Category: Oku Hanako BEST -My Letters- album

Koi

恋 (Koi) · 恋 · Romance

In:
[Album] Time Note – track 5
[Album] Oku Hanako BEST -My Letters- CD 1 – track 3

This is a special song to me because it’s the one that got me interested in looking for more of Oku Hanako’s songs. I heard the song in an anime music video featuring Fujibayashi Kyou and her feelings for Okazaki Tomoya. In case you are unfamiliar with them, they are characters from Clannad.

There is another translation by Kazabana.

 

English

I happened to see you two on the street
That girl is your girlfriend that you mentioned before
The fact the two of you looked well matched was bothersome
But your bright smile that I had never seen bothered me even more

Why can’t it be me?
Why must it be you?

I like you so much …
I hide in my heart the feelings that I cannot convey to you
It hurts so much that even breathing is difficult
Will I come to like you more than ever?
If only I could like someone who will like me in return, that would be enough

If there is someone who shares your personality
And shares your looks, that would be great
While talking about something trivial like that
I imitate you by drinking bitter coffee

I thought of giving up many times
I tried to hate you many times

I let myself be deceived by these feelings for a little longer
I’m lonely; I want to hear your voice
How much longer can I yearn for you like this?
If only I could like someone who will like me in return, that would be enough

Why can’t it be me?
Why must it be you?

I like you so much …
I hide in my heart the feelings that I cannot convey to you
It hurts so much that even breathing is difficult
Will I come to like you more than ever?
If only I could like someone who will like me in return, that would be enough

 

Translation notes

1. Verse 1, lines 3-4

The fact the two of you looked well matched was bothersome
But your bright smile that I had never seen bothered me even more

Kazabana’s translation is:

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

In both the Chinese translation and Kazabana’s translation, there are ideas that agree – that the listener and his girlfriend look compatible with each other, that the listener is smiling, and that someone is frustrated. The two translations don’t agree on how the ideas relate to each other.

The Japanese lyrics are:

お似合いだった事よりもずっと
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

In the Japanese lyrics, roughly between these two lines is the word より (yori), which is used for making a comparison. I don’t know enough Japanese grammar to say for certain, but I’m inclined to believe the Chinese translation is correct in comparing the listener’s smile with how compatible the listener and his girlfriend appear.

“Your bright smile” comes from the Chinese translation “你 … 的灿烂笑容”. The Japanese lyrics say “あなたの笑顔 (anata no egao)”, which would be “your smile”. I think “your bright smile” works better because it implies that the smile the listener shows to his girlfriend is better than his usual smile.

 

2. Verse 3, line 4

Will I come to like you more than ever?

Kazabana’s translation is:

I wonder if I can continue to think about you any more

The Japanese lyrics are:

これ以上あなたを想い続けられるかな
Kore ijō anata wo omoi tsuzukerareru kana

There is nothing I recognise in the Japanese lyrics that implies the singer’s love will grow stronger. I do recognise 続け (tsuzuke), which is an inflection of 続ける (tsuzukeru) meaning “to continue”. As such, I think Kazabana’s translation is more correct.

 

3. Verse 3, line 5

If only I could like someone who will like me in return, that would be enough

Kazabana’s translation is:

It would be good if you could like only the person who likes you

Both translations have the same idea, but from different perspectives. The Japanese lyrics imply the subject instead of stating it outright, so pick the perspective you like. I think that Kazabana’s translation makes the singer sound more selfish because she wants the listener to change to fit her preference. There’s nothing wrong with that impression, especially in a song about unrequited love that is more likely from the perspective of a pubescent girl than an adult woman.

 

4. Verse 4, line 4

I imitate you by drinking bitter coffee

Kazabana’s translation is:

Pretending it was bitter coffee, I tried to swallow

The Japanese lyrics are:

苦いコーヒー 真似してあたしも飲んでみた
Nigai kōhī maneshite atashi mo non de mita

According to RōmajiDesu, the word 真似 (mane) can mean “imitation” or “pretence” or “behaviour”. The Wikitionary entry lists “imitation” and “mocking” as the meanings. I think that perhaps it applies to pretending to be a living thing or copying the behaviour of a living thing.

Consider the whole verse for context (both translations agree on the context):

If there is someone who shares your personality
And shares your looks, that would be great
While talking about something trivial like that
I imitate you by drinking bitter coffee

I think that the singer copying the listener’s behaviour fits the lyrics better in the sense that the lyrics go from “the same personality” to “the same looks” to “the same behaviour”. That being said, it is poetic to liken the singer trying to accept that there is no one like the listener to drinking something bitter. As an aside, there is a phrase in Chinese (吃苦) that has the literal meaning “eat bitter”, but is used to mean “endure hardship” or “suffer hardship”.

