Chained Girl Lyrics Translation

The notes for this translation are here. Please direct any comments about this translation to that page's comment field.


Chained Girl

Lyrics/Composition/Arrangement: Noboru ↑

Vocal: Miku Hatsune

Chorus: Luka Megurine, Gumi



Before I come to hate everything,
give me your honest love...

今日は少し下がった 破り捨てたい評価(テスト)
期待を超えられず 傷が増えてく

I back off slightly today, a test I want to toss aside,
unable to surpass your expectations, my wounds multiply.

振り向けば捨ててきた 友達とか夢とか

Behind me, the discarded friends and dreams,
my freedom stolen away, why do I live...?

ココロを鎖で縛られた あやつり人形

My heart bound with chains, a doll under your control.
I am your jewel,
here to shine more brightly...


For whose sake am I living,
still unable to say "myself"?
Before I come to hate everything,
give me your honest love...

希望とか指先で 砂に書いても消える
笑顔の子供たち 遠くに見えた

Even if I write "hope" in the sand with my finger, it vanishes...
I watch the smiling children from afar.

歩むべき人生(みち)を決められた 束縛人形

With the path I am to walk already decided, I am a bound doll.
You are my devil,
setting me in motion with your invisible threads...


If this entire story is created for me,
I want to repaint it all.
As if to break out of this dark night,
I want the courage to defy you.

街行く人の影追いかけ 留まるカケラ一人
このカラダ 意思の無いままに生きてきた

Chasing the shadow of those out in town, restrained to this fragment of a person,
this body lived on without a will of its own...

嘘だらけの言葉で 惑わすのはもうやめて
あなたの言いなりなんか もうやめる
わたしのこのココロは お金じゃきっと買えない

Don't deceive me anymore, with your words filled with lies.
Don't make me do everything you say anymore.
This heart of mine surely can't be bought with money,
it is the one and only precious thing in this world...


For whose sake am I living...?
The answer is before my eyes.
To steal away my future,
that is something I will not forgive.


Before I come to hate everything,


release these chains...

Translation notes: Chained Girl

There are a number of Vocaloids songs for Miku that have similar titles, something followed by "shoujo". The first of those was Giant Girl (巨大少女, "kyodai shoujo"), which I found in the second Project Diva game, and then eventually I tracked down Deep-Sea Girl (深海少女, "shinkai shoujo"). Now I've found Chained Girl. (The title structure is slightly different - "kusari no shoujo" - but I feel comfortable grouping these songs together anyway.)

I translated this song for one simple reason: I listened to it, read the lyrics out of the CD booklet as I listened to it a second time, and realized I had a powerful song on my hands. All three of the songs I mentioned did that to me, really. Giant Girl is a song about wanting to be noticed. Deep-Sea Girl is an allegory for depression. Chained Girl is a song about feeling imprisoned by the expectations of others.

Neither was it a song that was particularly difficult to translate. I do still need work on the vocabulary I have memorized, since it's not really practical to pull out a dictionary in the middle of a conversation. But that wasn't a concern in this case. And in between my ability to listen to the song and the kanji I can read out of the CD booklet, getting the lyrics wasn't a challenge either.

The one interesting point that I'd like to highlight this time around, from a technical perspective, is the ways furigana (the characters used as a pronunciation guide, printed above certain kanji) are used in situations like this one. In the first two instances, they're simply "converting" the reading from Japanese into English; the word "hyouka" can be translated as "test" (or perhaps more accurately "assessment"), while "soushokuhin" can mean "jewel" (again, more accurately "ornament" or "decoration"). So those aren't a challenge to translate, particularly.

Later, though, there are three more in quick succession that are a little more complicated. In those instances, the kanji in question are being "pronounced" as entirely different words. It leaves open the question: do you translate the word printed in the book or the word actually sung in the lyrics? Which is closer to the meaning you're trying to capture? Is there a way to account for both intended meanings in the translation?

In this case, I translated all three as the lyrics that were sung, and I'd like to think it works out so that all of the original meaning remains. The first is the reading of "jinsei", "life", as "michi", "road" or "path". Honestly, though, that's not difficult either; it makes perfect sense in English just as well, in the sense of "the path we take in life" or something like that. Calling it "the path I am to walk" says effectively the same thing as "the life I am to live", and I think the former captures the poetic manner of communicating that thought more effectively.

Second, we have "ayatsuri-shi", which would be a person who controls a puppet, read as "akuma", a demon or devil. In this case, I felt that the element of being controlled was adequately represented in the following line, and that the song would not suffer greatly from me focusing on the "devil" aspect of the translation. There are ways to account for both by extending that line in the translation, but I felt that none were wildly effective, and I did want that line to parrot the similar line from earlier in the song.

