(The increasingly less) Daily senryu thread

Saturday, June 11, 2022


Previous senryu

  1. 失敗をアララですます新社員
    しっぱいを・アララですます・しんしゃいん
    New-hire says / "Oopsie daisy! “Meh, / good enough”

Notes:

  • :confetti_ball: to @LaVieQ
  • Bult ultimately I chose to go with my translation, as I think the sentiment is about the new employee not worrying sufficiently about their faults.
  • There remains a question over whether this uses 済ます or 澄ます. My best guess is that it’s the former, specifically using it with で. It’s very similar to なしで済ます - Jisho.org except in this case instead of “doing without,” I think it means “doing with an ‘アララ’ exclamation” (as if that sufficed!).

Current senryu challenge

Volume: Seniors

  1. この姑いなけりゃ彼もいなかった

Hints:

  • I’m not certain, but I think this might be Kansai-ben.
  • (しゅうとめ) was surprisingly a new word for me (mother-in-law with connotations of a bossy, overbearing personality).

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.

1 Like

I suspect I’m not the only one struggling with this one.

Let me kick off the discussion with my likely incorrect interpretation. Potential spoilers ahead if you still want to work it out for yourself.

I think this is saying something like: “If my mother-in-law wasn’t around, he that lunk wouldn’t be around, either”. My (possibly optimistic) interpretation is that she’s kinda gritting her teeth around her mother-in-law, telling herself that without her, the husband she loves would never have been born. The less kindly interpretation is that it’s all her fault!

I’m going with “he” for ()れ because it sounds too harsh to use for one’s wife (but I’m unsure as usual!). My initial read was that it was from a man’s perspective, but that’s probably unconscious bias on my part, so I changed it to a woman’s perspective after thinking about it for a bit. (That, and the fact that it’s normally read (かれ) which is definitely for men.)

I’m pretty sure いなけりゃ is Kansai-ben for ()なければ .

Any other thoughts?

2 Likes

Thanks! What’s the expression? I get the last bite at the apple? It’s an unfair advantage (and I’m wayyyyyy more comfortable with English).

このしゅうと いなけりゃかれも いなかった

4-5-4
Mother in law:
Were she not, nor would
be my husband

My interpretation: “Even though I wish my mother in law didn’t exist (姑 implies a hated MIL?), without her, nor would I have had my husband.” In other words, can’t have one without the other/necessary evil/etc. Not sure if my underlying assumption about 姑 is correct - I’m going by the example idioms shown on this page, under the heading:「姑」を使った慣用句・熟語.

2 Likes

I’m waffling on whether she’s giving her mother-in-law credit for giving her her husband, or whether she’s blaming her!

Your version leaves this ambiguous, which is a winner.

Sunday, June 12, 2022


Previous senryu

  1. この姑いなけりゃ彼もいなかった
    このしゅうと いなけりゃかれも いなかった
    Mother in law: / Were she not, nor would / be my husband

Notes:

  • :confetti_ball: to @LaVieQ
  • Note the ambiguity: is she grudgingly giving her mother-in-law credit for her husband, or blaming her?!

Current senryu challenge

Volume: Salaryman

  1. 忘れぬよう メモした紙を また捜す

As the kid’s say: I feel seen!


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

Based on my research, I agree with your interpretation that it is a gripe 川柳 from a daughter in law.

It seems that 姑 originally meant husband’s mom, but over time came to be used for the parents of either spouse (according to the article linked in my translation). The idioms suggest a mother in-law lording over and tyrannizing the wife. So, I, too, went with a suffering daughter-in-law’s lament.

Not sure if it implies that she still feels warm & fuzzy towards the husband, or if he’s being castigated too, meaning, “if she hadn’t existed, nor would he.” For me, that seemed a bit overly harsh for a 川柳.

1 Like

わすれぬよう めもしたかみを またさがす

Wrote a note,
to not forget, yet
can’t find it

5 Likes

Nice!

I feel it captures the meaning perfectly in a nice 3-5-3, but I wonder if anyone can capture the essence while still incorporating all the Japanese words (かみ、また)?

1 Like

I already spoiled myself on today’s because I couldn’t parse the beginning. :') That said, is the ‘わすれぬ’ a modified way to say ‘わすれない’? And the ‘よう’ is more like the ‘~ように’ meaning, right? Not the “similar to” meaning?

2 Likes

わすれぬよう メモしたかみを またさがす (6-7-5?)

4-5-4 version:

Searching again! /
Where’s my “Don’t forget” /
note of items?

(Note: 捜す for something lost vs 探す for something desired)

3 Likes

The ぬ ending for verbs is classical/archaic, and is not used now, except in songs, poems, haiku, etc. See this explanation for 忘れられぬ vs 忘れられない.

Not sure of the grammar of よう, but this explanation may be pertinent.

3 Likes

@LaVieQ answered before I could (and better than I could). But I believe the answer is basically “yes” to both of your questions.

My grammar sucks but I’ve heard a lot of Japanese. I also read it as equivalent to「忘れないように」which is a form I know best from that ancient karaoke favorite, the “Sukiyaki Song” ((うえ)(むい)いて歩こう). It contains the line:

(なみだ)(こぼ)れないように
[Let’s walk while looking upward] In order not to let the teardrops spill

[It scares me that I wrote all of that from memory and couldn’t help but hum the melody as I wrote it.]

