ringo no uta by shiina ringo

apple song
lyrics: shiina ringo

you would like to know my name wouldnt you
but i cant seem to remember just now how sad

please give me a fitting name
call me however you wish
a name like those flowers that blossom in may

when the akebia opens it signals the return of autumn
a season that is so very quiet are you lonely

allow me to wipe the tears from your face
see very soon i too will bear fruit
in winter i am filled with nectar and am delivered to you

i so admire you humans
the way you can cry and laugh its marvelous

i just remembered my name
and it is as you say i am apple
every year i deliver to you my delicious fruit
eat of me
the fruit of sin

さくし: しいなりんご


5がつにはなをさかす わたしに にあいのなを


ふゆにはみつをいれて あなたに おとどけします

わたしがあこがれているのは にんげんなのです
ないたりわらったりできる ことがすてき



The original lyrics, as you can see, are written entirely in hiragana without the use of kanji, much the way a small child would write. To replicate the odd appearance of this, I have avoided punctuation and capitalization in my translation.


Shiina Ringo’s “Kabukichou no joou”



蝉の声を聞く度に 目に浮かぶ九十九里浜
皺々の祖母の手を離れ 独りで訪れた歓楽街

ママは此処の女王様 生き写しの様なあたし
誰しもが手を伸べて 子供ながらに魅せられた歓楽街

十五になったあたしを 置いて女王は消えた




其処はあたしの庭 大遊戯場歌舞伎町


* * *

The Queen of Kabukichou

Lyrics: Shiina Ringo
Translation: Alex Fyffe and Yumi Hori

Whenever I hear cicadas singing, I am reminded of Kujuukuri-hama
I let go of my grandmother’s wrinkled hand and wandered alone into the redlight district

My mom was the queen of this place, and I looked just like her
I was only a child, but strangers would take me by the hand to show me around the redlight district

When I was fifteen, she left without a trace
She’s probably living with that man who came by every Friday

“All things that rise must surely fall”
I learned the meaning of these words when I first set foot in the redlight district

Although I detested her for disappearing, it’s summer now
And I am proud to wear the title of Queen

I only became a woman by selling myself
But the day I ask for pity will be the day I lose everything

If you take the east exit from JR Shinjuku station,
You will see my garden, the great playground Kabukichou

Starting tonight, I am the queen of this city


This was the first song I translated back in April or May of 2005 thanks to the generous help of Yumi Hori. Since then, the original translation has undergone various edits and changes. The last line, in particular, is difficult to settle on, since the literal meaning (From tonight, in this city, I, the daughter, am queen) sounds very awkward in English. Originally, I tried to stick to the literal line (From now on, I, the daughter, will be queen of the city), but it never felt right. I worked my way around some of the awkwardness by keeping the intent but changing some of the words (From tonight, this city has a new queen), but it still felt off. So, for now at least, I’m settling on “Starting tonight, I am the queen of this city.” There may be a more fluid way of making the narrator refer to herself as the queen’s daughter (from tonight, the daughter is the queen?), but nothing I’ve thought of works very well, so I’ll stick with what I’ve got.