It's dilemma, it's de-limit, it's Dejiiimaaa

Hello, tidal wave of guests from Mr Den Beste's site. You caught me at a boring time, sorry. Perhaps this gallery of old pictures of bicycles in Japan, courtesy of the Japanese Bicycle History Research Club, will interest you. Should you thirst for more knowledge, I can also recommend their detailed history on the topic.

I got an Iwanami Bunko collection of drawings and cartoons by Charles "Japan Punch" Wirgman for 105 yen at Book Off, and let me tell you, that was a good investment. If nothing else, it was worth 105 yen to see this marvellously bad translation of a certain Shakespeare speech, here transcribed as best as I can understand the words written beneath his sketch of the soliliquatulating actor.

Arimas, arimasen, are wa nan deska:--
Moshi motto daijobu atama naka, itai arimas
Nawa mono to ha ichiban warui takusan ichiban;
Arui ude torimasu muko mendo koto umi
Soshte, bobbery [??] itashimas o shimai? Shindanji, neru
Mada; sorekara, nerve de hanashi mo yoroshi
Kokori itai to issen mainichi bonkotz
Ushi ototsan arimas. Sore wa dekimashta mono
Takusan shimashta, shindanji;-- neru; --
Neru! Okata nise haikin, sayo achira skoshi serampan;
Kara ano shindanji no neru, nani nise haikin dekimas
Kono nangai shindanji mono piggy [??] shimashita,
Skoshi mate sinjo:
It seems that this might be the earliest (surviving) translation of Shakespeare into Japanese, although obviously it wasn't done by a person who had any great facility with the language. ("It's there, it's not, what is that?" would not be a bad back-translation of the first line.)

At this site here I found a list of a few others, from the extremely wordy 1880s version "ながらふべきか但し又、ながらふべきに非ざるか、ここが思案のしどころぞ" to the punchy just-before-1900 "生か、死か、それが疑問だ".

Could nise haikin ("dream") really be 偽拝見? I have no idea why shindanji means "death", though.

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Never mind the shindanji aside, I'm intrigued by the piggy!

The Livedoor Goyaku Bunkou (if that's not familiar, you've not dropped by for a while!) offers this:

ある、あるいはないこと--それは問題です:かどうか「苦しむ心においてより高貴なtis 法外な運の三角巾および矢あるいは問題の海に対する腕をとることそして終了への反対によって、それら。眠るために死ぬこと--それ以上ない--また、言う睡眠によって、私たちは終了します。

And it goes on. I kinda like the "Dying in order to sleep...there's no more than that" bit. And no doubt the "arm sling of extralegal destiny" will come in handy (with arrows!) for that muscle-strained "sea of problems"-opposing arm?

(Drat. Now I'm going to have to go looking for the real translation!)

Continuing silliness aside, you've inspired me to have another looksee/go at an old pet project: translating Kawabata's Tanagokoro no Shousetsu.


And then, by the sleep we speak, we conclude.

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