(The increasingly less) Daily senryu thread

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…

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My attempt at a retaining-the-joke translation:

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

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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).

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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…

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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

I am just starting to actually try to read things now, my grammar is likely laughable, but hopefully this will help!

  1. 妻の友来て当てもなく家を出る

あたもなくあたもなくいえをでる

My wife’s friend arrives at random, leaves the house.

That’s way too literal, I imagine the more poetic version implies something closer to “My wife’s friend comes here at random, when will she leave again?” That feeling of “ugh, someone is in my home and I just want to relax! When are they going to be gone?”

Upon checking some of the other answers, I see I have likely missed the implied subject at the end. The use of the て form also confused me a bit, at least I think that’s what’s happening in 来て? I only learned 来る about a month ago and 家 yesterday, so I was just super stoked to recognize anything!

2 Likes

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

5-6-5 (at least it’s symmetrical, right? :smiley:

Wife has friends over
Time for me to leave and
Wander aimlessly

Interpretation

For me, the senryuu captures the feeling of not knowing where to go when you can’t go home, and just wandering around without a goal (literally 当てもなく).
I also put friends in plural, that just seemed more likely to me, but open to interpretation in Japanese of course ^^

3 Likes

Friday, August 5, 2022


Previous senryu

  1. 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
    Wife has friends over / Time for me to leave and / Wander aimlessly

Notes:

  • I went with the 16 syllable version this time since it seems to capture the feeling best (without feeling too wordy). This version captures the vibe of 当てもなく pretty well.

  • Welcome @macha1313! I know exactly what you mean. It’s incredibly fun and motivating when you’re able to read all or most of these. It’s why I started the thread: nice bite-sized but whole-thought fragments of the language that cover a LOT of ground both grammatically and culturally. In my case, I’m unsure how much of it is daily senryu and how much is just from getting to higher levels on WK, but either way (or both) my reading ability has improved leaps and bounds since starting this thread. I also learn something new almost daily from @Myria and others! (laugh)

  • Another good point: not only does Japanese tend to leave out subjects, plurality is also open to interpretation. It still amazes me that my German and Japanese friends both say the other language is fairly easy for them to learn to pronounce, while the languages are so different otherwise. From my tiny little bit of high school German a million years ago, my interests in technology and precision, and countless jokes, the German language is all about precision with little (unintended) ambiguity. (Polite) Japanese is almost entirely subtleties, indirection, and implication with almost nothing stated directly! At least I’d be surprised if German has one word that can mean to go, to come, to stay, to welcome, or even to exist like いらっしゃいます!

Current senryu challenge

Volume: Intense

  1. 陽当たりのよいマイホーム昼は留守

I’m completely mystified by this one on first read despite knowing the words!

Hoping you folks can clue me in. My best guess is the sad feeling of leaving home in the dark and coming home in the dark (which I remember from parts of my career, especially in the winter months).


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
  1. 陽当たりのよいマイホーム昼は留守

ひあたりのよいまいほーむひるはるす

A sunny place is a good noon-time home while I’m away.

That does at least break into a 4-6-4 that doesn’t feel too terrible. The の doesn’t seem to be doing its normal possessive thing here, so I’m not sure what’s up with that. And “noon” appears to be the subject of being away from home, judging by the は - but at least in English, that doesn’t make sense. Is the whole front of the thing working as one huge subject?

2 Likes

The difficulty especially for poetry is to know where sentence fragments end and where a completely new thought starts.

日当たりの良いマイホーム is one fragment that sets the scene.
(For your grammar question: の can replace が in relative clauses. You can interpret it as 日当たりが良いマイホーム)
The sentence (fragment) basically ends here. It’s basically just one noun on its own: „My home, well lit by sunlight“ or „My sunlit home

The second part of the senryuu is the punchline. 昼は留守. The は doesn‘t necessarily indicate the actor, but instead it marks the topic of the sentence: „During noon, (I‘m) not at home.

Translation Attempt
187. 陽当たりのよいマイホーム昼は留守
ひあたりの・よいマイホーム・ひるはるす

Bought sunlit house
But I’m never home
When the sun shines

As you can see here, the first part explains: the author owns a home that is in a sunny place. The punchline is that he‘s never home during noon (probably always working/out and about) so he doesn’t get to enjoy the positives of the location at all.

4 Likes

If you don’t mind my asking, how are you interpreting よい? I thought it was going to mean “good”, but I see you’ve introduced the word “bought” into your interpretation. Is that more of an artistic license or did I miss something?

For sure, poetry is hard. But I do like that it is one self-contained thought - with longer pieces I can end up forgetting what they were talking about at the beginning of the paragraph before I even get to the end, and at least that isn’t a problem here!

1 Like

日当たりのよい is somewhat of a set phrase, meaning sunny, sunlit. So it’s not related to „bought“ in any way :slight_smile: hiatarinoyoi - Jisho.org
I chose „bought“ because the word マイホーム evokes a „this is a recent purchase in my life“ feel for me. (Maybe because it’s a word that I expect younger people to use, rather than people who already bought their house 50 years ago). But I don’t know how accurate this intuition is :smiley: artistic license is a good way to describe it.

7 Likes

陽当たりのよいマイホーム昼は留守

ひあたりの・よいマイホーム・ひるはるす

Our home is nice: bright
and sunlit. But we all stay
out during the day.

5-7-5
The second part in my translation sounds too wordy compared to the terse 昼は留守, a much better punchline.
Actually, my first interpretation was that the house was so sunlit, it got too hot for the day, but that didn’t make sense. That the author is ruing their inability to be at home during the day dawned slowly on my head, like 暁の日当たり(あかつきのひあたり) :laughing:

2 Likes

Saturday, August 6, 2022


Previous senryu

  1. 陽当たりのよいマイホーム昼は留守
    ひあたりの・よいマイホーム・ひるはるす
    Bought sunlit house / But I’m never home / When the sun shines

Notes:

  • This conclusively proves that whenever I doubt my first impression, it’s proven correct, and whenever I’m confident in my first impression, it’s proven wrong!

  • Today I realized @Myria is German (the quotation marks!).

  • Stealing @Myria’s grammar points almost verbatim: 日当たりの良いマイホーム is one fragment that sets the scene (の can replace が in relative clauses. You can interpret it as 日当たりが良いマイホーム). The sentence (fragment) basically ends here. It’s basically just one noun on its own: "My home, well lit by sunlight“ or "My sunlit home“. The second part of the senryuu is the punchline: 昼は留守. The は doesn‘t necessarily indicate the actor, but instead it marks the topic of the sentence: "During daytime, (I‘m) not at home.“

  • Note that (ひる) also has the connotation of daytime, not just noon or afternoon ((あさ)(ひる)(ばん)).

  • マイホーム sounds a bit like real-estate advertising copy to me, too. I’m not completely sure why the author chose this English katagana-go phrase, but “artistic license” is almost certainly correct (I suspect both for (おん) count and a wry vibe).

Current senryu challenge

Volume: Various Settings

  1. いい事も時には言ってる酔っ払い

Once again, easy for me to read without a dictionary, but I’ve little idea what it means. I need to ponder this for a bit.

I’m looking forward to reading what other’s think!


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.

いい事も時には言ってる酔っ払い

いいことも・ときにはいってる・よっぱらい

The drunkard
utters nice things from
time to time

3-5-3
Not sure why it warrants a 川柳 though. Many drunkards say nice things and try to act friendly even with strangers on the street. Perhaps いい事を言う can also mean “speaks clearly/lucidly” in a round about fashion?

3 Likes