Monthly Archives: August 2016

Japanese to English translation: “Candy Candy Final Story” – Chapter 1, Part 2

I had previously written a review of the Japanese novel  “Candy Candy Final Story” (キャンディ・キャンディ Final Story) written by Nagita Keiko, and later posted a translation I did of the prologue, and another of Chapter 1, Part 1. Generally, when I do translations of small fragments of novels, I don’t intend to follow up with translations of any future chapters.

However, in this case I received such great feedback that I decided to translate a bit more of the story. It’s just a few more pages, but I hope it satisfies the fans, at least for a short time. As before, I am not sure if I will continue translating any more of this work, but if I receive a lot of good feedback as before, there is a chance I will translate some more. So feel free to like and/of comment if you enjoyed this and want more.

If you would like to advertise the existence of this translation feel free to post a link to this article on any related message board. However, I request that you please do not post any of the translated text directly, as I may always go back and re-edit portions of it.

Also, as always I would like to state that this work is owned by the author and/or publisher, and I am only doing an unofficial fan translation. If you are interested in this, please consider buying the original work (even if you don’t know Japanese, it’s good to support the author), or some of the other works from the same author and/or publisher. You can see links to some of those here in my original review.

This is a very important part of the story, where Candy meets someone special. Enjoy!

UPDATE: If you want to see more of this, please vote here for what I should translate.

 

Candy Candy Final Story (first book): Chapter 1, Part 2   (by Nagita Keiko)

– Unofficial translation –

 

Once Candy ran up to the top of the Pony’s hill, she collapsed with a thud into the thick grass. The scent of freshly grown grass tickled her nose. She made a complete revolution, gazing up at the sky that surrounded her. Its blue color was almost bright enough to sting her eyes. A white cloud that was drifting by suddenly took on the shape of the carriage that Annie had ridden in.

The carriage gradually gotten smaller and smaller, until it disappeared completely.

Had Annie finally stopped crying? The sight of her sitting with eyes downcast, sandwiched in between the nice Brighton couple was still fresh in her memory. Candy was afraid the vivid image would disappear if she blinked, so she tried hard to keep her eyes open wide.

“You’re really gone, Annie,” Candy mumbled. At that moment, all the feelings she had struggled to keep inside began to overtake her, bringing tears to her eyes.

The city Annie had been taken to live at, Chicago, was a place Candy had never heard of before, and it felt like a far-off country.

“Soon, when the flowers bloom on the Pony’s hill, we won’t be able to pick them together. Even playing tag… swimming in the river and catching fish…”

The memories of the times she had spent with Annie began to come back to her one after the other.

There was the day they decided to call this hill “Pony’s hill” as they made ornaments together out of buttercups.

And the day they played with daisies to figure out whether their parents would ever come back for them, alternately saying, “they’ll come back,” and “they won’t,” as they picked each petal.

Candy had felt that Annie, abandoned on the same day as her, was like a real sister. Annie, who was always with Candy no matter what she was doing. Annie, the timid girl who would cry so easily.

“Annie, if they tease you I won’t be able to protect you any more.”

Startled by her own words, she wiped the tears streaming from her eyes.

There was no longer any need to protect Annie from anyone. She has two wonderful parents now…

“I guess I’m the person who lost someone important, someone to apologize for me…”

It was true. Annie had always covered for Candy when she did something wrong.

“Don’t yell at Candy. Will you forgive her, Please?”

Whenever Candy was reprimanded by the sisters because they had found she’d played another prank or was acting too tomboyish, Annie would cry and beg the sisters to overlook Candy’s wrongdoing. The fact that Candy often escaped from being lectured or punished was in no small part due to Annie.

Candy herself was the one who had actually been protected all this time.

“I’m so scared about what’s going to happen to me now…”

She stood up and rubbed her eyes with the palm of her hand. But the tears wouldn’t stop. She tried holding her breath but they continued to flow.

(I wish I could stop crying already… I guess it’s because I kept everything inside for so long… If I go home looking like this, the sisters will worry about me… Oh I forgot! I need to go clean the chicken coop… All right, I’d better try to cry as much as I can until I run out of tears.)

Candy readied herself by tightening her stomach muscles.

“Waaaaah! Waaaaah!”

