Anata to Denwa

あなたと電話 (Anata to Denwa) · 与你通电话 ·Talking to You on the Phone

[Album] Kimi to Boku no Michi – track 8
[Single] Fuyu Hanabi – track 2



It’s almost 11 o’clock at night; I am nestled in my futon as I talk
Talking to you on the phone is the prize at the end of a day
About the litter of kittens born in the neighbourhood, or the movie I want to see
Or the somewhat difficult story reported on the news this morning

Our conversations never end even though we talk on the phone every day
After saying good night, while waiting for one of us to hang up first, we start talking again

It would be great if we could always be laughing together like this
Just hearing your voice makes my heart melt
After saying good night, before I hang up first
I am happy to hear you say that you feel lonely1

I’m about to meet you very soon; before the meeting time
I fretted over my clothes, nails and hairstyle many times before deciding on them
You are wearing a loose parka and well-chosen denims2
You remove your earphones while walking over to me

“Where do you want to go?” you ask as you earnestly hold my hand3
I have nothing to say; I’m happy to just walk with you

It would be great if we could always stay together like this
You see me off in front of the ticket gate after we say goodbye
I glance back once again to see that you are still watching me
At any time, I always receive kindness from you

It would be great if we could always be like this without changing
I want to talk about us all the time; there is still a lot that I don’t know
After saying good night, I don’t mind hanging up first
I’m not lonely because you are so close to me


Translation notes


This line might be translated incorrectly here. The reason requires me to talk about Japanese grammar, which I know next to nothing about and hence shouldn’t comment on. But I’ll make an effort to clearly explain why this line might not be translated correctly.

This line in Japanese is:

寂しいよね と言ってくれる あなたが嬉しいから
sabihii yo ne | to itte kureru | anata ga ureshii kara

In particular, look at the third part of the line, as separated by the spaces (the lyrics source included the spaces):

anata ga ureshii kara

In Japanese grammar, が (ga) is a particle that “indicates sentence subject (occasionally object)”. It could alternatively be called an “identifier particle” that is used to identify a specific person, thing or idea. For example, 君がくれた夏 (Kimi ga Kureta Natsu) can be broken down into (kimi – you), が (ga), くれた (kureta – an inflection of くれる (kureru) used for “give me”, as opposed to あげる (ageru) which is used for “give you”), and (natsu – summer). In this example, が (ga) identifies the one who gave “me” summer was “you”, so a literal translation might look like “The summer that someone, who is you, gave me”. Note that it is translated as “The Summer You Gave Me” on Generasia.

Similarly, あなたが嬉しいから (anata ga ureshii kara), which breaks down into あなた (anata – you), が (ga), 嬉しい (ureshii – happy), and から (kara – used to show causation in the form: [reason] から [result], though the reason or result may be omitted if it can be inferred from the context), may be expected to translate as something like “because you are (the person who is) happy”.

However, the Chinese translation explicitly states that it is the singer who is happy, not the listener. I don’t know what the identifier particle should identify when the whole line in Japanese is considered. As such, I’ve followed the Chinese translation.

By the way, there is a similar grammar situation in the last two lines of the first verse in 恋 (Koi). The particular phrase is shown in italics here:

見た事もない あなたの笑顔が悔しかった
oniai datta koto yori mo zutto
mita koto mo nai | anata no egao ga kuyashikatta

The translation from Kazabana translates the lines as:

Even though she is suitable for you
Your smile, which I had never seen before, was frustrated

The Chinese translation I have is:

比起很配的你们二人  更让我不甘心的是

Its meaning is:

What bothered me even more than how well you two matched each other was
Your bright smile that I had never seen before



The lyrics use パーカー (paakaa) and デニム (denimu), and that is why I went with parka and denims. My initial translation of the Chinese translation was hooded jacket and jeans.



The Chinese translation and Japanese lyrics describe the hand holding differently. The Chinese translation goes “总之一直 [hold my hand]”. 一直 means “always” and 总之 is equivalent to saying “to sum up” or “in short” to finish a long discussion. This sounds like the singer is replying “Anyway, always hold my hand” to the listener’s question. The Japanese lyrics go “ひたすら (hitasura) [hold my hand]”. ひたすら (hitasura) means “nothing but; earnest; intent; determined; set on [something]”. I can’t think how the Chinese translation was made from this. Based on the meaning of words, I followed the Japanese lyrics.

