羅針盤 (Rashinban) · 指南针 · Compass

[Album] Prism – track 7

This is my least favourite Oku Hanako song. The main reason is because it sounds like Oku Hanako is trying to rap, and I think it doesn’t work. I respect her freedom to experiment with her style as she likes, but I’m glad it was only for one song in this album.

This song is also unusually short for Oku Hanako. At 2:28, this is the only song under 3 minutes play time in the 4 albums I have, which cover 67 unique songs in 68 unique versions. 君の笑顔 (Kimi no Egao) appears twice in an album version and a regular version, and the versions are about 20 seconds different in length. The second shortest song is 曖昧な唇 (Aimai na Kuchibiru) at 3:15.



I want to be loved, remembered and noticed; I don’t want to be lonely
What kind of person am I to always take without giving?
How many years do I intend to live, and thus lived until today?
Who will I cry for? And who do I want to see me?

A-ah, there are nights when I think of someone

If I don’t go anywhere now, the words I wrote will break
I am a nobody who relies on the sound of the door opening as my compass for living

I don’t want to do, I want to be saved; I don’t want to anger people or be hurt
What kind of person am I to run away from everything?
What happiness should I believe in? What direction in life should I follow?
Do I want to avoid letting anyone see me take a wrong step?

A-ah, there are times when I laugh together with someone

I’ll now take the invisible light in my hand and head into the darkness to continue fighting
I am a nobody who relies on the beating of my heart as my compass for living


Translation notes

1. Verse 1, line 1

I want to be loved, remembered and noticed; I don’t want to be lonely

In the Japanese lyrics on okuhanako.net, the line says that the singer does not want to be noticed (気付かれない kizukarenai; wanting to be noticed would be 気付かれたい kizukaretai). When I listen to the song, I’m pretty sure I hear 気付かれたい kizukaretai, so I’ve translated the line to say that the singer wants to be noticed. This is also what the Chinese translation says.

If I took some liberty with translating this line, I think it could be more elegantly written as:

Love me, remember me, notice me, don’t leave me alone

Similarly, verse 4, line 1 could be put more elegantly as:

Do it for me, save me, don’t be mad, don’t hurt me


Besides being an unusually short song, I think this is an unusually melancholic song. Where Oku Hanako’s sad love songs show a singer coping with her broken heart, this song shows a singer in a bout of depression. The image of the singer is of a person who lacks self-confidence, feels lonely, and doesn’t know what to do.

The end of the song suggests that the singer has found resolve within herself to continue her fight. However, I don’t think it is a positive end, because her resolve appears to be based on her belief that she is alive as proven by the beating of her heart. I feel that the singer could lose faith in her heart beats as proof that she is living.

I don’t want to end my notes like this, so I’ll close with a somewhat relevant quote with quirky humour. It’s probably funnier if you know the context.

It just so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY dead. There’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive.

– Miracle Max, in The Princess Bride


Simplified Chinese

想被爱  想被思念  想被察觉  不想变得寂寞
只会一味要求的我  究竟是谁
究竟是为了要活到几岁  而生活下来直到今天
为了谁而哭泣  想要让谁注意呢?

啊啊  也有过思念着某人  这样的夜晚

如今  若是哪儿也去不了  就这样打破所写下的文字
那开门的声音  是无名小卒的我赖以为生的指南针

不想做  想被拯救  不想惹人生气  不想受伤
只会一味逃避的我  究竟是谁
相信着何谓幸福  该往何处前进生存呢
踩空的那一步  不想被任何人看见吗?

啊啊  也能有过与某人共同欢笑的时候

如今  收我看不见的光  往黑暗中持续奋战
还紧扣心弦的声音  是无名小卒的我赖以为生的指南针





  1. tPenguinLTG

    I have a more complete collection (approximately 140 unique songs excluding covers, collapsing versions) and it seems that the shortest song that I have of hers is Hataraku Neko / 働くネコ at 1:43. It’s the full version of theme song of the associated show. However, if you don’t count that because it was on a limited edition release, and you don’t count her covers, jingles nor the short versions of Koi Tsubomi and Kimi no Hana, then yes, Rashinban is the shortest of her “regular” songs as far as I know. At 2:42, Tsumiki / 積木 (the original, not the atrocity released on the latest single) is the only other song I have that’s shorter than 3:00 that’s not a cover.

    The lyrics on j-lyric.net have 気付かれたい for the first verse and I also hear -tai, so I’m guessing the lyrics on okuhanako.net is just a typo. I’ll have to remember that when I eventually post this song.

