(The increasingly less) Daily senryu thread

Friday, October 28, 2022


Previous senryu

  1. 腹立てて洗う茶碗の賑やかさ
    はらたてて・あらうちゃわんの・にぎやかさ
    Whence this bout / of brisk cup washing? / Pique, perchance?

Nice job coming up with a poetic translation, @LaVieQ!

Apologies for falling behind. I’ve been distracted with actual work despite my best attempts to avoid it. I’ve a trip to Tokyo next month for the first time since early 2020. That’s the longest I’ve been away since 1985.

Current senryu challenge

Volume: Salaryman

  1. ポイントを 貯めたいばかりに 無駄使い

I think this is the entire point of the blasted things!


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

For most of October I had limited internet access and less time, but I’m back now. It looks like this thread has been a little quiet while I’ve been gone, so I guess I’ll jump back in:

ポイントをためたいばかりにむだづかい

Saving money just / to be able to / fritter it away

This one seems straightforward? But so far any time I’ve thought that I’ve been way off track…

3 Likes

Hah. I know that feeling.

My interpretation is the same, but I thought this was referring to “point” cards (loyalty programs) rather than money specifically.

3 Likes

That makes the を (which I had been a bit confused by) make more sense, but the 無駄使い make less sense, at least to my thinking. That is, assuming this is similar to the US version of a coffee shop “buy 10 get one free” punch card.

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I think it just means it’s senseless to simply accumulate points forever without actually using them (something I’ve been guilty of). I had an uncle with an entire drawer full of point cards for various local places, all of which had unused trade-in value. He’d “save 'em for a rainy day” and never turn them in. Quite poignant really: he passed without ever using them.

There are also point systems like frequent-flyer miles that don’t have specific goals, they just accumulate until you use them.

2 Likes

Here’s my translation (which as a 5-7-5 is verbose enough to also be an explanation of my interpretation):

My loyalty card / point accumulation strat: / buy stuff I don’t need

Grammar note: XばかりにY
usually means “simply because of X, negative-outcome Y”, but the Dictionary of Advanced Japanese Grammar notes a particular nuance when X is a ~たい wants-to-verb clause: it can mean “because one is so eager to X, they make some effort Y”, so here “I waste money just because I’m so eager to rack up points”.

8 Likes

A 3-5-3 version: just to get / the loyalty points: / bought this junk

6 Likes

ポイントを 貯めたいばかりに 無駄使い

ポイントを・ためたいばかりに・むだづかい

2-4-2
Just for
reward points… Such
a waste.

  • A critique of the 「ポイントカードをお持ちでしょうか」question one runs into at the スーパー in Japan. I always say politely 持っていません、although what I want to say is もったいないよ!
2 Likes

We’ve got four submissions so far, and I’ll add a fifth.

  1. ポイントを 貯めたいばかりに 無駄使い
  • Saving money just / to be able to / fritter it away 5-5-5
  • My loyalty card / point accumulation strat: / buy stuff I don’t need 5-7-5
  • just to get / the loyalty points: / bought this junk 3-5-3
  • Just for / reward points… / Such a waste. 2-3-3
  • Unused points / accumulating / — a poor use 3-5-3

0 voters

Notes:

I think @pm215 explained the meaning well “I waste money just because I’m so eager to rack up points”. The author keeps accumulating points (by buying other stuff), which is futile and a waste.

But I don’t think 無駄使い is about wasting money exactly, or even about buying useless stuff directly. I think it’s about wasting “points”. 無駄な金を使う would mean wasting money, but (かね) isn’t actually mentioned.

I think this is kind of a pun about a wasteful “use” of points (not converting them, just accumulating them to by buying other stuff).

My version (last one listed) still doesn’t capture ()めたいばかり (“only wanting to save”).

1 Like

I don’t think it has to be explicitly mentioned (even ignoring the economy-of-wording inherent in senryu). Daijirin’s definition is:
金銭などを、必要のないことや役に立たないことに使うこと。浪費。「デパートで―する」「石鹸 (せっけん) の―」

You definitely can talk about wasting other stuff, like soap in the second example, but if you don’t specifically mention anything, the default prototypical thing you’re wasting is money, like in the first example. A different dictionary gives an example of 無駄遣いしないよう計画的な買い物をする where again money isn’t specifically mentioned but is the obvious default thing you’re wasting by not planning your shopping.

