凡宵思案 || Thoughts from an Ordinary Night

凡宵思案
hanshou shian
Thoughts from an Ordinary Night

Vocals: 根音ネネ (Nene Nene), 滲音かこい (Nizimine Kakoi)
Lyrics: ある調味料 (Aru Choumiryou)
Composed by: ある調味料 (Aru Choumiryou)
Release Date: September 24, 2015

Requested by: Saryu
Watch the official video
here!

I’ve never encountered a track that posed as many conundrums as this one. I don’t mean that in a bad way – the lyrics are utterly fascinating. However, they act as a vehicle for a bunch of references to science.

The lyricist offers a phrase-by-phrase interpretation on their blog, which is what got me over the line this time. This translation still does not come close to conveying the artistry of the references. This song actually does need one or two translation notes per line (^_^); I can’t convey all of the explanatory notes, and to be honest the few that are here were chosen almost randomly.

Please let me know if there’s a particular line you’d like to hear more about and I’m happy to go back and translate the explanatory passage – I just can’t do it all in one go, unfortunately… Other references include Schrodinger’s Cat, Cartesian theatre, Laplace’s Demon, Paul Weiss’ Thought Experiment, and many many many more.

The lyricist sets the scene as follows: this song relates to a weird dream born from night tales. You get into bed and decide you’re going to fall asleep, and in that buoyant state, you ramble incoherently before you fall asleep…

(Since there’s two people singing, I assume that the above comment relates to two people having a sleepover, or something like that).

The title is translated as “A Brief Thought” on a Youtube video, but nothing in the title indicates that the thought is brief (unless this is an official translation). 凡宵 (hanshou) seems to be a combination of 凡 (ordinary/mediocre) and 宵 (evening). 思案 is a proper word that means ‘thought’.


それから 明日の話 幕は下ろし
夜具の中夢を見ては
ただ まだ ああだ こうだ
黙(もだ)々 思うだけ?
いまさら 僕の話? 書き屋降ろし
ラグも過多がたも来てさ
程々に 解く
夢は余程に揺らいだか?

sore kara asu no hanashi maku wa oroshi
yagu no naka yume o mite wa
tada mada aa da kou da
moda moda omou dake?
ima sara boku no hanashi? kakiya oroshi
ragu mo kata gata mo kite sa
hodo hodo ni hodoku
yume wa yohodo ni yuraida ka?

What happens next is a story for tomorrow. The curtains fell.
In my pyjamas, I was dreaming.
But, still, it’s like that, it’s like this.
Do you just anguish over it?
You’d like to talk about me, after so long? There’s a new writer.
Lag is in abundance. Seems like things will fall apart.
Undone in moderation,
Did my dream waver a lot?

ねえ 君もお越し 枕は無し
迂愚(うぐ)はまだ過去を見てる
諾々と 集(すだ)く
濁々 噛み砕き
それなら 背伸びをおし 急くのは無し
漁具はまた空を釣らばこそ

nee kimi mo o-koshi makura wa nashi
ugu wa mada kako o miteru
takudaku to sudaku
dakudaku kami kudaki
sore nara senobi o oshi seku no wa nashi
gyogu wa mata sora o tsuraba koso

Hey, you’re coming, too. We have no pillows.
The ignorant ones are still watching the past.
They gather obediently,
Munching noisily.
In that case, stretch yourself. There’s no rush.
It’s only because you’re casting your line into the void again.

めいめい共倒れ!
ああ さがなき稚(いとけな)い凝(こご)

mei mei tomodaore!
aa saga naki itokenai kogo

Everyone, fall together!
Ah… What a malicious, childish mental block.

ああ クオリア・ウォーリアー!
逆さまの様々(ようよう)
モノクロマリーのラボの周りで
繋ぐ手と 眩む目の向こう側
ラプラスは笑んで言葉を編んだの、

aa kuoria uooriaa!
sakasama no youyou
monokuro marii no rabo no mawari de
tsunagu te to kuramu me no mukougawa
rapurasu wa hohoende kotoba o anda no,

Ah, qualia warrior!
Various qualities are all reversed,
Surrounding monochrome Mary’s laboratory.
(1)
Linked hands and the back of dazzled eyes…
Laplace smiled and compiled words.

