📆 Hobonichi 2021・Translating a quote a day!

I think it’s supposed to be a joke, that he misspeaks? This is the Japanese:


January 30

I first met the pianist Spike Wilner the day before the live performance. So it was like “Nice to meet you, by the way, can you play this song?”, rushing through the introductions and handing him the score to ‘Ringo Oiwake’. Then, while looking at the score, Spike started playing ‘Ringo Oiwake’ veeery slowly, in the empty store before it opened. It was impossibly slow and felt like an entirely different chord.

January 31

To this day, I am a devoted handwriter. Even when I was writing a series for the same magazine, my deadline would be one day earlier than other people’s deadline. “What’s up with that?” I used to wonder, but it was because the editor would type it into the computer for me.

February cover page

It’s not snowing. Rather, the world carrying us is going higher and higher through a cosmos filled with snowflakes.

February 1

I’m not worried. What is there to be worried about? I think I can think about worries when I get there. There are also people who worry about things right from the start, when they haven’t even occurred yet and get stressed. It’s fine to toot your own horn a little, isn’t it?

February 2

February 2nd. In France, it is called ‘crêpe day’. This day is also called ‘La Chandeleur’ and ‘candle procession day’. Light is the symbol of Christ. Because of the fact that light is something that is brought about by the sun, it has apparently come to be that they eat crepes, which represent the round golden sun.

February 3

If you feel ‘that was good’ about the time you were doing it, I think that’s called ‘a good time’. Even experiencing unrequited love, though it is in my opinion surely the worst feeling, might some day be counted among ‘good times’. Isn’t happiness ‘having a good time’?

February 4

When we try to understand things, even now, ‘separating’ and ‘joining’ are the things that provide us with a ‘way of thinking’. If you write it in kanji, the one becomes 分類 ‘sorting’ and the other becomes 系統 ‘grouping’. We’re not just talking about science here, but all living things and non-living things taken together, whenever we try to understand all sorts of things, without exception we are looking at it from either of these viewpoints.

February 5

There are times when those who listen to my music are reminded of something and cry in the audience, and I cry in sympathy with them. ‘Cut it out’, I think, but still I cry.

Oh my goodness. To think that something like this exists. THANK YOU. One of my the goals in my Japanese journey is to one day be able to understand the quotes in my yearly Hobo (I’m partial to the Japanese original, not the English, for some reason)–I know I’m still far away from that but reading these helps. Thank you!

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Same here. I love the colours in the Japanese version. This year I went so far as to try and find matching inks haha. Thanks for your kind words!

Ooh that reminds me of a JetPens article I read sometime ago where they recommend pens that match the monthly colors! I would have done it if I didn’t already have a lot of pens. :joy:

Ahhh, I found it!

I went with fountain pen ink (Diamine, specifically, cause it’s cheap here). Ordered like 45 different sample vials to figure out the perfect match for each month. My husband thought I had lost my damn mind :sweat_smile:

February 6

From now on, I want meet the elderly people who came and survive in Alaska and listen to their stories. If I don’t listen to their stories now, the tales that are stored within them will be forever lost when those people are no longer there. Hoshino Michio said this at some point. In my opinion, one person dying is the same as one library burning down.

I am not sure which part exactly is the Hoshino quote, as there is no explicit marker, but I think it makes sense for it to be the last sentence, as that is particularly pithy.


Ah, I wish I had the same diligence as you for fountain pens–I was into it 5+ years ago (I still have a couple of my more expensive pens!) but the cleaning definitely took a toll on me. Diamine Syrah was one of my favorite inks!

Also that quote is lovely–I do think I’ve read the last sentence somewhere too, just not sure who wrote it.

Ooph, rough couple of days, quite the backlog of quotations!

February 7

Something that happened at my part-time job at an izakaya. I shouted, repeating the order, but while I should have shouted ‘one opened mackerel!’, I shouted ‘open one mackerel!’. I was laughed at by the boss: ‘the mackerel is already opened!’

February 8

When I was a police reporter for NHK, I was suddenly entrusted with being newscaster for the capital region. When I was promoted to the position of reading the news, I was shocked that the copy was so difficult to understand. Moreover, I couldn’t hold my breath because the sentences were too long. So I rewrote the copy so that I would be able to read it. Because I couldn’t hold my breath, I cut down the long copy. When I cut it down to the level where I could hold my breath, it became easier to read.

February 9

The things that enrich our lives, in my opinion, are curiosity and the power of imagination. The world is overflowing with things we don’t know yet.

February 10

There isn’t really any way to recover from a cold quickly. However, there are ways to make sure it doesn’t get worse: diligently doing things such as resting, sleeping, drinking water. Also, make sure your body doesn’t get too cold. It is also important to change out of your clothes properly if they’ve become wet. So the necessities of life are important: living environment, food, clothes. By taking proper care of these aspects, I believe you can make sure that you don’t make the cold worse.

