Things we lost in translation: George Asakura’s love letters

a_perfect_day_for_love_letters_v1.a_perfect_day_for_love_letters_v1_pg0001
courtesy of Mangahere http://www.mangahere.co/manga/koibumi_biyori/v01/c001/

Yes, I read mangas. I’d say this is my biggest guilty pleasure. As I have said elsewhere, I read mangas when I want to read simply for my enjoyment. Reading mangas gives my reprieve, which is why I hold on to this guilty pleasure stubbornly.

I read the work from George Asakura (and this work particularly) when I was a senior in high school. And yes, it is the love letters that drew my interest. It might sound cheesy, but I will not even try to defend my interest. It’s mine and mine alone.

Reading this manga was worth it for me because of one particular letter in the first story ‘Love Letters in the LIbrary’ I’m not going to explain the story, it is the letter in the story that struck my attention:

You are like snow
you make me white and cold
then you make me freeze
you are snow.

I still want to be close to you,
I’m an idiot.

Yes, that is the English translation of the letter. I have no idea how the original version sounds, but that translation was not the version of the letter that has been stuck in my brains for years. I first read the Indonesian version of the letter:

“Kau adalah salju.
Kau adalah salju yang menyejukkan dan membuatku
beku.
Dan aku merasa sangat bodoh karena begitu ingin dekat
denganmu.”

Everyone speaking Indonesia would tell you that it is poetic. It was interesting for me to challenge myself whether I can translate it with a more poetic nuance. Here’s my effort:

“You are snow.
You are the snow that cools and freezes me.
And I feel like an idiot for desperately wanting to be close to you.”

Is that poetic?

 

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