Karleen C. Chinen
Usagi oishi ka no yama
Ko-buna tsurishi ka no kawa
Yume wa ima mo megurite
Ika ni imasu chichi-haha
Tsutsuganashi ya tomogaki
Ame ni, kaze ni tsukete mo
Kokorozashi o hata shite
Itsu no hi ni ka kaeran
Yama wa aoki furusato
Mizu wa kiyoki furusato
I chased after rabbits on that mountain.
I fished for minnow in that river.
I still dream of those days even now
Oh, how I miss my old country home.
Father and mother — are they doing well?
Is everything well with my old friends?
When the rain falls, when the wind blows,
I stop and recall of my old country home.
Some day when I have done what I set out to do,
I’ll return home one of these days
Where the mountains are green, my old country home,
Where the waters are clear, my old country home.
“Furusato”— Music by Teiichi Okano, lyrics by Tatsuyuki Takano
Are you familiar with this century-old Japanese children’s song, “Furusato?” I’d heard the melody before, but I didn’t know the lyrics or what they meant until I attended a Honolulu Fukushima Kenjin Kai event late last year at which there was group singing of this song. Fortunately for me, the lyrics and translation were printed on the program that was distributed to the attendees.
There are other songs that speak to the longing to return to one’s furusato, meaning “old home” or “hometown.” My favorite is a song by Japanese pianist/singer Mayumi Itsuwa titled “Shiosai.” The Obunsha dictionary defines shiosai as the “murmuring of a rising tide.” It was a recurring tune in former newscaster Bob Jones’ 1985 Japanese centennial documentary, “Land of the Rising Sun.” You can find the tune on YouTube.com.
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