📆 Hobonichi 2021・Translating a quote a day! Feedback appreciated 😊

Hobonichi 2021・Daily quotes

Translated quotes

January

January cover page

新しき年の初めの初春の今日降る雪のいや重け吉事

This is a poem by Ōtomo no Yakamochi (大伴家持), which I shan’t pretend to be able to translate precisely. I did manage to get the general gist of it, because there are many websites that offer a more modern version of this poem, for example:

「新年を迎え、初春も迎えた今日、降る雪のように良い事もたくさん積もれよ」(source)

A very fitting poem for the first month (and day) of the new year. I love the comparison between the piling up of falling snow and the (hoped for) piling up of good things in the new year. When I saw this aptly picked quote, I knew it would be rewarding to try to read all of them!

January 1st

I believe the spirit of poems has continuously been handed over from the time of the Manyoshu [to the] Meiji poets and finally to us today. In short, both 1300 years ago and now, the feeling of “I love you” that is composed in love poetry hasn’t changed.

January 2

I want to make a note of things that it would be inconsequential for me to forget if I don’t write them down on the spot. When I realise “this thing is inconsequential!”, my face lights up and I quickly try to make a note of it. Things like “children of this age hold their legs like this when they sit”, or “my uncle usually puts the cup here when he stops drinking”.

January 3

Things that are unpleasant, but also feel good at the same time.
Times when you should be sad, but the sadness just doesn’t come.
A feeling of increasing loneliness even though you were laughing the whole time.
Feelings that you can’t name, feelings so insignificant, but you still can’t ignore them.
~ @Myria!

January 4

On the first Monday of January, [I think] “Thank God It’s Monday”. I find it’s a “what a welcome Monday, let’s get to it!” kind of day. From this day on I reckon there are many people who start their jobs. Together with a sense of “let’s get to it!”

January 5

I have been using a Hobonichi Techo for 12 years. Without change, the thing I do first every year is to copy the holidays of my husband, who works as an auctioneer at the market. Even during Golden Week it appears that the market is often open. I note down the wish “do your best at your job with good humour this year as well”

January 6

In rugby, you get excited before a match and raise your spirits, stirring up your team mates as you stand on the pitch. However, it’s an interesting thing, it’s actually problematic to feel the same emotions during the kickoff moment. Although you have to be in an excited state, the game proceeds in an exceptionally strategic way. Because you have to input the strategy into your head and issue instructions to your team mates. There are many cases where you fail if you go in with an excited mentality similar to [the one you feel] at the kickoff site at the start of the game.

January 7

Since I have grown older, I’ve reached the point where, if someone – be they younger or older – is an amazing person, I can truly recognise that “this person is amazing”. Since some time or another I’ve become truly able to think like that.

January 8

Rather than going somewhere, I like to digest places I can’t go by making a drawing of them. There are also places where it is better not to go, rather than seeing how it differs from the real place, because there are many times when I let my thoughts expand too much into a direction that differs completely from the real place. In short, it’s ok if the places you want to go to only exist in your heart.

January 9

Upon entering a restaurant with his family and being asked by the waitress “would you like a seat in a tatami room or on a couch”, my father said with a loud voice “at a table!”. I think both options come with a table, dad.

January 10

Calligraphy is a tactile art. It is not a visual art. If you can sense what sensation you are trying to write, what kind of sensation of the brush you are feeling as you write, you already know how to do calligraphy. Calligraphy is a representation of feeling [something].

January 11

January 12

A researcher prioritises reading the passages that are closely related to the hypothesis of their thesis, right? A translator cannot afford to do that, though. He translates both the famous line from Hamlet “to be or not to be” and a single word from a part however small the same way: diligently word for word. Towards the original work, towards all of the characters, the translator is in the most fair/impartial position, I think.

January 13

When I think “I can’t draw very well”, the thought becomes stuck in my head. That is why when I draw, it might look like I am not thinking about anything at all, but I am thinking. And it might look like I am thinking, but I am not thinking.

January 14

Even if I simply asserted that “in order to be happy, you shouldn’t compare yourself to other people”, I have a suspicion that there are truly barely any people who can do so perfectly. But even if it’s little by little, I feel it is important to create a place where you don’t compare yourself to others. It’s very difficult though.

January 16

“The process of creating your role” is often talked about, but as for me, I don’t think that “roles” are things that you “create”. To what extent you can start up the character from the screenplay, that is not an act of “creating”. You felt it from the screenplay and you made a mental picture from the text. If you can get the thing that must be described as the ‘presence’ of that person, the thing that is like the manifestation of that person’s energy, in your belly, it means that you can go out onto the stage.

