(The increasingly less) Daily senryu thread

I’m excited. I can tell by @WovenSapling 's pattern of likes that they are almost caught up to the end of June. :grin:

With any luck, we’ll have another member participating soon.

Ack I’ve been found out :sweat_smile:. I loved this idea since I found it months ago but haven’t caught up yet and my conscience won’t let me join till I’m caught up

6 Likes

You’re very brave and dedicated to read through all of the translation arguments we’ve had along the way haha :sweat_smile:

(I completely understand, though; I’m the exact same way with wanting to read through entire threads before I join in. You’ll be more than prepared to know how the process of translating these tends to go for us!)

5 Likes

Monday, August 29, 2022

Yikes! I appear to have completely forgotten to post a new senryu yesterday.

I had a crazy number of things going on yesterday (including finally feeling well enough after a bad bout of shingles to attempt some long overdue yardwork). Another busy day today, so the spreadsheet will remain woefully behind. Mea culpa!


Previous senryu

  1. このハゲはかつらですよと笑わせる
    このハゲは・かつらですよと・わらわせる
    My bald head? / It’s a wig, you know! / Makes 'em laugh

Notes:

  • The と particle indicates something quoted, in this case, saying “it’s a wig”. The verb 笑わせる means to make laugh, so saying this made people laugh. The reason is the explicit context: このハゲ means “in the context of this bald-guy” or “as for this baldy” (ハゲ comes from はげる, and means baldness as in patchy — in the katakana like this its a slang term for “bald-guy”). [Others may have different opinions on how to interpret this, but since it’s my thread I’m going to claim owners privilege and state categorically that only my opinion matters. :stuck_out_tongue: ]

  • I believe everything in that prior bullet point would be easier to explain with a diagram. I’m honing in on a system to diagram sentences like this, but the version I posted has some issues. I’ll post a better version for this one and a few others soon (here or in another thread).

Current senryu challenge

Volume: Seniors

  1. 飛行機は座れたかいと聞く婆ちゃん

Took me a second, but this situation was wayyyyyyyy too familiar for me not to understand.

My interpretation of the meaning (SPOILER):

“On a plane, granny asks ‘are you sitting’?”.

The key is understanding that かい is just an interrogative like か, and is often used by the elderly.

Forgive the political incorrectness, but I’ve flown literally a dozen or so times per year between the US and Japan for a few decades.

Flight attendants on long-haul flights are often older with lots of seniority. I’ve had more than my share of similar stupid questions from some, not to put too fine a point on it, rude and inattentive battleaxes. Of course I’m sitting! And with my seatbelt fastened — you’re looking right at the buckled seatbelt in my lap!

To be fair, I know it’s a hard job, but I’ve also seen a flight attendant forcefully chewing out a poor elderly Japanese man who clearly spoke no English for having earphones plugged into his ear. Poor man was terrified and utterly mystified. That kind of thing upsets me.


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.

Reading: ひこうきは すわれたかいと きくばあちゃん

Translation: Did you get / a seat on the plane? / asks granny

Interpretation: You’ve just come home for a visit, and granny’s asking you how the trip was – but she thinks planes work like trains, where if they’re too busy you don’t get a seat and have to stand for the whole journey…

Grammar notes: Note that 座れた is both potential and past tense

Reading notes: This is one where they play a little fast and loose with how many syllables a long vowel is, right? Or is it the ん ?

5 Likes

Ah! Nice.

I’ve got to break my habit of reading these so quickly when I post, my biases get the best of me. I missed exactly this bit:

Your version definitely captures the meaning correctly (unlike mine), but I still struggled to get the humor with this interpretation.

Then it hit me: She’s asking the question after the author arrives at their destination!

Oh! Just saw your explanation of the humor. That seem equally if not more plausible.

I wonder about this every time. I suspect there are no hard and fast rules for counting 音. The one that usually confuses me is 促音 (small tsu) — I never know how to count those.


I became interested in かい vs. か and came across this on stackexchange:

As opposed to 「か」, which is open-ended and can have any sort of answer, 「かい」 is expected to have an answer in the affirmative or negative only, that is, yes or no, with subsequent explanation optional.

