The first of Oku Hanako’s songs that I heard were Garnet and Kawaranai Mono when I watched Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo in August 2013. I liked the two songs and would listen to them fairly regularly. In December 2014 I watched a Clannad AMV that used Koi as the background music. Koi made me think of Garnet and Kawaranai Mono so I checked and found that Oku Hanako was also the artist for Koi. That got me interested in finding more of her songs. The key result of my search was finding tPenguinLTG’s site Thoughts on Oku Hanako. Appropriately given the tagline “Finally, a site dedicated to her in English!” it is a great place for someone who knows English and not Japanese to learn about her songs.
In April 2015 I decided that I was a big enough fan to buy albums. My favourite songs are Hikari and Kimi no Egao, so I decided to start with Kimi to Boku no Michi and Oku Hanako BEST My Letters. As luck would have it, I bought the versions for distribution in Taiwan and as such the albums came with extra booklets with the lyrics in Traditional Chinese. I was taught in Simplified Chinese in primary school so I could read the lyrics if I changed the characters to Simplified form. Understanding the lyrics after that was not particularly easy for me because in the past few years I have not regularly used my Chinese.
I decided to write a translation of Hikari because tPenguinLTG expressed a wish to understand the meaning of the song better in a post. It took a while to complete and I enjoyed making use of my Chinese beyond placing orders when I eat in Chinese restaurants. Eventually I decided to write translations for the rest of the songs in the two albums to exercise my Chinese. If I were to do so then it would be nice to make it available on the internet for other people who don’t know Japanese to understand her songs. After all, I have shared the experience of being held back by the language barrier.
My English proficiency is several times higher than that of my Chinese so I am fairly confident of being able to write an accurate English translation of a Chinese sentence though I may need to look up most of the Chinese characters. For this project, I want to write translations that convey the meaning that I find in the Chinese lyrics, which hopefully is not too far from what one would find in the Japanese lyrics. The choice of English words may not be the most poetically elegant as my writing in recent years has been tempered by application in fact-focused engineering reports, but I will do my best.