It’s the ように that lends the “in order to” or “in order not to” connotation.

I’ve no references to prove this, but I think the ぬ is more like a colloquial imperative than an archaic/poetic form, though. The correct imperative form for “don’t forget” would be 忘れるな but that’s the feeling I get here.

I doubt this is technically correct, but I think 忘れぬように feels somehow closer to “so that I won’t forget” while 忘れないように is closer to “in order for it not to be forgotten”. I think 忘れぬ sounds more like an imperative command (to yourself).

The article LaVieQ linked to discusses not being able to forget something: 忘られぬ vs. 忘られない. The (presumably native) answer says that it’s often done in poetry to preserve syllable counts. I’d trust that answer more than mine!

<whistling commences>


Update: the wiktionary entry is interesting: ぬ - Wiktionary

I find it interesting that they list the kansai-ben 〜へん as a synonym (along with every other negative form).

Based on that information, I think @LaVieQ and @Arzar33 have it most right: it’s basically “old Japanese”. It’s unclear if it’s done for effect, as a sort of joke, or just to meet mora counting constraints.

3 Likes

It’s also used often in stereotypical old-person speech, so I wonder if the writer is playing around a bit, pretending to be old and decrepit, maybe?

2 Likes

Okay, I’m going to let this one run another day expressly for a poll since I can’t decide and don’t want to unilaterally just change it to what seems closest to me.

So what’s your preference?

Translation for: 忘れぬよう メモした紙を また捜す
  • superelf94: Wrote a note, / to not forget, yet / can’t find it
  • LaVieQ: Searching again! / Where’s my “Don’t forget” / note of items?
  • Rrwrex: Again searching / for the paper with / “don’t forget” note

0 voters

@LaVieQ @Rrwrex Thank you both for the explanations! And the good reading. It makes more sense now.

1 Like

If it’s still tied up in the morning, are poetry slams still a thing?

[Also, it appears others aren’t as fond of grading criteria #6 as I am. :grin: ]

Tuesday, June 14, 2022


Previous senryu

  1. 忘れぬよう メモした紙を また捜す
    わすれぬよう めもしたかみを またさがす
    Wrote a note, / to not forget, yet / can’t find it

Notes:

  • The jury has decided! :confetti_ball: to @superelf94

  • I clearly have the sensibilities of an engineer, while you lot appear to have a more poetic nature! :joy: I love that it perfectly captures the spirit, and that it makes a lovely English senryu, but I have to point out a few “engineering” flaws: It introduces the word “wrote,” it drops the word (かみ), it uses “yet” instead of “again” for また, it changes searching to finding (探す vs. 見つかる), and it introduces the negative form of a verb (“can’t”). But I’m not bitter! :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

  • Using “wrote” for メモした seems a little off the mark to me. Perhaps “jotted” would have been better than any of our choices?

Current senryu challenge

Volume: Husbands

  1. 肩は社長お尻は妻に叩かれる

Hints:

  • たたかれる【叩かれる】 ローマ字
    ⇒たたく. (To strike, to beat)

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.

1 Like

Real life professional translators make changes like these all the time! The translation not only has to keep the meaning, but also has to convey the same feeling into a new culture. There was that famous example where a Japanese translator changed an English “I love you” into “The moon is beautiful tonight” in Japanese, because it conveyed the feeling better, culturally. So tl;dr, I think you’re being too picky :joy:

6 Likes

It’s a fair cop. :smile:

But … I’m still going to prefer those that follow rule 6 while still capturing the essence. Mea culpa.


That sounded a little harsh (which was unintended) but let me explain my rationale:

Professional translation of technical books, artistic books, advertising copy, whatever, is magical to me. In addition to dealing with linguistic issues, one has to deal with cultural sensibilities. Translating subtle nuances from the source language into the target language is likely impossibly difficult without taking significant liberties.

My goal with this thread aims much lower. I just think senryu are great practice for people learning to read Japanese. I believe it’s helpful to capture nuance in the notes for a translation, but keep the translation itself as faithful as possible to the original.

I realize I’m sorta changing the rules as we go along, but since this is a forum for a Japanese reading site, I’m emphasizing the artistic merit of the end result lower than the accuracy of the translation. My thinking is getting clearer as we proceed.

In this specific case I’m not knocking the translation at all. As I said, I think it captures the meaning accurately which will always be the most important metric, and it’s also quite poetic in English, which is nice. But it does make the fairly significant changes to the original that I mentioned above.

Some liberties are still inevitable. The languages work differently. But where possible, I’d still like to keep word substitutions/additions/deletions to a minimum, verb inflections the same, etc. With just 17 morae, I think it’s useful for learners like ourselves to keep the pieces the same, not just the totality.

I think in this case the change that seemed most troubling was translating また探す as “yet can’t find it”. That’s both super subtle and a pretty significant difference, but it does catch my notice, especially on a site dedicated to reading Japanese.

In short, I hope to emphasize reading Japanese, not writing English!

Hopefully this makes sense? Please tell me I haven’t sucked all the fun out of the thread!

5 Likes