賢し子と 君のことを愛した
僕らと彼らの臍の緒を
さあ 「フーディエの夢は
もう見飽きた?」と
うろうろヒェロナの出口を見つけて

kashikoshi ko to kimi no koto o aishita
bokura to karera no heso no o o
saa “fuudie no yume wa
mou miakita?” to
uro uro hierona no deguchi o mitsukete

I loved the wise children and you,
And I cut the umbilical cord between us and them.
Now, “Have you seen enough
of the hudie’s dream?”
I discovered an exit used by the loitering cheló̱na.
(2)

――僕を忘れて。

…boku o wasurete.

…Forget about me.

そしたら 別の話 櫛の歯越し
檻の中天(あめ)を見ては
じめじめと 綴じ目
締め 占め 綴るだけ?
これから 泣くのは止し その日の由 
マグの波(は)に身を投じて
努々に 夢む
答は然程に遠いのか?

soshitara betsu no hanashi kushi no hagoshi
ori no naka ame o mite wa
jime jime to tojime
akirame urame tsudzuru dake?
kore kara naku no wa yoshi sono hi no yoshi
magu no ha ni mi o toujite
yume yume ni yumemu
kotae wa sahodo ni tooi no ka?

And then, that’s a different story, one beyond the comb’s teeth.
Within a cage, I looked at Heaven.
The swampman and the seams—
Do you just fasten them, hold them, then stitch them up?
From now on, I’ll stop crying because of that day.
I throw myself into magnesium waves.
I will certainly dream.
Is the answer not very far away?

ねえ 寄る辺も無し 夜も遅し
祝(ほ)ぐものは既に失せて
止処 歯止めなく
百々(どど)に繰り返して
いつから 接(つ)ぐ枝(え)は無し? 学者殺し
歯車は空に吊らばこそ

nee yorube mo nashi yoru mo ososi
hogu mono wa sude ni nakusete
tomedo hadome naku
dodo ni kurikaeshite
itsu kara tsugue wa nashi? gakusha koroshi
haguruma wa sora ni tsuraba koso

Hey, I have nowhere to go, and it’s late at night.
The ones who pray have already vanished.
With no end or restraint,
It continues, drawing close and growing distant.
For how long has there been no connecting branch? Kill the scholar.
If the gears hang from the sky…

せいぜい枝(し)を手折れ!
ああ 故なき居丈の竃馬(いとど)

seizei shi o teore!
aa yue naki itake no itodo

Break that thin branch with your bare hands, as much as you can!
Ah… That reasonless cave cricket, so tall when it’s seated.

うたた寝を 夢見鳥に変じた
僕もまた君に変わりなく

utatane o yumemichou ni enjita
boku mo mata kimi ni kawari naku

My dozing transformed into a butterfly.
Once again, I remain as you, without change.

ああ ライアー・モンティー!
気紛れの様相
タイプライターに罪は無いのさ
一枚の 板きれを掴んだ
僕はまた君を手にかけたのか

aa raiaa montii!
kimagure no yousou
taipuraitaa ni tsumi wa nai no sa
ichimai no itakire o tsukanda
boku wa mata kimi o te ni kaketa no ka

Ah… Liar Monty!
You are capricious
yet the typewriter is innocent!
I clung to a scrap of wood.
Did I kill you again?

ねえ 「バベルの本は
まだ居ないの?」と
昨日街で見た少女は問うてさ
知らぬこと 知れぬことを解した
僕の枝(し)はいつか君に満ち

nee “baberu no hon wa
mada inai no?” to
kinou machi de mita shoujo wa tou te sa
shiranu koto shirenu koto o hodoshita
boku no shi wa itsuka kimi ni michi

Listen—“Babel’s book
still isn’t here, is it?”
That’s what the girl I saw in the street asked yesterday.
I understood something I didn’t know—something unknown to all.
My branch will eventually grow full inside you.
(3)

さあ テーター・エルヴィン!
生真面目な動揺
開かない箱には鳴かない猫を
いつの間に 僕のことを貫いた
彼の死は僕をすこしだけ壊した。

saa teetaa eruvin!
kimajime na douyou
akanai hako ni wa nakanai neko o
itsu no ma ni boku no koto o tsuranuita
kare no shi wa boku o sukoshi dake kowashita.

