📆 Hobonichi 2021・Translating a quote a day

Following as another Hobonichi enthusiast! (I also have the English A6, though maybe by next year I’ll be confident enough in my reading to get the Japanese one!)

1 Like

That’s fascinating to see those translations, thanks for sharing. I guess you can chime in whenever you see us missing the forest for the trees in any of our translations or interpretations :wink:

January 7

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

I am having trouble to figure out where the って fits in syntactically with the rest.


when there is a cool person,

I’ve reached the point where

I can recognise them [while] saying 'this is a cool person".

I think maybe something like this?


I really can recognise that “this is a cool person”
(or personally I’d go with “this person is amazing”)

Also I fellow hobonichi fan here too !
Been lurking for a few days, love this idea

1 Like

It’d make a lot of sense, but I am not sure how the grammar works? I have been trying to find the relevant use of って in the Dictionaries of Japanese Grammar but I haven’t managed to find anything. Unless this is って as は? Can は come directly after direct speech?

って is an informal と (particle)

So something like その人は「いいね」言いました。
can also be その人は「いいね」って言った。


Ah, I had a brain fart there. I figured that if「この人はすごい」served as the direct object with 認められる it should have some sort of particle to indicate that, but it didn’t occur to me that 認められる could also just serve as an 言う equivalent (introducing direct speech) :sweat_smile:

Though that weird comma sure didn’t help :unamused:

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].

1 Like

Unfortunately I can’t make a whole lot of sense of this one… @gabruoy, does there happen to be an English translation in your hobonichi?

January 11

The things I made/did in a time when I was young and trying to bloom,

were things that had いのちの働き that were more のびのび than necessary.

I am glad that I did my job at that time without grumbling.

Until I improve(d),

once I carefully amassed strength or something,

I am truly glad I didn’t say prodigy-like things.

I was about to have to let you down until I turned the page, that’s tommorow’s quote.

January 12 (English)

Those things you make when you are young, when you are so keen for them to blossom into something, are so full of life, more than is even necessary. I’m so glad I got them done then, without moaning about it. I’m so glad, now, that I didn’t wait until I could do them better, as someone smarter might have.

This is still a very strange quote to be honest.

1 Like

Yeah :sweat_smile: And I am not sure how some of the Japanese grammar yields such a translation. Let’s hope some knowledgeable senpai notices this thread.

I’ll give this a try. Going to breakdown the Japanese so the English won’t be translated properly.

First chunk

咲こう咲こうとしていた + 若い時期 につくったものには

Can also think of it like this:

咲こう咲こうとしていた つくったもの
若い時期に つくったもの
these two lines both describe (this isn’t the right word but I hope you know what I mean) the subject: “the thing you made”

So it becomes the thing you made that:

  1. you made when you are young
  2. keen to make it blossom [into something]

必要以上に + のびのびした +
more than necessary + grow/extend quickly
いのちの働き + があるものだ。
has movement of life → “is full of life”

Second chunk

I am glad that I did my job at that time without grumbling.

Until I can do it better/well,

じっくりと力 を溜めてから とか、
or after I’ve carefully accumulated power

I am truly glad I didn’t say something prodigy-like.

So roughly “I’m glad I didn’t say something prodigy-like I’ll wait until I could do better or have more power”

The English translation

I’m so glad, now, that I didn’t wait until I could do them better, as someone smarter might have.

At first I thought the English was saying
“I’m glad I didn’t wait because someone smarter might have [done the job]”
but I think it’s saying
“I’m glad I didn’t wait until I could do them better, as someone smarter might have [waited]”

Hope this made sense somehow!

1 Like

So I guess he’s saying he’s happy he started creating things when he was young, rather than waiting until he could do it perfectly. Because he was so keen for those things to succeed, they ended up having a lot of ‘life’ to them (which they might not have had if he had been more confident and less of a tryhard :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:).

January 12

A researcher prioritises reading the dense passages that are 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 impartial position, I think.

I am not sure what’s up with 公平・公正なポジション, with that punctuation. Both 公平 and 公正 seem to mean the same thing, so…? I also wasn’t sure about the meaning of 深い. I stuck to ‘dense passages’, but it could also mean ‘closely related passages’. Though in that case I am not sure what to make of 関わり, since that also means ‘relationship’ (論文の仮説に関わりの深いところ).

It’s something disgusting, but also sort of pleasant. It’s supposed to be a sad time, but it’s like the sadness just doesn’t come. It’s the feeling you get when, even though you’re laughing, you’re just getting lonelier and lonelier. You can’t seem to name it–this worthless little feeling–but you can’t just pretend it’s not there.

This is my attempt. How did I do?
(was pretty interesting–I wonder what it’s referring to)

Ah, I like how it reads like something that was originally written in English, rather than a translation!

I personally think it refers to depression. That is to say, that interpretation is most relatable for me.

1 Like

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.

What the heck did I just translate…?


The one thing I still struggle with is why 咲こう is translated like it’s become transitive (or causative) all of a sudden? I know that volitional + とする = ‘try to volitional’, so I would have thought it meant that the main character himself is trying to bloom.

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 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.

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”. The extent to which 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.

