My Letter

This is not actually a song. In the back cover of the lyrics booklet in the album Oku Hanako BEST -My Letters- there is a letter titled My Letter. This is it.

English

I started writing songs in Senior High School1. I wrote lyrics like I was writing a diary. At that time, the break up with a sweetheart, that stage of romance symbolised the theme that would often appear in my songs “Because it was lost, only thus was its importance discovered”.

I began performing 14 years ago to today2 to let even more people know about my songs. Although a lot happened since I started, I could continue playing music and singing as I always did, and that to me was truly a miracle.

In order to make this Best Album, fans who understood Oku Hanako’s songs better than Oku Hanako herself were invited to choose the songs they love most, and using that list of songs as a reference, I chose the songs for the album myself. So although a lot of the songs on the list were not chosen by most people, these songs were chosen for the album simply because I like them (laugh).

Furthermore, I also re-recorded versions of “Koi” and “Genki de Itene” that produced a change in a concert3, and I recorded my new song “Ai wo Mitsuketa Basho” that developed from my debut song “Yasashii Hana”. In this way 30 songs were chosen and separated into “Songs of Infatuation” and “Songs of Romance”4.

Looking back, with becoming a singer-songwriter as my goal, in the gap between the ideal world I imagined and the real world, I began singing on the streets, and this led to a big change in my music life. People I did not know would stop in their tracks to listen to my songs, and even give me beautiful smiles. These simple responses, just like that would make me feel very happy. This has not changed to today, and it has become the basis of everything.

I am very grateful.
For discovering me, supporting me, encouraging me, giving birth to me5, listening to my songs, shedding tears because of my songs, breaking into smiles because of my songs, I am grateful for all of this.

Thank you to all the people I met and you too.6

 

Translation notes

  1. Senior High School is the direct translation from the Chinese words and this corresponds to 15-18 year old students.
  2. For those unfamiliar with the album, “today” presumably refers to 2012 when the album was released.
  3. “在演唱会中产生变化” directly translates to “produce a change in a concert” which I suppose could be understood as meaning that the songs were well-received. On the other hand, it would make sense to say that the songs (Koi and Genki de Itene) were changed for a concert, rather than that they created a change in a concert.
  4. To the best of my understanding, in Chinese “恋” refers to shallow and transient love (like puppy love) whereas“爱” refers to deep and lasting love (i.e. romantic love).
  5. “生下了我” literally translates as “gave birth to me”. I thought of replacing it with “creating me” by considering it as a metaphorical birth. Then I thought it might be addressing her parents, so I left the translation as “giving birth to me”.
  6. If the use of commas and sentence structure appear slightly awkward in places, it is because I decided to keep the content between the commas the same. I think this is better at conveying the progression of thoughts in the letter.

 

Simplified Chinese

开始创作是在高中时期。像是写日记般的写着歌词。当时,与喜欢的人的别离,那是一场象征着是我的歌曲经常会出现的主题“因为失去,才发现其重要性”的一场恋爱。

为了让更多人知道我的歌而开始演唱至今14年。从那时开始虽然发生了很多事,但能一直像这样做着音乐唱着歌,我觉得真的是奇迹。

然后为了制作这张精选辑,所以请比奥华子自己更了解奥华子歌曲的歌迷们选出了他们最爱的歌曲,并以那份清单为参考,最终由我自己选出这些歌曲。所以也有很多首即使在清单中没有被多数人所选择的,但单纯的因为我个人喜欢所以最后选上的歌(笑)。

还有,在演唱会中产生变化的“恋”和“要好好的过喔”也重新录音,还收录了从出道曲“温柔的花”所衍生出的新歌“找到爱的地方”。如此选出了分为“恋之歌”和“爱之歌”的30首歌曲。

回顾过往,以成为创作歌手为目标,但在自己描绘的理想世界与现实世界的落差中,开始了街头演唱活动,这让我的音乐人生有了很大的改变。素不相识的人停下脚步听着我的歌,甚至给我美好的笑容。仅仅如此,真的只是这样就让我觉得很快乐。这点至今也都没有改变,成为了一切的根本。

真的很感谢。
发现了我、支持着我、激励着我、生下了我、听着我的歌、因为我的歌而落泪、因为我的歌而绽放笑容,感谢这一切。

给现在在此相遇的所有人 还有你   谢谢。

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5 comments

  1. tPenguinLTG

    Reblogged this on Thoughts on Oku Hanako and commented:
    It’s too bad I don’t have the original Japanese to post with this, but Edward has translated the Chinese translation of the letter that came with Oku Hanako’s 2012 BEST album (Oku Hanako BEST -My Letters-).

    It’s certainly an interesting piece of text. I’ve always said that one couldn’t make such powerful songs as she does without experiencing it all herself, and the letter confirms it:

    I wrote lyrics like I was writing a diary. At that time, the break up with a sweetheart, that stage of romance symbolised the theme that would often appear in my songs “Because it was lost, only thus was its importance discovered”.

    Thanks, Edward! I’ll close with another quote:

    I am very grateful.
    For discovering me, supporting me, encouraging me, giving birth to me, listening to my songs, shedding tears because of my songs, breaking into smiles because of my songs, I am grateful for all of this.

    Like

  2. tPenguinLTG

    To address point 3, there’s a recording of a concert where Oku Hanako sings the acoustic version, so I may be inclined to think that the meaning could very easily be that it was changed for a concert.

    奥華子 – 元気でいてね LIVE by neville wong

    For point 4, from what I know, the distinction between 愛 and 恋 is the same in Japanese. The original titles read “koi no uta” / 恋のうた and “ai no uta” / 愛のうた, both of which mean “songs of love”, but with the distinction between ai / 愛 and koi / 恋.

    Like

  3. Pingback: Kanashimi Dake de Ikinai de | Oku Hanako – Chinese to English
  4. Pingback: Ai wo Mitsuketa Basho / 愛を見つけた場所 | Thoughts on Oku Hanako
  5. Pingback: Kioku | Oku Hanako - Chinese to English

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