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星さえも摩天楼を科学者気どりで着飾る

Discussion in '日本語 (Japanese)' started by Murasaki B, Sep 1, 2013.

  1. Murasaki B

    Murasaki B New Member

    German & English
    (Re-posted because my old thread was closed due to my own stupidity. I can only apologize)

    Hi, I'm translating some Japanese lyrics as practice, but I'm having problems with some lines. I've asked for a help in another forum and got help with one word that didn't seem to make sense, but now I can't help but feel like too many people wanting translations come to that forum for me to get clear answers.

    I'll just give you one song at a time. With the help of the people in the other forum I was able to complete my translation of one song, but now two songs still remain. The first song is about a place where people are left as soulless androids for some reason still unclear to me. This place seems very cold and void of joy, at least that's what I get from my own vague translations. It's a place where emotions are somehow shattered or sucked out of people (not too sure about that). These are some of the lyrics of the song:


    Kana

    […]

    くずれかけてた胸の破片も ああ掃き散らして

    街はわずかに錆びることもなく ただきらめく
    星さえも摩天楼を科学者気どりで着飾る

    […]



    Romaji


    […]

    Kuzure kaketeta mune no hahen mo

    Aa, haki chirashite
    Machi wa wazuka ni sabiru koto mo naku tada kirameku
    Hoshi sae mo matenrō o kagaku-sha kidori de kikazaru

    […]


    The bolded lines are those I'm having problems with. Even people in other forums (whose Japanese seemed very advanced) said that the line doesn't make much sense the way it is. Could someone help me with that line? I only got as far as "Even the stars (above the skyscrapers?)", but the rest doesn't make any sense to me.

    ––––

    Edit: Thanks to Tonky's input, I've been starting to think that maybe "科学者" (= scientist) isn't supposed to be translated literally. So instead of it being a person, maybe it's supposed to describe a certain mindset, so that the line doesn't mean "Even stars wear skyscrapers as if they were a scientist" but actually something like "Even the stars above the skyscrapers decorate (the town/this place) with a cold mindlessness". Mainly because "scientist", in the context of the song, could mean that sort of thing. My understanding of Japanese grammar isn't very good, so all I can really do is guess and hope I didn't mess up any grammar (which I suspect I did), so maybe someone can help me with this.


     
  2. animelover Senior Member

    Eastern Germany
    Deutsch
    Um, doesn't the text itself tell us already 科学者 is not supposed to be taken literally?

    What remains to be answered is what the author associates with 科学者 (but that is unrelated to the language and its grammar), but in this context "cold" was my first thought as well.

    "(Even the) Stars adorn the skyscraper in a manner that is like the scientist's mindset."
     
  3. Flaminius

    Flaminius coclea mod

    capita Iaponiae
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    In the standard language, 着飾る is an intransitive verb. Dictionaries would give you example sentences such as 毛皮で着飾って、成人式に出る (dress oneself up with fur for the coming-of-age ceremony).

    I have just Googled for "を着飾る" and, to my surprise, found a few transitive uses such as:
    爪を着飾る
    iPhoneを着飾る
    自分を着飾る

    While they sound very odd to me but I can notice that these sentences use the verb in sense of "dress something up" or "decorate something."
     
  4. Murasaki B

    Murasaki B New Member

    German & English
    I've been asking around on different forums and was told by most people that the line doesn't make sense at all gramatically. I still can't help but think that "scientist" in this case is really just a metaphor. My Japanese is really not good enough though to decide whether that conclusion is right or not.

    After I searched around a while, I found this translation:

    "even the pieces of my crumbling heart are scattered and swept away
    the streets are not even a little rusty, they only glitter
    the stars adorn the skyscrapers with the scientists affection oh"

    The translation seems mostly accurate, but that last line is still weird. Should I give you a link to the full translation and the original lyrics? Maybe the song's meaning is more understandable then.
     
  5. Flaminius

    Flaminius coclea mod

    capita Iaponiae
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    If you can swallow the transitive use of 着飾る there is nothing wrong grammatically in this sentence. This, apparently, is troubling for a lot of people including yours sincerely.

    Xを気どる is acting like an X, while one is not an X. All that matters is what behaviour of stars is reminiscent of scientists. I gather from other parts of the lyrics you have shown us that it is the detachment of scientists with which the stars adorn the skyscrapers.
     