Recognisable, this one :grin:

January 18

I think you can truly only understand [ この世界のつくりだとか成り立ち ] deeply by actually moving and standing there and experiencing it with your entire body. That’s how I learned it. By actually meeting people, by actually climbing mountains. So far, by making these journeys, that conviction has gradually grown stronger.

Having trouble with この世界のつくりだとか成り立ち. Why is there だ before とか?

January 19

When dogs and children make something their own, they protect it carefully, love it and treat it with care. The sort of feeling with which a dog hides its snack, the sort of throbbing of the chest of a child who is looking at a toy at their bedside. That kind of vigour is something I wish I had.

January 20

We can all wish for a positivity to direct ourselves towards our dreams and goals and carry a hope for the future. But, humans can’t always be go-getters, they suffer the occasional setback. Even at such times, it is not a bottomless pit, there is a bottom limit. At such a point, science can be very powerful. This lower limit is still solid. It is scientifically guaranteed. When we reach this point, there is no other option than to bounce back up.

January 21

You and nature are opposed to each other one-on-one. Moreover, that is sufficient. It’s being alone, but it’s not loneliness, it’s solitude. That is the original perspective on nature.

Bah, I felt pleased that the grammar was so simple, but then it turns out the contents are confusing… @gabruoy, would you mind seeing if your Hobonichi has a translation that makes more sense? Do let me know if it’s annoying, I won’t ask again in that case :grin:

1 Like

I don’t mind, but the versions are getting disconnected, so I might not be much help. Your quote for today doesn’t appear at all, and Jan 19’s quote appears on Jan 24th. While I’m not sure what the future holds, it won’t be long until it’l be impossible to match quotes between the two versions if they continue like they are now.

I will post this one since you seemed a bit confused on it though

January 22 (English ed)

If you want to understand how this world is made or where it came from, the only way is to actually get up and go out there, feel it with your body. That’s how I learned. Actually meeting people, actually climbing mountains. And after all my travels, I am more and more certain of that now.

Strangely direct, but it has the phrase you weren’t sure how to translate. Oddly enough, your grammar is better than the official one’s because of how they decided to go about it.

1 Like

Thanks for all the help so far :grin:

January 22

Daughter: “Dad, which do you like more, Perfume or mum?”
Father: “Ehhh, I think your mother. I feel embarrassed…”
Daughter: “Mum, which do you like more, GLAY or dad?”
Mother: “GLAY.”

Apparently these are both bands.

January 23

One of the interesting things about the laws of nature is ‘the beauty of formulas’. Mathematics-based physics was born when the pioneers Newton and Einstein tried to explain all things in nature in as few steps as possible. It is very beautiful and fascinating.

January 24

In New York everyone is in a good mood. I mean, even the shopkeepers aren’t like ‘good day’ or ‘welcome’, but like ‘hey, how are you?’. When I asked my friend, who is a writer and editor living in New York, he said ‘they think being in a good mood is a sign of maturity’. 気分のいい自分でいることが、大人の証であると。

I am not quite sure how to translate 自分で in this context.

January 25

In my case, I have been drawing manga ever since I was 5. Because the time when I draw manga is the most fun, in my student days, whether I joined the track and field club or the light music club, I was always drawing manga on the side. To me, manga is the biggest type of play.

January 26

“Hey, do you know this?”
“It’s a Carnegie quote!”
“We can read it!”
I didn’t understand Nepalese, but it was already written like that all over their faces. I became happy and shouted out to the children “let’s read it together!”
‘Remember, today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday!’
O my god, that’s exactly what I was like before I came out here to travel, isn’t it?

I couldn’t make any sense at all of this quote and I thought it was due to my Japanese. Turns out it needs a fair bit of context. Here is the original article it appeared in. I think he means that he is inferring what they are saying based on their smiles and behaviour.

January 27

Among failures, successes are mixed in together with the failures. There is no such things as a complete, total, utter failure; among the failures are good things that are hard to find even when you look for them, such as creating roads and relationships that lead to the next step, making discoveries along the way and gaining ability (skills).

1 Like

I literally just made an account to thank you for this. :pray:t2: Google Translate doesn’t always make sense and I’ve really enjoyed knowing what the quotes say. :yellow_heart:

1 Like

Ha, you’re making me blush! Nice to know someone enjoys my ham-fisted and sometimes delayed attempts at making sense of the quotes :grin: Also, don’t use Google Translate, use DeepL! It’s much better (I use it a lot for these quotes lol).

January 28

In my case especially, there is no point in looking back and thinking ‘why did I fall ill?’. I also don’t know about the future. Yes, I can only look at ‘the now’. I only look at that. Everyone is so enslaved by the past and future. I mean, that is all they look at. That’s probably because they will live a long life. Because they assume they will live a long life.

January 29

I had spent a day at a department store and it was exhausting. Finally, I did some shopping in the food department in the basement and after that I went to buy some meat and go home. But since I couldn’t find the meat department, I asked the clerk: ‘where is the meat plaza?’.

1 Like

Think I’m not quite spotting the profundity here…

The department store represents the world, and the meat represents fundamental human kindness?

1 Like