She tried crying out loudly with all her might.

“Waa! Aghhh! Waah!”

As she listened to her own cries resounding in the nearby countryside, her tears gradually dried up and she realized how funny she sounded.

(You know, my crying really sounds like the voice of a hungry wolf!)

She began to giggle in spite of herself.

“That’s better! You’re so much cuter when you smile, little girl.”

Candy was surprised when she suddenly heard a gentle voice come from above and looked up to see who was speaking. Framed by the blue sky was a young boy wearing a strange outfit, smiling as he looked down at Candy. Something was draped over his shoulder that looked like the picture of a heart she had seen in an encyclopedia. Candy blinked her eyes in disbelief.

This boy seemed almost as if he had just descended from the sky…

“Are you an… Alien?”

He smiled pleasantly.

“Little girl, you really say some interesting things. Even though I look like this, I’m still human.”

“Hmm… But then why are you wearing a skirt even though you are a boy?”

“This isn’t a skirt. It’s called a ‘kilt’ and is part of Scotland’s traditional dress.”

“A ‘kit’ from ‘Sutland’?”

Candy had never heard of these words before. The boy smiled again.

“It’s a ‘kilt’ from ‘Scotland’. And this is called a ‘bagpipe’. It’s a musical instrument. You play it like this.”

The boy kept his eyes on Candy, who stared at him with a blank look, and he put his mouth to the instrument.

Suddenly, a strange sound came from it.

“Wow, it sounds like a snail squirming along the ground!”

Caught by surprise, Candy jumped to her feet. The boy gave one final puff, ending the “squirming snail” song.

“You really are such an interesting little girl!”

His broad smile seemed to be radiating light. Even the blond hair stuck to his forehead glittered. With gentle eyes that were as blue as today’s clear skies, Candy felt that even though they had just met, she could talk to this boy about anything.

“Where are you from? My name is Candy. You see that church over there? It’s called ‘Pony’s home’ and even though it’s so tiny, it is actually a church and an orphanage. There we teach all sorts of things to the children of this village. There is chubby Ms. Pony and skinny Ms. Reine, and I…”

Candy, absorbed in her explanation as she pointed towards the base of the hill, turned around and blurted out “Huh?” in surprise.

Nobody was there.

There was no sign of the young boy.

“He just disappeared….”

Candy, struck dumbfounded, looked around her.

There was definitely nobody there.

He had suddenly appeared, and suddenly disappeared…

(Maybe it was a dream?)

No, it couldn’t have been a dream.

“You’re so much cuter when you smile, little girl.”

The memory of the boy’s voice was still fresh in her mind.

“He was almost like a prince…”

Candy mumbled indistinctly, but then realized there was something sparkling on the ground near her feet.

In between the blades of grass lay a silver badge in the shape of an eagle with its wings spread and a bell attached to it.

“This must be the prince’s…”

She picked up the badge and smiled. It was a work of skillful craftsmanship. This expensive-looking badge was undoubtedly a very precious thing to the boy.

“I have to return this to him. Maybe I’ll be able to see him tomorrow…”

This new hope brought with it the feeling of warm sunlight shining upon her, and a gentle breeze blowing by.

He was such a nice boy, the prince of the hilltop…

If I’m able to see him tomorrow, there are so many things I want to talk about.

However…

The next day, and for many days after, Candy went to the top of the hill with eager anticipation, but since that day she never saw the mysterious boy, the “prince of the hilltop” again.

The day Annie left. The day she met the prince of the hilltop…

Only the silver badge remained, like a fragment of memory.

 

Japanese Anime Review: “Time of Eve” (イブの時間)

Recently I’ve been checking out a few new anime on the online streaming service Crunchyroll while I take part in my free trial there.

I think I’ve written about this in a past post or two, but after watching anime for 5 or 10 years (or even longer) I started to get tired of the same old tropes used again and again. While there may be creative ideas here and there, the way the story progresses and how the characters look doesn’t vary as much as I would prefer. Not to say that everything is bad, it’s just that I’ve become a bit jaded and extra picky about anime, and dramas as well to a certain extent. So when it comes to spending my time watching anime vs reading a Japanese novel, or doing some hobby translations, I’ll generally end up not choosing anime.