Now, täter Erwin! (4)
Feel honest agitation.
Place a cat that won’t meow inside a box that won’t open.
Before I knew it, it pierced through me.
His death broke me, just a little.

そう 「三十日の僕は
僕であるか?」と
舵を壊したテセウスを通じて

sou “misoka no boku wa
boku de aru ka?” to
kaji o kowashita teseusu o tsuujite

Yes—“Am I, on the last day of the month,
Really me?”
That question was posed through Theseus’ broken rudder.

――君を求めて。

…kimi o motomete.

…I want you.


(1) This is a reference to マリーの部屋 (marii no heya – Mary’s Room), a thought experiment related to mental states and perceptions of reality.
(2) The two foreign words used here (hudie and cheló̱na) mean butterfly and turtle in Chinese and Greek, respectively.
(3) This line is a reference to the teletransportation paradox, which is a thought experiment on the philosophy of identity. It was made popular by Derek Parfit.
(4) テーター (teetaa, täter) is German for culprit. Erwin is Erwin Rudolf Josef Alexander Schrödinger.

4 thoughts on “凡宵思案 || Thoughts from an Ordinary Night

  1. Saryu April 25, 2019 / 6:56 am

    Wow, the song was so difficult the auhtor had to give an explanation longer than the song itself… Do yout think you could translate more of it as a side-project? I understand you’re already pretty busy, but I’d be glad to see it even if it took a year.

    Short-term, I’d like to ask about a few specific parts:
    1) “You’re casting a line in the sky again” (Kinda makes me think of the Dreamworks logo, but it doesn’t really fit the science theme)
    2) “(…) yet the typewriter is innocent!”
    3) “The swampman and the seams”
    4) Branches are mentioned three times. Are they all about the teleportation paradox? I noticed it always uses the same kanji, but it’s pronounced differently in one instance.

    What sort of ‘conundrums’ did you have? I mean, other than the compressed grammar (I barely know Japanese and I can still tell it’d be a pain to translate this into a language that doesn’t let you drop half the sentence at will) and the references in literally every line, and the random foreign words… Really, thanks for all the effort ^^ I’m glad you sorta-enjoyed translating it, it seems like it could have gotten very frustating very fast.

    Liked by 1 person

    • releska April 25, 2019 / 8:40 pm

      Thank you for your comment! I went back to the lyricist’s analysis to answer your questions, but I supplemented it with my own research too.

      1) “You’re casting a line in the sky again” (Kinda makes me think of the Dreamworks logo, but it doesn’t really fit the science theme)

      漁具はまた空を釣らばこそ

      This is a reference to Śūnyatā, or the idea that “all things are empty of intrinsic existence and nature.” You’re not catching any fish, but you keep casting your line out in vain.
      I initially interpreted 空 as ‘sky’, but 空 also means ‘emptiness’, and I think that’s what the lyricist was going for when they wrote that word. I’ll make a slight change to clarify that line.

      2) “(…) yet the typewriter is innocent!”

      This is linked to the infinite monkey theorem. In other words, a monkey typing away at a keyboard for an infinite amount of time will eventually produce any given text, such as Shakespeare’s works.
      The lyricist’s explanation is シェイクスピアができるのは完全に運命の気紛れですし、タイプライターにも、それをたたく猿にも責任はありません。or, “Shakespeare is purely written as a result of fate’s whim. The typewriter and the monkey typing away at it have no responsibility for the outcome.”

      3) “The swampman and the seams”

      じめじめ (damp/sodden/wet and clammy), through the way it sounds, is connected to Swampman. Swampman is a philosophical thought experiment by Donald Davidson. A man dies from a bolt of lightning in a swamp, but molecules are rearranged nearby so they take on exactly the same form as the man before he died. The question is whether or not there is a difference between the two men. (The lyricist doesn’t explain it using these exact words, but that’s the gist of the thought experiment)

      綴じ目 is related to the Grue paradox. The lyricist’s explanation is similar to the one provided at this site (http://people.loyno.edu/~folse/grue.html). In short, a grue object is something that was green before an arbitrary date in the future, but blue afterwards. This also applies to all things seen after that date too (so if you see something blue after the transition period, it is grue). The ‘seam’ is the point at which a grue object changes from green to blue.

