Translation

exist†trace – Hana no Sakanai Machi

Happy July Igu Day!

As explained and cited in my post for “Wrath,” “Hana no Sakanai Machi” and “Wrath” tell the story of the same event from two different characters’ points of view. Here, we have the young man’s version. I searched miko’s blog for any further details on this song, but other than that these two songs go together, I couldn’t find anything that gave much more information. Personally, the references to “black rain” in both songs, and a “land of ash” and “avaricious intellect” in this one, make me think of the development and use of the atomic bomb. But this song could easily be about something else entirely, especially since miko had said that the churches in the Netherlands inspired “Wrath.”

Anyway, lyrics in Japanese can be found here on Rock Lyric. On to the translation!

Hana no Sakanai Machi

hana no sakanai machi kotori no saezuranu kokage
tsukurimono no chou wa sabitsuku hane wo chinmoku saseru

fumishimeru hai no chi
tashika ni kono basho wa kimi wo oboeteitan da

tsuyoi ame ni tokeru don’yokuna chinou no kesshou yo
shizuka ni maku wo oroshi nanigoto mo nakatta ka no you ni keshisatte

sukoshi warau kimi ga te ni shita hakai no hikigane
suna no you ni moroku kimi made tomo ni kuzureochi

fumishimeru hai no chi
tashika ni kono basho ni ima mo nemutteiru kara

subete ga tomaru mae ni

kuroi ame ni araware masshirona kimi ga modoru nara
kieta haguruma mo kioku kara nakatta ka no you ni keshisatte

tsuyoi ame ni tokeru don’yokuna chinou no kesshou yo
shizuka ni maku wo oroshi nanigoto mo nakatta ka no you ni kie

kuroi ame ni araware masshirona kimi ga modoru nara
kieta haguruma mo kioku kara nakatta ka no you ni keshisatte

hana no sakanai machi

The Town Where No Flowers Bloom

The town where no flowers bloom
No little birds singing in the shade
Man-made butterflies silence their rusting wings

Stepping firmly into this land of ash
Yes, this place certainly remembered you

Oh, you fruits of the avaricious intellect that now melts in the strong rain1
Quietly lower the curtain, erase everything like nothing happened

You smiled a little as you took the trigger of destruction
Frail like sand, it destroyed you along with it

Stepping firmly into this land of ash
Yes, surely you’re still sleeping here, so

Before everything stops

If you’ll come back in your radiance, appearing in the black rain
Erase even the old machinations from memory, as if they were never there2

Oh, you fruits of the avaricious intellect that now melts in the strong rain
Quietly lower the curtain, disappear like nothing happened

If you’ll come back in your radiance, appearing in the black rain
Erase even the old machinations from memory, as if they were never there

The town where no flowers bloom


1. While most beginning Japanese students will learn sentence-final よ (yo) as a particle expressing emphasis (to put it simply), clause-final よ attached to a noun is probably something Japanese language learners don’t come across in their formal studies unless they’re fortunate enough to have a Japanese literature class in Japanese. I was not, but I did happen to hear several examples of this usage in various songs, most memorably in “OASIS” from GACKT’s album MARS which included the lyric「風よ吹け」(kaze yo fuke). The most accurate translation for this type of よ in terms of meaning alone is “O,” as in “O Lord” (or “O Readers,” as I like to say.) よ after a noun and O before a noun both indicate that the speaker is directly addressing whatever that noun is. So we could accurately translate the aforementioned lyric from “OASIS” as “Blow, O Wind!” Unfortunately, this usage of “O” probably sounds archaic, overly dramatic, and/or too church-y to most modern English speakers. Or just plain humorous by association with the modern usage of the phrase “o ye of little faith,” for example.

In the case of this song, though the よ appears at the end of the line, it is attached to a noun (結晶, kesshou meaning, in this case, “crystalization” or “fruits [i.e. of labor]”), and that noun is being modified by that whole string of words before it, making this a clause-final よ. Personally, I like the translation “O, ye fruits of that avaricious intellect…,” but as this use of よ in Japanese isn’t limited to classical literature (though it is more…poetic, shall we say, than other ways of getting someone’s attention), it would be inaccurate in terms of tone to use phrasing which in English sounds archaic. Nor is the line comical. So I went with “Oh, you fruits…” to make the direct address aspect of this line clear while keeping things modern.

2. What I translated as “old machinations” was “cogwheel[s] that disappeared” originally. I suppose it’s possible that “cogwheel” is being used here literally rather than metaphorically, but I doubt it, especially in light of the “avaricious intellect” mentioned in the other lines. Also, I chose to go with “old” because “disappeared” isn’t an adjective in English, and having to say “that disappeared” adds a clunkiness that wasn’t in the original.

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