Kobukuro – Tsubomi; コブクロ – 蕾

Apologies for the long hiatus. We return with the song that won the Grand Prix at the 2007 Japan Record Awards.

Kobukuro is a pop-folk-rock-duo… thing that started out as an indie duo in 1998 and only made their major label debut later, in 2001. They write everything from crisp guitar folk rock to sweeping ballads such as this. Here at Moonspeak, we couldn’t love Kobukuro more; more translations from them will follow in the future.

A little context before you read the translated lyrics: the song was written in memory of one of the duo’s mothers, who passed away twelve years prior. That may help you put some of the rather figurative lyrics in context. We’ve chosen to translate certain lines figuratively rather than literally; as always, your comments are appreciated. Have fun.

涙こぼしても 汗にまみれた笑顔の中じゃ
Namida koboshite mo Ase ni mamireta egao no naka ja
Dare mo kizuite wa kurenai
だから あなたの涙を僕は知らない
Dakara Anata no namida wo boku wa shiranai

Nobody could ever tell
Even when the tears spilled down your sweat-drenched smile
That’s why I never knew you were crying

絶やす事無く 僕の心に灯されていた
Tayasu koto naku Boku no kokoro ni tomosarete ita
優しい明かりは あなたがくれた理由なき愛の灯
Yasashii akari wa Anata ga kureta riyuu naki ai no akashi

Never-ending, lighting up my heart
This tender light you gave me is your unconditional love

柔らかな日だまりが包む背中に ポツリ 話しかけながら
Yawarakana hidamari ga tsutsumu senaka ni Potsuri Hanashikake nagara
Itsuka konna hi ga kuru koto mo
きっと きっと きっと わかってたはずなのに
Kitto Kitto Kitto Wakatteta hazu nanoni

I whisper into your sun-kissed back
If a day like this were to ever come
I’m sure you would understand

消えそうに 咲きそうな 蕾が今年も僕を待ってる
Kiesou ni Saki sou na Tsubomi ga kotoshi mo boku wo matteru
掌じゃ掴めない 風に踊る花びら
Tenohira ja tsukamenai Kaze ni odoru hanabira
Tachidomaru kata ni hirari
上手に乗せて笑って見せた あなたを思い出す 一人
Jyouzu ni nosete waratte miseta Anata wo omoidasu Hitori

Fading, blooming, the flower buds are waiting for me this year, too
The petals that I can’t grasp dance in the wind, and
Come to rest on my shoulder
I’ll get better, laugh for you, remember you – alone

ビルの谷間に埋もれた夢も いつか芽吹いて
Biru no tanima ni umoreta yume mo Itsuka mebuite
花を咲かすだろう 信じた夢は咲く場所を選ばない
Hana wo sakasu darou Shinjita yume wa saku basho wo erabanai

Even dreams buried in the alleyways of buildings may bud someday
Flowers bloom – but you can’t choose where your dreams will

僕等 この町に落とされた影法師 みんな光を探して
Bokura Kono machi ni otosareta kageboushi Minna hikari wo sagashite
Kasanari au toki no nagare mo
きっと きっと きっと 追い越せる日が来るさ
Kitto Kitto Kitto Oikoseru hi ga kuru sa

The shadows we throw on this town are all searching for the light
Even as the years pile on, as time goes by
I’m sure the day we overcome this will arrive

風のない線路道 五月の美空は青く寂しく
Kaze no nai senromichi Gogatsu no misora wa aoku samishiku
動かないちぎれ雲 いつまでも浮かべてた
Ugokanai chigire kumo Itsu made mo ukabeteta
Doko ni mo mou modorenai
僕のようだとささやく風に キラリ舞い落ちてく 涙
Boku no you da to sasayaku kaze ni Kirari mai ochiteku Namida

On these windless streets and tracks, the May sky is blue, lonely
The motionless clouds float forever
There is nowhere for me to return to
The murmuring wind tells me this is what I am;
carries my tears, dancing and falling to the ground

散り際に もう一度開く花びらは あなたのように
Chirigiwa ni Mou ichido hiraku hanabira wa Anata no you ni
聞こえない頑張れを 握った両手に何度もくれた
Kikoenai ganbare wo Nigitta ryoute ni nando mo kureta

Scattering, blooming once more, these petals are as you
Giving encouragement I can’t hear
Over and over again, to these grasping hands

消えそうに 咲きそうな 蕾が今年も僕を待ってる
Kiesou ni Saki sou na Tsubomi ga kotoshi mo boku wo matteru
今もまだ掴めない あなたと描いた夢
Ima mo mada tsukamenai Anata to egaita yume
Tachidomaru boku no soba de
優しく開く笑顔のような 蕾を探してる 空に
Yasashiku hiraku egao no you na Tsubomi wo sagashiteru Sora ni

Fading, blooming, the flower buds are waiting for me this year, too
These dreams that you and I painted, that I still can’t grasp
Come to rest by my side
I search for a flower bud just like your kind, smiling face – up above

February 15th, 2008 | Kobukuro


Thanks for your comments.

Songs are always more difficult to translate, since their lyrics are often figurative and vague. We translate so that it flows in English, rather than literally.

For the section you highlighted, I’m still torn on the translation. Does it modify the noun, or is it a separate phrase?

Comment by Kessel — February 1, 2009 @ 07:43 America/Los_Angeles

Nice translation overall. :) Whereas other translations I tried to find were usually some sort of Engrish, I think this one was closest to the spirit of the song. :D

I have a question, though; which language is the first language for you?
IMO, some of the areas seemed a wee bit strange at closer glance – they don’t quite seem to match up with the Japanese. Maybe it’s just me, tho, heh.

Ex.: [掌じゃ掴めない 風に踊る花びら 立ち止まる肩にヒラリ
上手に乗せて笑って見せた]->(あなた)を思い出す 一人
[Adj. Phrase modifying]->(noun)—–?

Comment by Y.N. — January 1, 2009 @ 09:38 America/Los_Angeles

Just like to say your translation is much more smooth and accurate than another one I found of Tsubomi!!

It may sound elitist but I just feel happier if fans know the real meaning of the song so it annoys me sometimes if bad translations float about … ^^;;

Comment by kyuri-chan — August 29, 2008 @ 07:58 America/Los_Angeles

This song makes sense now that i know the reason it was written. Thanks for the translation!

Comment by LC — March 12, 2008 @ 16:57 America/Los_Angeles