(The increasingly less) Daily senryu thread

NOTE: There’s a 48 hour deadline for submissions on this senryu as I have friends visiting and will be busy all of tomorrow.

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  1. モテ方に二十歳からと迄があり

もてかたにはたちからとまでがあり

So rather than jump straight to a translation, here’s my thoughts:

もてる is “to be popular”, and 方 is way, so that segment would be “the way to be popular”, or maybe “the popular way”. It’s followed by に, which is indicating a purpose (it could be a direction, but in this case probably not literally).

Then we have a … から … まで phrase, so from … until … The first blank is 二十歳, twenty years old. So from twenty years old until… と, which is a connecting particle, usually “and” or “with”. But now that doesn’t seem to make sense in the phrase.

Then があり, which seems to be a short form of があります/ がある, to be/stating a fact (used with non-living things).

The closest I can get to a real meaning is “the way to be popular is to be twenty”, but then what is the から・まで doing here? I feel like I missed a big chunk of this, certainly in understanding the grammar.

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AFTERWORD: Guess what! I was completely wrong and you, @macha1313, were headed in the right direction with your interpretation. I had a chance to discuss it with my Japanese friend and she explained it to me. I’ll summarize what she told me on Sunday. Ignore what I wrote below. I’ll leave it be as an illustration of how wrong one can get (and with such confidence!) while translating senryu (and Japanese in general).

Apologies for the confusion.


Okay, caught this before I took off until Sunday. Very good analysis and I think you got most of it, except for that tricky part (which I realized is tricky only after I tried to explain it - see below)

Hints (spoiler, really):

  • The 方 (かた、がた) is used to refer to a person respectfully (2nd meaning in the jisho linked page). So, モテ方 is “popular person”

  • I see now that the からとまで can be confusing. The と is used to quote/indicate the phrase before it, which is all that is between the に and と particle. So, 二十歳からと, means “twenty years in age.” And までがあり is literally “is upto” or “is limited to.” Putting the two together, 二十歳からと迄があり = “Twenty years in age” + “is limited to” = “there is a limit of having to be 20 years old.”

  • Connect this with the first phrase モテ方に = “To popular persons…” and you get “To be a popular person, there’s an age limit of 20 years.”

Which I take to mean that one has to have experience and maturity before one can truly be “popular.” It’s probably also a sarcastic way of saying that popular kids in high school (and earlier) often turn out otherwise before they get to 20 years in age.

That’s my interpretation.
Caveat emptor: I may well be wrong, as I have been before and plenty, too. I hope there are other submissions.

Whew! Trying to explain it made me understand that the grammar here is not that easy, after all. Apologies for stating that it is easy to translate.

I understand that particles play a much more important role in 日本語. So, it is useful to segment the sentence into phrases - that is, words between particles - and try to understand each segment and how the particles connect them, each to the other. Which is exactly what you were trying to do in your analysis and so all you have to do is 頑張って行く and you will automatically improve with practice.

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Ah, I saw that meaning of と, but thought it had to be a literal quote, like between " ".

At the moment, set phrases are my Achilles heel. And if I don’t know it’s there to find, it’s quite difficult to pick them out! I know as I read more I’ll find more and more of them and it will get easier. Thank you again for taking the time to explain.

Though I will say, with the meaning you put of to be a popular person, there is an age limit of 20 years, perhaps people over 20 can no longer be popular… that in order to have fame in the public eye, you can’t be “old”. I don’t know the average age of most Japanese idols, but they seem quite young. I’m in my 30s, so I guess I’ve got one foot in the grave already. :joy:

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I‘ll take a stab at the interpretation (before Sunday‘s reveal):

The と is „and“.
方 is „way“.
I read it like
モテ方に二十歳から(のモテ方)と(二十歳)まで(のモテ方)がある
„There‘s a big difference in モテ方 for people over twenty and people under twenty/teenagers“

Translation attempt:

モテ方に二十歳からとまでがあり

もてかたに・はたちからと・までがあり

How to be popular
Changes drastically
At age 20

Interpretation:

This is probably simply related to lifestyle changes when you’re out of high school and less bound by 校則 (that even regulate hair color etc), and obviously the drinking age in Japan is also twenty, which influences your lifestyle / what’s considered „cool“ as well. When you’re allowed to drink and to express yourself more freely, how to attract the opposite sex/make friends also changes.

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Saturday, August 14


Previous senryu

  1. モテ方に二十歳からと迄があり

もてかたに・はたちからと・までがあり
The way to be / popular changes / at age twenty

Notes:

  • As always, @Myria ’s “stab at it” hit the bullseye. 花丸! (I changed the wording to get to a 4-5-4 syllable count.)
  • @Myria s explanation is worth repeating:
    モテ方に二十歳から(のモテ方)と(二十歳)まで(のモテ方)がある.
    This is about the best way to explain a senryu. The challenge of reading a senryu is figuring out the unstated stuff. Without looking for it, and by trying to literally translate the senryu as it is, I missed the key point that と is the “and” connector of から and まで.
  • The comment on transition from out of school is also relevant and useful in providing the cultural context for the 20 year age boundary.
  • @macha1313 was headed in the right direction, until I manage to derail her. So sorry! I need to curtail my tongue as it seems to love the taste of humble pie.

