Song Translation: Circus – Hump Back

First time trying transcribing kanji lyrics by-ear.

Be gentle :3

– –

グラウンドに落ちていたパズルと
(guraundo ni ochiteita pazuru to)

[ A puzzle that was falling on the ground, and ]

 

今にも消えそうな太陽と
(imanimo kiesou na taiyou to)
[ A sun that even now seems about to disappear, and ]

 

落書き帳いっぱいの青色
(rakugaki-chou ippai no aoi-iro)
[ A sketchbook filled with the color blue ]

 

帰り道の公園さびたブランコ
(kaerimichi no kouen sabita buranko)
[ A rusty swingset in the park on the way home ]

 

伸びる影追いかけてどこまで
(nobiru kage oikakete dokomade)
[ A shadow stretches out chasing me wherever I go ]

 

追いつけやしないよと笑って
(oitsukeyashinaiyoto waratte)
[ Unable to catch up, it laughs ]

 

抜け出した白い手はさらって
(nukedashita shiroi te wa saratte)
[ A white hand comes out and swipes ]

 

灰色のマフラーきりとった
(hai-iro no mafuraa kiritotta)
[ Ripping apart my ashen scarf ]

 

もうすぐつくからこのままいっそ
(mou-sugu tsukukara kono mama isso)
[ It’s coming any second now. At this rate — ]

 

連れ去ってくれないか
(tsuresattekurenaika)
[ I wonder, won’t you take me away? ]

 

終わりの見えない夜にいつも
(owari no mienai yoru ni itsumo)
[ On a night with no end in sight, ]

 

僕たちはくだらない小さな嘘に踊らされてるんだ
(bokutachi wa kudaranai chiisana uso ni odorasareterunda)
[ We dance like puppets to petty lies ]

どこでも行けると信じた夜に
(dokodemo yukeru to shinjita yoru ni)
[ Belieiving in wherever you choose to go in the night ]

 

僕たちは泡色の車に乗って空を泳ぐクジラに願うんだ
(bokutachi wa awa-iro no kuruma ni notte sora wo oyogu kujira ni negaunda)
[ Riding in a foam-colored car — praying to a whale that swam in the sky ]

 

国道24号線 歩道橋
(kokudou 24-gousen hodoukyou)
[ Highway 24, Footbridge ]

 

100円 コーヒーと
(hyaku-en koohii to)
[ A 100-yen coffee and ]

 

朝焼け待つ君の横顔と
(asayake matsu kimi no yokogao to)
[ Your profile as you wait for the light of day, and ]

 

言葉を待つ僕を照らす月
(kotoba wo matsu boku wo terasu tsuki)
[ moonlight shining down on me as I wait for words ]

 

もうすぐつくから繋いでたいの
(mou-sugu tsukukara tsunaidetai no)
[ It’s coming any second now. I want to be connected, yet — ]

 

わざとだったかもな
(wazatodattakamona)
[ I suppose this is by design ]

 

終わりの見えない夜にいつも
(owari no mienai yoru ni itsumo)
[ On a night with no end in sight, ]

 

僕たちはくだらない小さな嘘に踊らされてるんだ
(bokutachi wa kudaranai chiisana uso ni odorasareterunda)
[ We dance like puppets to petty lies ]

 

どこでも行けると信じた夜に

(dokodemo yukeru to shinjita yoru ni)
[ Believing in wherever you choose to go in the night ]

 

僕たちは泡色の車に乗って空を泳ぐクジラに願うんだ
(bokutachi wa awa-iro no kuruma ni notte sora wo oyogu kujira ni negaunda)
[ Riding in a foam-colored car — praying to a whale that swam in the sky ]

 

夢が冷めるまではきっと 終わらない夜を願うんだ
yume ga sameru made wa kitto owaranai yori wo negaunda)
[ Until this dream ends surely — I pray for an undending night ]

– –

サーカス (saakasu lit. “circus”) is a song by rising indie three-piece Hump Back. It was featured in their second limited release single 帰り道 (kaerimichi lit. “way home”) back in 2015, and will (at the time that I’m writing this) be coming back as the third track in their second mini-album hanamuke.

If there’s one thing that you can call a recurring theme in Hump Back’s songs, it’s dreams. One might say it’s not all that uncommon to sing about dreams and dreaming, but as you might be able to infer from ぎんのうた (gin no uta) for example, “meeting in dreams” is somewhat of a mainstay for Hump Back as far as lyrics are concerned.

