23 July 2009

Translation Exercise: "God Hates Japan" (5)

Last time I believe I made some promise about writing real entries, but a man's got to do what a man's got to do. This might be another way of saying that life's been pretty swell lately but not in a write-about-it-in-my-blog sort of way. Do you want to hear about how good eel tastes? Care for the details of playing guitar, about why I chose not to watch the solar eclipse [damn evil spirits] or recording my own model versions of Martin Luther King-themed speeches for the annual prefectural speech contest? I didn't think so.

Anyway, here she goes. I transcribed the Japanese from paper while drinking-- nay, imbibing a White Russian and watching The Colbert Report (because that's how we roll), so if you notice any typos, let me know.

Original Japanese translation

例えばホール&オーツやクイーンに、とにかく卑猥なものを・・・・・。

マリコが自らの人生をトヨタに預けた時、彼女は、国民を洗脳するためにある日本の“和”への義理や尊敬や自己犠牲といった感覚を体験する事になる最後の世代の子供となった。

一九七五年以降に生まれた僕のような人間はどうだろう?僕らのことなんか忘れてしまっていい。僕らは繁殖し、よく食べ、際限なく増殖し、また際限なく壊れていく。それに、僕らに世代なんてものは存在しない。

マリコは僕の“シーン”について、いつもお姉さんぶった説教を始め、そんな自意識過剰で無意味なメヌエットが終わると、OLとして稼いだ給料でまたバーバリー製品を買いに出かけた。彼女は一九九四年に千葉の歯医者と結婚し、僕のおいとなるはずの子を妊婦した。姉貴とは一年一度しか会わなかったが、僕が自分の人生をどれだけ無駄にしているか説教されるはめになった。

ずいぶん生意気なガキに聞こえるかもしれないけど、少しでも気休めになるなら、僕が自分に一番厳しいわけで、そんな厳しさは、僕を含めた無世代が受け継いだとしても、同時に、ダム、道路、食糧生産、人口衛星の打ち上げ、経済産業省、農業科学といった、この国の多くの遺産を維持することなどできないことを意味していた。いっそ、そんなすべてを爆破してしまった方がずっとおもしろいのかもしれないけど、自分にできないことはあまり言わない方がいいだろう。

My translation back into English

For example, on Hall & Oates or Queen. Anyway, really filthy stuff.

When Mariko handed her life over to Toyota, she became a child of the last generation that has to experience feelings of obligation and respect and self-sacrifice to the Japanese concept of "harmony", which exists to brainwash the public.

What are people like me who are born after 1975 like? You should forget about us. We multiply, we eat a lot, we breed endlessly and also break down endlessly. Besides, we don't believe in things like "generations".

Mariko would start to lecture me like a big sister about my "scene" and when she'd finish her ego driven, meaningless minuet, she'd go out again to buy Burberry products with the salary she earned as an office assistant. In 1995 she married a dentist from Chiba and became pregnant with the child that would become my nephew. I'd only see my big sis once a year but I'd always end up being lectured about how I was wasting my life.

I probably sound like quite the spoilt brat, but if it's any consolation, I'm hardest on myself and this severeness implies I cannot maintain the many inheritances from this country such as the dams, roads, food production, the launch of man-made satellites, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, agricultural science, etcetera. Really, it would probably be more interesting to blow all these things up, but I guess I shouldn't talk about things I can't do myself.

Commentary

There was a lot of odd non-JLPT vocabulary here. For my own benefit, I'll give a few examples of the curios I found.
際限なく・さいげんなく・Endlessly, without end -- there seem to be lots of ways to say this. Another one for the pile.
妊婦する・にんぷする・Basically means "to become pregnant", though as a noun this means "expectant mother", so it might be interpreted as "to become an expectant mother".
羽目になる・はめになる・To flatter, or to relax one's chi if you want to get technical -- but, the whole phrase "少しでも気休めになるなら" means "if it's any consolation", which is kind of neato.
Shout outs

Quick shout out to Kozo who posted his own translation of the last block of text in his own blog. He, I believe, can be counted as being a native speaker of both English and Japanese, so he picks up on some of the finer grammatical points that skip right over my head. And, he knows exactly what Burberry is, which is a little suspicious ;) [Disclaimer: I understood that it was a fashion company from context, but refused to acknowledge the existence of such a brand]

ザ・バーバリー

I'm still considering making a separate study blog, or maybe a half-decent multimedia job that could land me my next blog at some nerdy IT corporation. Maybe a third Japanese Studies blog that could get me into grad school somewhere half-respectable?