Anyway, the good news is that after a bit of searching around I actually found a series that is pretty awesome. It’s called “Time of Eve” (イブの時間) and it is set in a world where robots have advanced to the point where they look nearly identical to humans, and can even act pretty similar. While I’ll admit I do have a soft spot for robot stories, I can’t deny that this setting on it’s own is pretty generic and isn’t enough on it’s own to guarantee a good story or watching experience.

However, “Time of Eve” gets more interesting when you find out about a special place, where robots and humans can… let’s just say get along on equal grounds. Rather than rely on run-of-the-mill action and slapstick found in much anime, this series gets into deeper issues like whether robots have feelings and how humans should interact with them. These are themes that have been done many times before, but I think they really did a great treatment of them.

I especially like the storytelling style employed, which for some reason reminds me some of the great anime series I watched back in the 90s when I was first getting into anime seriously. To me, this series should be classified in the “literature” of anime, in the sense that it treats important topics in a deep and meaningful way.

Another thing I like about this series is how they integrate CG very seamlessly. In other anime, you can find 3D pans at random times, but usually the scene has a crispness or artificialness which is not found here at all. The drawing style stays roughly the same even when 3D is being used (at least when I think it was being used). I’m not sure if this was due to a lack of budget, good direction, or both.

Linguistically, this series is a mix of some normal conversational talk, and a bit of more complex language, but overall I’d classify it “intermediate”. I couldn’t figure out how to shut off the subtitles on Crunchyroll, so I instead took the opportunity to compare some of the translations and see how good of a job they did. For the parts I was paying attention do, the translations were done pretty well, though quite non-literal in a few areas (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing).

Interestingly, the director of this series, Yasuhiro Yoshiura(吉浦 康裕), also did the movie Patema Invented which I reviewed here, and enjoyed much less.

I have only one serious complaint about Time of Eve, which is that it’s way too short. I think it fa’s are eager for a second season, but since this series is a few years old I am not sure what the odds of one coming out are.

A nice diversion: Trip to Mount Shasta, California

I generally try to keep posts on this blog focused on Japanese culture or language, but once in a while I’ll post someting a bit off topic. This is one of those posts, but I hope you enjoy it. Actually, there is a small connection to Japan which I’ll talk about near the end.

As my family and I have just recently moved to Portland, Oregon, we are planning to take advantage of our home base and travel to places nearby which we haven’t had a chance to visit yet. We decided on making the trip to Mount Shasta, a small town in Northern California around altitude 3,600 that is approximately 5 hours from Portland by car. Mount Shasta is known as a “spiritual” or “sacred” place, so we arrived with some high expectations about having some sort of unique experience.

More than anything else, Mount Shasta is known for it’s beautiful nature, typified by the active volcano of the same name which towers above the city at over 14,000 feet, and the smaller Mount Shastina. These are truly amazing sites, especially for anyone who is not used to seeing mountains frequently (while there are some near Portland, there wasn’t any real mountains in South Florida where I lived most of my life). I found it interesting that there was still snow packed into many parts of these mountains, despite the fact that it was extremely hot down on the ground (80-90 degrees). While it makes sense considering the peaks are over a mile away and things are much colder up there, they just feel much closer than that. I guess it’s just a trick of the eye since I am not used to seeing something so large, so far away, and yet so clear.

Besides the mountains, there are various rivers, lakes, and meadows where you can really get up and close with nature. One area we really liked was called Panther Meadows, where there are little streams that flow with refreshingly cold, pure water that was once snow, coming down all the way from the mountains. The plant life is very verdant and diverse around these streams, with beautiful flowers, moss, and all sorts of plants I’ve never seen. Just beware you are *not* supposed to walk into the streams, or stray from the main trail at any time. There are signs in some places, and we even spotted a park ranger who (friendly, but firmly) reminded us of this. While it was a little frustrating to not be able to get in direct contact with these streams, with the increasing number of visitors, these types of rules are required to preserve nature for the next generation, and the one after that. There was a camping site in this area, but it said no overnight camping allowed. I guess this was for the same reason, however I’m not sure what the purpose of camping is if you can’t stay overnight.

