花ノ天使 || The Angel of Flowers

tsutae三番目物「花ノ天使」
sanbanme-mono “hana no tenshi”
The Third Play: The Angel of Flowers

Vocals: Meramipop (めらみぽっぷ)
Lyrics: RD-Sounds
Arranged by: RD-Sounds
Album: Tsutae (伝) 【Official Site】
Circle: Diao ye zong (凋叶棕)
Event: C91
Original Theme: Catastrophe in Bhava-agra ~ Wonderful Heaven [有頂天変 ~ Wonderful Heaven]

英訳だけです。申し訳ありません。

The third play in a traditional Noh performance focuses on refined music, flowing movements, and femininity. This track fits into that mold quite well – the speaker recounts a past experience, in which they encountered Tenshi, an angel. The way in which they refer to the angel is not consistent. Sometimes they refer to them as ‘you,’ conveying a sense of intimacy, whereas they also speak from a position of distance at other points.

Interestingly, Tenshi’s name (天子), is pronounced the same as the word for Angel (天使 – ‘tenshi’). So, anytime you see the word ‘angel,’ you can imagine that the speaker is also saying Tenshi’s name.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

She makes the scent of flowers waft through the air
Faintly, from somewhere.

A figure peers up at the sky—
It is you, known as an angel.

She raises her hands to the sky, with the trees at her back,
As if seeking to make the cherry blossoms bloom.

She is stubborn, selfish…
She is quite tomboyish for an angel.

We simply cannot dance together. The angel just smiles.

—A heavenly breeze.

It was like an illusion.
The flowers quietly bloomed somewhere in the sky.

—At the edge of the clouds.

Did the angel arrive
Together with the flowers
From somewhere far away?

She sings an unfamiliar melody,
Though it is hard to tell where it is coming from.

A figure gazes up at the sky—
It is you, who I referred to as an angel.

Though I knew everything,
All of it was in vain.

She is stubborn, selfish…
She is quite careless for an angel.

We simply cannot sing together, though I would be satisfied if the angel just smiled.
“How boring. I prefer useful things over flowers.” Her eyes are singing.

—A heavenly breeze.

Is this an illusion?
I saw that figure, yet I question my eyes.

—At the edge of the clouds.

The angel arrived
Together with the flowers
From somewhere far away.

But someday, the angel
Will fly back up into the sky.
And then…
Perhaps she will bloom once more beneath a sky unknown to her.
A sky unknown to all.

—A heavenly breeze.

If this is truly an illusion,
Then it seems I will be unable to bid farewell to the angel as she flies away.

—At the edge of the clouds.

I want to hold that figure,
Seen in a distant sky,
Inside my heart

For just a little longer…

8 comments

  1. I’m really sorry to comment on something that is 4 years old, and maybe you won’t even see this, but I am genuinely confused by some of your choices of translation.

    For instance, the two lines “どこまでも気ままに” and “どこまでも勝手に” that you both translated by “She is stubborn, selfish…”; I guess you just ignored the “どこまでも” to focus on what the lines were supposed to convey, that Tenshi does thing however she wants and therefore is stubborn and selfish? Is that what it is?
    I mean, It is a valid choice to make, but if I’m not mistaken these sentences would be translated more literally by “Going wherever she wants”, and translating a description of action into a judgement of character is a really non-obvious decision, so I’m really confused if this is what you did or if I’m missing something.

    Another thing is the set of lines “遥か遠くから ; 花と一緒に ; やってきた天使か ” that you translated into “Did the angel arrive ; Together with the flowers ; From somewhere far away?”.
    I totally get that the grammatical structure of japanese and english are really different and that restructuring the sentences is often an necessity, but it also seems clear to me that you translated that part line by line with each line being somewhat independent and restructured the whole thing afterward. Did ” From somewhere far away ; Together with the flowers ; Did the angel arrive?” feel that weird to you ? I personally feel like it is totally within the scope of grammatical liberty one can take when writing a song, but I also get that it can feel somewhat weird and that one wan feel the need to change the order of the lines around; but then why keeping the middle line in the middle, and not translating this part into “Did the angel arrive ; From somewhere far away ; Together with the flowers?” which feels way more like a standard english sentences to me?
    I’m not not a native english speaker, so am I missing something there too? Am I wrong about the usual order of things in an english sentence? I’d really like to know why you choose to put the lines in that order.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment, and don’t worry – it got caught in my spam filter but I rescued it and have considered what you wrote. It’s never too early or too late to question things so we come closer to the best possible reading of the text…! Regarding the points you raised:

      1) どこまでも気ままに
      どこまでも勝手に

      In this case I would have interpreted ‘どこまでも’ as emphasising the adjective that comes after (as we see in other usages such as ‘どこまでも素晴らしい’).

