I was translating this song (full lyrics here) and I ran across this phrase:

歪み 並ぶ 使い捨てのレール

I was thinking that it would make sense if 歪み modified レール - "We chose (in the song, they are on a train, so I believe that the general feeling is that the train is doing this action) to go down the warped, obsolete rail" would make sense to me. Does that work? Despite 並ぶ between them, can 歪み be modifying レール? It was the only way I could make sense of it, but maybe I'm wrong.

Thank you for your help!

  • 「(歪んで並ぶ)(使い捨ての)レール」ってことじゃないですかね・・ "(laid warped) (disposal) rails" みたいな・・
    – chocolate
    May 31, 2017 at 15:21

1 Answer 1


Here are the four lines in the same stanza:

裂けて 避けた 鈍行列車
点いて 消える きまぐれ信号
直せ 叩け 切り換えスイッチ
歪み 並ぶ 使い捨てのレール

Do you see the "verb + verb + (topic) noun" pattern on each line? Essentially these lines are a list of four nouns, just like "parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme." I don't think it's a good idea to suddenly assume the train as the subject of the fourth line. The express train is going back to a garage (車庫に入ります) after this scene, then why does it have to choose an obsolete railway? (BTW, 使い捨て is usually disposable or single-use, but I think obsolete is fine here.)

A rather literal translation would be "(There are) distorted and obsolete railways running side by side". 歪み is the continuous form of 歪む and it safely modifies レール in combination of 並ぶ. As I mentioned in the other question, I guess these four lines describe a passing loop where local trains avoid (避ける) faster trains.

Possible interpretations are 1) someone saw the local train, the signal light, the switch and the obsolete railroads from inside the express train, or 2) this scene is depicted totally from the third-person objective viewpoint. I prefer the latter; I see very little intention or will throughout the lyrics, and I don't want to use the first-person viewpoint (i.e., "I" or "we") too much. I feel it's better to translate the song as if you were a transparent portrait painter or a ghost camera operator.

  • Thank you for your answer. The third person perspective is supported by the title (Impression of Rumination), and it does seem to make more sense that way.
    – Smoothie
    Jun 2, 2017 at 3:08

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .