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Aida Mitsuo 
14th-Sep-2009 08:33 pm
A fellow teacher has put up Aida Mitsuo poems around our school and wants me to translate and write them in pretty cursive as well. I'm hoping to find a balance between the literal meaning and a poetic feeling in English.

You are supposed to know best
The one you know the least, yourself.

A lifetime of studying,
A lifetime of youth.

あなたの こころが
When you think about beautiful things,
your heart is beautiful.

(But why is utsukushii three times? Would it be better,)
When you think beautiful things are beautiful,

Right now, there is nothing but here, my life, and your life.
there is nothing here but my life and your life.

感動とは 感じて 動く と書くんだなあ
'Passion' is written with feeling and movement, right?
(How would you translate naa?)

Thanks for your help!
14th-Sep-2009 01:00 pm (UTC)
For the last, I wouldn't so much translate なあ but rather let it colour the whole sentence:

You really can't write "passion" without "emotion" and "motion".

This way, you get to allude to the 感-動 pun via the parallel emotion-motion.
14th-Sep-2009 04:09 pm (UTC)
This is probably totally wrong, but I read the penultimate one more as

My life
Your life
Here and now and never again

Antepenultimate I'd definitely use "beautiful" thrice, as in the original. My take:

When beautiful things
You can see as beautiful
Too your heart
Is beautiful

I'd also change the first one to

He whom a man seems to know best
He knows least: himself.

(not too sure about that ようで, but from my naive perspective it seems to mean something more like "seems to" than "is supposed to")

But don't put too much faith in the above, I'm not feeling very authoritative today :P I must say that I like khamura's suggestion (above), though.
15th-Sep-2009 01:39 am (UTC)
I absolutely despise Aida Mitsuo; I once bought a mini calendar of his and after having looked at a few pages of his meaningless drivel for weeks on end I couldn't take it any more so I threw it out.

But whatever, that's just me, and I don't mean to criticize anyone's taste, so I'll attempt my own translation for the first poem.

Me, that understands so little though I am thought to know so much.

(I don't feel it matters whether you use "seems" or "am thought" here, and I think this captures the very subtle narcissism of the original)
15th-Sep-2009 02:39 am (UTC)
And the "beautiful" one:

Beautiful is the heart of one who sees beauty in beautiful things.
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