  6. Tonky Senior Member

    Japanese
    This group has their own special world, as they call their concerts as "Black Mass", they are supposed to be missionary from the Demon World, teaching "humans" the ways of Demons (larping, of course).
    "Scientist" and "Androids" are more like keywords here to imply what they see from the modern science and technology, at least to me, though. I would not remove it from translation, but it is up to you.

    I believe the writer has his own English lyrics for their "Black Mass" overseas, maybe it is a good idea that you check their website (they have English site too) and maybe ask them directly about it there if you are (or can pretend to be) their fan, although I am not at all sure if they would reply or not. I have heard that the writer/the vocalist is good at English as he spent his childhood in the States.
     
  7. Murasaki B

    Murasaki B New Member

    German & English

    I think I haven't mentioned this, but my Japanese is really very bad. I understand spoken Japanese well and know basic grammar, but I can't read Kanji at all. If I have questions about the grammar of a sentence, it's really because I have no idea. I have to trust other people's opinion and right now, I honestly don't know what to think about this line. I don't want to believe it's wrong either (what song writer would write a line that doesn't make sense?), but when four or five people tell me the line doesn't make sense, I can't help but wonder.



    On another forum, I was directed to a page with the full lyrics (the song is called "Stainless Night" by Seikima-II, in case anyone wants to look at the full lyrics) and there was a little text at the end talking about the song and perhaps its meaning, but I can't read it. Maybe someone could help me with that.

    "他人に合わせて生きるのは美しい
    自らの感情を抑える事は知的だ
    そうやって、社会に不要な歯車を次々と取り除き
    ピカピカに磨き上げられた巨大科学文明社会において"

    It's not the full text, just a few lines.

    I wouldn't remove the words "Scientist" or "Android" either. It would be easier that way, of course, but then that would ruin the lyrics, in my opinion. If I'm going to translate these lyrics, I want to do it right. Especially now that I'm understanding more and more of this song. I think it's a shame that I can't grasp the full meaning of this song yet because my Japanese is so bad.

    I found the lyrics of the English version of the song yesterday and I guess the English equivalent of the lines we're discussing would be this:

    "Rust is never seen but there's no vitality,
    Stars are jealously fading to black"

    The English version obviously wasn't translated directly. It's very different to the Japanese original, so I can't use that as help. And I think that even if I ask them directly, I won't get an answer. Maybe I could find a fan on their facebook fan page that would explain the song to me.
     
  8. Flaminius

    Flaminius coclea mod

    capita Iaponiae
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    Re 着飾る (kikazaru), you wrote:
    While there are instances on the 'Net how kikazaru is used intransitively (tsume-o, iPhone-o, jibun-o kikazaru; chīsana ko-o kōkana fuku-de kikazaru), it is still a colloquialism with limited usage.

    I warn every learner of the language that she should not use it herself. There is no black-and-white distinction as to when it is wrong to use them, but learners had better refrain from expressions that not everyone accepts. The way it is used in the lyric is not so great either. 科学者 (kagakusha; scientists) and 着飾る (kikazaru; dress someone up) do not so well come together as a metaphor as other metaphors in the lyrics do. You are having a trouble understanding the metaphor primarily because of the lyrics' bad Japanese, not your advertised bad Japanese.


    I shall not go in depth to analyze and translate each line that you quoted (the four-line rule, sorry) but Seikima-II (read sēkimatsu; end of the century) berates how the modern world alienates humanity with its large-scale use of technology and systematizing the society. Their criticism is addressed to intelligence, scientific technology, conformity and so on. As a form of art, making valid arguments for each target is not as important as creating a lurid image that all the above mentioned things comprise.
     
  9. Tonky Senior Member

    Japanese
    Oh, now I might know what it means... maybe I'm wrong and thinking too much, though.
    You know how scientists often wear these white gowns? Maybe, it is saying that stars look like they are wearing the skyscrapers like scientists gowns and they are hardly seen or recognized => "fading to black", no stars seen but skyscrapers and the lights of those buildings hide stars.

    Either way, it's probably better to get a confirmation from a fan, if not directly from them, I think.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2013
  10. Murasaki B

    Murasaki B New Member

    German & English
    Yeah, that's what I thought. At first, I didn't think the song would be this socially critical. I thought it took place in a fictional place. Now I'm glad I asked for other people's input.

    That's certainly an interesting interpretion. I definitely like this one the most and I don't think you're thinking too much. It makes the most sense out of every interpretion I've heard so far.

    I've asked two fans today and one of them couldn't explain any song of Seikima-II and the other gave a very vague interpretion of the song. He couldn't help me with this specific line either.
     

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