 

Simplified Chinese

偶然  在街上看到了你们
那女孩就是你过说的女朋友吧
比起很配的你们二人  更让我不甘心的是
你那我从没见过的灿烂笑容

为什么我就是不行呢?
为什么一定要你才行呢?

如此的喜欢···
无法传递出的思念  藏在我的心中
如此的痛苦  连呼吸都变得困难
我还会变得更喜欢你吗
如果能喜欢上会喜欢我的人就好了

如果有跟你一样个性
长得跟你一样的人就好了
边说着这种无聊事情
我学你喝着苦涩的咖啡

好几次想要放弃
好几次试着想要讨厌你

再让我以这种心情欺骗自己
好寂寞  好想听你的声音
我还能这样喜欢你多久呢
如果能喜欢上会喜欢我的人就好了

为什么我就是不行呢?
为什么一定要你才行呢?

如此的喜欢···
无法传递出的思念  藏在我的心中
如此的痛苦  连呼吸都变得困难
我还会变得更喜欢你吗
如果能喜欢上会喜欢我的人就好了

Boku no Shiranai Kimi

僕の知らない君 (Boku no Shiranai Kimi) · 我所不知道的你 · The Side to You That I Don’t Know

In:
[Album] Oku Hanako BEST -My Letters- – CD 1 track 13
[Single] Chiisana Hoshi – track 2

 

English

I will not cry in front of you, I hope you will quickly look away
I still feel miserable because my love for you remains

You seem to have changed in the long time since we last met
You’re wearing clothes I’ve never seen and your hair has been cut short
But on your wrist is a familiar watch; it was the first gift I gave you
It made me happy that I still remained somewhere in your heart

As I expected I can’t return to being just friends with you
You are right beside me, but there is nothing I can do to let you know

I will not cry in front of you, I hope you will quickly look away
I still feel miserable because my love for you remains

What went wrong? Why did this happen?
Even if I go through all the questions, I won’t find any answers

“It’s not that I don’t like you”
Surely you know it hurts me a lot to hear you say that

I won’t cry in front of you, even if I am thought of as a memory
I still feel miserable because my love for you remains

Actually, I was hoping a little that we were going to start anew
But you have already fallen in love with someone else

I will not cry in front of you, I hope you will quickly look away
I still feel miserable because I want to hear your voice

If we happen to meet again, I wouldn’t want to be separated from you
So let’s bring an end to this, because I still like you

 

Translation notes

1. Verse 6

“It’s not that I don’t like you”
Surely you know it hurts me a lot to hear you say that

Of all the mistakes I have noticed in the Chinese translations, this one is the most obvious because the verse is missing in the Chinese translation. In order to complete the song, I attempted a translation by putting the Japanese text through Kanji Converter and using the little knowledge I have on Japanese grammar. I think I did an okay job at it. I also modified it after feedback from tPenguinLTG (see comment below). Here is the verse in Japanese:

嫌いになったわけじゃないと 言ってくれた言葉が
余計に僕を苦しめてること もう君は知っているでしょ

Kirai ni natta wake ja nai to itte kureta kotoba ga
Yokei ni boku wo kurushimeteru koto mou kimi wa shitte iru desho

 

For some reason that I can’t explain, this song sounds flat to me. Unlike many of Oku Hanako’s songs, this one doesn’t stir any particular emotions in me. If I had to guess, I think the cause is the rhythm.

Or perhaps it is the result of Oku Hanako’s attempt to convey the singer’s conflicting feelings. The singer is happy because she likes the listener and she sees him wearing the watch she gave him. But the singer is given reason to feel sad when she learns that the listener likes someone else and thus won’t treat her the way she wants him to treat her. Emotionally, the singer still wants to be close to the listener in spite of that. Rationally, the singer knows that she needs to move on from her unrequited love. Both these thoughts are apparent in the last verse. To me, this song is set in the moment when both thoughts appear together in the singer’s mind, leaving her unsure what to feel.