      4) Branches are mentioned three times. Are they all about the teleportation paradox? I noticed it always uses the same kanji, but it’s pronounced differently in one instance.
      The first branch reference is the following:
      -An umbilical cord
      -The connection between people in the China brain thought experiment
      -The cord linking you to Thomson’s ‘violinist’
      -The cord linking everyone together through 6 degrees of separation
      -Parallel worlds

      The second branch is the world line from a time paradox. Once it’s broken, you can’t go back.

      The third branch is from Parfit’s Puzzle, or the Teletransportation paradox. A person enters a teletransporter on Mars, their body is destroyed, and they are completely reassembled on Mars. Later, it becomes possible to transfer people without their bodies being harmed. However, one person develops a fatal heart condition back on Earth, while their clone is safely on Mars. Their clone promises to continue on living even after the death (死, shi, pronounced the same as 枝 [shi – branch]).

      There’s also another branch hidden in the sentence いつの間に 僕のことを貫いた. The thing that pierces ‘me’ is ‘your’ branch (枝).

      The biggest conundrum was working out whether to translate things literally or to translate the nuance between it. You can see it with the swampman – I could have gone with the literal translation or the translation of the onomatopoeia.

      Anyway, I’ve copied the analysis to a separate word document for posterity, and I will get to work on it. It will take me ages, but I’m sure it will be worth it. These references might appear elsewhere eventually…

      Like

  2. Tempera April 26, 2019 / 7:53 am

    This is a really complicated and confusing song and just as weird as dreams can be. It seems like the lyricist wanted to name drop or reference as much philosophy as possible! Thank you, Saryu, for requesting it and thank you, Releska, for your hard work in in translating!

    I’m not familiar with most of the referenced concepts, but here’s what I think I recognized as well as things I have questions about. I also linked some respective Wikipedia articles.
    1. “Now, ‘Have you seen enough of the hudie’s dream?’” and “My dozing transformed into a butterfly.”
    I believe the hudie/butterfly is a reference to the Zhuangzi’s butterfly dream.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhuangzi_(book)#%22The_Butterfly_Dream%22)

    2. “I discovered an exit used by the loitering cheló̱na”
    I think the chelona is probably related to “turtles all the way down.” Not sure if this counts as a thought experiment.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turtles_all_the_way_down

    3. “That question was posed through Theseus’ broken rudder.”
    Very obvious reference to the ship of Theseus.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ship_of_Theseus

    4. “Ah… Liar Monty!”
    Not sure what this is in reference to?

    5. “Listen—’Bavel’s book still isn’t here, is it?’”
    Not sure what this is either.

    Also, indirectly related to the grue paradox you mentioned above, here’s a neat video in regards to the language of color. There are English captions available. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMqZR3pqMjg

    Liked by 1 person

    • releska April 27, 2019 / 7:50 pm

      Thank you for your comment! It took me quite a while, and I think this translation will evolve more once I’m able to translate the lyricist’s comments, but it’s a first step. In relation to your comments:

      1. You’re spot on there. Both are references to the butterfly dream.
      2. The lyricist links this to Achilles and the Tortoise, or Zeno’s paradox. In this case, the ‘exit’ links to the failure of this paradox.
      3. That’s right – the lyricist links that to the ship of Theseus. They also link it to Swampman and Parfit’s puzzle, but offer no explanatory notes as to why.
      4. Liar Monty is a reference to the Monty Hall Problem.
      5. I originally thought this was linked to ‘Bavel’s Book’ (a Japanese animated film), but it turns out it’s actually linked to 『完全な図書館』, or『バベルの図書館』. The first is linked to the Infinite Monkey Theorem and is known as “The Total Library”. The second is a short story called “The Library of Babel” (or La biblioteca de Babel). The lyricist specifically rules out any connection to the Tower of Babel.

      I hope that helps clear some more parts up, and thanks for the video link too! (^_^)

      Like

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