(The increasingly less) Daily senryu thread

Was mysteriously drawn to this one while waiting for my first meeting to start after some time off…

working remotely, / so much depends on the phrase: / “I think you’re on mute?”

Not the most direct in the world but I enjoyed cribbing from William Carlos Williams for the middle part (even though it changes the tone a bit) and well – the phrasing’s true to my experience at least…

6 Likes

Hmm… I’m going to have to research the name. I’m guessing a comedian (the translation made me smile, anyway).

A poet!

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens

He has some famous poems (thinking mainly of this one and the one about the plums) that are short and memorable enough that they’re good touchstones to reference or joke about.

(I liked the association of a mundane covid-era office phrase with the wheelbarrow, that I made by stealing the beginning while looking for something with the right syllables…)

4 Likes

リモートで 便利な言葉 “聞こえません!”

リモートで・べんりなことば ・「きこえません!」

Handy phrase
when working from home:
“Can’t hear you!”

3-5-3
Straightforward… I think.

The previous 川柳 was quite instructive about the “subject consistency” within sentences, which makes total sense and clarifies the fog of “who’s the subject?” quite a bit. Much appreciate everyone’s input and comments.

However, I’m still not convinced that this 川柳 can’t be read as an abbreviation of [寝ている人は]質問したら寝ていたことがバレ. Which would translate to “The question will reveal if [the questioner was] sleeping”, where “questioner” could be he or she. So, it’s not necessary that the subject of the 川柳 has to be 私.

Although I also see @Myria 's preference for 私, particularly since the observation is based on personal experience.

2 Likes

Oh, definitely. Good point.

It seems most likely that it’s the same subject for both parts (unlike my mistaken interpretation) but whether that subject is the author or a third party “depends on context”. As the man said, “Why, Japanese people, WHY?!!”

1 Like

Tuesday, August 2, 2022


Previous senryu

  1. リモートで 便利な言葉 “聞こえません!”
    リモートで・べんりなことば ・「きこえません!」
    Handy phrase / when working from home: / “Can’t hear you!”

Notes:

  • I enjoyed @Rodan’s more poetic interpretation (which captures the spirit perfectly) but went with the more direct translation as usual. (I hear gritting of teeth!)

  • Unnecessary meetings were always the worst. We thought they couldn’t get any worse. Then COVID and the ubiquitous zoom calls proved us all wrong. Obligatory.

Current senryu challenge

Volume: Ladies

  1. 痩せていた証拠のスカート捨てられず

No hints, but I don’t think there is any hidden context to this one. At least I think not. Ladies?


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! Questions and comments are as valued as translation submissions.

Please try not to be disappointed if your translation isn’t selected or if you disagree with the daily choice: the judge isn’t terribly consistent with his grading (and has awful taste!).
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

やせていたしょうこのすかーとすてられず

This skirt proves that
I once was skinny!
It won’t be tossed

Notes

The Passvie form of 捨てる made it interesting to translate haha

4 Likes

痩せていた証拠のスカート捨てられず

やせていた・しょうこのスカート・すてられず

Can’t discard
this skirt, proof of a
slimmer self

3-5-3
Just like the pair of jeans from my late 20’s that I still have and try on from time to time… My excuse is that they don’t make 'em like that anymore. :smiley: :innocent:

Although there’s no “this skirt” in the original, writing “the skirt” doesn’t make it as much an object of affection as the 証拠のスカート (“this proof of a skirt of my slimmer days”) in the original.

5 Likes

Interesting, I interpreted it as potential

3 Likes

Wednesday, August 3, 2022


Previous senryu

  1. 痩せていた証拠のスカート捨てられず
    やせていた・しょうこのスカート・すてられず
    This skirt proves that / I once was skinny! / It won’t be tossed

Notes:

Very interesting grammatical point brought up by @superelf94 and @pm215. Somebody please correct me if I’ve got anything wrong, but the verb ()てられない can either be passive (“was not thrown away”) or potential (“will not throw away”). Like @pm215 I simply assumed the latter, but @superelf’s translation using both passive and potential form (“won’t be tossed”) seems both accurate and possibly intended.

Current senryu challenge

Volume: Intense

  1. あの娘には二度も結婚先越され

Hmm. Not 100% sure I understand this one at a glance, but it sounds awfully gossipy.

Unlike yesterday, I believe the ()され is purely passive (“was surpassed”).

