(The increasingly less) Daily senryu thread

  1. 株下がり何故かうれしいわたしたち

Kana: ぶかさがりなぜかうれしいわたしたち

Translation attempt:

The stocks dipping
Had us overjoyed
For some reason

I think the interpretation that this is from the POV of someone who is not particularly invested is interesting, though in my translation attempt I went for a direct link between both halves of the 川柳. Either way, I don’t necessarily see an argument for or against either version in the text itself. :thinking:

3 Likes

Saturday, July 23, 2022


Previous senryu

  1. 株下がり何故かうれしいわたしたち
    かぶさがり・なぜかうれしい・わたしたち
    stocks are down. / for some reason, we’re / all happy

Notes:

  • Tough call, but :confetti_ball: goes to @fallynleaf (most votes)

  • :trophy: to @LaVieQ and @valvictorine

  • I tend to agree with the consensus: this appears to be from the viewpoint of someone emotionally uninvested in stocks (whether monetarily or not). It doesn’t say why they’re happy, but it may simply be wry commentary that stock prices don’t (or shouldn’t) always affect happiness.

Current senryu challenge

Volume: Intense

  1. 離婚後も同居続けるへんな仲

Interesting: this one does not appear to have any sort of hidden interpretation below the surface, and seems to just state the meaning directly. At least it seems pretty direct to me. Prove me wrong!


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.

Translation attempt

I came up with a 4-5-4:

  1. 離婚後も同居続けるへんな仲

りこんごも・どうきょつづける・へんななか

Post divorce and
cohabiting, odd
relationship

2 Likes

りこんごも どうきょつづける へんななか

4-5-4

Cohabiting
after divorce! Strange
relationship!!

Apparently happens a lot these days. There was even a long article about it recently. (Search for “Separated but under the same roof” in NY Times.) Still, it is an unusual arrangement.

1 Like

離婚後(りこんご)同居(どうきょ)(つづ)けるへんな(なか)

divorced but still
living together.
odd dynamic

5 Likes

Sunday, July 24, 2022


Previous senryu

  1. 離婚後も同居続けるへんな仲
    りこんごも・どうきょつづける・へんななか
    Post divorce and / cohabiting. Strange / relationship!

Notes:

  • :confetti_ball: @LaVieQ

  • :trophy: @fallynleaf

  • @LaVieQ and I came up with similar translations. I kind of mushed them together. As discussed, I like to keep these as close to the original as possible, so “and” rather than “but” (for the も) and “post divorce” for 離婚(りこん)().

Current senryu challenge

Volume: Salaryman

  1. 「ありがとう」 そのひとことが 潤滑油

Again this seems to have the meaning right on the surface.

I doubt anyone will need them, but just in case, here are some hints:

I’m pretty sure it’s 一言(ひとこと), but I don’t think there is any particular reason for writing it in hiragana.

This dictionary example seems to explain the meaning of the final term quite well:

・労使間の潤滑油の働きをする smooth relations [reduce friction] between labor and management.


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.

Yet both of your translations left out 続ける :wink:.

も is a tricky one. Yomichan doesn’t even define it as “and” or “but”, haha, because the meaning seems to be closer to “also,” “too,” “in addition,” etc. In my opinion, both “and” and “but” convey that both of the things are occurring, but “but” feels a little more natural for the translation into English because “post-divorce” and “living together” are qualities that seemingly contrast with each other (like in the phrase “Separated but under the same roof” in the NY Times article that LaVieQ mentioned).

Maybe I’m wrong, though :sweat_smile:.

4 Likes

Fair point.

While your “still living together” is more direct, “cohabiting” still seems a reasonably concise translation of “continuing to live together” (同居(どうきょ)(つづ)ける).

You’re definitely right that when a noun is followed by も, it mostly means “also” or “either” (see Particle も: Addition Marker). I was thinking of “and” as in “and also living together” where the “also” is somewhat redundant.

If the author wasn’t under (おん) count constraints, they might have chosen to use ですが or something similar, but because they didn’t it feels ever so slightly off to translate も as “but” here. (Just my opinion, of course.)

Lastly, though, I think you’d agree that “relationship” for (なか) is more direct than “dynamic”.

Anyway, yours was a fine translation but ultimately I decided to go with the mashup.

