Writer’s craft and penmanship – in Bakin’s case

Bakin is a marvelous writer. I must admit I didn’t realize the full  length of this fact until I got down to translating his work.

Someone said in my Facebook Page his Hakkenden story was deemed one of the top novels in the world by Lord Chamberlain, or something to that effect. I reserved my opinions at the time. Now I’m in awe.

In this coming installment, Tamazusa says something very curious.

“Indeed I’m sinned I presume.” Continue reading

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Felicitating Fifty Followers

Although it may seem a small step to those famous and successful blogs with thousands of followers, reaching 50 followers last week was a big feat for me! So, a big thank you to all of you and anyone else passing by. \(^O^)/

Recently I’ve been to a Yabusame (Japanese horseback archery) competition, which was nothing short of amazing, and I’d like to talk about it in a bit, but this is something else I hope you’ll also find amusing. Continue reading

Episode 6 upload plans

Even though I’m almost obsessed with the Samurai Hounds story and think about it every single day, I’ve totally forgotten about the monthly installment date until just this morning when I realized I’d missed the 1st of October. It happens to everyone; you think September will last forever until October knocks on your door.

…OK I exaggerated. It happens to me but probably not to more decent and capable individuals out there. I don’t know.

Anyhow, it’s already the 3rd, not just a day behind but two. What do I do now?

 

The thing is this coming episode is very short and almost looks like just a roundup of the battle well-fought, only it isn’t. Just like when you pick up an unassuming looking rich tea biscuit and it blows away your taste buds. That happens to you too doesn’t it?

Without spoiling anything, let me tell you this much: This episode includes a key event which leads to a whole new development. Naturally I want to treat it nice.

So there’s two choices for me – post in a few days the first half of the episode which I’ve more or less finished and stick to the schedule, well, more or less, or skip a month and post the whole episode for you to enjoy it in one go. I’m more inclined to do the former, but if you have any request I’d be curious to hear it.

 

貞操婦女八賢誌 口絵第一図

An interesting re-interpretation of Bakin’s story in which 8 female warriors fight in place of our male counterparts.  Fumikura.net by Takagi Gen introduces the whole story in Japanese.

I watched Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable

 

I know it’s supposed to be cool to criticize a film made out of your favourite book, manga or novel, and some fans are totally against it, but this one was actually good! I also like Transformers and remember how the first in the series was almost p*ked on when it came out but I was like why not? If you expected Wuthering Heights you simply came to the wrong cinema. It’s just kids’ entertainment where you’re allowed to be a kid again so enjoy it while you can, wherever and however.

Anyhow, the film. Continue reading

What to see and do in Japan – Iwami Kagura

Thanks to Iwami Tourism Promotion Committee‘s kind permission, Episode 5-4 was accompanied by an attractive video clip of Kagura performance, dipicting the warriors’ guardian god Hachiman fighting a demon.  I’ve written a bit about Kagura on the official FB page some time ago but let me expand it here. It’s a form of performing arts worth checking out whilst in Japan.

Unlike Kabuki or Noh theatre however, its uniqueness lies in the fact that there’s no professional performers involved in it. Whether they’re dancers, actors, musicians, or comics, they all make living elsewhere during the daytime and train and perform in their spare time.

Longer and fuller version of the clip I shared on my FB page Continue reading

A note just before the next update

It’s probably the same with any translation but the majority of the time I spend translating I’m trying to make sense of the original text. Sometimes it’s easy and I translate as I read. Often times I spend hours trying to decipher a single word. ‘Shichiku‘ was one such example

Not divulging too much, in the next episode a certain someone receives a sword wound in the area between ‘katasaki‘ – the part where the neck meets the shoulder – and somewhere around ‘shichiku‘. It’s written as ‘七九’, numbers seven and nine.

Now what the heck is shichiku?! Continue reading

Wait just a moment!

I’m a bit behind the schedule but will be updating soon. I wanted for the time being to post a link to a cool samurai story that I like instead but couldn’t find it. It’s one written by Lafcadio Hearn, an Irish-born writer who married into a samurai family (lucky fella). His works have run out of copyright if my memory serves me right, so I hoped to find it on the Internet. It’s a great story so if I ever find it I’ll introduce it to you.

For now let me just jot down something weird I noticed while translating today. Every time Iwakuma Donpei speaks, it’s always in an Australian accent with that hint of guttural estuary though sounding somewhat milder. Don’t ask me why. I love accents – all kinds of accents, and I love it when Aussies say ‘joeys (baby kangaroos)’.  Try this in Donpei’s Australian accent:

“On that cloudy morning in Ochiba-ga-oka where it was chilly despite the summer, it was not the skylark being hunted by a hawk that fell, but the skylark-coloured horse Mitsuhiro was riding.”

See you in a bit!

The Semantix

When I’m translating I constantly get trapped by the surface features of the text instead of digging out the semantic context and trying to materialize it.

Here I’m using the phrase ‘surface features’ not in a technical Chomsky way but  things you (or maybe just me) tend to notice or that can be derived from texts readily, such as styles, pronunciations, word choices, and even grammatical roles of words and phrases.

Onomatopoeia is a good example. In English words like ‘ding dong’, ‘thud’, ‘beep’, or ‘click’ would come to mind. To pick a couple of examples from Hakkenden there’s ‘kitt to miru (look in a ‘kitt’ way, i.e., sharply)’ or ‘konata yori hishihishi to (in a ‘hishihishi’ way from over here, i.e., bustling in numbers from over here)’.