I’d mostly only heard かい from older people, but, after thinking about it, this jibes with my experience. Never really realized this before.

2 Likes

Once again, I had all the pieces, but hadn’t managed to put them together in a way that made sense.

One question I have from your reading:
What role do と and 聞く play? The 聞く seems redundant… would the meaning/translation change if it were omitted?

飛行機は座れたかいと聞く婆ちゃん

ひこうきは・すわれたかいと・きくぱあちゃん

“Could it sit -
the airplane?” asks
the granny.

  • 3-4-3
  • I have no clue what granny’s question means. Maybe she’s asking if the plane was on the tarmac when something happened. Maybe she’s futuristic and imagines planes that can sit, stand, and fly off. Maybe she is just dotty. Maybe I’m ignernt. :expressionless:
  • I can’t make sense of the は particle in the sentence. “As for the plane+could sit?”
  • “I got blisters on my brain!” - taking a pass on this one.

EDIT: @pm215 's interpretation makes eminent sense, but don’t see how the translation works with just the は particle. Doesn’t it have to be では or には for that translation? Hmm…

聞く here is ‘to ask’ (not ‘to listen’), and the と is quotative, marking the previous part as the question being asked.

Topics are pretty flexible :slight_smile:

Possibly this senryu may be a reference to a famous-in-the-area long-running local TV ad, talked about in this blog post among others, which included the line あらぁ!よしこちゃん!電車座れたか? Or possibly not…

Ad in question (terrible quality) on youtube.

this video includes a more modern ‘callback’ ad including the line. CM starts at 4mins45 into the video.

2 Likes

Tuesday, August 30, 2022


Previous senryu

  1. 飛行機は座れたかいと聞く婆ちゃん
    ひこうきは すわれたかいと きくばあちゃん
    Did you get / a seat on the plane? / asks granny

Notes:

  • To steal @pm215 's explanation: Granny thinks planes work like trains, where if all the seats are full you must stand for the whole journey.

  • かい is just an interrogative like か, and is often used by the elderly.

  • Apparently,「かい」 is only answered “yes” or “no”, with subsequent explanation optional.「か」 is more open-ended.

  • I mistakenly read this as 座ってるかい on first read (are you sitting) vs. 座れたかい (were you able to sit)! I really need to slow down when reading these things!

  • @LaVieQ mentioned that it would seem to parse better with では or には. As @pm215 explained, the bare は suffices to specify the topic or context of a plane, though. It’s possible that this is just due to 音数(おんすう) (already a weird 5-7-6 as mentioned).

    Digging deeper, though, I think it might be worded this way (vs 飛行機座れたかい) because Granny’s quoted question didn’t mention a plane at all: she just asked 「座れたかい?」. In other words, I think the author is providing a topic to the “outer” sentence, not Granny in her “inner” quoted-question.

    If the author had used では or には, I think it might imply he was quoting what Granny asked while on a plane, vs. the quote being about a plane (trip).

    I suppose the humor could also be her not realizing the author had traveled by plane, and thinking they came by train.

Current senryu challenge

Volume: Various settings

  1. クラクション「どけ」「ありがとう」の区別あり

Katakana-go is still the most difficult part of Japanese! I don’t think it’s worth a spoiler to point out that the first word is “klaxon”.

I’m not even going to attempt interpreting this one until I spend some more time with it, though.


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

Thanks much for the explanation and the links!

While the は topic marker is indeed flexible, the question asked in the ad: 電車、座れたか is more easily understood than the senryu version with the は. In any event, I shoulda done more research, which I wasn’t up to and gave up on it. (EDIT: @Rrwrex 's comment about 飛行機は being outside Granny’s query solves the grammar question and makes better sense.) Regardless, I will never be able to read the sentence without scrunching my face - it will remain forever an unsolved 日本語 mystery, set in 川柳 land.

Incidentally, the link to the 滋賀経済NOW video was fascinating as it deals with a topic I wouldn’t ever have pursued on my own. Quite an education on the world and economy of 仏壇工業 & 宗教用具製造業 and the new products they are coming up with to spur the business on (“slimming” incense takes the cup… err… incense burner) :smiley:. Quite interesting.