 

Simplified Chinese

在你面前我不会落泪的  希望你能赶快移开目光
因为我还是很不争气的  喜欢着你

好久不见的你  感觉似乎改变了
穿着我没看过的衣服  头发也剪短了
但是手上戴着我看惯的手表
是我第一次送你的礼物
在你心中某处还有我的存在  让我觉得很高兴

要回到朋友关系  我果然还是无法做到
你明明就在身边  却再也无法传达给你

在你面前我不会落泪的  希望你能赶快移开目光
因为我还是很不争气的  喜欢着你

到底是那里出错  为什么会变成这样
即使翻着问题集  也找不到答案

在你面前我不会落泪的  就算被当成回忆
因为我还是很不争气的  喜欢着你

其实曾经有所期待  想要重新来过
但你却已经开始  喜欢上别人

在你面前我不会落泪的  希望你能赶快移开目光
因为我还是很不争气的  想要听你的声音

若能再次相遇的话  我不会再让你离开
所以就让我们结束吧  因为我还是喜欢着你

 

Himitsu no Takaramono

秘密の宝物 (Himitsu no Takaramono) · 秘密的宝物 · Secret Treasure

In:
[Album] Oku Hanako BEST -My Letters- – CD 1 track 7
[Album] Utakata – track 10

 

English

Around this time last year my chest felt hot because of how you held your pen in your left hand
By chance, I touched your arm; I want to follow you wherever you go

We might be noticed if we’re alone together, so I knowingly said something nasty

Stop me; stop me before my fingertips touch you…

Can’t I like you?
Can’t I want to see you?
I want to know your feelings, but you just tease me as you always do

In the corner of the notebook I lent to you, I saw a scribbled drawing
Although I know it was nothing important, from that day on it was a treasure to me

If I shared my thoughts with you now, you might mistake it for a joke
I won’t get anywhere; I won’t get anywhere if I’m scared of being hurt…

What would happen if I said I like you?
Can’t I stay beside you?
I don’t know your feelings, so let’s stay as we are for a little longer

I want to be the person closest to you; I hope you will also feel the same way
Can’t I like you? Can’t I want to see you?
You really are too precious to me, so let’s stay as we are for a little longer

 

Translation notes

1. Verse 4, line 3

I want to know your feelings, but you just tease me as you always do

The Japanese and Chinese do not agree on who usually teases whom.

The relevant part in Chinese is

如往常般的都是我先起头闹你

Chinese identifies the subject and object by placing the subject before a verb and the object after the verb. Here, 闹 – tease – is the verb, 我 – I, me – is the subject, and 你 – you – is the object. So, the Chinese says “I tease you”.

The relevant part in Japanese is

いつも通りあたしをからかっていて
Itsumo toori atashi wo karakatteite

Japanese identifies the subject and object by using particles. The particle used here is を (wo), which is placed immediately after the object of the verb. The object here is をから (atashi) – I, me – and the verb is からかっていて (karakatteite) which has the base form からかう (karakau) – to tease. So, the Japanese says “[you] tease me”.

 

2. Verse 5, line 1

In the corner of the notebook I lent to you, I saw a scribbled drawing

The Japanese and Chinese do not agree on who borrowed the notebook.

The relevant part in Chinese is

跟你借来的笔记

In Chinese 借 can be used for both “to borrow” and “to lend”. The distinction can often be made by adding other words. If the word 给 – give – is added, it makes 借给 which means “to lend”. If the word 来 – come – is added, it makes 借来 which means “to borrow”. Furthermore, the structure 跟 [person] 借来 means “borrow from [person]”. The Chinese translation is 跟你借来, and 你 means “you”, so it is saying “[I] borrow from you”.

The relevant part in Japanese is

あなたに貸したノート
anata ni kashita nooto

Japanese has distinct words for borrowing and lending. “To borrow” is 借りる (kariru) and “to lend” is 貸す (kasu). Here, the word used is貸した (kashita) which has the base form貸す (kasu). Furthermore, the particle に (ni) is placed after the indirect object that the action is directed towards. Here, the lending is directed towards あなた (anata) – you. So, the Japanese says “[I] lend to you”.

 

I don’t particularly like the tune, but the lyrics have something sweet that appeals to me. Perhaps it’s how the lyrics create an image of the singer being someone who is nervously in love. Perhaps it’s how the singer appears vulnerable as she realises that she is caught between her desire to get closer and her fear of having her feelings rejected. Perhaps it’s because she will say something that is “not cute” to hide her crush from other people.

Or maybe I’ve seen one too many anime shows where two characters obviously like each other but neither one will make the first move.