It did occur to me that this line may be linked to the next line and thereby translate as something like:

“Where do you want to go?” you ask; if you will always hold my hand
Then I have nothing to say; I’m happy to just walk with you

However, the lyrics say that the listener asked the question while doing something. This is explicitly shown in both the Chinese translation (indicated by 边) and the Japanese lyrics (indicated by ながら (nagara)). The only thing mentioned in the lyrics that the listener can do at the time is to hold the singer’s hand.


Simplified Chinese

快要晚上11点  在棉被里  包的紧紧地讲话
与你的电话  是1天结束前的嘉奖
附近的猫生了小猫  想看的电影
今天早上新闻说的  有点困难的内容

每天讲电话  也有说不完的话
说了晚安后  为了谁要先挂电话  又开始聊了起来

要是能一直这样  一起笑着就好了
只要听到  你的声音  心就渐渐融化
说了晚安后  先挂电话的我
对我说  好寂寞喔  这样的你  令我开心

很快  要见到你了  到约定的时间前
烦恼了好几次终于决定的  服装指甲和发型
你穿着宽松的连帽外套  还有讲究的牛仔裤
边拿下耳机  边往这边走来

要去哪里  边这么说着  总之一直牵着手
没什么要说的  和你走在一起  就是好开心

要是能一直这样  在一起就好了
说了再见  在票口前目送我的样子
再一次回头  你  依然看着我
无论何时  总是  从你那儿得到温柔

要是能一直这样  不要变就好了
我俩的事  想一直说着  还有好多不知道的
说了晚安后  先挂电话也没关系喔
不寂寞  因为你  离我这么近



  1. tPenguinLTG

    Alright, let’s try to address the first translation note. This is all, of course, under the disclaimer that I only know basic Japanese.

    For reference, the line is:

    sabishii yo ne  to itte kureru  anata ga ureshii kara / 寂しいよね と言ってくれる あなたが嬉しいから

    あなたが嬉しい conforms to the usual “Noun が Adjective” form for certain adjectives. For example, “I like music” would be “ongaku ga suki desu” / 音楽が好きです (ongaku / 音楽: “music”; suki / 好き: “like”). The spacing would suggest this interpretation, resulting in “You tell me you’re lonely because you are happy”. However, I’m pretty sure 嬉しい isn’t one of those adjectives. Also, I say “you’re lonely” because it is reasonable and quite likely that the implied subject is the guy on the other side, but because there is no explicit subject, so it could just as easily be referring to the singer (“I’m lonely”) or be a general comment (“it’s lonesome”).

    Because this is a song, clauses can be moved around as long as the particle follows. あなたが could just as easily be attached to 言ってくれる indicating that “you” is the one saying “it’s lonely, isn’t it?” to the singer. In this case, there’s an implicit 私は indicating that the singer is the topic, which gets attached to 嬉しい, resulting in a translation like “You tell me it’s/you’re lonely, because I am happy”. I would think, though, that あなたが would be redundant because of くれる.

    Alternatively, あなたが might be attached to 寂しい instead, making it part of the indirect quotation and resulting in a translation like “You tell me you’re lonely, because I am happy”. This is similar to the previous one, but explicitly stating that it’s “you” who is lonely. This is weird, though, because あなたが is after 言ってくれる, which strongly suggests that it’s meant to be outside the quotation.

    I did a little digging and according to Maggie Sensei, the 〜てくれる form is for when someone does a favour for you, in this case, saying something for you. If this is correct, I would attach あなたが to 言ってくれる and interpret it as “You say as a favour to me that you’re lonely, because I’m happy”. Taking into account that the Chinese translation explicitly identifies the singer as being happy (although I know even less Chinese than Japanese), I would be inclined to use this interpretation.

    Note that all my interpretations have “… because X is happy”, not “X is happy because …”. I’m interpreting it this way because から attaches to the reason, which in this case is 嬉しい.


    • Edward

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on that. When you say “certain adjectives”, are you referring to な-adjectives and い-adjectives?

      The Chinese translation of the line is explicit in saying that the singer is happy because of what the listener said. The Chinese translation is separated into four parts by spaces. The literal translation of each part is:
      对我说 – “say to me”
      好寂寞喔 – “lonely”
      这样的你 – “this type of you”
      令我开心 – “makes me happy”


      • tPenguinLTG

        Based on your breakdown, the Chinese translation definitely sounds clearer.

