Category: Prism album

Rashinban

羅針盤 (Rashinban) · 指南针 · Compass

In:
[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.

 

English

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

 

 

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Usotsuki

嘘つき (Usotsuki) · 骗子 · Liar

In:
[Album] Prism – track 10

 

English

I’d rather you had said “I already like someone else”
“I’m still unable to accept your sudden love confession”
What? Why? You started to look troubled
And then, I could no longer hold back my tears

Am I the only one who believed there were times we loved and words we repeated?

Time and time again I go to see you, even though I know it’ll only hurt me
You say you hate me, and won’t hold me; you consider me a liar

Being half-hearted with your kindness is your specialty
Or perhaps it is your final reply to me
I must forget you; each time I think about forgetting you
You once again forcefully engrave yourself in my heart

I thought that together we would see futures we dream of and tears we forgive

I want your warmth removed quickly because the desire to see you is a hindrance to me
Say goodbye and don’t deceive me; you consider me a liar

The desire to see you has faded

Time and time again I go to see you, even though I know it’ll only hurt me
You say you hate me, and won’t hold me; you consider me a liar
If this continues, I may as well be a liar

 

Translation notes

1. Verse 2

Am I the only one who believes there were times we loved and words we repeated?

I’m pretty sure the Chinese translation does not match the Japanese in part of this line. The part of the line in Japanese is

私だけが信じていたの?
watashi dake ga shinjiteita no?

Japanese uses particles to identify the subject and object for a verb. In this case, the particle is が (ga), which identifies the doer of the verb, 私 (watashi) – I, and the verb is 信じていた (shinjiteita). So the Japanese line means “I believe”.

The Chinese translation is

只相信我一人吗?

Chinese follows the subject-verb-object order for grammar, so the doer of the action is put before the verb and the thing the action is done to comes after the verb. The word 我 is used for “I”, and the translation puts it after the verb 相信, so the translation means “believe me” instead of “I believe”.

 

2. Verse 7

The desire to see you has faded

The literal meaning of the Chinese translation is “The desire to meet slowly moved away from you”. I believe the Japanese translation has a similar literal meaning. I took it to mean that the speaker no longer wants to meet “you” and rephrased it to that effect.

 

At the start, the singer confesses her love for the listener, but he turns her down with a vague rejection. If the listener had given her a clear rejection, the singer may have been able to move on instead of continuing to pine for him in her heart. When the singer sees the listener, he says and does hurtful things, but there is something kind in his manner. The listener’s hint of kindness is enough to keep the singer hoping for more, so the singer probably thinks the listener is lying about where his affections lie.

The singer is aware that the rejection means she shouldn’t continue thinking about the listener or going to see him, but she still does. In the second to last verse, the singer claims to no longer want to see the listener, but the last verse implies she does it anyway. The singer realises that by doing so she is lying to herself about having moved on.

 

Simplified Chinese

有了喜欢的人了  能这样说就好了
对于你突然的告白  还不能完全接受
是怎么了?为什么?你露出困惑的脸
而我从此  泪水就  停不下来

相爱的时间  交叠的话语  只相信我一人吗?

即使知道会受伤  仍无数次地想要见你
你说讨厌我  不愿紧抱我  你  把我视为骗子

半途而废的温柔  是你最擅长的
或者这是对我的  最后的回答
必须遗忘  在每次想要忘却之时  你总是
不请自来深刻烙印在我心中

梦想的未来  原谅的泪水  会以为两人可一起看见

想见面的心情扰乱着我  想尽早消去有你的温暖
虽说了再见  也请不要敷衍我  你  把我视为骗子

想见面的心情  逐渐疏远了你

即使知道会受伤  仍无数次地想见你
你说讨厌我  不愿紧抱我  你  把我视为骗子
就这样  我就是骗子也好

Nagareboshi

流れ星 (Nagareboshi) · 流星 · Shooting Star

In:
[Album] Prism – track 5

 

English

Although we are far apart, I am thinking of you today
I want to walk by your side, and I want us to live together one day

However many people are gathered, however busy the streets are
Being where you are would ease my loneliness the most

