(The increasingly less) Daily senryu thread

Mmm, while you were writing that, I came to basically the same interpretation:

Somebody walks in and asks the author “hey, when’d you buy that [new gadget/dress/etc]”, and the author is the one brazenly claiming it’s not a new purchase when in fact it is.

Given the ‘salaryman’ category and that traditionally the family finances are controlled by the wife, I guess we should read the author as male? My western preconceptions started me off thinking the other way around.

Here’s an attempt based on that theory (though qua poem it’s not great):

“When’d you buy that?” / Oh, had it for ages / I boldly lie

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「いつかった」? まえからあったとシラをきる

“When did you buy it?”
Asked before
I could feign ignorance

This one was really hard for me. The から and the と were giving me issues, couldn’t exactly place what they were doing in this phrase, but I tried to figure it out x_x

EDIT: OH, is the と a quotation particle, so the “前からあった” is someone speaking? That’d make more sense

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Yes, exactly.

This one is a little tricky grammatically, because there are two separate sentences and three separate clauses:

The first sentence with one clause: 「いつ買った — “when did you buy [it]?” (presumably asked by the wife).

The main clause of the second sentence: 白を切る — “[I] feign ignorance”

And the quoted clause in the second sentence:「前からあった」と [答えた] “[I replied] ‘[it’s] been there since before’”

Really though, the subjects of all three clauses are guesses. They can be thought of as the “zero pronoun” in all three cases (a magic pronoun that can mean "I’ or “she” or even “it”).

This is why I like diagramming sentences and using the “zero pronoun” instead of subjects not explicitly given (like “I” and “my wife” and “it” in the second quoted clause). It makes it easier to visualize and reason about how to parse these kinds of things.

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So from that a better one could be something like
“‘When did you buy that?’
It’s been there from the start
I said innocently.”

I know the ‘innocently’ might read as genuine innocence, but with the context, I feel like it implies a lie that’s being covered up

3 Likes

I like that word choice, much better than mine.

Thursday, September 22, 2022


Previous senryu

  1. 「いつ買った」? 前からあったと シラを切る
    「いつかった」? まえからあったとシラをきる
    “‘When did you buy that?’ / It’s been there from the start / I said innocently.”

Notes:

Current senryu challenge

Volume: Husbands

  1. そっと起きそっと出かけてそっと寝る

I love it when I can read one of these without resorting to a dictionary or further research.

Fortunately those days are long past, but I remember rarely seeing sunshine and trying not to wake the household coming and going at odd hours.

It was definitely worse for salarymen in Japan, though, especially during the “Japan, Inc.” days. The expectations placed on people were brutal (thankfully, getting better). The fact that there is even a word in Japanese (過労死(かろうし)) for working yourself to death still horrifies me. [1]


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. I hate to be a downer, but I had a very close friend die from this (super long hours and smoking and drinking). Forgive the unsolicited advice, but for any still early in their careers: work should never be the most important thing nor dictate how you live your life. It’s not worth it. Don’t let yourself become trapped by others expectations and perceptions about your work ethic. Take pride in your work and work hard, but don’t let it control your life. ↩︎

1 Like

そっとおきそっとでかけてそっとねる

Without a whisper
I wake up, leave
And go back to sleep

If my translation isn’t wrong, I assumed this is about the fact that workers will often leave very early (so they have to wake up and go out without waking up others, and then return home very late (so they have to prepare to sleep quietly to not wake up anyone)

3 Likes

そっとおきそっとでかけてそっとねる

quietly
wake, depart, and go
back to sleep

2 Likes

そっと起きそっと出かけてそっと寝る

そっとおき・そっとでかけて・そっとねる

Waking softly, / depart on tiptoe, and back / in bed softly

  • 4-7-4 translation
2 Likes

Saturday, September 24, 2022


Previous senryu

  1. そっと起きそっと出かけてそっと寝る
    そっとおきそっとでかけてそっとねる
    Without a whisper / I wake up, leave / And return to sleep

Another one where it was tough to choose a translation. 5-4-5 is s little unusual, but it seems to work.

Just one small tweak: I changed “go back to sleep” to “return to sleep”. Almost exactly the same meaning, but I think the latter slightly implies returning home to sleep (vs. just going back to sleep). Unsure if it’s meaningful since “leave” is already explicit.