Current senryu challenge

Volume: Heartfelt

  1. 友の数あの世の方が多くなり

Hints:

  • Had to look up あの世 as I haven’t encountered it before.

Remember to please use the spoiler tag with your translation attempts! Also, please include the reading in kana with your submission.

Everyone is encouraged to participate, no matter your level! Questions and comments are as valued as translation submissions.

Please try not to be disappointed if your translation isn’t selected or if you disagree with the daily choice: the judge isn’t terribly consistent with his grading (and has awful taste!).
Online tools like dictionaries, sentence databases, and even AI translation engines are fair game and can be extremely helpful. Yomichan is particularly handy if you use the Chrome or Firefox browser. The 語源由来辞典 is also an excellent resource for researching the etymology of various words and expressions.

Here are the links to the 356 Japanese originals (spoiler free) and to the the spreadsheet with all the upcoming senryu as well as the translations to date.

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Will give this senryu until tomorrow before closing it out. In the meantime, here’s my submission:

友の数あの世の方が多くなり

とものかず・あのよのほうが・おおくなり

The count of one’s
friends increases in
the afterlife

A 4-5-4
Comment: Does it mean the inhabitants of the next world are more friendly? Or, is it that those who are still alive, think fondly of the absentee, thereby increasing the latter’s number of friends in this world? Both?

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Interpretation: This is a ‘being old’ complaint – all the speaker’s friends seem to be gradually dying, so it’s getting to the point where more of them are in the next world than this one.

more of my friends / are in the next world / than this one now

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なるほ~ど~。What was I thinking? Or, should I say, “What was I smoking?”:laughing: (Not a smoker in reality)

I seem to be on a bombing streak…

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とまのかずあのよのほうがおおくなり

I did look up a few translations, since I was having trouble making these phrases into a coherent thought. I was able to identify “number of friends” “the afterlife” + の方, all before が, and “many/mostly become” assuming that なり is a version of なる. One of the definitions of 方 was that it is a suffix that is an honorific, which I think is what’s happening here? That’s my guess from how it’s translated via Google/deepL. Otherwise I was trying to make the phrase “the way of the afterlife” and that didn’t seem to fit.

The number of friends (in?) the afterlife becomes many.

As for interpretation, there are a couple ways I think this could go. My first impression was a cynical one, that after you die everyone acts like they were your friend (even if they clearly were not) - maybe for inheritance reasons, maybe just because some people won’t “speak ill of the dead” even if you weren’t friendly in life. But since this is under “heartfelt,” I’m guessing it’s not that.

Instead, maybe it’s the idea that when you go to the afterlife, you get to be with all the friends and loved ones that went before you, so you have more friends with you now than you did while you were alive - especially if you reached a fairly old age. I have a pretty vivid memory of Christmas visiting my grandmother, and she kept getting Christmas cards back from her far-away friends (actually from their children) letting her know that they’d passed on during the last year. It was a very emotional holiday season. I think this poem might have been a nice sentiment for her then.

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Xの方がY is a grammar pattern making a comparison: “X is more Y”

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In addition to @pm215 's grammar point, note that honorific usage of 方 (as a suffix) takes the -かた、-がた reading. In this senryu, it appears after the particle の, with the ほう reading.

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Tuesday, August 16


Previous senryu

  1. 友の数あの世の方が多くなり

とものかず・あのよのほうが・おおくなり
more of my friends / are in the next world / than this one now

Notes:

  • @pm215 ’s 4-5-4 translation and commentary (below) explain it very well.
  • This is a ‘being old’ complaint – all the speaker’s friends seem to be gradually dying, so it’s getting to the point where more of them are in the next world than this one.

Current senryu challenge

Volume: Husbands

  1. 結婚前キミと来たねが墓穴堀り

This one could be a bit challenging, particularly the ねが bit…
Hints:

  • 墓穴を掘る is an idiomatic expression.
  • Could ねが have something to do with 願う? Or, (as DeepL says) is it an Okinawan funerary custom? Or, are they two words: 来たね + が (if so, first time I’m encountering it)?

NOTE: Deadline for submissions for this senryu is 48 hours, since it seems challenging.


Remember to please use the spoiler tag with your translation attempts! Also, please include the reading in kana with your submission.

Everyone is encouraged to participate, no matter your level! Questions and comments are as valued as translation submissions.

Please try not to be disappointed if your translation isn’t selected or if you disagree with the daily choice: the judge isn’t terribly consistent with his grading (and has awful taste!).
Online tools like dictionaries, sentence databases, and even AI translation engines are fair game and can be extremely helpful. Yomichan is particularly handy if you use the Chrome or Firefox browser. The 語源由来辞典 is also an excellent resource for researching the etymology of various words and expressions.

Here are the links to the 356 Japanese originals (spoiler free) and to the the spreadsheet with all the upcoming senryu as well as the translations to date.