What’s it called when the final る is dropped like this (越される→越され)? (どう)名詩(めいし) (a gerund)? Or is it still acting as a verb? (My grammar is terrible in either language.)


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! Questions and comments are as valued as translation submissions.

Please try not to be disappointed if your translation isn’t selected or if you disagree with the daily choice: the judge isn’t terribly consistent with his grading (and has awful taste!).
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.

I think this is what it’s getting at:

She’s always ahead! / First to date, first to marry, / first to remarry…

Trying to preserve the humor within the structural constraints seems like the most interesting part of translating these for me personally, so I reinterpreted a lot to try to replicate how I think the joke works.

Alternately (Since I don’t like about the first attempt that it sounds a bit like criticizing a random hypothetical woman):

She beats me to it / every time! She married first, / got remarried first…

7 Likes

My attempt at a retaining-the-joke translation:

She didn’t just / beat me to the altar / I’ve been lapped!

7 Likes

My first interpretation was the latter. Still unsure.

I think it’s just 連用形 ren’youkei and is not supposed to be interpreted as a noun in most cases :smiley: at least the verbs in poetry usually are just verbs even if they look like a nounification (名詞化).

1 Like

あの娘には二度も結婚先越され

あのじょうに・はにどもけっこん・さきこされ

Beaten twice
at being wed by
that woman

3-5-3
Is it simply a wry observation/statement?

Edit: @rodan 's and @pm215 's are both enjoyable reads. The humor (and the sense of competitiveness) is lost in a straightforward rendition such as mine. A good illustration of the challenge of translating.

2 Likes

Thursday, August 4, 2022


Previous senryu

  1. あの娘には二度も結婚先越され
    あのじょうに・はにどもけっこん・さきこされ
    Beaten twice / at being wed by / that woman

Notes:

  • Note the reading for 娘 is じょう and not むすめ.

  • I could have gone with any of the submissions. I ended up going with the direct 3-5-3. (For anyone just catching up: we discovered a while back that 11 to 14 syllables, especially 3-5-3 or 4-5-4, seem best for English senryu and correlate most closely to the 17(おん) in a typical senryu.)

  • As discussed, I like to keep the translations pretty close to the original, so I wanted to include “twice”. I riffed on @Rodan’s version to get it to a 4-5-4 but had to use the words “marry and remarry” (the latter not in the original). This 3-5-3 manages to include “twice”, and also manages to keep it “twice wed” rather than marry/remarry. My only complaint is that I can’t read “that woman” without hearing Bill Clinton’s voice!

Current senryu challenge

Volume: Husbands

  1. 妻の友来て当てもなく家を出る

Hah! This one made me smile. I know the feeling. I’m very interested in seeing how this gets translated into English (there seems to be plenty of opportunity to be creative while still keeping it a fairly direct translation).

当てもなく was a new word for me (“at random” / “aimlessly”).


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! Questions and comments are as valued as translation submissions.

Please try not to be disappointed if your translation isn’t selected or if you disagree with the daily choice: the judge isn’t terribly consistent with his grading (and has awful taste!).
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.

I was wondering about that. I think it’s actually こ, as in 親娘(おやこ)
あのこには・にどもけっこん・さきこされ
fits perfectly into a 5-7-5, semantically as well

.「娘」の部首・画数・読み方・筆順・意味など

4 Likes

I agree that between こ (訓読み) and ジョウ (音読み) for 娘 , the former certainly works better for a clean 5-7-5 川柳 structure. However, according to goo.jp, the 訓読み reading means girls or daughters, whereas the 音読み reading can be used for both woman (as in 女子) and girl. I chose the meaning that best suits the 川柳, but, since you mention it, that may not be quite right as the kanji by itself is usually pronounced in 訓読み.

Let me see if I can get it clarified by a native speaker…

1 Like

妻の友来て当てもなく家を出る

つまのとも・きてあてもなく・いえをでる

When my wife’s friend
visits, I leave home:
“Exit, stage left…”

4-5-4
Translating 当てもなく within the syllable count proved to be challenging, and I settled for something vaguely similar in meaning. The husband slinks away, aiming to leave “without drawing attention.” Implied is the sense of an “exit,” rather than a specific destination to get to.

3 Likes
  1. 妻の友来て当てもなく家を出る

つまのゆうきてあてもなくいえをでる

my attempt: o7

When my wife’s friend comes,
I leave the house
all of a sudden

another idea:

My wife’s friend is here!
Ah… time to leave the house.

1 Like