    I would also agree in your “more elegant” lines, but only because it fits for this song and its style. Any other of Oku Hanako’s songs and I would go with the main body. I can’t speak for Chinese, but Japanese is all about context, and sometimes you have to break from a more literal translation to get the real meaning. One of the examples I often hear is of 分かる. If you were to ask 「歌手はだれですか。」 (“Who is the singer?”), I could say 「分かりません。」. If you were to translate the response literally, you’d say that it means “I don’t understand [the question]”, but in reality, it means “I don’t know [who the singer is]” because of the context.

    As a Christian, these lyrics really strike me in the heart because they echo the feelings of someone who really needs God in their life: lost, unsure of what to do and in need of love. While you may get by a little bit trying to rely on yourself to keep going, it’s not going to last, especially if you’re in such an unreliable state.

    Come to think of it, does the album have any happy songs in it? Some sound like they could be taken as somewhat happy, but from a quick skim of your translations for the album, they all appear to have some element of distance to them. If we assume that these songs were based on true events, which we know is true for many if not most of her songs, then I’d have to wonder what happened. It’s also interesting to note that the cover art for the album is white against grey. Compare it to her other cover art and draw your own conclusions, I guess.

    If I ignore the lyrics, I actually don’t mind the song that much. It took me a while to appreciate it and I probably wouldn’t like it if she went in this direction, but I’d be okay if it was left on a couple of times in a row. In contrast, I can never bring myself to finish the new version of Tsumiki. I barely made it through the first time and now I can’t get more than halfway through it, if even that. It’s perhaps the first time I’ve felt so strongly negative about one of her songs before.

    Trying to rap? Maybe, but it doesn’t work because there’s too much melody.

    I’m curious, if you’ve ever heard it, what’s your opinion on Puzzle / パズル (Utakata, track 11)? It’s the song that I often compare Rashinban to. It’s unfortunately a bit difficult to find online, which is one of the reasons I haven’t posted it yet.


    • Edward

      Thanks for sharing a more comprehensive look at the length of Oku Hanako’s songs. That’s interesting that the full version of Hataraku Neko is 1:43. I thought that a show’s theme would be cut to around that length for airing, and the full version would be 2-3 times longer.

      I would think that Ganbare is unambiguously positive and happy, though the melody is very reserved about showing it.

      No, I haven’t heard Puzzle. Hearing you compare it to Rashinban doesn’t do any favours for Puzzle, but I suppose I’ll buy Utakata at some point and have a listen then.


      • tPenguinLTG

        Oh yes, I don’t think I looked at Ganbare when I did my skim. That would make sense, given that it’s the last song on the album, and we know that she makes the order of the songs significant. After all the potentially depressing songs, she ends with a song of encouragement. Classic Oku Hanako.

        It makes me wonder, then, if the album name has any significance other than some superficial connection to the title of one of the songs.


      • Edward

        I believe there is a reason for the choice. In the notes for the song GOOD BYE!, Oku Hanako said that she named the album good-bye because she wanted to say “goodbye” to the events of 2011.

        For Prism, I think that perhaps she wanted to refer to the colour that a prism can produce by separating light (refracting light – because I care about science). Taking it a step further, perhaps she wanted to say that people becoming separated is not always a negative experience.

        It is interesting that her album names always reference one of the songs in the album. In the case of GOODBYE!/good-bye, the album name came before the song. Maybe she likes having that reference in every album, so she’ll either select or compose a song to fit the album.


      • tPenguinLTG

        Ah, that’s an interesting theory for the album name. I could certainly believe that, and it gives the white album art more meaning. To give a similar example, I’m sure you’re familiar with her song Garnet. At first, I thought the title wasn’t really related to the song and thought it was chosen because the Japanese liked having random English words everywhere, but I later found out after reading an interview that she named it after the birthstone, which symbolizes constancy and true friendship. Very fitting for the song’s context.

        Speaking of interviews, I remember Rashinban being explicitly mentioned in a lot of the interviews leading up to the release of Prism. I should go look for them sometime.


      • tPenguinLTG

        Huh, maybe I’m misremembering, or maybe I’m not searching hard enough, but I can only find one interview that mentioned Rashinban. This one looks familiar, though, so I’ll go with it. The whole interview is a lot to take in, so I didn’t read through it all, but I’ll translate the question about Rashinban (for the gist, not for accuracy):

        Something about “Rashinban” is like zettai ryouiki; you said you put effects on your singing voice?

        「アハハハハ!(笑) プロデューサーがね、“この曲はいいんだ”みたいな。初めてですよね、ああいうの」
        [laughs] The producer was like “This song is nice”. It’s a first or something, isn’t it?

        Based on this, I would say that Rashinban was made for fun to experiment with effects. Its short length would also suggest this.

        There’s another mention of the song in a later question, but I have no idea what it’s saying, though. Something about wanting to put something before the song’s chorus.


      • Edward

        Thanks for that. I would have liked Oku Hanako to have shared her own thoughts on her experiment in the interview. Well, at least it shows that she didn’t have to fight her producer in this experiment.


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