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  1. 結婚前キミと来たねが墓穴堀り

Hi! I’ve never tried this before, just discovered this thread. I’m not one for research, and it’s likely I’ll be way off the mark, but here’s my try:

けっこんまえきみときたねがぼげつほり

Before we married, you approached me, right? Dug your own grave.

I’m assuming the ね is used as in “right?” And the が is to joint the two sentences. So, if I’m reading this right, this person sounds like a jerk. “You approached me first, so it’s your fault if you’re unhappy.” It’s not clear to me if the husband or wife is speaking. Does the category “husbands” imply the husband is the speaker?

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結婚前キミと来たねが墓穴掘り
けっこんまえ・きみときたねが・ぼけつほり

Translation Attempt
Some info from the Japanese version is not included and it’s in an odd 6-4-4 format, but here it is:

„Remember our date here?“
I think I just
Dug my own grave

Interpretation:

Husband (the author) is at some special place/restaurant with his wife, exclaims: „Remember back then when we came here before we were married?“, immediately realizes that it was in fact another woman he took to this place, not his wife. But it’s too late and he has already dug his own grave :woman_shrugging:t3: that’s the extent of my interpretation at least.
But maybe there‘s something more to it?

Grammar hints:
キミと together with you

来たねが I understand this as
「結婚前、キミと来たね」が墓穴掘り
The が declares the quoted text that comes before as one big noun. In English: „The 「キミと来たね」ended up being my demise“, like that.

I‘m not sure if the 結婚前 is part of the quote, but I think it is? Otherwise he wouldn’t be married if he constantly mixed up partners? I think it makes more sense for the senryuu to be about something that’s exclaimed right now, rather than looking back on his past faux pas.

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けっこんまえきみときたねがぼげつほり

Before we married
We came here together
and both dug our graves

Its a 5-6-5 and I’m not sure if it gets the complete nuance down, BUT it’s the most direct translation I could do.

I’m thinking that in this place they’re at now, they had a date, and that’s when they fell in love or had decided to get married. Maybe it’s where they proposed? That’s the vibe I get, but it’s hard to express that in a poem and still have the word 結婚前 properly represented directly.

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けっこうまえきみとくたねがぼけつほり

The feeling that comes before marriage digs your own grave.

That was my first attempt, anyway. But now I’ve added キミと to my anki deck, since it seems pretty useful to know, and the dictionaries I have installed for Yomichan don’t seem to recognize it. :sweat_smile:

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Welcome to the Daily Senryu Challenge @weaverZ ! Glad you found us. And thanks for making a contribution right away - that is the best way to enter the stream of senryu. :slightly_smiling_face: Look forward to your continued participation.

Not doing much research is fine, particularly since you’ve explained the logic behind the translation. Besides, senryu are so tightly packed in their 5-7-5 construct - they often leave out particles and phrases and such - that “research” is not of much help. I think experience with the language as it is practiced by the Japanese and an understanding of their culture is a better tool. We have varying degrees of that with the participants in this thread. Which makes for interesting discussion. Even mistakes clarify our individual as well as collective understanding of grammar, the implied (but unstated) stuff - the “reading between the lines” that Japanese are famous for, and the customs and habits behind the statements.

As for your questions:

This is correct, as borne out in the other translations as well.

That’s what I’ve seen in the senryu we have dealt with so far. But, regardless of who the speaker is, the POV is that of the husband.

結婚前キミと来たね would translate literally as “Before marriage, with you (I) came here, didn’t I?” Or, the corresponding statement in English would be, “Before we married, we came here, remember?”
It’s not clear who is doing the 墓穴掘り - it could be the husband, it could be both of them, or (as in your translation) it could be the wife. But, the が connects it to what was said before, and therefor to the person who said it. So, in this case, it is the husband who is digging himself into a hole.

At least that’s how I see it. Usual caveats about how I’ve been wrong before, etc. :wink:

Thanks again for your entry and the effort you put into it.

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I’ve noticed such odd splits in previous senryu as well. I’m not sure if it is because 結婚前 can be treated as two words 結婚 + 前, as in 結婚の前。

Your grammar notes and reading of the first part with quotes makes a lot of sense. It cleared my confusion with the ねが in 来たねが.

LOL! True.

One of my guesses was that he’s saying he said this to her before the marriage. Ergo, he 墓穴掘り.
結婚前「キミと(ここへ)来たね」(と言ったの)が墓穴掘り

However, since this is under the “Husbands” category, I abandoned this “before marriage grave digger” scenario. :grinning:

Given the number of submissions so far, I will go ahead and close out this senryu tomorrow. But, before then I will clear this with an expert, just to be sure that we’re not missing anything else.

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This translation makes sense as well and it was what I first thought of. Then I was beset with doubts.

The が in the 来たねが has to be making what precedes it the subject of the verb (in this case 墓穴堀り). Or it has to be the “but” が connector, which doesn’t work when it is preceded by 来たね, which is a conversational ending as opposed to describing something and then putting a “but” at the end. Hence my confusion with ねが.

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