As you can see from the English examples these words (called onomatopes) usually originate in sound a certain subject makes, but in Japanese there are even cases when they derive from general feel you get from movements or states of a subject, as you can see in the above Hakkenden examples. English has no vocabulary to accurately describe this kind of ‘onomatopoeia’, and its frequent use is one of the things people notice about Japanese. As expected, you’d find plenty more in Hakkenden too. So how do you translate them?

 

The Semantrix, to be released in cinemas near you this summer, not.

Continue reading

Will a writers’ conference be a good idea?

Dear Agony Aunt or Ancle, no, Uncle,

Have you ever participated a writers’ conference?

I’ve been entertaining the idea of doing so for some time and I’m hopeful that finally I probably can some time this year or next. However, I have no idea which one would be the best fit in helping me publish the work (OK, it has already been published here but I mean to make it into a book form).

Would anyone be able to help me with ideas or suggestions as to which conference I should go to, or how I should be choosing?

 

The well in Bakin’s home as photographed in modern days. The source: a Wikipeadia page

 

From what I’ve gathered so far, Continue reading

The Greatest Opening of an Exciting Adventure Story

Every time someone starts reading from Episode 1 it always gives me a lot of pleasure and pain at the same time. It’s because I tell myself to rewrite the beginning part of it.

This is my humble opinion but I’m yet to be convinced that Bakin did justice to his own masterpiece by how he opened up Episode 1  – quite frankly, it’s not the most enticing opening I’ve ever read, nothing less than which the story deserves. Actually it’s probably not his fault. At least not entirely. Continue reading

Bangetu-tei the artist duo

Maybe quite a few of you have experienced this. Here at the Legend of the Eight Samurai Hounds too, as the blog expanded some contents were starting to sneak into places where they shouldn’t and as a result it became difficult to find what you wanted, so I’ve refreshed the menu.

One of the changes that made me really happy is that the acknowledgement section, which used to be a small potion of a page called ‘Notes’, has a page for itself under the ‘About’ tab. This way it shows a lot more appreciation to those who deserve. Besides, as the work progresses more people have helped me along the way and naturally there are more people to whom I want to express my gratitude.

The latest addition to the acknowledgements is Bangetu-tei who created the music in the clip displayed in Episode 5-2. The song’s called ‘Yoshitsune Senbon-zakura (Yoshitsune the Thousand Tree Cherry Blossoms)’ which comes from a Kabuki play. Minamoto no Yoshitsune is a twelfth-century warrior and  a famous Gen-ji, but more than anything else he’s one of Japan’s most favoured tragic heroes. Continue reading

Recently, I’ve begun to wonder

whether the title of this story should be ‘The Legends (plural) of the Eight Samurai Hounds’ rather than the singular ‘Legend’. As I proceed with translations there is a definite feel that the story really is a composition of numerous legends.

The original title:  南總里見八犬伝

*The kanji for 總 (soh) is often and usually replaced by the modern version: 総

Even back in the summer of 2015 when I was contemplating on a suitable title for the blog, I wasn’t totally sure of it. I dug up my notes: Continue reading

Update notice

This month I’m planning to update mid-month as there has been a long period of no posts. My life’s relatively stable now or so I hope, after a year’s work towards attaining it, and this should allow me to update more regularly at least during the rest of year 2017. Will this strike you as boring or make you feel a kinship but I like routines, and  it feels so good to be able to go through the same procedures every day. Psychologists seem to think making choices is one of the greatest causes of stress, and I guess that’s one of the reasons I like routines, although they’ve also found that stress alone doesn’t make you ill unless you believe stress is bad for you. Anyway, about the life of routine, more relevantly, it will let me write more.

Writing a note for the upcoming episode Continue reading

Thank you and the best wishes for the coming year!

This year has been busier yet than the one before. While I admit I regret not having been able to update as regularly as before, I am filled with hopes that it will come gradually to that I will be able to in the coming year. I have been working and will continue to work to make that happen. My determination hasn’t waned a bit.

Continue reading

Notice

Finally, updated the menu to improve the ease of navigation. Should be able to reach each post in chronological order from Episode 1 using the dropdown menu at the top.  The navigation page has also been renewed and is linked to all the episodes posted so far. If you find anything missing or out of place tell me either in the comment or by emailing me at livingdaylightzz(a)gmail.com (replace (a) with @). Thanks!

Notice

So sorry to keep you waiting! Just a few more days till I can post the next part. Some of the descriptions of the armour and weaponry took me aeons. It was tremendously interesting and enjoyable to learn though, and I’m hoping it’s helped me make the story more exciting. Did you know that samurai on campaign carried most of his supplies? That includes rations, clothing, glooming kit and bedding on top of all the weapons.

On another note, when I read Bakin’s descriptions of Yoshizane, I often get the feeling that he may be Bakin’s ideal samurai and son, who he ended up losing to illness.

Regrettably notice is becoming a regular feature of this blog now, though every month I’m hopeful maybe this time I can catch the deadline. Such an optimist I am, and I still hope that the next post will be worth your wait and be entertaining enough for you.

Finally, as always, thank you all so much for your patience and support!

Notice

(>_<) So it’s going to be late again this month… with much regret. I’m hoping to post it this weekend. Here’s a sneak preview,

 

Episode V

Good captain declines intrigues and enlistees learn benevolence

Carrier pigeons deliver a message and the traitors offer a head

 

The emissary Yamashita Sakuza’emon-no-Joe Sadakane had sent to Maro and Anzai was now back to Takita.

“Those fellows didn’t explicitly say they would capitulate but were terribly intimidateted. There is no doubt that before long both of them will pay a visit by themselves to repent his sins and be your highness’s subject. Their poor state was such and such, this way and that way.”

 

Cheerio till then.

 

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