June 29, 2007

"Shadow of the Moon" revisions


TP is the TokyoPop translation. EW is my translation.

Chapter 38

1.  TP: "Don't let it bother you, Yoko," he said gently. "Not your fault, eh?"
      "It's not . . . I'm okay."

      EW: "I seem to have touched upon a sore spot. Not because you think it was your fault, I hope."
      "It doesn't mean I'm all depressed about it," Youko said, scraping the ashes out of the stove.

In the first sentence, TokyoPop's version is more accurate. LIT: "Don't lose heart [be depressed], Youko. It's not your fault." However, Youko replies using the same verb in the negative. So I lean toward my version in her reply.

2.  TP: "Eh? Don't know what a shoku is? Guess you don't have 'em where you're from."
      "Well, we do use the same character you use for shoku in the Japanese words for solar and lunar eclipse." Yoko wrote the two words out with her hand on the table, first nisshoku, or solar eclipse: 日蝕
      Then gesshoku, or lunar eclipse: 月蝕
      "That so?" replied Rakushun raising a bushy eyebrow. "Well, I suppose you might call it an eclipse, though it don't do nothing to the sun or the moon.

      EW: "Ah, so you don't know what a shoku is, either. You don't have shoku where you're from?"
      "Well, it's written the same as an eclipse of the sun or the moon. We have those."
      "They're not dissimilar omens in some respects, except that the sun or moon don't disappear.

      LIT: "They're similar kinds of things. But the sun or the moon don't wane.

My version is pretty exact, except for "disappear"; "appear to wane" is more accurate. Youko doesn't write anything in this scene. Ono uses the standard words for solar eclipse and lunar eclipse (though 食 is generally preferred to 蝕).

3.  TP: Why, they say that over in Hairou an entire lake boiled into the thin air. Not a trace of it left – an entire lake!"

      EW: In one part of Hairou, the ground beneath a lake rose up and all the water flooded out. The whole lake vanished off the map."

      LIT: In Hairou, the bottom of a lake called Youchi [Lake Youchi] rose up and overflowed. There is not a trace of the lake left.

The original definitely says "the bottom of the lake welled up and [the water] overflowed." Yoshie Omura confirms the name of the lake. I don't know why I missed that. I've changed this sentence to: "In Hairou, the bottom of Lake Youchi rose up and all the water flooded out."

4.  TP: "Over There . . . and Here?" Yoko said quizzically, sipping at her hot tea.

      EW: "Here and there . . . . "

I think "here and there" sounds better in English than "(over) there and here." Eijirou also translates the expression "here and there" even though it is technically "(over) there and here."

What follows this line is a description of the tea Youko is drinking, but not a dialogue tag: "The tea he made [LIT: the tea provided by the house] looked like green tea. The aroma was quite different. It resembled a herbal tea, with a quite soothing flavor."

5.  TP: "But if you went far enough, wouldn't you come back to where you started? Or . . . . you mean the world is flat?"
      Rakushun clambered up into his chair and gave Yoko a hard stare. "Of course the world's flat. Why, if it wasn't, we'd all roll off!"
      The rat looked almost panicky. Yoko laughed. "Sorry, I just don't know much about this world, I guess."

      EW: "So that means the earth really is flat."
      Climbing onto his chair, Rakushun gave Youko a startled look. "But of course it is. It'd all be quite incomprehensible otherwise." There was surprise and laughter in his voice.
      "Well, then, what shape does this world have?"

The first line should be: "So that means the earth over here is flat." The addition is not in the original. The relevant verb in Rakushun's reply is komaru, "to be worried, to be in a bind, to be in a fix."

      LIT: "We'd all be in a difficult place, wouldn't we?" He laughed/smiled a little in a surprised sort of voice.

The TokyoPop version is a tad overinterpreted, but I think the gist is right. I would say: "We'd all be in a difficult fix, now, wouldn't we?"

The attribution of the last line of dialogue could be debated. In Japanese narrative fiction, each line of dialogue is in a paragraph by itself (I find this maddeningly confusing at times):

      Paragraph 1. Climbing onto his chair, Rakushun gave Youko a startled look [LIT: blank look on face].
      Paragraph 2. "But of course it is. Otherwise we'd all be in difficult fix, now, wouldn't we?"
      Paragraph 3. LIT: In a surprised sort of voice, laughed/smiled a bit.

I read the implied subject of sentence 3 to be Rakushun. The next line by Youko actually begins with ellipses ( . . . ), which suggests to me that Youko is mulling over her reply.