Instead of eating alone in the restaurant with the longest queues
I’d rather be eating instant ramen with you and dressed in pyjamas

We live busy lives, so we only hear each other’s voice over the phone
There are some cruel days when we miss each other’s calls

Even if I feel like crying from loneliness towards a distant shooting star
The night sky above always assures me that everything will be fine

Instead of drifting off to sleep while wrapped in the cosiest blanket
I’d rather be falling asleep with you, with our cold feet entwined

I want to be sure of your feelings, but words are not enough
So I have told small lies to see if you get uneasy1

Although we are far apart, I am thinking of you today
I want to walk by your side, and I want us to live together one day

I feel irritated and miserable because I can’t see you when I want to
You tell me that you understand that better than anyone else

Although we are far apart, I am thinking of you today
I want to walk by your side, and I want us to live together one day

 

Translation notes

1. Verse 7

I want to be sure of your feelings, but words are not enough
So I have told small lies to see if you get uneasy

The Japanese lyrics do not explicitly say who tells the lies to make the other feel uneasy in the second line. The Chinese translation says that the singer is made to feel anxious by the listener’s lies. I believe that the singer is telling the lies. The first line makes it clear (in both Japanese and Chinese) that the singer wants to be sure about the listener’s feelings. I find it much more likely the singer would follow up by admitting to using lies to probe how the listener feels about her, rather than explaining that her uncertainty about the listener’s feelings is caused by his lies.

 

I like that Oku Hanako sings this song with a cute voice instead of a yearning voice. I think that it allows the audience to believe that the singer and the listener will have a fine future together. It is unexpected to find that the shooting star is associated with the singer’s loneliness instead of being used to make a wish upon. Perhaps it refers to how a shooting star stands out in the night sky and is alone unless it is part of a meteor shower.

 

Simplified Chinese

即使相隔好远好远  如今我仍想着你
想要走在你身旁  想总有一天两人共同生活

不管人潮再多  街上多喧闹
只要有你在的地方  便不觉得寂寞

一个人去吃  大排长龙的餐厅
也比不上  和你一起穿着睡衣吃泡面开心

忙碌的生活  只能透过电话听到彼此的声音
虽然也有不温柔  彼此错过的日子

就算是对着远方的流星  寂寞地哭泣
抬头仰望的夜空  也总是对我说没问题的喔

与其包着温暖的毛毯入睡
更想和你一起  挨着冰冷双脚入眠

光是言语仍不够  想要确认你的心意
也会用小小的谎言故意让我不安对吧

即使相隔好远好远  如今我仍想着你
想要走在你身旁  想总有一天两人共同生活

因为想见却无法见面  后悔想哭的心情
你说  我比任何人都了解喔

即使相隔好远好远  如今我仍想着你
想要走在你身旁  想总有一天两人共同生活

 

Sukidattanda

好きだったんだ (Sukidattanda) · 一直喜欢着你 · I Was In Love With You

In:
[Album] Prism – track 4

The title’s Chinese translation, 一直喜欢着你, means “I always liked you” when adjusted for the past tense. I’m not sure why the “always” is in there. 好きだったんだ (Sukidattanda) can be broken down into:

好き (suki) means “like” or “love”.

だった (datta) is the past tense of だ (da), which in the present tense is used for saying “is” or “be”.

んだ (nda) is basically defined as an expression used for stating something as a fact. There are several ways it can be used in conversation, and in a nutshell it uses the fact to explain something.

Thus, I think the translation would likely be “I was in love with you (so…)”.

The phrase is said twice in each of the first and third lines of the chorus. As such, the inclusion of “always” can add emphasis. In fact, in the chorus, the Chinese translation includes “always” for the first time the phrase is said and omits “always” for the second time.

Come to think of it, “I was in love with you” could be the translation for 愛してた (Aishiteta), and it sounds more elegant than “I used to love you” (the current translation for that title). I believe the difference in Japanese would mostly be in the degree of affection conveyed by 好き (suki) and 愛 (ai).