January 17

Sometimes I want to see people because I feel lonely, other times I don’t want to see people because I feel lonely.

Currently struggling with

January 11

咲こう咲こうとしていた若い時期につくったものには、
The things I made/did in a time when I was young and trying to bloom,

必要以上にのびのびしたいのちの働きがあるものだ。
were things that had いのちの働き that were more のびのび than necessary.

そういう時期に四の五の言わずに仕事して置いてよかった。
I am glad that I did my job at that time without grumbling.

もっとよくできるまで、
Until I improve(d),

じっくりと力を溜めてからとか、
once I carefully amassed strength or something,

秀才みたいなことを言わなくてほんとうによかったよ。
I am truly glad I didn’t say prodigy-like things.

January 15

[I want to tell you about] an important stretch I want you all to do every day without fail. That is the ‘while stretch’. For example, try writing in your Hobonichi while doing a leg opening stretch. That’s doable, right? In this way, do stretches while you’re doing things during your daily life. Doing it like this is quite effective.

みなさんにぜひ毎日やってもらいたい大切なストレッチを。What verb am I supposed to supply, do you think?


Original post:

I got a Hobonichi Techo Cousin and I’ve been trying to read the daily quotes. The first two were easy, but I’m struggling with the third one. That made me wonder if there are other people out there reading the daily quotes who may want to read them together?

For what it’s worth, here’s the quote for 3 Jan (I assume they are the same across all models):

気持ちわるいだけれど、気持ちいいようなこと。悲しいはずなのに、悲しさが降りてこないような時間。ずっと笑っていたのに、さみしさが増えていく心持ち。名付けようのない、しかも取るに足らないような感覚は、ないことにするわけにいかないものである。

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I needed to google what it is.
It seems like a calendar/planner…? Is there anything special about it? I assume a good quality cover/paper/design?

Ahh sorry about that. It’s a pretty popular planner among stationery enthusiasts. It has high quality paper, so you can use a fountain pen. I personally really like the design as well; I find the layouts very pleasing to look at. What sets it apart from other popular (Japanese) planners is that every daily page features a quote from Hobo Nikkan Itoi Shinbun (the planner’s parent company). I am enjoying the daily ritual of trying to read the quotes, though as it turns out some are a bit difficult :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

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Thanks for explaining! :blush:

Ah, this is some sort of poetic philosophy. Or… philosophical poetry. Not sure if I stand a chance at this. :stuck_out_tongue:

Like, I get each clause on its own, but when I put them back together, it’s just a collection of deliberately paradoxical sentences. That said, not quite sure what definition of 降りる is being used in the second sentence.

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I‘ll have a go.

「Things that are unpleasant, but also feel good at the same time.
Times when you should be sad, but the sadness just doesn’t come.
A feeling of increasing loneliness even though you were laughing the whole time.
Feelings that you can’t name, feelings so insignificant, but you still can’t ignore them.」

Well, I don’t really know how to translate the nuance of ないことにするわけにいかない… „You can’t just explain them away.“ „You can’t just pretend they don’t exist.“ Something like that.

悲しさが降りてくる: sadness comes down on you

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Ahhh, that makes a lot more sense! Like @Belthazar I had trouble figuring out 降りる. I thought it meant that the sadness wouldn’t ‘go down’ (i.e. ‘lessen’), rather than wouldn’t ‘come down on you’. With this translation it is appropriately paradoxical rather than maddeningly paradoxical :stuck_out_tongue:

The quote is really quite lovely now that I get it!

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Joining to say I am so glad someone wants to do this!! I love my Hobos, but sometimes the task of reading the quotes gets a little overwhelming.

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I think I’ll try to do a daily post to keep myself accountable and to allow for some discussion. My only fear is that it might be copyright infringement to post every daily quote? On a moral level I think it’d be fine, because it’s a planner, not primarily a quote book (no one buys the Hobonichi Techo just because of the quotes), so I doubt people would be dissuaded from buying a 2021 planner if the quotes appear online one day at a time. @admins, what say you?

@Mods

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Heya! Sorry for the delayed response. We think daily posts that include a quote may be too frequent for copyright, like you mentioned, so is there a way for you to summarize these quotes in English in your check-in instead?

Hey, I also have a Hobonichi Techo and I just want to say I love this idea! If we can figure out some way to do this with the copyright issue, I’ll totally be participating.

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I’ve got a Hobonichi as well!