6.  TP: In one hand, her furry companion picked up a walnut lying on the table and set it before them. "Here, in the middle the world, is Mt. Soohsan."
      "Soohsan?"
      "Aye, written grand and mountain, like this:
      That's it's official name, anyhow. We just call it the Great Mountain, most of the time, though some people call it the Center Peak. Now on all four sides of that are other peaks: Houzan, the Mountain of Sage's Brush to the East; Kazan, the Mountain of Flowers to the west; Kak'san, the Mountain of the Soaring Cry to the south; and Kouzan, the Mountain of Eternities to the north--five mountains in all."

      EW: Rakushun picked up a walnut and placed it on the table. "In the middle of the world is Suusan."
      "Suusan?"
      "The Supreme Mountain. It's also called Suukou, the Pinnacle, or Chuuzan, the Middle Mountain. Surrounding Suusan at the four cardinal points of the compass are the Eastern, Western, Southern and Northern Mountains. They are more commonly known as Houzan, the Mountain of Wormwood; Kazan, the Mountain of Splendor; Kakuzan, the Mountain of Immediacy; and Kouzan, the Mountain of Permanence. The story goes that the Eastern Mountain was formerly called Taishan. The ruler of the northern kingdom of Tai changed the spelling of his family name from the character meaning "generations" to the character meaning "peaceful calm," the same as Taishan. In deference to him, Taishan was changed to Houzan. Together they are called Gozan, the Five Mountains."

Again, no need to mess with the Hepburn romanization. In the text, the names of the mountains are simply listed with their pronunciations. My readings of the characters are based on the literal meanings of the kanji and also on the original Chinese meanings. In other words, my best guesses. The parenthetical about Tai is in the original text.

7.  TP: Yoko nodded trying to remember all the unfamiliar names.
      "Now around those five mountains is the Kokai, the Yellow sea:
      It's called a sea, but mind you it's no normal sea – not the kind with water. No, it's a barren wasteland of rock, desert, swamp, and thorny tangle."
      Yoko watched as Rakushun drew the characters with his finger.
      "Have you been there?"
      "Course not. The Kokai's surrounded on each side by the four Diamond Mountains. Inside their borders is no place for mortal folk."
      "I see," Yoko said not really understanding. The map that Rakushun was plotting out in walnuts on the table looked like some ancient chart of the world, before proper maps were made, based more on myth and legend than actual scientific cartography.

      EW: "No kidding."
      "Encompassing these five mountains is the Yellow Sea. Though called a sea, it is not a body of water. Rather, it is said to be filled with craggy wastelands and deserts and swamps and an ocean of trees."
      Youko paid close attention to the characters he was writing. "You've never seen it?"
      "There's no way I could. Encircling the Yellow Sea are the four Kongou, the Adamantine Mountains. No mortal being can dwell within them."
      "Oh." It really did look to her like an old map of some ancient world.

Youko says, "Huh . . . . " I thought "adamantine" was a cooler word than "diamond." EDICT suggests both meanings for kongou, and gives as the second meaning: "Buddhist symbol of the indestructible truth." [Typo: I originally spelled it "kongon."]

8.  TP: "The four inland seas are arranged around the Diamond Mountains, and the eight inner kingdoms, of which Kou is one, encircle them. Around that, we have the Void Sea. In the Void Sea, close to land, are four large islands, each one also a kingdom. So, these four, plus the eight around the Diamond Mountains, make twelve kingdoms in all."

      EW: "The Adamantine Mountains are bordered by four seas. To the north, northeast, south, southwest, east, southeast, west, and northwest, eight countries encircle the seas. Beyond them is the Kyokai. Adjacent to these eight countries are four big islands. The four islands plus the eight countries that surround the Yellow Sea are the Twelve Kingdoms."

I added the compass points. The original is: "the seas are encircled by eight countries in the eight directions." However, "eight directions" can also be translated "all directions." The original reads: "Fairly close to the continent are are four big islands." In any case, I should replace "countries" with "kingdoms."

"Void Sea" sounds pretty prosaic to me. I define Kyokai as "Sea of Nothingness" early on and then continue using Kyokai.

9.  TP: "The tales call it the land of Hourai . . . though I've heard some people call it Japan."
      As he spoke, Rakushun wrote the characters for Hourai:
      Then for Japan:
      Wait a second, thought Yoko, that's the ancient word for Japan . . . how was it pronounced? Wa?
      "Don't you mean Japan?" Yoko asked, writing the modern characters for Japan:
      "Nope," Rakushun replied, pointing again to the single Wa he had written.
      Yoko bit her lip. Was this her unseen translator working again?
      "They say that kaikyaku come from Wa," Rakushun said, looking up at Yoko.
      Yoko's eyes opened wide. This time she had clearly heard him say "Wa." Maybe the translator had decided that she knew the word now, so there was no need to convert it to "Japan" anymore. This was getting more and more mysterious.

