I just realized we’ve already translated 52 of these. Time flies when you’re having fun.
The good news is we still have 304 more to go.
Eventually I plan to write a “Senryu for the day” dashboard script so anyone can enjoy these with their reviews.
Notes to self about the script
The simplest thing is usually best for v1, so my current thoughts are:
Store a list translations with the script itself (in random order — like the order we’re currently translating them in).
Hash the current day’s date (local time) to select a translation in the list. The first algorithm that comes to mind: Let TODAY = the current day of the year (1 to 366), and COUNT = the total number of translated poems in the list. Use TODAY mod COUNT find the index of a poem. This algorithm allows new versions of the script to append to the list of translations while still ensuring previously displayed translations aren’t reused until all translations have been displayed. It also ensures every translation appears eventually. Since our source of poems has (slightly) only has 356 poems, this simple modulo algorithm should suffice. I’d really like to find 9 or 10 more senryu.
Display the original Japanese in a nice font without furigana or translation on the dashboard.
Click once to display the furigana.
Click again to display the translation and any reading notes.
I suppose that your translation of すます would use the 澄ます kanji (as opposed to the 済ます in my translation). I overlooked the “non-chalant new hire” interpretation even after I looked up the meaning using either kanji. So, this serves as a good example for 澄ます.
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
I’m not certain, but I think this might be Kansai-ben.
姑 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!
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 彼れ 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 彼 which is definitely for men.)
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.
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.
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?
@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” (上を向いて歩こう). It contains the line:
[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!
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.