Yes, my translation was not very good, but it seems a bit arbitrary which words you care about being direct/left in, and which ones you don’t :sweat_smile:

THAT’s a fair cop. :grin:

Ultimately I don’t think we can always have universal agreement: ultimately I have to make a call.

(And there is nothing wrong with your translation!)

kana:

ありがとう そのひとことが じゅんかつゆ

literal translation:

“Thank you” the one phrase that keeps things running smoothy

Poetic translation:

Say “Thank you”;
keeps things runn/
ing smoothly

If i break the word then the syllables line up for a 3/4/3 so :person_shrugging:

4 Likes

Lol whenever I submitted a translation, I ultimately just ended up feeling bad, so I just check every day to see if I understand them and don’t submit anything. I figured it wasn’t worth it to work hard trying to perfect the English for an arbitrary prize that I will never be awarded, but still feel ashamed at not getting, even though it literally doesn’t matter.

All that to say, your translation was fine, regardless of whether it was deemed good enough, prizes on the internet are fake and we gotta do the hard work of just letting it go.

1 Like

Yikes!

I really really don’t want to discourage anyone from submitting a translation!

Please say something if anything bothers you about how I’m running the thread. I’m pretty thick-skinned, but if I don’t know about an issue I can’t address it.

I didn’t realize I was causing problems explaining my rationale for picking any given translation over another.

Mea culpa.

So unless someone has a better suggestion, I’ll just unceremoniously pick a translation without comment, and quit with the :confetti_ball: and :trophy: silliness.

Unfortunately, I don’t think counting likes suffices because late entries are effectively penalized. I’d like to continue the mostly daily pace, though, so polls don’t really work, either.

I never meant for this to be a competition or to make anyone uncomfortable submitting an attempt! Exactly the opposite: I was hoping for as much participation and discussion as possible.

(Also, FWIW, “that I will never be awarded” seems harsh: your translation was selected on 5/23 and 6/3.)

3 Likes

I think these are cute! Maybe just giving another emoji for the daily translation attemptees might help get more people to join?
You explain why you choose the translations you do, and I think it’s as fair as having one judge can be. The rules are laid out at the beginning of the thread and you’ve adjusted them as things and suggestions came up so I don’t think thats a big problem.

Maybe allowing past senryu to be retranslated might help? Like, “oh i thought of this translation for a previous day, what do you think?” but I can also see how that can devolve quickly trying to refind things.

I think in the end, people who want to try just need to jump headfirst into it! I also get discouraged if I look at other people’s translations first, (but that’s a willpower thing for me personally) and if I don’t look I still have fun even if I’ve translated something a little different than what the grammar says.

I have not seen any comment from anyone on here that was too critical or overly mean that would actively discourage those from trying so I think you’re doing good at making a friendly atmosphere on this thread!

3 Likes

Please, yes! Not just allowed, but encouraged.

The spreadsheet is available as well as the top post. If anyone has any comments or suggestions for prior translations, please don’t hesitate to bring them up.

2 Likes

I should make it clear, this is a me problem and not a you problem, and I don’t think you need to change what you’re doing. Mentally at this point i find the competition aspect difficult to handle for my own personal reasons, and that’s been more true in the last 2 months or so, again for personal reasons. I thought i detected those same vibes in the previous comment so i wanted to show some support and solidarity, although reading back it may sound like criticism. I like this thread, and I like participating in a way where i am not submitting my work for judgement, but others may feel differently. Please feel free to just carry on. I didn’t mean to derail the system, only offer my own perspective.

4 Likes

The thing that I struggle with mostly is trying to adapt to the changing rules. Like switching to 3-5-3 or 4-5-4 instead of 5-7-5 is all well and good (and I like the extra challenge), but it doesn’t really seem to get weighted as much as promised :sweat_smile:. Same with the likes system.

And I’ve also gotten dinged in the past for leaving specific words out, so I’ll work to include as many of the words as I can, but translations will get chosen despite problems that eliminated mine from contention in the past. It’s just hard to know exactly what to aim for or what we’re trying to do because at the end of the day, often the one that gets picked is whichever is a personal favorite.