      This usage abandons the link to distance we see in something like どこまでも続く海. I’m not sure why I left it the same for both instances – perhaps I could have gone with ‘She is utterly stubborn’ and ‘She is utterly selfish’ to more clearly distinguish between the two.

      2) 遥か遠くから / 花と一緒に / やってきた天使か

      Unfortunately, I don’t remember why I chose that particular phrasing. Looking at how I treated it later in the song, I suspect I did it to keep the emphasis on the angel and make an easier comparison between the two.

      In terms of the proposed changes, I feel that the one with ‘Did the angel arrive?’ at the end puts the emphasis on whether the angel arrived, and the one with ‘together with the flowers?’ puts the emphasis on whether they arrived with flowers.

      I think the key question in the original is whether it’s an angel who arrived (first section) and confirming that it’s an angel (second section). I’ve come to that conclusion because 天使か and 天使は are at the end of the phrases, which (from my experience) is generally a sign that that’s the important part.

      When we look at it from this perspective, it’s a question of what we want to emphasise in the lyrics – and I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer. I probably would make some refinements if I looked at this again to clarify that a bit more. Maybe I would go with “Was it an angel who arrived” instead…

      I hope that sheds a bit more light on some of the phrasing, and please feel free to comment with any further questions!

      Like

      1. Thank you very much for answering my questions! And sorry if I sounded harsh, I realize now that I was not the most tactful while writing my comment.

        So, if I understand your first point correctly, the “どこまでも” should be taken as something like “No matter where/what”, which only serve as an emphasis for what follows; this is something I absolutely failed to consider ands makes perfect sense, so thank you for explaining!
        However, what I am still missing then is how you derived “stubborn/selfish” from “気ままに” and “勝手に”. I am only relying on jisho here, but it seems to me that these sentence carry a meaning closer to “at one’s fancy, as one pleases, willfully” which is far softer than the somewhat harsh “stubborn” and “selfish”.
        Taking that into consideration, even after discarding the space/distance meaning from “どこまでも” and using it purely as emphasis, I’d still be personally more inclined to translate to something like “She’s always doing whatever she wants…”
        Am I missing something, “気ままに” and “勝手に” in this context really being euphemism for some harsher opinion? Did you consider the soft initial meaning and change it into something harsher after taking the “どこまでも” emphasis into account?
        I guess what I’m at getting at is that it seems to me you translated something soft into something intense, while that even stripped of the connotation of distance “どこまでも” still seems to me like an emphasis on frequency rather than intensity, so I’m still confused, but maybe it’s just my lack of understanding showing.

        Regarding your second point, now that you put it into words like that I realize that’s exactly what was troubling me; I may be mistaken but I feel like “the thing at the end of the sentence is the important thing/the thing that is being emphasized” is a rule of thumbs that is true in most if not all languages. So “やってきた天使か” being at end of the sentence but putting “Did the angel arrive” felt like trading emphasis for grammatical correctness, which I would have no (or at least less) trouble with in another context like book translation, but feel kinda wrong in the context of songs where emphasis is really important. (Though as you say it can be a perfectly valid choice to alter emphasis somewhat, there is no answer that is always right or wrong.)
        But since you say that you probably did it to keep the emphasis on the angel in the first place, it must be just me and my personals bias not seeing how it does so.

        And I may be misreading the rest of your wondering, but I actually don’t think there is an ambiguity regarding whether the nature of the thing that’s arriving is an angel, since there is already two direct reference to an angel earlier in the song, so the narrator shouldn’t have any doubts left.
        In this case, I think that your original translation of “Did the angel arrive?” is most certainly correct.

        Once again, thank you very much for your understanding and taking the time to answer my questions!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thanks for your response! I’m glad my wall of text helped out (^_^)

          Going a bit deeper into what you brought up…

          1) I think the use of どこまでも to emphasise the two adjectives is one reason behind why I went with ‘stubborn’ and ‘selfish’ rather than ‘wilful’ or ‘doing whatever she wants’. Overall, though, my choice is because those two words are what I would use to describe “気まま” and “勝手”

          I refer to Japanese-language resources wherever possible too to dig a little deeper into what words mean and how they’re used. For example, you’ve got the below free definition of 気ままに [https://dictionary.goo.ne.jp/word/%E6%B0%97%E5%84%98/]. The second one defines it as わがままに振る舞うこと。, which basically means behaving わがまま (not letting things go and being a nuisance to others when you don’t get your way).

          I think this definition is covered by the English words ‘stubborn’ and ‘selfish.’ Because of this, I didn’t consider it in terms of softer or harsher meanings. The cool thing about it is that a different translator would read the same sentence and, due to their different life experiences, choose a different word to describe it! Languages are so great…!

          2) I agree there’s not much doubt that it’s an angel. The か at the end normally signals a question, which is why I thought it was in doubt for the first one.

          Maybe because the angel is so stubborn and selfish the speaker is wondering if she actually is one…?

          Anyway, thanks again for your interest…!

          Like

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