        As for “certain adjectives”, it’s not as easy as “all な-adjectives” or “all い-adjectives” (な- and い-adjectives combined are all the adjectives); it’s some arbitrary subset of them. All four of the adjectives that I’ve encountered that have this structure are all な-adjectives, but I suspect that’s just a coincidence. The four I’ve encountered are suki / 好き (“like”), kirai / 嫌い (“dislike”), jouzu / 上手 (“good at”) and heta / 下手 (“bad at”). Note that they all take an object. が acts like an object marker in this case, much like を would for verbs. 嬉しい does not take an object, so using が with 嬉しい would single out a specific subject and act as an “identifier particle”, as you’ve mentioned.


      • tPenguinLTG

        I figured I should mention this for completeness. Today I learned about hoshii / 欲しい (“want”), which is an い-adjective meaning “want” or “desire”. You’d use it in the Noun が Adjective form that I mentioned to say “I want something”, where が is an object marker. For example, “I want a song” can be translated as “uta ga hoshii” / 歌が欲しい. It seems the four adjectives that I mentioned being な-adjectives were just coincidence.

        While I’m here, I may as well impart one more insight on that line: Nihongo Shark says that saying sabishii / 寂しい like that can be another way of saying “I miss you”, which implies that the likely intended literal translation would be “I am lonely”, with “I” being the person on the other side of the phone, as we suspected.


    • Edward

      Today I noticed that the third verse of しあわせの鏡 (Shiawase no Kagami) starts with あなたが嬉しい時 (anata ga ureshii toki), so it looks like 嬉しい is an adjective that fits the “Noun が Adjective” form. Tsukiokuhime translated it as “the moment when you’re happy”.

      If あなたが嬉しい (anata ga ureshii) should translate as “you are happy”, and considering the context in あなたと電話 (Anata to Denwa), I believe that your first impression “You tell me you’re lonely because you are happy” is likely closer to the actual meaning. I think that the line may mean “you tell me that (me hanging up makes) you feel lonely because you are happy (talking to me)”.


      • tPenguinLTG

        In this case, I don’t think あなたが嬉しい is in the “Noun が Adjective” form, at least not in the sense of a “transitive” adjective that I had described in the follow-up comment. For reference, this is the whole line:

        あなたが嬉しい時は 私も笑っているでしょう
        anata ga ureshii toki wa watashi mo waratteiru deshou

        Notice the wa / は particle, which indicates the “topic” of the sentence. Other than quotations, I can’t think of a situation where more than one は particle would be found in a sentence. Given this, I would consider あなたが嬉しい時 (“the time when you are happy”) as a whole to be the topic. toki / 時 is the noun and anata ga ureshii / あなたが嬉しい is the modifier to 時. The focus is on the “time” rather than the “you”.

        I would normally translate “you are happy” as “anata wa ureshii desu” / あなたは嬉しいです, using the は particle. This is fine because the focus is on “you”. However, since あなた is not the main topic of the original line, we can’t use は. Instead, we use が because あなた is the one who is 嬉しい, making it the subject of 嬉しい and it becomes secondary to the whole sentence (a “secondary topic” of sorts, if you prefer).

        The difference between は and が is fairly complex and there have been books written on it, but hopefully I’ve explained this case clearly enough. It’s one of those things that just clicks after repeated usage, and then some.

        As for the line “you tell me that (me hanging up makes) you feel lonely because you are happy (talking to me)”, that was indeed what I was going for.


    • tPenguinLTG

      There was a translation posted for this song on the Tumblr blog “Aimai Lyrics” (who I had no idea linked to Thoughts on Oku Hanako) just yesterday.

      Here’s the relevant verse:

      I wish I could stay like this forever, laughing together
      Just being able to hear your voice loosens my heart
      After saying goodnight, you’re happy and tell me,
      “The one who doesn’t hang up first is feeling more lonely, right?”

      It seems the translation is a little more liberal, but this clearly interprets the line as what we concluded to be the likely intended meaning. It makes me wonder what the Chinese translator saw to interpret it the way they did.


      • Edward

        Thanks for sharing. Your explanation was clear enough for me. Maybe when I finish all of my translations, I should put the spare time into learning Japanese properly instead of just picking up a few words here and there.

        It’s good to see another currently active translator who is a fan of Oku Hanako instead of just a couple of her songs.


  2. Pingback: Translation for Anata to Denwa / あなたと電話 | Thoughts on Oku Hanako

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