(The increasingly less) Daily senryu thread

I’ve been confused for decades!

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LOL! Thanks for the link to the fascinating article.

So, a proper translation (in the spirit of the word’s origin) would be 「授業を下駄しよう!!」


Wish I had just not / answered that phone call as I / was readying to leave

Given that it is in the husband category, I’m guessing he got the marching orders to do something or other. Or, it could simply be that he was looking forward to going home, and the call held him back… :thinking:


I’ve confirmed that everyone (except me! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:) translated this one correctly.

My daughter has a friend who used to disconnect the phone line 10 minutes before the end of the workday so she can actually leave on time.

I’m still amazed at how convinced I was that I had this one right (until I noticed the こ!).


Yeah, doning this as a part of a ‘group activity’ and being ‘a deligent student’ and not just a spectator is kinda fun :confetti_ball: :wink:


Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Previous senryu

  1. 帰りぎわとらなきゃよかったこの電話
    heading out the door / wishing I hadn’t picked up / that one last phone call


  • :confetti_ball: :confetti_ball: :confetti_ball: @Tanya7281, @Axazel, and @LaVieQ
  • I ended up choosing Axazel’s version, but all three perfectly captured the intent. Axazel’s grammatical explanation put it over the top (5-7-5 to boot!).
  • 〜なきゃよかった is casual Japanese for 〜なければよかった: ”it would have been good if I hadn’t,” a way of expressing regret
  • Dropping a mora will mess you up! It was so weird seeing the こ suddenly appear: you can even tell when I cut and pasted (still without noticing) and when I actually typed the wrong version in my replies above. I was expending so much mental energy trying to explain the の in よかったの電話(でんわ) to myself (thinking it important) that I didn’t even notice that wasn’t what was actually written! From here on, I’m reading all of these aloud, SLOWLY counting morae!

Current senryu challenge

Volume: Ladies

  1. 工作にシャネルの空き箱子にもたせ

I’m simultaneously certain I understand the literal meaning of this one, while equally uncertain of the real meaning (I’ve at least two possible interpretations). Ladies please help me out.

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!

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.

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.


Translation attempt

工作 シャネルの空き箱 子にもたせ

こうさく しゃねるのあきばこ こにもたせ


Crafts project
I give my child
The empty Chanel box

5-7-5 is 意外と難しい, and I‘m not really happy with it, but here goes :woman_shrugging:t3:

Crafts project in school
An empty Chanel carton
For my child to use

My interpretation

The creator wants their child to show off in school, thus giving them the empty Chanel carton to use in their arts and crafts project.


Lol if you can’t tell I’ve given up on my alternate spreadsheet

You do good work man. Never realized how hard it was to keep a daily spreadsheet

This sounds very wrong but
45. 工作こうさくにシャネルの箱子ばこにもたせ

Carry (sth) in an empty Chanel box methodically

Cause 工作 as an adverb apparently means 「ある目的のために、計画的な働きかけを行うこと。」or “doing sth for a purpose in a planned way”
Also apparently もたせ can be an Edo Period haircut that looks like this, but I highly doubt that’s the intention of the writer

Edit: I looked at Myria’s translation and ngl that makes a lot more sense! 箱子 read はこ isn’t a thing so 子 would have to be a seperate word


Yes, this was close to one of my interpretations.

I wondered if the mother wanted to show off by having the teacher or other mothers notice the Chanel box in the child’s handicraft.

My other guess was that maybe she felt a twinge of regret giving the empty box to the child because wanted to keep it!

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Argh! Good grief, I just realized what you meant.

I swear this was not intentional! I realize now how easy this would be to misread.

It parsed weird to me because it’s just a bare () without the ども (and not 息子(むすこ) nor (むすめ)), so that drew all my attention — didn’t even notice that it would be easy to accidentally merge with the preceding word.

But it cracks me up that it’s once again the evil こ causing trouble!

Welcome to the club, my friend!


The mysterious hair design picture, along with @Rrwrex saying “easy to misread” has me nervous… but inspired! Here goes:

こうさに / シャネルのあきばこ / こにもたせ

工作に = for crafting, for kids arts and crafts
シャネルの空き箱 = empty Chanel box
子にもたせ = let the child have

So, my poem is:

chosen for crafting
my empty Chanel box just
let the kid have it


This is my favourite part of this challenge! I didn’t think of seeing it in this way—but I love it like this too :musical_note:

This was the angle I ended up taking! Hehe

At first it ending on せ threw me off, and I felt like it could have been some kind of command. Like, an exasperated spouse is thinking to themselves “Let the kid have it!!” But I think for it to be a command, we would need もたせろ or もたせて … So I went with a woman just giving in to the inevitable (a kid taking her gorgeous Chanel box to cut and paste🤣) !