February 11

‘Living by oneself’ and ‘being able to look after people’ are actually almost the same thing. When one is young, one is only thinking of becoming successful, but as one becomes an adult, one’s flower won’t wilt before one knows it when one has a sturdy vigour for the sake of others.

Are you sure this is an inspirational quotes calendar thing?

Is “hold my breath” the right translation? The feeling I’m getting from the context is that the sentences are so long that he doesn’t have the time to breathe, and “hold my breath” doesn’t feel right for that in English. Not… that I can suggest a more natural, but concise, translation. “Couldn’t breathe” works well though, I guess.

So, typical trope in anime, if a character has a cold, someone - sometimes a parent, but more typically a visiting love interest - will tell them they should change out of their sweaty pyjamas into a clean set. But I’ve never in my entire life sweated so much because of a cold or fever that my pyjamas have become noticeably sweaty. Are… are fevers just worse in Japan?

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I think it’s more of an ‘interesting quotes’ calendar haha. Some of them aren’t so much inspirational, just downright weird :grin:

Ah, that’s an interesting way of looking at it. My own personal experience with long sentences (lol) is that you run the risk of taking a deep breath at the start and then reading the whole thing without breathing in between. So in a sense you’re holding your breath, I figured. The Japanese is 息が続かない. Maybe ‘the breath wouldn’t hold out’ is a more literal approximation?

February 12

I think people who wear the things they’ve knit themselves are charming. The sweater or scarf shows off the personality of the person who made it and, in addition, the happiness of wearing it emanates from that person. Furthermore, hand-knitted clothes give a sense of maturity when a young person wears them and a sense of youth when an older person wears them. Why that is, I am still figuring out.

February 13

There isn’t a single thing that doesn’t have anything to do with design. Things that can be turned into motifs are scattered all over the place. Anything whatsoever can be applied to any sort of shape and one could propose “this is also design, isn’t it?”

February 14

If you feel like you really want to tell something to a person you care about, I think you can only stand up honestly like a person who doesn’t have anything and return to the starting point of the embarrassment: what do I want to tell, to convey, at this opportunity?

February 15

Because consciousness is an orderly activity, garbage naturally accumulates in the brain. That’s why we sleep.

February 16

When I was waiting on the platform, thinking that once I got on board the shinkansen I would read the mystery novel that I had started on, a passing shinkansen stopped 100m ahead of me. The people behind me had started saying “what’s wrong?”, but I ー the rest of that detective novel on my mind ー answered, without thinking and on no grounds whatsoever “maybe there has been a murder?”. My mind was full of that detective novel.

February 17

I think it’s a little strange, the notion that one is only a good person or a bad person. There are people who have both elements, who are neither good nor bad, neither black nor white. That’s why my pro wrestling became the way it is.

February 18

The Tale of Genji is a long story, but there are hardly any descriptive narrative parts in which the feelings of the characters are described. People’s feelings are only described in poetry. Basically, poetry is the best way to express your own feelings. That has continued to be the case to this day, I believe. What can’t be said face to face between a husband and wife or a parent and child, can be communicated through poetry.

February 19

When your interests increase because something unexpected leaves a deep impression on you, that’s as if your friends in this world increase, I think. That’s why I am currently editing the series かがくのとも while keeping that feeling in mind, that you too could become a friend.

February 20

Tomizawa: “It’s because when you are holding the ball and you’re standing in front, it becomes a 15 against 1 situation.”

Nakatake: “Because they aim for the opponent that is holding the ball and go towards him like ‘waa’. It gets like ‘waa, here’s one, here another one, here’s another one!’”

Date: “I don’t want to carry it, the ball. It turns into a feeling of ‘I don’t have it anymore! I don’t have it anymore now!’. The foremost position is especially scary.”

Some googling told me that this one is about being scared while playing rugby. The original article is here.

February 21

What I recently learned and made me think ‘that’s lovely’, is the concept of ‘competence’. If I were to translate it liberally, it’d be something like ‘the capacity of being familiar with many things’. Or if I put in in another way, like a song: ‘I smile at the world, the world smiles at me’.

February 22

When I’m ill I get dizzy. When I am living life bumping my body into various things, delusions take over reality. But I don’t like it when my daily life becomes full of delusions. Eventually I started feeling like the expressions my pet cat Rocco made were like a movie scene. No, if I didn’t think that, it might have been boring. That’s why I suspect that I brought myself to think in that way.

At first I thought this was a very strange little quote, but after seeing the original article (here) I’ve figured it out. Key information:


So realising that his cat had a bit of an actor vibe he started taking ‘dramatic’ pictures of his cat as a way to cope with his Parkinson’s.

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