(The increasingly less) Daily senryu thread

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Previous senryu

  1. 「何とかいう人から電話と留守の母」
    “Got a call from / whatsisname!” per / house-sitting mom


  • :confetti_ball: to @LaVieQ

  • As usual, I couldn’t help tinkering with the English version.

  • My wife confirms this interpretation. :bowing_man: I think the grammatically complete version would be something like 「なんとか言う人から電話があった」と留守番の母が言いました。(I’ll interpret one of these correctly eventually, though!)

  • My main confusion was around 留守の母. 留守(るす) normally means “absent” or “away”, so I was interpreting this as the mother being away.

    Maybe here, though, the mother was 留守(るすばん) (caretaker) while the daughter was away! That is, there doesn’t even have to be a written note, she could simply be quoting what her mother told her after she returned. I think (ばん) might have been left off due to the 17(おん) restriction.

  • As an aside: I learned 留守番 at work in Japan back in the eighties (as well as ゴミ当番(とうばん)!). I was always amazed at how efficiently a traditional Japanese office ran and how much information was conveyed by the little magnetic whiteboard/attendance-board.

    Whenever you came or left you’d put the magnet by 入 or 出 next to your name to let others know if you were in the office. If you were taking vacation, you’d write 「休〜mm/dd」. Whenever the 課長 was out, somebody was designated 留守番. And, of course, we rotated the responsibility for emptying the trash cans (though that was indicated by a little construction paper pyramid that got passed from desk to desk each day).

    EVERY Japanese office was (and mostly still is) amazingly (somewhat scarily) similar. On each floor, the 部長 has a desk in the corner near a partitioned-off conference table. Each department under that 部長 has the 課長’s desk turned sideways at the end of a double-row of the desks for the employees in that department. Each department would have 朝礼(ちょうれい) (or, once flex-time was introduced, 昼礼(ちゅうれい)) at the same time every day: everyone stood, bowed, then each employee in turn would say good morning and give a status or share information on anything that affected others in the group.

    I’m constantly aghast at how poorly most western companies run meetings. There are invariably way too many, far too many are a complete waste of time for everyone attending, and rarely if ever does anyone prepare, take action items, for follow-up. There’s some of this in Japan, too, of course, but the group ethic is so thoroughly ingrained that they are mostly much better run. The standing 朝礼 remains a model of efficiency that I always wanted to enforce when I became a manager (but never did due to insufficient cat-herding skills and the inevitable eye-rolling skepticism from western employees).

Current senryu challenge

Volume: Salaryman

  1. 「クビになり 「独立した!」と 言いふらす」

Hints (with no attempt at interpreting the overall meaning this time!)

  • (くび)になる means to be fired

  • 独立(どくりつ) means “independence”. Appropriately enough, we just celebrated 独立記念日(どくりつきねんび) (independence day) here in the US!

  • 言いふらす means to disseminate or spread (a rumor, typically).

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.

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