21 July 2009

Translation Exercise: "God Hates Japan" (4)

I think this is it. Next time I'll go back to posting real content. Honest.

Original Japanese translation

十分にいいところだった。だって、埼玉はコンゴじゃないんだろう。彼女たちが、そんな世界とそこに暮らす人々を見捨てたことはあまりに屈辱的だった。親友のテツもまた、信じられないといった様子で、モルモン教徒について聞いた話を教えてくれた。なんて呼べばいいのか分からないが、その教区司祭か神父かが、ひと月に1回、少年たちを一室に集めて、マスターベーションの罪悪について説いたことを。全員に特殊な透明インクのペンと紙を渡し、前の月にマスターベーションした回数分だけ、コイン大の印を付けさせた。それから紙を全て回収し、壁に画鋲で留めてから明かりを消すと、部屋にたくさんの星が現れた。それは実際、とても美しそうだった。とにかく、司祭はそれを「罪の世界」とかそんな名前で呼び、翌月の若いモルモン教徒たちの使命は、その星を全て消していくこととなった。

突然、僕とテツは、これの彼女の子バージョンがどんなものなのかは、ただ想像するしかなかった。

04

えっ、僕かい?僕は一九七五年東京の少し北で生まれた。たった一人のきょうだいは、一九七〇年生まれの姉のマリコだったが、彼女の感受性が僕とあまりにかけ離れていたため、それこそ一九五五年に生まれたんじゃないかと思えたほどだ。

自分はどういう人間と思うかを、彼女に聞いてみれば、ひとこと目からたぶん、バーバリーの全商品を所有していることを自ら話し始めるだろう。もしバーバリーがタンポンを作っていたら、マリコなら絶対に買ってるはずだ。彼女が若い時に最も熱中していたのは、八〇年代のデュラン・デュランをパックた安っぽい外国人バンドだった。未だに彼女は、月曜毎に原宿へ出かけており、体育館の外でロカビリーの衣装を着て踊っていた時代のことをよく覚えている。なんて恥ずかしいなんだろう。本当に最悪だ。僕ら姉弟の最大のケンカは、僕がフェルトペンで、彼女が大切にしていた一九八二年から一九八六年のミュージック・ライブの表紙に、オッパイや牙を描き込んだ後に起きた。

My translation back into English

It was a perfectly good place. After all, Saitama isn't exactly the Congo, right? Those girls who abandoned the world and all those that live there were extremely demeaning. My best friend Tetsu also, in a state of disbelief, told me what he heard about Mormons. I don't know what to call it, but the parish priest or the father gathers all the kids together in one room one time per month and preaches on the sin of masturbation. He gave everyone some paper and a pen with special transparent ink and makes them mark down the number of times they masturbated in a month. After that, he collected all the paper and after tacking them to the wall, he cut the lights and in the room the stars appeared. That actually must have been beautiful. Anyway, the priest called that "the world of sin" or something, and gave the young Mormons the mission for the next month of extinguishing all stars.

Suddenly, Tetsu and I could only imagine while child-versions of these girls were like.

Chapter 4

Huh? Me? I was born in 1975 a little north of Tokyo. My only sibling, Mariko, was born in 1970 but because her sensibilities are completely different from mine, I could almost think she was born in 1955.

If you ask her what kind of person she is, probably in a word, she would first say she was the owner of all of Burberry's merchandise. Supposing Burberry made tampons, Mariko would definitely be buying them. When she was young, what she was most crazy about was the cheap foreign band Duran Duran. Still, she often thinks of the days when every Friday she'd go down to Harajuku and dance outside of the gym in rockabilly clothing. How embarrassing. Really the worst. The biggest fight we had as siblings happened after I drew tits and fangs on the cover of her precious concert calender from 1982 to 1986.

Thoughts

Exhausted. I'm not sure-- I actually have no idea who or what a Burberry is. Also, it took me forever to realize that 原宿 is "Harajuku", despite being plastered on Gwen Stefani-themed perfume bottles everywhere.


Also one of those annoying instances with those mutant words where the first kanji is the Japanese-reading and the second is the Chinese-reading, for you linguistics nerds out there.

There were also quite a few words and phrases that I couldn't find in any dictionary, so some of this translation is strictly a figment of my own imagination. So if you or anyone you know has accuracy tips, please share.