My favorite place of all was called Pluto Caves, which is a series of underground caves a little bit off of a highway. It’s in the middle of nowhere with only a tiny sign nearby, though if you have a GPS you’ll probably be able to find it without much problem. After driving on a dirt road which ends in a tiny parking lot, you have to walk on a desert path roughly 1/4 of a mile to get to the cave entrance. Once you do, don’t go to the left cave since it is very short, and to be honest had a very bad smell. The right cave entrance however, leads to a long chain of tunnels that we didn’t reach the end of even after walking 20 minutes or so.

The caves are amazing wonders of nature, truly like something of a fantasy movie or game. They get quite dark at parts, so it’s best to bring a flashlight (or two), and some of the areas require climbing over rocks. You may even see bats or other mysterious creatures. This is real exploration, so come prepared. Bring little children is not recommended.

The only big disappointment was that the caves were filled with all sorts of grafitti with obscene and cryptic messages. We didn’t run into any people there who would have made these, but I wouldn’t be surprised to if you found people inside somewhere, so be on your guard.

The last memorable place was call McCLoud River Falls, which consists of Lower, Middle, and Upper areas. There is a fairly large sized river that passes through these areas, with the changes in altitude resulting in spectacular waterfalls in a few places. One of the areas (I think it was Middle) has an long trail that winds up the side of a mountain, and has an amazing view of the river below. However, the trail was very narrow in a few places (some without handrails of any time), and with a step drop below, this place carries with it a certain level of danger. Again, not recommend for kids.

In the smallish downtown area, there is a good number of stores and restaurants to explore. However, there were a few issues we had with this area.

First of all, we found the store hours to be quite irregular. Many stores were closed completely on certain days, or had irregular hours. Two of the stores were closed even though they were supposed to be open. The restaurant quality was also hit-or-miss, with a few mediocre dining experiences. For example, one of the Thai restaurants downtown was so-so, but their “medium spicy” was actually super-ultra spicy, and the service was a bit lacking. I don’t recommend coffee or sweets at the bookstore downtown, both were horrible. At one of the local grocery stores, due to some outage they could not accept credit cards, and so I had to jog about 1/4 mile to the nearest ATM to get cash. Another restaurant had skirt steak that was definitely not skirt steak.

To make matters worse, there are not any larger grocery/general stores we could find nearby except for Rite Aid. The final nail in the coffin was when we found out the number one rated restaurant in the area (an Indian restaurant called Maruti) was moving out of area, to all places – Portland.

Since this is city is known as being a “spiritual” place, the number of spiritual-related stores, especally those selling crystals, is unbelievable. I think we saw at least seven or eight within a mile radius. The products are pretty cool if you are into that type of thing, but the goods can get pretty pricey.

One other thing about the city is there was a inproporationally large number of homeless, backpackers, and “hippe” types. The latter group was quite authentic, with the clothes, the playing-drums-in-the-park, and (yes) the drugs.

All-in-all, the city had the feeling that time had stopped a few decades ago. That in itself had its own charm, but it may disappoint some travellers who come looking for more.

While I don’t think we had much of a “spiritual experience”, getting close to nature was fun and refreshing. It was hot too, I actually got a sunburn in a single day, despite the fact I was born and raised in South Florida! But the general populace there just left a bad taste in our mouth, whether it was from drugs, trash and grafitti at nature parks, half-ass businesses, or mediocre food and services at restaurants.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to discount the city as a spiritual place, nor the people that live there. Depending on who you are, you very well may have an amazing spiritual experience. As they say in Japanese: 十人十色 (there are as many opinions as there are people). And for all the people we met that gave the city a bad impression, there were some very kind people as well.

As for the connection to Japan, for whatever reason this area seems to be quite popular with certain groups of Japanese people, which you can see for yourself by searching around online for “シャスタ山”. We also experienced this in person, running across a few groups of Japanese people in just a handful of days. One of the days we were there, there even happened to be a festival with a Taiko group called Shastayama. Several of the new age stores even had catalogs or guidebooks in Japanese. We also heard there was a spa-type place managed by Japanese people, but unfortunately they were available by reservation only. If you are looking for Japanese people to practice speaking Japanese with, you just might find someone in this city. Ironically, we couldn’t find a single Japanese restaurant near downtown. It figures.

 

Picture: a small stream made of melted snow trickling down from the mountains in Panther Meadows.

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