The funkadelic オマージュソング was something else. A song paying tribute to a character in a commercial! gotta be the first one in the world!! :musical_score:「シティガールになってもお盆には帰省し手を合わせる」 :musical_score::laughing:

3 Likes

I’m going to take a stab at this one! (slightly too wordy)

クラクション「どけ」「ありがとう」のくべつあり

Is there a car horn
with a distinction between
“Thanks!” and “Get outta the way!”

Alternatively, I could shorten “Get outta the way” to “Move yer butt” or something to get the syllable count down, but I’m hesitant to do so lol.

I’m torn if the senryuu is saying that there already is a distinction, or if it’s wishing there was a distinction. With my limited grammar knowledge, you could make an argument for either. But in the end, I went with this version.

3 Likes

クラクション「どけ」「ありがとう」の区別あり

クラクション・「どけ」「ありがとう」・のくべつあり

“Move!” and “Thanks!”
sound distinct on
a car’s horn

  • 3-4-3 translation
  • It is the way/manner of honking that is actually different, I’d think (short bursts vs long blasts). I haven’t honked a “Thanks!” so far and haven’t seen it used to that end in Japan either. Usually done with a wave of the hand (accompanied by a small bow in Japan!), or flashing headlights.
  • Perhaps an instructional senryu that is telling the reader that they should sound different
6 Likes

I learned a new English word today… I always assumed the word クラクション was a Japanese invention.

I‘m also gonna add that in my understanding, the 川柳 is neither a question nor a wish, but simply a statement (。。。区別がある).

2 Likes

As is often the case though, the meaning doesn’t quite line up, at least in UK English. To me a klaxon is one of those awooga-awooga submarine-dive-alert sirens, and never a car horn, so because I’d forgotten the meaning of the Japanese word I wandered off into a wrong interpretation of this senryu…

4 Likes

You weren’t alone! :smile:

Klaxon doesn’t mean car horn in American English either. “Awooga-awooga submarine-dive-alert sirens” (or air raid siren) describes my mental image perfectly.

I suspect someone used “klaxon” to describe a truck or ambulance horn once after the war and it stuck.

Truly the hardest part of Japanese!

TIL: the word is from an early 20th century company that made electric horns for submarine dive sirens! klaxon - Wiktionary

Apple also thinks it means car horn:

2 Likes

I had run into Klaxon before as the word for car horn in Japan, but didn’t know about the submarine origin…

The other word that flummoxed me was コンセント (although I guessed the literal translation from katanglish as having something to do with “conentric”) which means “concentric plug” or electric outlet. Amazing how they managed to turn that into コンセント :roll_eyes: But, then, there’s テレビ…

2 Likes

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Apologies for the delay today. I ended up having to run up to spend the day in San Francisco


Previous senryu

  1. クラクション「どけ」「ありがとう」の区別あり
    クラクション・「どけ」「ありがとう」・のくべつあり
    “Move!” and “Thanks!” / sound distinct on / a car’s horn

Notes:

  • To the question raised earlier, the あり wording would normally mean there already is a distinction, rather than querying if one exists.

  • I think the humor is that in reality, the sounds are absolutely identical, but the emotion invoked is markedly different depending on context! When someone acknowledges a kindness with a honk (letting them in or whatever) it sounds cheerful and friendly. If someone wants you out of the passing lane or whatever, it sounds like an angry “Get the hell out of the way!”.

Current senryu challenge

Volume: Ladies

  1. 二番目に好きな男といる気楽

Ahem. No hints today. Pretty sure I know what it means, but I’ll be curious to see how folks word it in English (especially without getting into trouble with political correctness, even with the genders going in this direction!).


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.

2 Likes

二番目に好きな男といる気楽

にぱんめに・すきなおとこと・いるきらく

Being with
Mister Second choice -
so carefree!

  • 3-5-3 version
  • “No pressure, no worries,” unlike with First choice, which is “always pressure, constant worry.” Is this a blunt way of saying that with Mr. First Choice, one is “lovesick?”

That makes a lot more sense and sounds just right.

3 Likes