15 July 2009

Translation Exercise: "God Hates Japan" (3)

Long time no see. Last time I wrote here I was just starting to study for the JLPT, and since then I studied for pretty much two-months straight, overdosed on Japanese, jumped into the Tafuse River, drowned, was resurrected and now am sitting in front of my computer writing again.

So I continued translating Douglas Coupland's Japan-only novel "God Hates Japan", which is not an anti-Japanese religious diatribe by the Westboro Baptist Church, but rather, a look at how Japan and the Japanese people are handling the country's own modern era in a vein similar to how Coupland has tackled Canada or before that, the United States in his other novels. So here's the third instalment.

Original Japanese translation

02

そのため僕は木曜の真夜中を待って、二人の黒い自転車に忍び寄ると、ブリキ鋏でスポークを 中央の軸から切断してしまうことで、直接復讐を果たした。僕は誰が見ていようが全く気にならなかったし、実際、最低でも一握りほどの人間が目撃していただ ろうが、その後、警察からも誰からも連絡はなかった。

でも車輪のない自転車を眺めているのはおかしなものだ。まるで彼女たちが見つけ出そうとしていた星のような、家に帰ってからもなかなか眠りにつけなかった。あまりにむかついていたからだ・・・・・・。

と うもろこしばかり食べてるマヌケどもめ、よくも僕らの国へのこのことやって来て、自分たちでさえ理解していない錆びついた絵空事を押し付けやがって。あい つらがキミコを誘拐したんだ。あいつらが、駅に入ってきた地下鉄の前へ押し出すように、リエコとカオルを殺してしまったんだ。

03

そ の夜は気温も高く、暖かかった。僕は受験地獄のために猛勉強していなければならないはずだったが、ほんの一吹きのモンスーンで、とても集中なんかしていら れなくなった。僕はキミコが何を見ているのか想像してみようとした。一体どこへ行ってしまったんだろう。神殿の中へか?宗教は神殿が大好きだ。それとも神 様のもとへ行ったのだろうか?それにしても神様というのはあまりに日本っぽくない考え方だった。日本では一人の神様のところに行き、欲しいものを祈って、 もしそれで叶わなければ、また次の神様に祈りに行くんだ。

他 に何があるだろう?たぶん、僕は同時に、まともな理由もないくせに、どう見たって最低な、この地上の世界を見捨てる道を選んだ彼女たちに怒りを考えてい た。僕らは比較的恵まれた地域に住んでいた。テニスコートやキャヂラックや貴族の称号なんてものとは無縁だとしても、十分にいいところだった。

My translation back into English

Chapter 2

For that reason, I waited until the middle of the night, snuck up to their black bikes and by using a pair of tin snips to cut the centre shaft of the spokes, I took direct revenge. I didn't feel uneasy at all that someone might be watching, and in reality, at worst probably only a handful of people saw me, but afterwards, I didn't get any word from the police.

But staring at a wheel-less bicycles is really strange. Like the star that the girls were searching for, when I got home I couldn't fall asleep at all. Because I felt over-irritated...

These goddamn idiots eating nothing but corn, how dare they come to our country and push this rusty pipe dream that they themselves don't understand. They kidnapped Kimiko. They killed Rieko and Kaoru, like pushing them in front of a subway train coming into the station.

Chapter 3

That night the temperature was high and it was hot. I was in exam hell and should have been studying extra-hard, but with the mere gust of the monsoon, I really couldn't focus. I imagined what Kimiko must be looking at. Where the hell did she go off too? In a temple? Religions love their temples. Or, did she go below her God? Nevertheless, "God" isn't really a Japanese way of thinking. In Japan, we go to one god, pray for the thing we wish for, and if it doesn't come true, we go and pray again at the next god.

What else is there? Probably, despite not having a good reason, and nasty now matter how you look at it, I was mad at these girls that chose a path that abandoned the world above ground. We lived in a relatively well-off area. Even if things like tennis courts and Cadillacs and the names of nobility are unrelated, it was a perfectly fine place.

Thoughts

Nothing mind-blowing here. Some of the grammar is a bit slangy, and lots of strange vocabulary which I won't bore you with. For some reason, the spell-checker doesn't like "snuck" as the past-tense of "sneak". Yup.

Just one small note, which is, it has occurred to me that posting several pages of a published novel-- published in the country from which I'm writing no less-- is morally iffy, so I should take this opportunity to say that this is really for the sake of my own studying. I'm only posting it in case anyone's interested or has comments.

And if anyone at kencho is reading this, this is how I spent my POD.