Finally, "kusari", the focus of this song ("chain" in case it wasn't obvious) read as "ito", "thread". In that sense it's just a matter of picking one of those two words to put in there - is the singer being controlled by chains or threads? Again, with chains being prominent elsewhere in the song, and with thread making more sense as a method of puppet control (especially an invisible one), I felt the song didn't lose anything major by translating as "threads".

I probably could go on, but I think I'll settle for talking about that one issue and opening up the floor to comments, questions, complaints, what have you. Let me know what you all think.


Having it Both Ways

According to the Washington Post, yesterday an armed intruder (IDed as Floyd Lee Corkins II) entered the Washington D.C. headquarters of the Family Research Council and attacked the security guard there, who did his job admirably in preventing the intruder from advancing any further into the building. Said security guard was shot, but is currently in stable condition, so hopefully this will be one of those rare shooting incidents where no one ends up dead.

While it is still far too early to ascribe definite motivations to the shooting, from the CBS report on the situation, Floyd Corkins II had been volunteering at an LGBT community center in the months leading up to the shooting and had made a "negative reference about the work of the Family Research Council" in the moments before opening fire.

I won't mince words here: his choice of action was simply unacceptable. Multiple different LGBT organizations released a similar statement:
We were saddened to hear news of the shooting this morning at the offices of the Family Research Council. Our hearts go out to the shooting victim, his family, and his co-workers.

The motivation and circumstances behind today’s tragedy are still unknown, but regardless of what emerges as the reason for this shooting, we utterly reject and condemn such violence. We wish for a swift and complete recovery for the victim of this terrible incident.
So of course, we began the process of healing and recovery from this terrible tragedy, and thanked our respective deities that it wasn't any worse than it was. Heaven knows I've been accused of "politicizing" tragedies so many times - and I've been doing my best to hold my tongue in the wake of the last, oh, four or five shooting incidents in all of a month. Surely no one would think of trying to make this about...

Of course not.
Brian Brown, the president of NOM, pointed to a recent blog post by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), one of the largest gay-rights groups in the country. The post, “Paul Ryan Speaking at Hate Group’s Annual Conference,” called attention to the vice presidential candidate’s scheduled appearance at the FRC’s national summit next month.

“Today’s attack is the clearest sign we’ve seen that labeling pro-marriage groups as ‘hateful’ must end,” Brown said in a statement issued following the shooting.

“For too long national gay rights groups have intentionally marginalized and ostracized pro-marriage groups and individuals by labeling them as ‘hateful’ and ‘bigoted.’”
To the Family Research Council's credit, they have not said anything of this nature, and I'm honestly grateful for that. The National Organization for Marriage could stand to learn from that example.

EDIT, 2315 hours: I want it logged for the record that I gave them the benefit of the doubt, right up until, well...
One day after a Virginia man is alleged to have shot a security guard at the D.C. headquarters of the anti-gay Family Research Council, the organization's president, Tony Perkins, held a press conference to blame the shooting on the Southern Poverty Law Center -- the group that in 2010 named FRC a "hate group" based on the SPLC's documentation of FRC's efforts to "knowingly spread false and denigrating propaganda about LGBT people" -- declaring that the watchdog group had given the shooter a "license" to shoot.
So now I speak to the National Organization for Marriage and anyone who might be inclined to make similar statements, apparently now including the FRC itself. I ask you - do words actually have meaning, or not? Because if they do, if calling someone hateful or wrong contributes to subsequent violence against them, then you need to stop and think. Ask yourselves why nine out of ten LGBT students report harassment of some type at school. Ask yourselves what your words are doing to them. Ask yourselves, every time one of them commits suicide, what your actual marginalization and ostracization of those children is accomplishing!

If our words have that kind of effect, that might cause this attack... well, go back and read that statement above. We've answered, as best we can, for the blood on our hands. Now it's your turn to answer for yours. Until you can do that, calling you out as hateful and bigoted will be nothing less than accurate.



By now, I expect you've heard the news that Paul Ryan is Romney's vice president pick. This is not an entirely unexpected development in the campaign, honestly. Ryan is really the closest thing to a policy wonk the Republicans have, especially on the economic side; as the architect of the last two budgets the GOP's put forward, I feel like this pick represents the Romney campaign's desire to centralize economic issues right up until Election Day.

Of course, the fact that I call Ryan the closest thing to a policy wonk that the right wing has should be a greatly depressing sentence for anyone that actually wants the GOP to have any influence over policy at all for the next twenty years. I won't hold my breath though.

Why do I say that? In a word, Ryan's policy proposals are ridiculous. The fact that his ideas are representative of intellectual thought and serious policy proposals on the right wing actively scares me. The budgets that he's put forward would be actively disastrous for everyone other than the top hundredth of one percent of Americans by wealth, cutting pretty much anything and everything from Pell grants to Medicare. And because it's not enough to gut the social safety net (that he's already benefited from, no less!), he's proposed cutting taxes on the wealthy while increasing them on the lower class.

