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inochi no zenmai [translation]

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May. 4th, 2010 | 09:05 am
posted by: nearsightedness in blindsiding

Japanese->English translation of "Inochi no Zenmai" by 9mm Parabellum Bullet.

Translator's notes: "Inochi no Zenmai" is indeed literally "the spring of life" - except the thing is, it's not spring like water flowing out of the ground, it's spring like, a piece of clockwork/something that gets wound up, etc. As in, what makes a mechanical toy run.

Quick Japanese lesson, to illustrate the shortcomings in this translation. There are two alternating lines that start the choruses - "kegarenai kimi no me wo" and "sukuenai ore no te ni". Using the first one as an example... To break the it down: "kegarenai" is the negative form of a verb, meaning "to be dirty". "Kimi" is a noun meaning "you". "No" is a particle of possession, and "me" is eyes, so "kimi no me" is "your eyes" (similarly, "sukuenai" is "cannot be saved", and "ore no te" is "my hands"). The thing is, "kegarenai" is modifying "kimi", not "me". But that's... um... hard to put in English without altering the grammar. "Not-dirty/clean you's eyes"? Or with the second example, "unsaveable me's hands"? So I just bit my tongue and wrote "your clean eyes" and "my unsaveable hands", and therefore of course felt I had to put a heads-up here.

命のゼンマイ inochi no zenmai (the spring of life)


The wind that blows through the miniature garden
Carries an ominous indication
The candlelight wavers, unable to hide its fear


Even when I tired of playing alone, and eventually got puzzled
My body kept desiring the same thing, and wound the spring of life

ブリキのウサギよ さあ ここにおいで

Tin rabbit, hey, come here
I'll wound you in places nobody can see

汚れない君の目を 新しい玩具をくれ

Please give me your unspoiled eyes as a new toy
Until you turn to rubbish
Won't you let yourself be played with?

愚かなホタルよ ためらわずおいで
俺しか知らない甘い水 飲ませてあげるよ

Foolish firefly, oh, come without hesitating
I'll let you drink a sweet water that nobody knows of but me

運命は通り雨さ ずぶぬれになるまで
殺し合えばいい 愛し合えばいい

Fate will shower down, until it soaks us through
We should kill each other, we should love each other


Give my unsaveable hands a good toy
Until fate separates us
Won't you let yourself be played with?

運命は通り雨さ ロウソクの灯は消えた

Fate showered down
The candle's light went out

ブリキのウサギよ さあ そばにおいで

Tin rabbit, hey, come here
Everyone is carrying wounds that remain unhealed

汚れない君の目を 新しい玩具をくれ

Please give me your clean eyes as a new toy
Give my unsaveable hands a good toy


Until we turn to rubbish
Of course I'll kindly play with you

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