it’s a song I’ve come to expect from Oku Hanako. No complaints, really.

Lyrics →



I’m a little late, but happy new year! What better song to start the new year off with than one about rebirth?

“rebirth” is the last track on Oku Hanako’s 2010 album, “Utakata” / うたかた. It is fitting to be the last because it was also used as the ending theme to the PSP game “Tales of Phantasian: Narikiri Dungeon X“, a remake of the Game Boy Color game “Tales of Phantasia: Narikiri Dungeon“, and the same game that featured Garasu no Hana / ガラスの花 as the opening theme and Hane / 羽 as the insert song, both of which can also be found on the album.

I couldn’t find a translation for the lyrics, so I decided to try to do one myself. I encourage you to read my translation notes.

Having not played the game, it’s difficult to make comments on how the song relates to the game. However, the original game’s Wikipedia article outlines the game’s storyline, which I will assume to be very similar to that of the remake. Spoilers ahead, so I’ll make my comments in the spoiler block below (this is really an excuse to try out the new details element):


At the end of the story, the player finds the two main characters reborn as babies as the flow of time is corrected.

That is the obvious connection between the game and the song’s title, but I can’t see anything to connect the lyrics to the title or story. It’s likely that I’m not reading closely enough, because I did just skim through the description of the story.

Narikiri Dungeon X: Rebirth by NortheasternWind [YouTube]

Along with Himitsu no Takaramono / 秘密の宝物, “rebirth” is the second of the two hikigatari songs on the fourteen-track album.

Lyrics →

blue green

blue green

“blue green” is track 3 of Oku Hanako’s 2014 album, “Kimi to Boku no Michi” / 君と僕の道. Out of the new songs on that album, this must have been the second one I listened to (the first one being Period / ピリオド). Just like Period / ピリオド did, this song left me breathtaken the first time I heard it.

We have a translation today by Edward from the Chinese translation. Be sure to head over to his site to read the translation notes. To quote Edward:

The lyrics appear to be about the singer breaking up with the listener. This surprised me because I found the tune mesmerising and tranquil, so I was expecting the lyrics to be about a reflection on living instead of on a romance.

Edward and I also exchanged some ideas about the meaning of the title “blue green”. Based on the information in an article about the meaning of colours in Japanese culture, we think it could refer to the purity or genuineness that the singer wants in her relationship. With all the references to the sky in the lyrics, it could also allude to the sky’s colour. While researching this, I also came across an interesting Wikipedia article discussing blue/green distinction in different languages.

blue green by Mochammad Farhan Amrozy [SoundCloud]

The reverberation in this song really adds the feeling of being alone in a vast expanse, and with all the references to the sky and being alone, it certainly fits. It kind of reminds me of “rebirth” with a drum line like Tsumiki / 積木.

Arrangement-wise, this song is actually pretty light in its instrumentation. From what I hear, the accompaniment is her keyboard with a lot of reverb, the drums and a synthesizer lead. I’m actually surprised that it sounds really full even with just these, but I guess a 16ths rhythm on the drums and adding lots of reverb is enough to do that.

Lyrics →