For “Circus” in particular, it paints a fantastical adventure through an otherworldly unending night with someone as they try to get away from an endlessly stretching shadow that is trying to grab a hold of them; being made to dance like puppets to its petty lies. So they drive away in a foam-colored car, saying their prayers to a whale swimming in the sky. … I know, weird. But we see that the two make a stop for coffee at a footbridge near Highway 24. The person driving the persona to which the song belongs to is awaiting dawn, whilst “she” awaits something else in obvious disconnect.  She wants to be connected this “someone”, so they drive away into the night furthermore — so long as the night never ends, their escape can last forever. So she prays for an unending night together in dreamscape.

Now, I don’t exactly know what “Circus” has to do with the song (lol), but I take as it being just simply a wild and crazy night akin to a circus. Lest there’s a “Night Circus” reference I’m missing here xD

Unlike my previous song translations, I couldn’t for the life of me find the official kanji lyrics for this, so I tried picking the lines up by ear myself (which I’ll probably never do again any time soon because lol that was really hard). So these might not entirely be 100% accurate (I mean, when are they really), but hey, if you’re a Hump Back fan, then it’s something at least 😀 Or, if I’ve made you a fan through this TL, then I’ve done my job, as part of why I do these (other than practicing my JP) is to spread some hype for these vastly underheard bands/artists.

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6 thoughts on “Song Translation: Circus – Hump Back

  1. Nice translation!

    I have a few comments if you don’t mind to help revise things.

    My translations are not intended to be perfect, just to steer you in the right direction.

    ===

    グラウンドに落ちていたパズルと
    A puzzle that had fallen on the ground

    伸びる影追いかけてどこまで
    Chasing shadows wherever we go
    (Not too sure about this one, but the speaker chasing shadows seems more logical than shadows chasing something else)

    追いつけやしないよと笑って
    ‘You’ll never catch me’, it laughs
    (Not sure about the ‘it’ part here, could be ‘he’ or ‘she’ depending on your interpretation)

    もうすぐつくからこのままいっそ
    We’ll be there soon so just hold out…
    (Not too sure about this one, especially the second part)

    連れ去ってくれないか
    Will you take me away?

    どこでも行けると信じた夜に
    On the night where we believed we could go anywhere

    わざとだったかもな
    Maybe it wasn’t intentional…
    (‘by’ design’ is a bit too stiff…)

    僕たちは泡色の車に乗って空を泳ぐクジラに願うんだ
    We ride in a foam-colored car and pray to a whale swimming in the sky
    (you had the basic meanings right, but I tried to clean up the grammar and tenses)

    夢が冷めるまではきっと 終わらない夜を願うんだ
    Until the dream ends, I pray for the night to never end
    (the word order of ‘surely’ is a bit akward in your version. I think you can just leave that word out)

    • Thanks!
      And yes, please, I’ll always welcome comments from those more learned in the language (and as always, thank you so much for taking the time to go through these whever you do 🙂 )

      ~ past progressives, right, still tricky

      ~ about “the shadow”, that much is true, yes. logicaly speaking, shadows don’t go around chasing people xD

      ~ 連れ去ってくれないか
      Will you take me away?
      どこでも行けると信じた夜に
      On the night where we believed we could go anywhere
      ^ will note these

      ~ I have a bad tendency to cop out with dashes with compounding sentences, mostly because I lose confidence in maintaining the independent clauses when they get too long

      ~ no way to add きっと in there without making it sound off I guess

  2. One thing I missed:

    >もうすぐつくから繋いでたいの

    There is a chance this is alluding to “手をつなぐ” (hold hands) but I am not sure…Or maybe it just means “I want to stay with you…”

    • I initially had it as “I want to be tethered” … which doesn’t make sense at all, so I went with “connected”. Though I guess yeah, when you think of つなぐ more often than not it’s holding hands.

  3. I listed to the video and your lyrics seem pretty accurate. The only part I can’t seem to hear is the くだらない part. It sounds like a different word, but hard to hear.

    Also, after some consideration I think your “by design” translation might actually be nice, depending on your interpretation…

    • I hear the く only half the time to be honest, just went with it in the end, haha!

      You think so? I was playing with “I suppose it was on purpose” or something along those lines, but without a persona to attach it to I hesitated

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