(The increasingly less) Daily senryu thread

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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I think that it might be a 切り言葉 which is used in regular haiku as well just to fit a mora count.

Or, it can be a poetic “but” since the previous “we came here together before we married right? But we ended up digging our graves on that day” just to contrast the happy memory alongside something kind of dark, or foreboding.

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The dictionary of basic japanese grammar says “が is much weaker than “but” in that it is sometimes used simply to combine two sentences for stylistic reasons even if those two sentences do not represent contrastive ideas”

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Hello, all! Looks like I’ve missed some fun ones. Just popping in to say “hi”. I fly back on Saturday.

As is so often the case, it looks like @Myria has good insight for this one. Such an interesting grammatical composition! The ね followed by が was really tricky. I think that if this one is read aloud by a native, there is probably a significant pause between the two.

I think it is too. It may add context for why he just dug his own grave by saying it aloud. Maybe he’s revealed that they were seeing each other before people realized, or maybe it was a favorite make-out spot!

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I think the translation makes logical sense (as I said, that’s also my first interpretation) as a lament about the marriage, compared to an “Oops. But, I have dug myself into a hole.”

As for が being a 切り言葉, I did a quick search and found that there are 18 切り言葉 that are used in haiku, but が is not one of them. (In fact, I haven’t seen most of those in the list before in the haikus I’ve run into.)

True. I shouldn’t have called it the “but” connector, and just said the “が particle/connector.” Still, the connector refers to a quoted statement. Hence I see it is a が connecting that quoted sentence to the second part and therefore, IMHO, the subject of the statement has to be the same on both sides of the が.

All that said, I am nowhere qualified enough to be the arbiter of how to interpret senryu. To settle questions like the ones above, I asked an expert - my 日本語先生 - for her take on this 川柳. I will include it in the final summary later today.

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けっこまえきみとたねがぼけつほり

Note that the past tense of 来る (くる) are 来ました & 来た and are pronounced きました and きた respectively.

キミと is 君と, meaning “with you,” written in kana. Sometimes 君 is written in katakana, and I have no clue why they do it and whether it has any significance.

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I probably should have guessed as much. I just learned 出来る and 来ない, which also don’t use the “normal” reading.

Thanks again for clearing that up for me.

Oh, and I found an interesting discussion about the increasing use of kana vs. kanji, especially katakana. I think the consensus was that more words are being written in kana, and it might be for “ease of reading”, but no one really knows for sure. Language is fluid, and a lot of the time even those that speak it as their mother tongue can’t explain why they do what they do - it just “sounds right” to them. Language Log » More katakana, fewer kanji

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Wednesday, August 17, 2022


Previous senryu

  1. 結婚前キミと来たねが墓穴堀

けっこんまえ・キミときたねが・ぼけつほり
When I told my wife / "We have come here 'fore we wed, " / I dug my own grave!

Since it is a difficult senryu, I asked my 日本語先生 from UCSD for her take on it. Quoting from her response:
夫は「結婚前にキミと来たね」と妻に言ったが、妻が「え? 私はここ初めてだけど」と言ったので、夫が「しまった! ここに来たのは妻じゃなかったのか!」と墓穴を掘ってしまった

Thanks to everyone and 先生 for their contribution and commentary. Very lively discussion that was equally informative. Given the many and varied responses, I’m closing this senryu out a day early.

Notes:

  • @Myria ’s interpretation and commentary (see below) is almost the same as that I received from my 先生.

  • Commentary: The husband (author) is at some special place/restaurant with his wife and exclaims: “Remember the time we came here before we were married?“ and immediately realizes that it was in fact with another woman, and not his wife. But it’s too late and he has already dug his own grave.

  • Redid the English translation to a 5-7-5 to stay close to the original

  • I think @superelf94 ’s take on it is also viable (not just because that’s what my first translation looked like), even if not as much as the final version above.

  • I do wish that 日本人 use quotes their 「」 more often. This senryu is begging for it.

Current senryu challenge

Volume: Children

  1. イチローを越えたと二浪の息子言い

Looks like we have another toughie today. Please share any other hints you may have with everyone.

Hints:

- It looks like a pun on the proper names イチロー and 二浪. Translating it will be interesting.


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.

1 Like