 

English

My tears have dried up, there were nights when I cried non-stop1
You always had a nonchalant look on your face as you gazed ahead

Honesty might hurt someone
I’m sure neither you nor I knew what we wanted to protect2

I was always searching for the missing happiness
But someone truly important was by my side

I was in love with you, I was in love with you, I was thinking about you
Why is it only now do I realise that all I think of is you
I was in love with you, I was in love with you, despite having no reason
I’m going to meet you now so you can hold me tight

There is no end to your list of shortcomings
You’re sloppy, slow-witted, and should be kinder

Even so, everything is meaningless if you’re not the one
Just holding hands and exchanging smiles with you will make me happy

I was in love with you, I was in love with you, I truly was thinking about you
I didn’t say sorry, I didn’t show kindness, I just stayed away from you
I was in love with you, I was in love with you, just like when we first met
I’m going to meet you now so you can hold me tight once again

I was in love with you, I was in love with you, I was thinking about you
Why is it only now do I realise that all I think of is you
I was in love with you, I was in love with you, despite having no reason
I’m going to meet you now so you can hold me tight

 

Translation notes

1.

Verse 1, line 1

My tears have dried up, there were nights when I cried non-stop

In this line, the Chinese translation includes a “but” between the two statements:

泪已干涸  却仍不断哭泣的夜晚

My tears have dried up, but there were nights when I cried non-stop

Literal: tears already dried up, but nights of crying non-stop

This line in Japanese ends with けど (kedo), which is used to mean “but”. However, to my knowledge, it should go between two statements. If けど (kedo) appears at the end of a statement, it may have another meaning. Of these meanings, I think “making your point (conversational)” is somewhat appropriate. Maybe it would change the translation to:

My tears have dried up after all the nights when I cried non-stop

Lyrics are poetic, however, so lines do not necessarily follow regular sentence structure. With that in mind, the second statement for けど (kedo) may be the second line of the verse. This would make the translation:

My tears have dried up, there were nights when I cried non-stop
But you always had a nonchalant look on your face as you gazed ahead

Since I think “there were nights when I cried non-stop” could be joined either with the first part of the first line or with the second line, I decided to let it float between the two.

 

2.

Verse 2, line 2

I’m sure neither you nor I knew what we wanted to protect

The Chinese translation interprets this line to mean that “you and I” are the things to protect:

想要守护的东西  虽然并不清楚  你我必定都是

I don’t know what I want to protect, but I’m sure about protecting you and me

Literal: thing want to protect, although not clear, you and I must be

The line in Japanese, along with my attempt at a literal translation of it, assisted by machine translation:

守りたいもの 分からずにいた きっと私も あなたも
Mamoritai mono wakarazu ni ita kitto watashi mo anata mo

Literal: thing want to protect, was not known, surely I too, you too

Although I cannot claim to know Japanese grammar, I think that the line is saying that “you and I” did not know what to protect instead of being something to protect.

 

I see the tale told by this song as being the singer realising that she was and is in love with the listener after their relationship went cold. They may have broken up. At first, the singer had feelings for the listener as shown by “I was in love with you, just like when we first met” in the second version of the chorus.

Later, the singer wasn’t sure about her feelings, and believed that the listener wasn’t sure about his feelings either. This is shown by “I’m sure neither you nor I knew what we wanted to protect” in the second verse. The cause may be the listener being a bit of a jerk. The singer lists “should be kinder” as one of the listener’s deficiencies, and says that the listener looked “nonchalant” when she cried at night.

Now, the singer realises that she did indeed love the listener, and that she still does. This is most telling in the line “I’m going to meet you now so you can hold me tight once again” in the second version of the chorus.