My own 4-5-4 attempted to acknowledge the repetition:

Silently rise, / silent departure, / silent to bed

Current senryu challenge

Volume: Salaryman

  1. 定年後 メシ・フロ・お茶は 妻の声

Hmm. I can piece together the words, but I’m unsure of the meaning:

  • 定年(ていねん)() (after retirement)

  • メシ (めし) (meals)

  • フロ 風呂(ふろ) (bath)

“After retirement, the only words I want to hear are my wife saying: ‘mealtime’, ‘bath is ready’, and ‘tea-time’”?


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

I have a theory, though I’m not super-confident about it.

Judging from some googling, ordering one’s wife around with one-word commands like メシ, フロ or お茶 is a kind of stereotypical behaviour of a super-traditionalist type husband. I think the humour here is that the author has retired, and suddenly finds that it’s his wife who is handing out the orders and he’s the one making the tea and so on.

Edit: I also feel like this is one of those sentences where the は ought to be telling me something but I don’t really have a good enough feeling for it to pick it up…

5 Likes

That makes perfect sense. I think you’ve nailed it.

It’s his wife who is handing out the orders and he’s the one making the tea and so on.

That makes the は fit perfectly: “as for [the commands that are usually given by the husband] they are my wife’s commands”.

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定年後 メシ・フロ・お茶は 妻の声

ていねんご | メシ・フロ・おちゃは | つまのこえ

After retiring, / my lunch, bath, and tea times marked / by the wife’s summons

  • 5-7-5 take
  • Sounds like a salaryman’s lament for the loss of his convivial environment at work with colleagues that has been replaced by his dependence on wife, who is seemingly determining the beat of his daily routine.
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Your explanation is spot on, methinks. In comparison, my reading is clearly based on western social norms. I should have googled… in these days, not googling is the original sin.

Looks to me like the は used in comparing and contrasting, as in:
定年前 …は夫の声, 定年後 …は妻の声

Just putting メシ・フロ・お茶 in parenthesis would make it so much easier to understand. So,
定年後「メシ」・「フロ」・「お茶」は妻の声 OR
定年後「メシ・フロ・お茶」は妻の声
makes it easy to understand that the word/phrase in quotes is the topic/subject. I’m getting the feeling that Japanese are not as fond of using quotes.

1 Like

I’ll see if I can get a translation tomorrow morning, but today was rough so I might skip this one x_x sorry fellas

1 Like

Translation attempt

  1. 定年後 メシ・フロ・お茶は 妻の声

ていねんご・めし ふろ おちゃ は・つまのこえ
retired, but / “dinner!”, “bath!”, “tea!” are / _her_ commands

I couldn’t figure out any way to capture the meaning in English without introducing the word “but”, unfortunately. I really want to italicize the word “her” but had to resort to literal underscores since the spreadsheet doesn’t allow word formatting.

(I’m wayyyyyyy overdue on updating the spreadsheet, by the way.)

Still, a 3-5-3, albeit with lots of punctuation.

Thanks to @pm215 for solving the meaning!

2 Likes

Monday, September 26, 2022


Previous senryu

  1. 定年後 メシ・フロ・お茶は 妻の声
    ていねんご・めし ふろ おちゃ は・つまのこえ
    retired, but / “dinner!”, “bath!”, “tea!” are / her commands

There is a bit of a stereotype/cliche in Japan that after retirement, the husband has the life of Riley and can just order his wife about to satisfy his whims. This senryu turns that around.

Three issues with this translation:

  • It introduces the word “but" (difficult to capture the meaning in English otherwise).

  • It also needs to emphasize “her” somehow. This translation resorts to literal underscores.

  • Lastly, a transliteration should use “my wife’s” instead of “her” but it costs a syllable.

Current senryu challenge

Volume: Ladies

  1. サヨナラをしてから続く長電話

The meaning seems fairly straightforward.

I think we’ve all had phone conversations that continue long after “good-bye” is uttered.


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

サヨナラをしてからつづくながでんわ

long phone call that
continues after
saying goodbye

5 Likes

さよならをしてからつづくながでんわ

After “goodbye”
the phone call
continues on

I don’t have longer, but I’ll leave that into the feeling, just because it’s been a minute since I’ve done a senryu.

4 Likes

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Man. Just had a brutal day for reviews (payback for not finishing my reviews yesterday).


Previous senryu

  1. サヨナラをしてから続く長電話
    サヨナラをしてからつづくながでんわ
    long phone call that / continues after / saying goodbye

Can’t think of anything useful to add about this one!

Current senryu challenge

Volume: Husbands

  1. おならにも家長のしめし付ける音

Hey, nothing like a fart joke to recover from a loooong tough session of reviews.


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