So I think treating the ‘waste’ as being of money in this poem too is at least one natural interpretation. And I do wonder if the “points accumulating unused” really fits the definition’s 必要のないことや役に立たないことに使うこと – it’s not clear to me if the expression really has as wide a usage range as English ‘waste’ does, or if the presence of 使い in the word has kept it closer to requiring an active ‘use’ or ‘using up’ of something. (Sadly I don’t have a JJ dictionary anywhere near as comprehensive as the OED. English ‘waste’ is from Latin vāstus ‘waste, desert, unoccupied’, so it’s always had a pretty broad range including the idea of something not being applied to any useful purpose.)

4 Likes

Agreed, but I think wasting points also qualifies even with the definition you gave:

など covers a lot of ground: “Spending money or the like on unnecessary or useless things.”

I’m not certain (rarely am!) but I thought the humor might be more about wasting the unused points than about wasting money on unnecessary purchases.

2 Likes

Oh, definitely you can have 無駄使い of points. I’m just not sure if you can have 無駄使い without the active 使う action part. But I don’t have any way to answer that.

1 Like

I don’t understand what you mean here. Isn’t 無駄使い itself a noun or suru-verb that contains a “使う action part”?

I’m unsure of my interpretation (which is why I put it up to a vote), but ignoring syllable counts, which nuance is closer to the original:

ポイントを 貯めたいばかりに 無駄使い

“Just saving points without using them – what a waste” (focus on unused points)

or

“Just saving points without using them – these purchases were a waste” (focus on wasteful purchases)?

In other words, is it about wasting points (just saving them rather then using them) or is it about wasteful spending in order to get points?

I’m 50/50 myself but I’m not sure if I made my question clear.

1 Like

Yes, that’s my point. Does that existence of 使う in the word have a strong enough influence on how it’s used to mean that 無駄使い has to involve actively using or using up something? Wasting soap, and spending money on stuff you don’t need clearly both do have that kind of ‘use’ involved. “I left the points on the card and never spent them”, on the other hand, is not an active ‘use’ of anything, it’s not an action at all – so if it’s a workable interpretation of 無駄使い then that means that despite the 使い in the word the usage would have broadened out to allow uses that don’t have that active ‘use’ action. Which is certainly possible, though the dictionary definitions don’t specifically say so.

Ah! Okay, I understand your point now.

I wondered if the “action” here was 貯めること (“saving”) and the humor was from the play on words of 使い vs. 貯めたい (使わない).

1 Like

Hmm, when you put it that way I see what you mean. I guess I’m about 75:25 on that. Oh, well, onwards and upwards to the next senryu :slight_smile:

1 Like

Tuesday, November 1, 2022


Previous senryu

  1. ポイントを 貯めたいばかりに 無駄使い
    ポイントを・ためたいばかりに・むだづかい
    Just for / reward points… / Such a waste

An unusual 2-3-3!

Sorry for prolonging this one but I wanted to explore the nuance of wasting points vs. wasteful accumulation of stuff to get those points. I’m unsure, but I still think there might be a sort of pun around ポイントを使わない being 無駄使い.

This translation leans toward the other interpretation: the purchases (to get points) were the waste (rather than the saving of points).

Current senryu challenge

Volume: Heartfelt (しみじみ編)

  1. セールスマン息子に似ていて断れず

I’m having a weird sense of déjà vu with this one. Didn’t we have something similar?

It seems a bit of a grammar test.


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

Trying to fit into a 3-5-3:

セールスマンむすこににていてことわれず

Salesman
Looked like my kiddo
Couldn’t say no

I was confused at first by the セールスマン息子 (the salesman’s son?) but I guess a が is dropped セールスマン息子に似ていて. Overall, I think the senryuu is about an older person whose son has already moved away.

6 Likes

Monday, November 14, 2022


Previous senryu

  1. セールスマン息子に似ていて断れず
    セールスマンむすこににていてことわれず
    Salesman / Looked like my kiddo / Couldn’t say no

Apologies for taking so long to post an update! I’ve been quite busy lately.

I’m currently typing this in a Tokyo hotel room. My first time back to Japan in nearly three years! (This is the longest I’ve been away since 1985.)

Current senryu challenge

Volume: Husbands

  1. そのギャグがなぜおもしろいと迫る父

I’m a little confused why this one is in the Husbands category …


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.

Welcome back!

And back to the regular game of find-the-subject! :stuck_out_tongue:

Does 父 do the 迫る or is someone else 迫るing 父?
I looked around for “と迫るPerson” phrase and it seems that Person is usually the subject of 迫る.
So it would mean that the dad is pressing someone to explain why a ギャグ is funny… but then I don’t get why the 川柳 is funny. :sweat_smile:

Maybe it’s usually the Dad who is making ギャグ but when someone else does he pretends to not understand and goes hardball “Why is this funny, explain yourself!” ?

3 Likes