蛙楽 || The Cries of Frogs

しきみ蛙楽
agaku
The Cries of Frogs

Vocals: Meramipop (めらみぽっぷ)
Lyrics: Azuki
Arranged by: Kaztora (カズトラ)
Album: Doppel
Circle: Shinra-Bansho (森羅万象)
Event: Hakurei Shrine Autumn Reitaisai 1 [ARTS1]
Original Theme: Tomorrow Will Be Special, Yesterday Was Not [明日ハレの日、ケの昨日]

Subtitled video courtesy of Alice Margatroid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X02j_B0ty6M

To be honest, I tried to translate the ‘Parade Version’ of this song first, since I like it more, but this one is easier to make sense of, so I translated this one first. The second-last stanza is complicated, mainly because of the frog puns. They’re ribbit-ing. It plays on the verb ‘kaeru’ 帰る (to return home) and ‘kaeru’ 蛙 (frog), and even ‘kaeru’ 変える (to change/transform). Of course, at certain points, it’s spelled as the neutral ‘kaeru’ カエル, making it hard to tell which is which. I don’t think there’s an equivalent pun in English, so I couldn’t bring those nuances across… Unless I went with something like ‘hop along home…’

The ‘gate’ refers to a ‘torii,’ a special gate found before a shrine. They’re those red things. If you don’t know what they are, just do an image search. Also, ‘naku’ 鳴く (to cry) refers to the cries of animals, such as frogs. So keep that in mind. Finally, like usual, pronouns aren’t included in the original Japanese, so I put them in on a case-by-case basis.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

A voice cried in the street at night – I wonder whose it was?

That child, racing around in the mountain,
Came to life unaware, unaware, of fear and horror.
But as they made their way through the archway, the cries of the cicadas
Vanished, whilst they were unaware…

Those frogs, unknown to humans, were crying:
“All together now!” They were making quite a stir.
“Let’s go home. Let’s go home!” You thought, as your hair stood on end…

Your pinky and my pinky,
Come! Let’s link and unlink them, now!
This is the hidden village that lies beyond the archway.
What are you doing? Let’s play!

I skip a stone across the water, towards the other shore,
It bounces countless times, countless times. Did it make it there?
I become serious, and start competing, but then I realised
I was all by myself, gripping a stone in my hand…

Now, everyone, form an even circle – you’re it!
Cover your eyes with your hands…
“Kagome, kagome!” Follow my clapping.

Mr. Demon, come this way!
Let’s lead you back home, now.
No peeping! Come this way, please come this way.

(Whose cries were those? Whose cries were those?)

Sunset, twilight, dusk. (Hidden to all… With someone unknown…)
Come! Let’s head home (Head home… No, to the forest…)
Let’s get you home! Let’s get you home!
The ravens were crying… (Head home to the river… Head home to the water…)
But before everything doesn’t disappear,
Let’s play together, one last time! (Frogs cover the ground…)
A once-in-a-lifetime game of tag.
Run away! Run away! Come this way…

Life is brief… I wonder who those red shoes belong to? Hm…
Before we catch you, please return home!
Tales starting with ‘once upon a time’
Are worthless, I say! Please, forget those things…
The laughter rode upon the wind and vanished, with a ‘whoosh…’

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3 thoughts on “蛙楽 || The Cries of Frogs

  1. Yonjirun Nipananodesu January 25, 2017 / 11:43 am

    Hm, not that I have knowledge in Japanese, but “But before everything doesn’t disappear” seems off, in the context of the song.

    Should it be before everything disappears instead?

    Like

    • releska January 25, 2017 / 12:07 pm

      I remember finding that line quite odd when I was translating it. I’ll double-check the original line with fresh eyes – perhaps I misread it to begin with?

      Like

    • releska January 25, 2017 / 12:22 pm

      So, the original line is ‘全て消えてしまわぬ前に’ (subete kiete shimawanu mae ni). I’m going to get a bit technical here, but it’s still a mystery to me.

      Basically, しまう (shimau) is put at the end of verbs to express the speaker’s regret that something has happened, or to demonstrate that something has happened completely. しまわぬ (shimawanu) is the negative form of しまう (shimau), though I’ve never seen it used in that way before. Theoretically, the first part (全て消えてしまわぬ) means “Everything does not disappear completely.” 前に [mae ni] just means ‘before.’ So, I put them both together and got the version seen above.

      Either way, it’s an unnatural sentence, as you rightly pointed out. A more natural sentence would be 全て消えてしまわぬ内に or 全て消えてしまわぬ間に [While everything hasn’t yet disappeared completely].

      Perhaps there’s another usage of しまわぬ that I’m not aware of that leads to a more natural interpretation… Either way, thanks for pointing that out, and I hope my response clears things up! I don’t think I’ll change the sentence at the moment, but I’ll see if I can follow it up and get a more concrete answer…

      Like

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