(The increasingly less) Daily senryu thread

Translation attempt

  1. 年齢欄「青二才」だと書いておく

ねんれいらん / 「あおにさい」/ だとかいておく

“Age” field on form:
I filled the box with
“immature youth”

This is also a bit off, but I think it captures the spirit.

3 Likes

It is writing (書く)! It also a nuance of writing it when you’re alone for it remain there after you’ve gone (おく). Maybe “to leave it written as” would be closest… but I don’t find this wording to be particularly natural or poetic :weary:

I see that too! I went for an “Age is just a number. It’s not about how old I am, it’s about where I’m at in life!” approach, influenced by the “green” interpretation within 青二才.

But in a perfect world, there’d be an English interpretation that captures both of our ideas as the original does.

I think so too :durtle_noice:

1 Like

年齢(ねんれい)(らん)青二才(あおにさい)」だと()いておく

filling in
the form’s age column
with “young’un”

4 Likes

ねんれいらん「あおにさい」だとかいておく

3-4-3
Age in years? / “A tenderfoot” / I put down

The word origin for 青二才 is quite interesting. (The explanations for おふくろ and おやじ are equally so. A useful and handy website.)

EDIT: Yes, ておく is vexing to capture in English. Perhaps “for now,” “for the time being” and “in preparation towards…” sort of hints at the meaning, but they seem incomplete in comparison.

3 Likes

I finally remembered to bookmark that wonderful site this time! Etymology is always fascinating, and these explanations are perfect reading practice for me (difficult but doable with yomichan, and not too long). I’m going to add that site to the list of resources.

I don’t know which explanation is more likely for 青二才: I had no idea the character (しん) could be read にい, and I’ve never heard of “bora” fish before!

I love that the explanation for オフクロ starts with “dating back to the Muromachi era” like I’d have any idea when that was (right around when the Black Death was raging in Europe, FWIW). For that one, I really like the initial explanation, especially because it resonates with “purse strings” in English. That makes sense to me.

Monday, May 30, 2022

You folks really don’t make judging easy!


Previous senryu

  1. 年齢欄「青二才」だと書いておく
    ねんれいらん「あおにさい」だとかいておく
    Age in years? / “A tenderfoot” / I put down

Notes:

Current senryu challenge

Volume: Heartfelt

  1. 初孫の呼吸聞かせる娘の受話器

Break out the dictionaries for this one. 初孫(ういまご) wasn’t a reading I’d have guessed!

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. The 語源(ごげん)由来(ゆらい)辞典(じてん) 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.

2 Likes

ういまごのこきゅうきかせるじゅわき

Assuming that the 受話器 in the poem is a device like this…. I’ll just call it a “handset” in translation, else it’ll get quite complicated (“handset audio amplifier” :grin:).

First grandson’s breathing / heard clear in the new handset. / My daughter’s gifts, both.

This one is tough - can’t get it any shorter than 5-7-5.

You have probably heard it before, without associating it with the kanji: 新潟県 (にいがたけん). My knowledge stems from my association with the prefecture, which is where I first saw that reading. Not that it helped me see that 新背 is read as にいせ…

3 Likes

Wow! I had no idea. Thanks!

Tuesday, May 31, 2022


Previous senryu

  1. 初孫の呼吸聞かせる娘の受話器
    ういまごの・こきゅうきかせるこ・のじゅわき
    First grandson’s breathing / heard clear in the new handset. / My daughter’s gifts, both

Notes:

  • :trophy: to @LaVieQ for the only submission
  • No :confetti_ball: because the character 娘 was left out of the kana provided! I’d ordinarily ignore a simple typo, but in this case it’s too interesting. I think it’s actually read () here to keep it to a 5-8-5, and not (むすめ) as you’d expect.
  • But learning how Niigata prefecture is written almost put it over the top!

Current senryu challenge

Volume: Intense

  1. ドラマでは私住む街左遷の地

Hint:

I think the key to this one is figuring out how to translate 左遷(させん).

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. The 語源(ごげん)由来(ゆらい)辞典(じてん) 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.

2 Likes

It appears that I’m not the only one struggling with this one.

Let’s give this one two days. I’ll ping my family to see if I can get some help. I’ll be amazed if anyone comes up with something short — all the English words have several syllables.

My best attempt at translation (likely wrong, and ignoring syllable counts:

ドラマでは私住む街左遷の地

ドラマでは・わたしすむまち・させんのち

In the TV drama
The town I live in
became the land of exile

I’m utterly unsure what 左遷(させん)() means here, though. Literally it means “demoted ground”.

