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I'm trying to translate a line from an English song (Journey) and it goes like this:

"She took a midnight train going anywhere"

So far, I've ended up with this:

彼女は真夜中列車が乗りましたどこ でも行きます (Kanojo wa mayonaka ressha ga norimashita doko demo ikimasu)

but I feel my sentence structure is probably wrong.

Oh and one more from the song that goes, "Their shadows searching in the night" As easy as that one may seem, I'm having major difficulties translating that into Japanese.

I just need these two lines.

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Ain't no room for です/ます in rock'n roll, dude! – l'électeur Feb 23 '14 at 13:24
Maybe you can tell us for what purpose you are translating those two lines. That'll make it easier to find the best translation. – Earthliŋ Feb 24 '14 at 0:32
various blogs are saying 真夜中の列車に乗り あてもなく旅立った – ssb Feb 24 '14 at 0:35
@Tokyo Nagoya Turns out I don't have enough "Japanese Sense" (if you will) to realize that haha xD – Ash Feb 24 '14 at 1:51
The original is 11 syllables. Your Japanese is 25 moras. All of the answers are long, too. If you want to be able to sing the translation to the original song, you'll probably want to make it shorter... – snailboat Feb 24 '14 at 2:40

3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

I would say:


By "midnight train" do you mean an overnight train? Or just a 終電 last train?

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I think probably both would fit. – Ash Feb 24 '14 at 1:55
+1 for 終電, which I think makes the premise of the song delightfully mundane. – Questioner Feb 24 '14 at 2:23
@ Dave M G Agreed, I think that would sound the best – Ash Feb 24 '14 at 2:26
Any reason for selecting 「乗っちゃった」? – l'électeur Feb 24 '14 at 3:22
@TokyoNagoya: Yes, I wanted to express the fact that she acted on an impulse (I presume) and that there is no coming back (I presume). Maybe 乗ってしまった or something else would express that better? – Nicolas Raoul Feb 24 '14 at 3:29

I'd go for


What gets lost is that the English can be interpreted two ways: (1) she gets on some train and goes anywhere and (2) she gets on a train, which goes anywhere.

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Is あてもなく really "anywhere", though? My dictionary lists it as "aimless, randomly". I'm not sure that's the same nuance as "anywhere". Saying she's going aimlessly means she doesn't care where she ends up, whereas in the song she wants to end up somewhere better than her home town. Anwyhere will do, but it has to at least meet that criteria, so it can't be entirely random. Unless あてもなく has a broader nuance than what the dictionary is telling me? – Questioner Feb 25 '14 at 2:54
@DaveMG いくあて or ゆくあて (or あてもなく) don't seem to have their own entry in 大辞泉 or 大辞林, for example, although in Wiktionary does have いくあて. I understand いくあてもなく to mean simply "without a (specific) destination", although あてもなく is often seen with 彷徨う or 歩きまわる to express something like "wandering aimlessly". – Earthliŋ Feb 25 '14 at 15:54

I would say


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I'm not sure why this is getting downvotes (recently there seem to be some very aggressive downvoters on JLU). 夜行列車 seems like a very good translation of "midnight train". If there's something wrong grammatically with this sentence, I would certainly like to know what it is, and if someone could explain, that would be much more helpful than just downvoting. – Questioner Feb 25 '14 at 2:49

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