“Bonfire” by Kunikida Doppo (opening paragraph/sentence)

So I’ve been pretty busy and I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do next. I’m thinking of translating this story by Kunikida Doppo, a fantastic writer from the Meiji period of Japan (1868-1912). I read this story at Cal. It’s very poetic but really difficult. The language is very old-sounding, not modern at all. I’ve just written up the first sentence/paragraph here. In the Japanese it’s one long sentence, and I tried to retain that in my translation, along with the general order of the images in the original Japanese. Not sure how well it worked.

~苦栗鼠

*****

Original:

北風を背になし、枯草白き砂山の崕がけに腰かけ、足なげいだして、伊豆連山のかなたに沈む夕日の薄き光を見送りつ、沖おきより帰る父の舟ふね遅おそしとまつ逗子ずしあたりの童わらべの心、その淋さびしさ、うら悲しさは如何あるべき。

Translation:

Back to the north wind, legs thrown out over the bluff amid the white dunes and withered grasses, watching the dimming light of the sun sinking into the Izu Mountains, and waiting for his father’s boat, already late, to return from the open sea—how lonely, how utterly miserable the young boy from Zushi must feel, deep in his heart.

*****

Note: Here is a google maps link to the city called Zushi in Japan. If you zoom out you can see across the bay where Izu and the mountains referred to here are.

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