Save perhaps Eärendil at the Door of Night

(Okuru tsukihi ni sekimori nashi; “Time has no gatekeeper”)


Time passes quickly. There is no guard blocking the paths of months and days, and they cannot be stopped. “Time and tide wait for no one.”


We begin with the verb 送る (okuru), “to send,” “to say farewell (to),” “to spend (time),” in prenominal form. This allows it to attach to, and modify, compound noun 月日 (tsukihi), literally “months and days,” more metaphorically “time.” Locational particle に (ni) marks this passing time as the (notional) site or possessor of 関守 (sekimori), “gatekeeper.” But at the end, describing the gatekeeper, we have adjective なし (nashi), “not,” in conclusive form.


Some versions do without the modifying 送る, beginning with 月日.

Note that in Japan, 関守 denotes a guard at one of the 関所 (sekisho), gates blocking off major roadways so that government officials could question travelers, apprehend criminals, and collect taxes. They were used as far back as the Asuka period (6th century CE) and were only discontinued in the second year of the Meiji era (1869)!

Example sentence:


(“A- to iu ma ni natsu ga owatte aki ni nacchatta ne. Hontou ni, okuru tsukihi ni sekimori nashi yo nee.” “Sou ne… e, chotto matte. Natsuyasumi no shukudai wa? Shita?”)

[“Summer’s over in the blink of an eye and it’s already fall. Time really does have no gatekeeper, eh?” “Indeed… hang on. How about your summer-vacation homework? Did you do it?”]

About Confanity

I love the written word more than anything else I've had the chance to work with. I'm back in the States from Japan for grad school, but still studying Japanese with the hope of becoming a translator -- or writer, or even teacher -- as long as it's something language-related.
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