Ultimately I’m translating as a hobby and not with serious intent to win or anything, but it’s demoralizing for the rules to be inconsistently applied, I guess. Makes it feel like I can’t really get a good grasp on what I’m aiming to do here. It’s like I’m aiming for a 3-5-3 (except when that doesn’t matter), or aiming for the most likes (except when they don’t count), or aiming for a complete word for word translation (except when leaving out specific words is alright). Or sometimes clever wordplay that isn’t a direct translation gets chosen, and sometimes you get dinged for it.

4 Likes

ありがとう そのひとことが じゅんかつゆ

2-3-2

Single-phrase-
-lubricant:
“Thank you!”

It’s a 2-3-2! Again!! :innocent:
:notes:あ やった さー! あ やった、やった!!.. :notes: (sung to the tune of these Awa-odori dancers)

4 Likes

As for prizes, corrections etc. it may serve us all well to remind ourselves that, as learners of Japanese, our indulgence in this thread is akin to the parable of the 5 blind men feeling around different parts of an elephant and interpreting it as a pillar, a wall, a rope, etc. Well, perhaps not that bad :smile:, but still…

What I enjoy most about the thread is the different thoughts and ideas that people bring to the table on how to interpret these very terse, grammatically challenging poems that are steeped in a culture that all of us, as foreigners, are learning about and trying to get closer to. In that sense, all translations, opinions and comments matter. If we take it in the spirit of learners.

I take @Rrwrex 's comments and awards in that spirit and really not as a competitive assessment. In fact, he regularly admits he’s wrong (as do most - if not all - of us here, at least when it comes to translating Japanese). So, I focus on the translation and the input from others as a learning experience. As I do the final, mashup version.

As for the prize, the real winners are those who wrote the original 川柳, no? We’re merely parasites feeding off their hard work :joy:, for our own benefit. Even when we do it incorrectly, we benefit thanks to the participants here. :wink: For me, that is the real prize.

It’d also behoove us to remember that the way poems are read or understood is quite personal - even those in one’s mother tongue. All the more so with translations. For example, there are umpteen different translations of Basho’s haiku of the “old pond,” and, of those, I haven’t found a single one that I think captures the original mood, particularly the 水の音 bit in English. Ditto for Ryokan’s “moon in the window” haiku. But that’s my very subjective nit-pick based on my limited understanding of Japanese, and despite the fact that the translators I’ve read are illustrious notables in the fields of literature and translation.

Bottom line - trying to capture the Japanese “mood” (i.e. cultural baggage) into the English/Western mind-set (i.e. a very different cultural baggage) is, at worst, a fool’s errand, and, at best, prone to have mistakes and misunderstanding.

In the end, we need to pool together what we all have learned so that we can come to the right conclusion, “Aha! An elephant has trunk, four legs, big stomach, tail, and floppy ears!!” Not to be the blind men of the parable is the prize.

Apologies for the long, rambling discourse.

2 Likes

I can sympathize with that, but that means this has become much more of a competition than was intended, and that the silliness of selecting a daily “winner” has become a problem. Going forward, I’ll be publishing the translation I’ve elected to go with but not calling anyone out by name.

I’ve definitely applied the rules inconsistently on occasion. Some translations feel “more right” to me (and only me!) for some reason, but these discussions have also helped to clarify my thinking. The “rules” have evolved over time. I’ve not updated the top post in a long while, I’ll update it accordingly.

I’ve only recently decided that the most important rule is to keep the translations as “direct” as possible while still having some artistic merit and capturing the “feeling”. It’s that last bit that’s hardest to judge, for what it’s worth.

Syllable counts, likes, and other things seem like secondary concerns.

The reason this makes sense to me is that I’m still envisioning the results of these efforts as a script running on users’ dashboards. Since WK is about learning to read words, it makes sense to translate the words as directly as possible. But the English version should still work as a poem!

In the end, however, we are attempting to translate poetry, an art form. I think it’s probably impossible for anyone to consistently apply a set of “rules” to evaluate art (“eye of the beholder” and all that) — I know I’m not up to it.

I’ll try to eliminate the competitive aspects, but expect me to continue being inconsistent. Most days I prefer chocolate ice cream, but some days mint chocolate chip looks better.

I hope you continue to follow the thread, enter submissions, and engage in the discussion.


I’ve eliminated the “winner” column in the spreadsheet, but added another page containing all the participants so far. We are up to 21 so far!

Please let me know if I’ve missed anyone. I’ll try to keep the list of participants up to date going forward.

4 Likes