Of course, the crowning jewel here is the fact that this budget is somehow supposed to also reduce the deficit all at the same time. How? That's an excellent question. No one knows. How he can manage to make all these claims when he himself has to realize how mendacious they are is what truly scares me. Any competent economist (and those four don't count as competent, not anymore) can tell that there is literally no way to reconcile all of these competing claims. And yet Paul Ryan is hailed as an intellectual genius, the rising star of the right wing policy wonks.

Anyone who reads my blog regularly could probably have realized before now that I was never going to vote for Romney in November anyway, so in that sense my disapproval means very little. However, prior to today, I would have shied away from voting for Romney because I had no idea which Romney I was going to get; would it have been the hard right wing Romney of the Republican primary race or the more moderate Governor Romney of Massachusetts?

Now, things have changed. Now, I know exactly what I'm going to get out of a Romney/Ryan ticket. I know full well what kind of economic policy we're going to get out of that White House. It is an economic policy that runs counter to any rational consideration of the needs of the United States or of the needs of the vast majority of American citizens. That it can be hailed as a policy masterpiece, by anyone, scares me a great deal.


Just Words

Every time someone says that something is "just words", I wince. It's the same kind of wince that usually ends up being my reaction to whatever words are being referred to, really. It's a now reflexive "is that really what you wanted to say" kind of reaction to words that are insensitive, potentially triggering, or dismissive.

I'm aware that words can be cheap sometimes, that making promises or identifying problems is easy while fulfilling those promises or fixing those problems is a lot harder. Even so, I still can't really agree that there's any such thing as "just" words.

Words have a lot of power. While they're not equivalent to actions, they are the precursor to actions; it is difficult to fix a problem without first identifying it, after all. And while words are formed from thoughts, they form the framework with which we are even capable of defining a thought, and have their own influence on the way people think as a result. Words can help and support others, or deal them a great deal of real and significant harm. Every word we use is probably going to have some kind of impact.

And the power that any given word has will change relative to the people involved. Every person has their own context for a word. Sure, most people share a lot of the same context for a lot of words. But words like racial slurs, for example, have a very different impact on members of a minority class than they will on people who don't share that history of oppression.

I may not be a linguist or a psychologist, but I'm reasonably certain that nothing I've laid out here is all that controversial. But then, what about that phrase "they're just words"?

It is most often used as a dismissive phrase, one that rebukes others to not let those words in question affect them. Effectively, it denies that words usually have an impact, especially words that usually can seriously hurt someone. On top of that, it asserts that it's possible to choose whether or not a given word can affect you, usually without considering how much greater any given word's impact might be on someone other than the speaker.

Worst yet, it is an abdication of responsibility; the longer version of the phrase is "it's not my responsibility to think about the words I'm using, it's your responsibility not to let those words affect you." Or, more bluntly, "it's not my responsibility to avoid hurting you, it's your responsibility to avoid being hurt." In that sense, it is a phrase that is all but fundamentally hostile to civil discourse or the concept of responsibility for one's actions words.

It is a phrase I despise, and one that causes me to wince when I see it used. It is a phrase that I believe should not ever be used.


Denial of the Right to Freedom of Speech

Okay... this is absolutely ridiculous. From Memebase, an absolutely bullshit response to the controversy surrounding Chick-fil-A. And look at that, over a thousand upvotes!

This is not a free speech issue. Nor has it ever been. Nor has any other similar incident (and there have been many more of this kind) ever been a free speech issue. Not if those three words are to have any meaning at all. Their rights to free speech are not being threatened in any way, shape, or form. Unless, that is, the government is about to come in and arrest people for what they're saying or, in this case, doing, namely donating to anti-gay rights groups? I don't have any connections with the FBI, but I'm pretty sure that's not being considered.

And on top of that, let me clarify something here. This is the message I'm getting, from that meme and from every other time someone's said "but what about freedom of speech" when I or anyone else has the sheer temerity to express our disagreement with the things other people say. It goes something like this: Because the owner of Chick-fil-A has the right to express his opposition to gay rights by donating to the Family Research Council, I don't have the right to say that I disapprove of his position and won't be eating at the places he owns in the future?

Because one person has the right to freedom of speech, I have to refrain from exercising my right to freedom of speech?

This is bullshit. It has been bullshit every single time it has been voiced, and will continue to be so. The next time someone says "I don't agree with Chick-fil-A's political stance, so I'm going to boycott them, and I think you should as well" just remember that. And not just for this incident - the next time someone says "I disagree with what so-and-so said, so I'm going to not support their work in the future, and I think you should as well", this will apply just as much. Keep that in mind, because I have had more than enough of this line of argument. It's long past time for it to disappear.