      EW: "Tales have been told of an island far away at the eastern edge of the world, fairy tales about a place called the Kingdom of Hourai. Also known as Japan."
      The character he wrote down was Wa, the ancient name for Yamato.
      "Really? The same 'Yamato' as Japan?"
      When she wrote out the character herself, it definitely was Yamato. Youko bit her lip. Was it because of how the language was translated?
      "It's also said that Yamato is where kaikyaku come from."
      This time she clearly heard "Yamato." Because she knew the word as well in her native language, she didn't need it translated for her.

The text does not say he wrote the kanji for Hourai. He says "Hourai" but then writes "Wa." Then Youko says, literally, "Wa? Japan?" This is confusing to translate into English because the Chinese wa is pronounced Yamato in Japan. As Youko notes in the next sentence, she's familiar with the original Chinese character for wa and so can read it directly without translation. Only the pronunciation is different.

Here I begin taking some editorial liberties of my own. Japan is variously referred to as Hourai and Yamato (the former more than the latter), and occasionally as "Japan" (Nippon). But without the accompanying kanji to rely on, I decided to use Yamato instead of Hourai to cut down on the confusion.

This is somewhat unfortunate, as Hourai is a clever, geographical pun. It refers to one of three legendary mountains in Chinese folklore, and is also the ancient name for Taiwan.

10.  TP: After all, she was the one who had come here through the moon's reflection on the sea. It hardly seemed the sort of trip one could reproduce with a ship, a sail, and a pair of oars.
      "Now on the other side," continued Rakushun, "somewhere off in the Diamond Mountains, there's a peak called Konron. Around there is another kingdom of legend: China. That's where the sankyaku come from."
      As he said the word China, Rakushun wrote the ancient word for China: Kan.
      "Sankyaku? You mean mountain guests?" Yoko said, drawing the characters on the table with her finger:

      EW: The only way home was through the shadow of the moon.
      "There's also a legend that says that deep within the Adamantine Mountains is a place called Kunlun. Beyond Kunlun is China. China is the home of the zankyaku, the visitors (kyaku) from across the mountains (san or zan)." Rakushun wrote down the character for Han to represent China.
      "Zankyaku? You mean there are other people who get tangled up in this place, not just kaikyaku?"

As I explain in the introduction, kage means "reflection," but "shadow" is more poetic, and is generally how the title is rendered. In cases where there is a commonly-accepted geographical name for a place such as Kunlun, I'll use that rather than the Japanese transliteration. I stand corrected on sankyaku. Yoshie Omura confirms this pronunciation. I'll make that change globally.

11.  TP: Yoko nodded. She had heard much the same from Takkee.
      Rakushun glanced around the room then, and leaned in toward Yoko, whispering in conspiratorial tone. "They say that in Kan and Wa . . . . "

      EW: "Huh."
      "The people of Yamato and Han, it's said . . . .

For the reasons stated above, I prefer the reading of Han, which derives from the Han Dynasty. The second sentence in my translation is quite clumsy. It should begin: "It's said that the people of Yamato and Han . . . . "

The TokyoPop additions are not in the original. This is a solid block of dialogue.

12.  TP: Rakushun looked at Yoko eagerly, obviously hoping for some kind of confirmation.
      Yoko shook her head and laughed. How preposterous! She thought. If she told the people back home such a story of wonders, they would think it some kind of fairy tale. So, she thought, they have fairy tales in this world, too.
      An uneasy smile formed on Yoko's lips. She had spent all the time since her arrival wondering at the strangeness of this new world; but now she had a glimpse of how things looked from the other side, and she began to wonder which was truly more uncanny: the world, or herself?
      And as soon as the thought crossed her mind, she knew the answer. That was why the kaikyaku were hunted. That was why someone, or something, wanted her dead.

      EW: Rakushun looked at Youko expectantly. Youko shook her head with a rueful smile. What a strange conversation this was. If she ever returned to her old world, they would never believe her. Fairly tales, they would say. And here, her world was a fairy tale as well. She laughed to herself. All along she had believed that this was a strange and mysterious world. But in the end, wasn't she and the place she came from even more so?
      That must be why, she concluded at length, kaikyaku were hunted down like dogs.

"Smile" is used twice in these paragraphs, first as "bitter smile" and secondly as "faint smile," which I translated as "laughed to herself." I think "Youko shook her head with a rueful smile" is the more accurate version. However, "So, she thought, they have fairy tales in this world, too" is more accurate than: "And here, her world was a fairy tale as well."

      LIT: As she answered, she understood. The thought finally came to her that this was why kaikyaku were pursued.

My version of the last sentence is a tad more truncated than the TokyoPop version. I believe the the antecedent of "As she answered" is "She shook her head."

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