I’m still suspicious of that hanging せ though. If anyone can explain it to me I’d be so grateful :sweat_smile:

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EDIT: It occurs to me that while most people reading this read and write Japanese better than I do, there may be a few that struggle to read this, so I’ve decided to include what I intended to say in English as well.

FYI: I just sent the following message to the owner of the page with the 356 senryu that we are translating. I’ll let everyone know if I receive a response.

(Please don’t hesitate to let me know if I’ve made any grievous errors with the Japanese)

SUBJECT: 名作川柳の英語版(翻訳クラブ)
SUBJECT: Masterpiece Senryu English Version (translation club)

こんにちは! Rexと申します。アメリカ人です。
Hello, my name is Rex. I’m an American.

Please forgive my broken Japanese.

二、三年前から漢字を一所懸命勉強しています。数十年前から少し日本語を喋ってたけれど、wanikani.com と言うWEBサイトのお陰でやっとすこし書ける、読めるようになりました。
For the past two or three years I’ve been studiously learning Kanji. I’ve spoken a little Japanese for the past few decades, but through the graces of the wanikani.com website I’ve finally learned to read and write a little bit as well.

The topic of senryu came up spontaneously on that site’s forum recently.

We found your “Masterpiece Senryu” page and are extremely grateful. They are interesting and short, so they are perfect practice for foreigners.

For the past several weeks, my friends on the forum and I have bee translating one senryu per day. It should take almost exactly one year to translate them all, but we’ve already finished one month’s worth.

Forgive the rudeness, we never asked for permission or anything. But if you’re interested, here are the translations we’ve performed so far:

We update the spreadsheet every day. I’m sure there are many errors. Most of the English versions don’t follow the 5-7-5 rule, but we hope they at least capture the feeling correctly.

The spreadsheet is public, but without the link it cannot be found. Our forum discussions are private.

Thank you so much. Please don’t hesitate to email if you have any questions or concerns.

Best regards.


Normal caveats apply (loud, confident, and wrong are my middle names) but I think it’s effectively a shorter version of 持たせた to fit the 5-7-5 constraints.


Weblio says 持たせ means the thing given more than the giving: 「もたせ」の意味や使い方 わかりやすく解説 Weblio辞書

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I made two versions, since apparently child can be pronounced with one or two syllables depending on what dialect of English you speak. For me, it’s one syllable, so that version is first.


For a craft project,
I let my darling child have
the empty Chanel box

Other version:

For a craft project,
I let my dear child have
the empty Chanel box

I guess my interpretation is slightly different. To me, it’s less about a parent showing off to others at the child’s school, and it’s more about how the box and the Chanel item have differing values to the parent and the child. To the child, the empty box is the most valuable part of it, and they probably couldn’t care less about what the box contained.


I thought you were talking about the Japanese word at first, so I was really confused! :rofl:

I’m a navy brat, but many of my kin are from Kentucky, and I lived for many years in the Carolinas and the hills of Virginia. I’m quite comfortable and familiar a Southern drawl and extra vowels in surprising places.

But surely the word child has just a single syllable regardless of regional accent, even if it might take a while longer for some people to say!

And “dear child” would surely be four or more syllables by that logic? :slight_smile:

Here’s a pretty in depth answer on the subject that I found interesting, haha!

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I remain unconvinced. I have relatives that would pronounce “yes, dear” something very close to “yeh-ass, dee-er” but I don’t think they nor anyone else would claim those two words contained four syllables.

Well, syllabification in English can be kind of complicated, apparently. It’s based on pronunciation and not spelling, and since English is kind of a mess, it can be hard to do, and even dictionaries aren’t consistent. In the example I linked in my last post, apparently someone noticed that inconsistency with different dictionaries and the word child. I think it is definitely possible to say that “yes” is occasionally pronounced with more than one syllable, even if that pronunciation is not recognized as “correct”.


This is obviously a silly disagreement with no canonical answer as to how many syllables are in a given word.

This is one of many reasons why I don’t weight 5-7-5 heavily in judging these translations. :slight_smile:

I would note that your second submission contains “dear child” which I think you intended to count as three syllables, but if child is pronounced with two then dear would also likely contain two.