Translation: Penguin Highway 翻訳・ペンギンハイウェー

I translated excerpts of novels by Morimi Tomihiko for my literature circle. Here’s my bit from Penguin Highway. English on top, original below.

Thoughts on translating: The narrator is a fourth grader, but his style is formal Japanese. However, his short sentences are childish and not typical of Japanese formal writing. So I tried my best to maintain that in the English. Also, looking at this translation 7 months later I see some mistakes and would like to redo it… (Translated September 2012)

DISCLAIMER: I do not own the rights to the original work, and I am not making money from this endeavor, only having fun with Japanese literature. If asked to remove this post I gladly will.

I am incredibly smart, and moreover I don’t exert myself in studying.

Therefore, in the future I know I will become an eminent man.

Although I am yet a fourth year elementary school student, I know a variety of things that even adults do not. This is because every day I take precise notes and read many books. There are a lot of things I’d like to know. I have an interest in space, and also things like animals, the ocean, and robots. I like history, and I also like reading the biographies of celebrated people. I’ve also made a robot in my garage, and Mr. Yamaguchi from The Sea Shore Café has let me peek through his space telescope. Although I have not yet seen the ocean, I am working on plans to go explore a place nearby. Seeing the real thing is important to me. One glance is far better than hearing about it one hundred times.

It is not embarrassing to lose to a stranger, but yesterday, when I lost to myself, it was. Every day I study this world so I can become better than I was the day before. For example, there is a still a long time until I become an adult. Today I calculated there are 3880 days until I turn twenty year old. Thus it is a fact that I have 3880 days to better myself. When that day has come, I cannot estimate how great I will have become. If I become too great it will be a problem. I think that everyone will be surprised. There will most likely be many women who say they want to marry me. However I have already decided on a partner, so I cannot help but marry her.

I am sorry to say but, this little bit will have to do.

ぼくはたいへん頭がよく、しかも努力をおたらずに勉強するのである。

だから、将来はきっとえらい人間になるだろう。

ぼくはまだ小学校の四年生だが、もう大人に負けないほどいろいろなことを知っている。毎日きちんとノートを取るし、たくさん本を読むからだ。知りたいことはたくさんある。宇宙のことに興味があるし、生き物や、海や、ロボットにも興味ある。歴史も好きだし、えらい人の伝記とかを読むのも好きだ。ロボットをガレージで作ったことがあるし、「海辺のカフェ」のヤマグチさんに天体望遠鏡をのぞかせてもらったこともある。海はまだ見たことないけれども、近いうちに探検に行こうと計画をねっている。実物を見るのは大切なことだ。百聞は一見にしかずである。

他人に負けるのは恥ずかしいことではないが、昨日の自分に負けるのは恥ずかしいことだ。一日一日、ぼくは世界について学んで、昨日の自分よりもえらくなる。たとえばぼくが大人になるまでは、まだ長い時間がかかる。今日計算してみたら、ぼくが二十歳になるまで、三千と八百八十日かかることがわかった。そうするとぼくは三千八百八十日分えらくなるわけだ。その日が来たとき、自分がどれだけえらくなっている見当もつかない。えらくなりすぎてタイヘンである。みんなびっくりすると思う。結婚してほしいといってくる女の人もたくさんいるかもしれない。けれどもぼくはもう相手を決めてしまったので、結婚してあげるわけにはいあかないのである。

もうしわけないと思うけれども、こればかりはしょうがない。

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