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






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.


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]


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






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.


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


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。


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。


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.


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.