1 Like
  1. ドラマでは私住む街左遷の地

In a drama
the town I live in
is where they are
put out to pasture

Yeah, 4 lines baby! 川柳 is about breaking the rules after all :stuck_out_tongue:

Basically I think 左遷の地 is about the thing in Japanese company when they want to punish someone, they demote them and transfer them to a dead-end position in a backwater branch office.

If it’s right, I actually had a similar though as the 川柳 when watching the medical drama Doctor X. It usually takes place in a prestigious Tokyo hospital, but in one episode almost the entire team of surgeon get punished for some reason and they end up getting transferred all over japan, in small hospitals. And there is a montage of all them looking bored out of them mind. So I thought the people living there watching the show must have complicated feeling about it :stuck_out_tongue:

Btw I didn’t know about the expression “put out to pasture”, I found it in a dictionary so I’m not sure if the meaning fit.

I heard はつまご before. :thinking:

4 Likes

Hah! Looks like I got rid of the daughter altogether because I couldn’t deal with the syllable count. :grin: But, it seems to have backfired…

ドラマでは はたしすむまち させんのち

4-5-4
Soap opera: / My home town shown as / not so worthy

The literal translation seems to be that the town where the author lives was shown in the TV program as a run down, sketchy place. But, the sentiment of this 川柳 is not clear to me. Is it said in indignation? anger? resignation? sadness? A bit of all of the above?

Interesting. I haven’t heard the phrase 左遷の地 before, but I am familiar with an interesting practice in Japanese companies that is associated with moving people around to demote them.

Japanese companies used to punish problem employees by moving them into isolated offices in the building (at least into the 90’s and it may still be so). I knew of a case in Tokyo in the late 80’s where a problem employee was moved into an office that was (almost) a corner office, which corresponds to prime office location in US companies, reserved exclusively for CxOs & senior executives! But, ostracizing someone like that must be the worst kind of humiliation in Japan, as that employee quit within a month. What a way to fire an employee: give him/her an office with a view all for themselves and they up and quit.

Interesting also how the the Japanese staff sit in a layout that looks literally like the organizational chart mapped to the central part of the floor/building, while space along the edge of the buildings with windows etc are used as bathrooms, storage rooms and as a place of exile (左遷の室?).

Related, an interesting explanation of the etymology of 左遷.

2 Likes

I don’t think things change that quickly. It’s complicated: forced solo moves can also be for advancement.

One related thing: being given a window seat means something ENTIRELY different in Japan. 窓際族 was a very real thing in the eighties and nineties at least.

1 Like

As I mentioned, let’s keep working on yesterday’s senryu. No response from my family in Japan last night, so I remain unsure of the translation.

I suspect that we’re on the right track with the exile/out-to-pasture/banishment train of thought. But let’s keep researching, regardless. Maybe we’ll turn up something that changes our mind! I suspect the lack of response from my family indicates it’s not easy to understand.

I’ll post the next senryu tomorrow.

2 Likes

New word for me, and a rather evocative one. Imagine a few guys loitering near a window, looking rather put out.

When I first encountered the practice in Japan, I was struck by how a thing that is esteemed and honored in one culture is abhorred and scorned in another.

2 Likes

Thursday, June 2, 2022


Previous senryu

  1. ドラマでは私住む街左遷の地
    ドラマでは はたしすむまち させんのち
    In a drama / the town I live in / is where they are /put out to pasture

Notes:

  • :confetti_ball: to @Arzar33 for getting it right first and because 4 lines made me grin
  • Daughter confirms @Arzar33 has it exactly right: 左遷の地 is about Japanese companies punishing an employee by demoting and transferring them to a dead-end position in a backwater branch office.
  • Try fitting that in five English syllables!

Current senryu challenge

Volume: Heartfelt (しみじみ編)

  1. 妻逝って可愛い壺に納まれり

More interesting kanji I needed to look up again today. Even after looking them up, I’m utterly clueless about what this one means! More research required …

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. The 語源(ごげん)由来(ゆらい)辞典(じてん) 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.

2 Likes

I thought for certain you’d intended to get back to it, but forgot to. That’s why I called it out. :smiling_imp:

I think it’s a pretty dated expression, but worth filing away in case it comes up in another senryu!

つまいって かわいいつぼに おさまれり
4-5-4
My wife, no more, / takes her place now in / a lovely vase

Note: How 「行く」「逝く」and「往く」differ in meaning & usage.

5 Likes

<smacks forehead>

Of course! That’s what it means. For some reason I just couldn’t piece it together.

Well done!

Your sleuthing skills are better than mine. 「逝く」の意味は、人が死ぬことです。Pretty much gives it away. Now I know. :smile:

3 Likes