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Here is part of the lyrics of Mai Kuraki's Time After Time:

風舞う花びらが
水面を撫でるように
大切に想うほど切なく…

人は皆 孤独と言うけれど
探さずにはいられない 誰かを
儚く壊れやすいものばかり
追い求めてしまう

Time after time
君と色づく街で
出逢えたらもう約束はいらない
誰よりもずっと傷付きやすい君の
そばにいたい今度はきっと

The full lyrics can be found here, in case someone wants to see them. This passage I translate to:

The flower petals dancing in the wind
Seem to be stroking the water's surface
The more [I] believe [they] are important, the more [I] suffer…

Although all people say they are lonely (lit. "say «loneliness»")
[They look for] someone [they] can't depend on if [they] don't look for [them]
[But] only fragile and transient things
[They] end up pursuing

Time after time
If with you in the city of changing hues
[I] were to meet, [I] would never need promises
Of you, who are always easier to wound than anyone,
I want to stay at the side, this time, surely.

I have a couple of questions:

  1. The main question is about 探さずにはいられない 誰かを. Analyzing it, I see sagasazu, from sagasu, to look for, which is a negative connective form, so not looking for, then ni, stessing the "adverbial" nature of sagasazu, wa, marking the lot as a topic, irarenai, negative potential of iru (要る, I take it, but surely not 居る), to depend on, to need, dareka, someone, and wo, marking dareka as object. So the translation should be:

    someone (obj) from whom [they] cannot depend if without looking for [him/her]

    The question of course is: what is the verb holding this object? The subject is probably mina in the line above, as in the whole verse, meaning everyone.

  2. Then we have this "water's surface", which has come out of nothing since I don't remember anything before or afterwards referring to water, so what water is it?

  3. What is the subject of 大切に想うほど切なく…?
  4. Why do some translations refer the "always" to "I want to be" when zutto is in the middle of the relative clause dare yori mo zutto kizutsuki yasui kimi?
  5. The mono in koware yasui mono, is it (people) or (things)?

closed as too broad by snailboat Aug 9 '14 at 14:55

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    We would still prefer if you asked one question per question when possible. This is better than when you asked 7 questions in one about the same song, but it's still not quite ideal. – snailboat Aug 9 '14 at 8:48
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    Also, ずっと often appears in comparative constructions. See よりもずっと on ALC – snailboat Aug 9 '14 at 9:17
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① 誰かを探す
何々せずにはいられない ~= 何々しないではいられない (=居られない)

人は皆 孤独と言うけれど
They say we're all alone, but
探さずにはいられない 誰かを
I can't help but look... for someone

② It's water in general; no context is needed.

風舞う花びらが
like petals dancing in the wind
水面を撫でるように
caressing the water's surface
大切に想うほど切なく…
the more precious you feel them, the more painful

④ Could be ambiguous
誰よりも ずっと傷付きやすい 君のそばにいたい今度はきっと
or
誰よりも ずっと 傷付きやすい君のそばに いたい 今度はきっと
though the former is probably more likely with this phrasing.

⑤ Either interpretation is probably ok; hence the かな.

  • So you are saying that the subject from sagasazu to shimau is always "I"? And how should I guess the subject in point 3 is you rather than I? Is that you meant to be sort of impersonal or is it the person the song addresses? – MickG Aug 9 '14 at 9:38
  • And one last comment: iru is used there in the potential form, so the construction literally means "I can't exist without ~ing". – MickG Aug 9 '14 at 9:45
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    @MickG ① ~~せずにはい(居)られない is a set phrase, meaning "can't help but do~~". The subject of 探さずにはいられない and 追い求めてしまう is "人(は皆)". It's saying 「『人というものは、皆、孤独なものだ。』と、(一般的に/よく)言うけれど、それでも、(人というものは)誰かを探さずにはいられないものだ。(人というものは)儚く壊れやすいものばかり追い求めてしまうものだ。」 ④ The ずっと means はるかに. (≒誰よりもはるかに傷つきやすい; way more sensitive; way more easily hurt than anyone) ⑤ It's 物, not 者. We might say 儚い人生 or 儚い(人の)命, but not 儚い者 or 儚い人. – user1016 Aug 10 '14 at 3:33

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