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.

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