What English would translate to:

「暗くなっている」// speaker location unspecified
「林が暗くなっている」 // speaker location implied as being in the forest?
「周囲の林が暗くなっている」 // speaker location implied as being on the perimeter of the forest?

So, when speaking, it's somewhat unnatural for an English native speaker to say:
"The perimeter of the forest is getting dark."
"The forest is getting dark." sounds much more natural.

So, why translate as "周囲の林が暗くなっている。」?.

Well it's to imply the speaker's location (and not a try at a direct translation), right?

2 Answers 2


「A の B」 = "B of A" ≠ "A of B" ← A fairly common mistake among J-learners.

「周囲{しゅうい}の林{はやし}」 = 「林 of 周囲」 ≠ 「周囲 of 林」

「周囲の林」, therefore, means "the surrounding woods" and not "the perimeter of the woods".

So, a sentence like "The surrounding woods are getting dark." or "It is getting dark in the surrounding woods." would best translate to 「周囲の林が暗くなっている。」.

  • Sorry do you mind if I ask a question about 暗くなっている? I've possibly mistakenly held both the definitions "is becoming, has become" for the phrase なっている. Certainly, now that I've see your answer, I see that when you say 暗くなっている aloud, it definitely sounds like it means "is becoming". Though is there ever a time where it means "has become"?
    – Rimilel
    Commented Aug 3, 2015 at 1:40
  • 1
    @Chronopolis Maybe you could post a spin-off question about 暗くなっている. By the way, there are four basic meanings to 〜ている, not just two: progressive (進行中), resultative (結果残存), habitual (習慣), and experiential (経験).
    – user1478
    Commented Aug 3, 2015 at 4:23
  • Not sure about the nuance of the Japanese sentence, but the nuance of your English translation is spot-on for the scene. In western culture, "darkness" is associated with "danger". And "なっている" is "becoming / approaching." And, indeed the person was being "approached by danger on all sides". If the Japanese also associated "darkness" with "danger", this might be a cross language metaphor. If a naturally sounding translated sentence captures, (1) things were getting dark, (2) feeling of approaching danger, then that is an awesome translation.
    – david.t
    Commented Aug 3, 2015 at 15:42
  • btw: I forgot to mention that I am translating a translation, so that is why my statements might have sounded so strange. I should have mentioned this from the start. Sorry if I was confusing. anyway, thanks.
    – david.t
    Commented Aug 3, 2015 at 17:18

You've confused 周囲の林.

周囲の林 = The surrounding forest

perimeter of the forest would be something like 林の周囲 http://ejje.weblio.jp/content/forest+edge

So the english translation would be:
The surrounding forest is growing dark / has grown dark.

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