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Thanks for your consideration. Just to be clear, is it ok to post a daily translation (integrally) and to quote the odd Japanese sentence here and there for the sake of asking language questions?

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paradoxical inner experiences or emotional states that can’t be sufficiently described in words.

That’s fine, yes! :ok_hand:

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I bought the English edition of the Hobonichi Techo. Although it looks like the quotes are completely different in the English edition and Japanese edition, as I can’t find anything similar to what you posted in mine.

I am also feeling somewhat demoralized at the difficulty of the quotes stumping even experts here, as I planned that I would be able to buy the Japanese edition next year and I would understand the quotes by then. :(((

In that case, I’ll make a catch-up post :smiley:

January cover page

新しき年の初めの初春の今日降る雪のいや重け吉事

This is a poem by Ōtomo no Yakamochi (大伴家持), which I shan’t pretend to be able to translate precisely. I did manage to get the general gist of it, because there are many websites that offer a more modern version of this poem, for example:

「新年を迎え、初春も迎えた今日、降る雪のように良い事もたくさん積もれよ」(source)

A very fitting poem for the first month (and day) of the new year. I love the comparison between the piling up of falling snow and the (hoped for) piling up of good things in the new year. When I saw this aptly picked quote, I knew it would be rewarding to try to read all of them!

January 1st

I believe the spirit of poems has continuously been handed over from the time of the Manyoshu [to the] Meiji poets and finally to us today. In short, both 1300 years ago and now, the feeling of “I love you” that is composed in love poetry hasn’t changed.

January 2

I want to make a note of things that it would be inconsequential for me to forget if I don’t write them down on the spot. When I realise “this thing is inconsequential!”, my face lights up and I quickly try to make a note of it. Things like “children of this age hold their legs like this when they sit”, or “my uncle usually puts the cup here when he stops drinking”.

January 3

Things that are unpleasant, but also feel good at the same time.
Times when you should be sad, but the sadness just doesn’t come.
A feeling of increasing loneliness even though you were laughing the whole time.
Feelings that you can’t name, feelings so insignificant, but you still can’t ignore them.
~ @Myria!

January 4

On the first Monday of January, [I think] “Thank God It’s Monday”. I find it’s a “what a welcome Monday, let’s get to it!” kind of day. From this day on I reckon there are many people who start their jobs. Together with a sense of “let’s get to it!”

January 5

I have been using a Hobonichi Techo for 12 years. Without change, the thing I do first every year is to copy the holidays of my husband, who works as an auctioneer at the market. Even during Golden Week it appears that the market is often open. I note down the wish “do your best at your job with good humour this year as well”

January 6

In rugby, you get excited before a match and raise your spirits, stirring up your team mates as you stand on the pitch. However, it’s an interesting thing, it’s actually problematic to feel the same emotions during the kickoff moment. Although you have to be in an excited state, the game proceeds in an exceptionally strategic way. Because you have to input the strategy into your head and issue instructions to your team mates. There are many cases where you fail if you go in with an excited mentality similar to [the one you feel] at the kickoff site at the start of the game.

I’d love to hear about any alternative interpretations or translations :smiley:

Don’t worry about it, most of the quotes I’ve read I could understand just fine after looking up some vocab. It’s just that sometimes a poem is a bit… poemy :stuck_out_tongue:

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This is so true. As a kid, I had a copy of Little Pictures of Japan (My Travelship) and now I am finally starting to understand some of it, even though it was fully in English. :rofl:

Ah, some of these are the same as the English edition, but some are different. Also does every single day have a quote? A lot of the days on the English version there’s only one quote for two days with the attribution on the other side. I think the English edition might have mostly the same but with less quotes maybe moved around a bit. I’ll give the two that are the same for what you just posted, but I’ll probably stop after that for copyright reasons.

January 2nd:

I like to write down things that, if I didn’t, would be forgotten, because they just aren’t important. When I find something like that, I think, “That really doesn’t matter at all!” and it makes me smile, so I hurry to make a note of it. “When kids that age sit down, they fold their legs that way,” or “When that old guy puts his glass down, he usually puts it right over there.” Things like that.

January 4th & 5th:

I’ve been using the Hobonichi Techo for twelve years, now. My husband is an auctioneer at the market, and every year the first thing I do is mark in his days off. It looks like the market will be open a few days over the spring break. “Be well, and do good at work” - that’s my wish, as I write.

So, good job on the translation. Yours’ is a bit more direct, obviously, although I think some of the things the official translators did maybe could have more literal. When I read “spring break” my mind immediately said “That’s definitely a cultural translation of Golden Week”, so it’s good to know things like that are correct.

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