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This is from Midnight Diner and it doesn't seem to match the English subtitle so was curious for a literal meaning and translation of this quote that I got from Japanese subtitle:

世の中は いっぱい いっぱい せいいっぱい 人生へこたれんなよ
Life is one hurdle after another. Don't lose heart.

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  • Do you know the verb へこたれる? While it's true that the line only makes sense with additional context, I suspect this might be the barrier to understanding.
    – jogloran
    Mar 26, 2022 at 19:13

2 Answers 2

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世の中は いっぱい いっぱい せいいっぱい

seems to be trying to make a rhyme here. So, it may mean more of a figurative manner and 'Life is one hurdle after another' sounds a good translation as an aphorism in my first impression when you encounter a lot of difficulties with a full energy.

  • いっぱい literally means 'full'.
  • いっぱいいっぱい is a set phrase and normally used to beyond one's control when one has too many things to deal with.
  • せいいっぱい literally means "Full energy".
  • へこたれる means gives up, so へこたれんなよ means "don't give up" or something like that.

There is a space in lyrics, so it does not explicitly say "いっぱいいっぱい” in a complainant sense and it implies a flavor of the set phrase.

Therefore, it probably implies something like "there are so many things to work on with your full energy to your limit" and "Never give up".

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It seems some words are being ommitted, so I'm not even sure what exactly means in Japanese. But I assume, "There is many difficulties in life, and you have to deal with it but try not to defeat".

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  • No words were omitted. It is verbatim from the Japanese subtitle, including the spaces.
    – Sagecedar
    Mar 26, 2022 at 18:24
  • I mean that's what most songs are. But 世の中はいっぱい world/society is full of something(which I guess difficulties since you try your best with), 精いっぱい means do your best, so translation seems matching to me.
    – shizuku
    Mar 27, 2022 at 2:19

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