 

Simplified Chinese

泪已干涸  却仍不断哭泣的夜晚
你总是摆出  若无其事的表情  注视着前方

诚实以对  或许会伤害到谁
想要守护的东西  虽然并不清楚  你我必定都是

一直在寻找着  这里所没有的幸福
但是真正重要的人  就这么在我身边

一直喜欢着你  喜欢着你  想着你
为何到此刻才发现  想着的都是你
一直喜欢着你  喜欢着你  毫无来由
现在就想去见你  把我抱紧

你的缺点  真要说也说不完
散漫  不机灵  也不够温柔

即使如此  若非是你  一切都将失去意义
牵起手  相视而笑  光是这样就可以了

一直喜欢着你  喜欢着你  真的想着你
不说抱歉  不对你温柔  只是一味远离你
一直喜欢着你  喜欢着你  如同当初邂逅之时
现在就想去见你  再一次把我抱紧

一直喜欢着你  喜欢着你  想着你
为何到此刻才发现  想着的都是你
一直喜欢着你  喜欢着你  毫无来由
现在就想去见你  把我抱紧

 

Tokyo Kurashi

東京暮らし (Tokyo Kurashi) · 东京生活 · Living in Tokyo

In:
[Album] Prism – track 3

 

English

Whenever I said “I’m home”, I would always hear someone reply “welcome home”
Everyone had dinner together, and we laughed about trivial matters

The everyday life that I took for granted
Is something that I now realise cannot be replaced
As I walk alone on the streets of Tokyo, I want to make my footsteps echo through the streets

The sky that I see from the window in my room
I can say that I like it more today than I did yesterday
In the distance beyond the window, illuminated by the evening sun
I can see my hometown that is always in my heart

Day after day I delayed doing things I didn’t understand, even though I wanted to do them
I couldn’t do it alone, but I still chose to live as if I knew best

I have someone who cares about me
So I now understand how warm it feels
As I walk alone on the streets of Tokyo, I’ll use my own power to search for the door to tomorrow

By the time the street is bathed in the evening light
My tears will have dried and I can smile
From the balcony, I can see the city street that connects to my hometown road
The path will always be in my heart

From here I’ll take my first step towards my dream
There is only one door that the key in my hand can open

The sky that I see from the window in my room
I can say that I like it more today than I did yesterday
In the distance beyond the window, illuminated by the evening sun
I can see my hometown that is always in my heart

 

Translation notes

As a fan of Oku Hanako, it is easy to start wondering how much of this song is based on her own experience. Oku Hanako has signed a record deal with Pony Canyon, which has its headquarters in Tokyo, and presumably that means she does most of her work there. Her birthplace is Funabashi, Chiba, which is not very far from Tokyo – a google of “Funabashi to Tokyo” returns travel times of 39-41 minutes by car over 32.1-36.4 km. Thus, the lyrics relating to the view of the singer’s hometown from the singer’s room can be applied to Oku Hanako’s circumstances, and I think most of the song is very likely based on her personal experience. Oku Hanako does write songs based on experiences that others have shared with her, so it is possible that the inspiration for the song did not come solely from her.

I see this song as a companion to 帰っておいで (Kaette Oide) because one song is about a person leaving their hometown to seek their fortune in a big city and the other song is about reminding them to return home sometime. These songs may be considered love songs too, just that it’s familial love instead of romantic love.

 

Simplified Chinese

说出我回来了  总是会听到  你回来了的回应
和大家一起吃晚餐  笑着闲聊无聊的话题

理所当然的日常生活
如今终于了解  是无可替代的东西喔
独自走在东京街头  今天也要让自己的脚步声音彻街道

对着这房间窗户  看出去的天空
比起昨天  今天更能说出喜欢了
午后阳光映照窗户的另一边
可以看到故乡  总在我的心中

即使有想做的事  也因不了解  而拖延的每一天
明明是无法独立完成的  却自以为是的生活着

因为还有关心我的人
现在终于了解  是多么温暖啊
独自走在东京街道  用自己的步伐  找寻通往明日的门扉

当着街道染上夕阳之时
眼泪也风干  仿佛可以笑了
从阳台上看见的  都会街道
和故乡相连的道路  无时无刻都在心中

此刻才要开始  迈出梦想的第一步
手上的这把钥匙  可以开启的门扉仅有一个

对着这房间窗户  看出去的天空
比起昨天  今天更能说出喜欢了
午后阳光映照窗户的另一边
可以看到故乡  总在我的心中