 

Simplified Chinese

因左手拿笔的模样  而胸口温热是在去年的此时
不小心碰到你的手  想要追随你到任何地方

若两人独处好像就会被发现  所以故意说了不可爱的话

在指尖触碰之前  阻止我  阻止我…

不能只是喜欢吗
不能只是想见面吗
虽想知道你的心情  但如往常般的都是我先起头闹你

再跟你借来的笔记角落  看到了随兴画的画
虽知道这没什么大不了  但从那天起这就是我的宝物

要是现在告诉你我的心意  可以说是玩笑敷衍过去
若害怕受伤就哪儿也去不了  去不了…

若只是说喜欢会怎么样呢
不能只是在身旁吗
不懂你的心意  所以再保持一下这样的我俩吧

比谁都想接近你  希望能有相同的心情
不能只是喜欢吗  不能只是想见面吗
你果然还是太重要了  所以再保持一下这样的我俩吧

Happy Days

Happy days

In:
[Album] Oku Hanako BEST -My Letters- – CD 2 track 9
[Album] Kimi no Egao -Smile Selection- – track 10
[Album] BIRTHDAY – track 13
[Single] Waratte Waratte – track 3

 

English

I wake up in the morning 5 minutes before my alarm clock rings
Normally I’d feel like I had suffered a loss
But today something makes it feel like a gain

The old man jogging, the old woman walking a Maltese
And the children carrying their backpacks – it’s the usual morning scenery

I’ll try working a little harder
I’ll try giving it my all

Smiling and working, crying and loving
Linking ordinary days together – Happy Days
It’s the usual Happy Days

I’m like a goldfish in a fish tank, nobody will feed me however long I wait
So today I again hurry towards the station

Some days I want to run away because nothing is going as planned
But it’s in times like this when I realise that I can’t do anything alone

I’ll break through the bricks that have piled up
I’ll try taking a step forwards again

Whatever it is that puzzles me, it will have more than one answer
Even if someone laughs at me, I’ll be fine as long as I stay true to myself
That’s why tomorrow will also be Happy Days

Today is ending so let’s take off our tired shoes
Even the hot-tempered chief keeps a family photo in his record book

The days of everyone I meet will all grow old
And everyone will experience different things tomorrow

Smiling and working, crying and loving
Linking ordinary days together – Happy Days
Whatever it is that puzzles me, it will have more than one answer
A smile emerges from many tears – Happy Days

Happy and crying, sad and closing my eyes
A smile emerges from many tears – Happy Days
I will arrive at your side – Happy Days
La…

 

Translation notes

My first impression upon translating this song was that it was about the singer’s optimism that days will be good. After reviewing my translation several times, I considered that the source of the optimism was love. One hint that I should perhaps have noticed before translating was the fact that Happy Days is included on disc 2, the Songs of Love, of Oku Hanako BEST -My Letters-.  That suggests that I should find a note of affection in the lyrics.

As for the lyrics themselves, I guess they are subtle about the singer’s love. In the first verse the singer mentions that something is different enough to make her eager to wake up earlier. Perhaps it is because she is in love, that she wants to see or do something for someone special.

In verse 6, the singer reveals she has learned that it is difficult for her to do anything when she is alone. And then in verse 7 the singer decides to “try taking a step forwards again”. The singer would say “again” because the first time she would have failed and learned that she can’t to do it on her own. Her decision to try again may be caused by having someone with her, perhaps someone who loves her.

Finally, in verse 9, the singer claims that her superior keeps a family photo close while at work. This hints that the singer believes that people work for the ones who are dear to them.

I admit that verse 5 appears cryptic in this context because it implies that the singer has to look out for herself and thus may be alone. Though, perhaps it actually means that the singer is independent, that she prefers to have an active role in her life rather than a passive one.

The hints of love that I saw in the lyrics affected my translation of the third line in the final verse. In Japanese, the line is

あなたに届くよHappy days
Anata ni todoku yo Happy days

あなた (anata) means “you” and 届く (todoku) means “to arrive”. If I correctly understand how the particle に (ni) is used (Tae Kim’s Guide to Japanese), its meaning here is that “you” is the object of “arrive”, so “arrive at you” or “arrive where you are”. As I understand, the particle よ (yo) is used to end sentences (Tae Kim’s Guide to Japanese; Maggie Sensei), so the “Happy days” at the end is most likely unrelated. Despite that, the Japanese line is missing the subject, and my initial thought was that the implied subject was “Happy days”, i.e.

Happy Days will reach your side

Once I decided that the lyrics were subtly about the singer being in love, I decided that the subject was the singer and changed the line what it is now.

I will arrive at your side – Happy Days

 

Simplified Chinese

闹钟大响  在那5分钟前就醒来的早晨
平常会觉得吃亏了
今天不知为何有种赚到的感觉

慢跑的老兄  带着玛尔济斯的老婆婆
背着书包的小朋友  和平常一样的早晨风景

再加油看看吧
试着尽力去做吧

边笑  边工作  边哭  边恋爱
平凡的每天  渐渐连系起来 Happy days
和平常一样的 Happy days

像鱼缸里的金鱼一样  就算等待也没人会喂饵
所以我今天也快步地奔往车站

也有想逃走的日子  没办法事事顺心
但正是这种时候  才发现自己一个人什么都做不到

打坏堆起的砖瓦
再往前走看看吧

无论如何迷惘  答案都不只一个
就算被谁笑了  只要有自己的风格就好
所以明天也是 Happy days

今天也要结束了  把疲劳的鞋子换下吧
老是发飙的部长  纪事本里也有全家福照片

相遇的人各自的日子都会一样变老
明天也一样每个人  都会发生不同的事

边笑  边工作  边哭  边恋爱
平凡的每天  渐渐连系起来 Happy days
无论如何迷惘  答案都不只一个
从许多的泪水中  转变为笑容 Happy days

开心  落泪  悲伤  闭起眼
从许多的泪水中  转变为笑容 Happy days
传达给你 Happy days
La…

Saigo no Koi

最後の恋 (Saigo no Koi) · 最后的恋爱 · The Last Love

In:
[Album] BIRTHDAY – track 6
[Album] Oku Hanako BEST -My Letters- – CD1 track 14

 

English

Both of us were thinking “this is the last love”
Returning to being just friends was always considered a joke
It will soon be a year since then; I’ve become a little more mature
But the emptiness that appeared here is still unfilled

I’m always thinking “Why…”

The more I want to forget you
The more vividly I remember everything about you
The day we held hands for the first time, the day our hands parted for the last time
I want to see you one more time
If I had been able to tell you those words back then, would it change the present?

The photos we took together, the T-shirt you gave me
Their colours haven’t faded yet as it’s only been one year
I can’t face the loneliness, and when I get close to other people
I feel even emptier just because they are not you

I don’t mind even if it’s not love; you are all I want

The more I want to forget you
The more vividly I remember the days we spent together
The day when you called my name for the first time seems so long ago
I want to see you; I’m so lonely
If this is how painful it is
Then I wish the fact that I met you could be erased…

The more I want to forget you
The more vividly I remember everything about you
The day we held hands for the first time, the day our hands parted for the last time
Even if there is no possibility of seeing you again
I just want to tell you that I am very happy to have met you

 

Translation notes

The opening line makes me think that the singer and the listener were sure that they had found their true love because they considered it “the last love”. As such, I interpret this song as being similar to Sutaachisu (Statice) in that the lyrics are about the singer thinking about her deceased lover.

In Saigo no Koi, the singer is grieving because she wants her lover to be in her life but he is no longer there. In her grief, she wonders if anything could have changed their fate. She thinks that forgetting their shared memories will ease her pain. However, she finds that the memories will not vanish so easily. Eventually, she is able to accept that they will never meet again (at least in her current life) and remembers that their time together was happy for her.

In Sutaachisu, the singer has already accepted her new reality without her lover and finds joy in the love she had. It could be that the singer of Sutaachisu is the more mature version of the singer of Saigo no Koi. This is how I like to imagine it to be.

 

Simplified Chinese

这是最后的恋爱  我俩都是这样想着
回到朋友关系  一直觉得是开玩笑
从那之后  快一年了呢  稍微成熟了一点
但是这儿出现的空隙  依然还未填补

一直想着  为什么呢…

越是想忘了你  就更
会强烈地想起  你的所有
第一次牵起手的日子  最后放开手的日子
想见你  再一次
那时的我  若能说出这句话  现在会有所改变吗

我俩一起拍的照片  你给我的T恤
只是一年  是不会退色的
无法面对寂寞  而与其他人贴近
只因为那不是你这个理由  就更  空虚了

就算不是爱也好  只想要你

越是想忘了你  就更
会强烈地想起  我俩在一起的日子
第一次呼唤我名字那天  像是好久以前的事
想见你  好寂寞
若是如此痛苦
那么就连与你相遇的事  都能消去就好了…

越是想忘了你  就更
会强烈地想起  你的所有
第一次牵起手的日子  最后放开手的日子
就算无法  再见到你
与你相遇  还是让我好幸福  只想告诉你这件事