Another Lee Jeok song. Well, kind of. It’s Lee Jeok’s cover of Yoon Jongshin’s “That Day from Long Ago” for Yoon Jongshin’s “Monthly Melody” of December 2013. This cover, like Sung Sikyung’s cover of “Tomorrow’s Things to Do,” stuck to me for a while and has remained a song I enjoy listening to even as I happen upon new releases or old songs for the first time. There’s a solemn, sorrowful quality to that oddly draws my attention. Maybe it isn’t so odd that I like this song if my previous translations pose any indication of my music taste (and enjoyment of ballads), but this song feels especially slow. Perhaps because of the slow, pulsed piano notes in the instrumental and the sustained notes in the song. There’s an encumbered, dragging pace to it as if something heavy (emotions?) is being protracted and stretched as far as possible, so much so that you linger on every step you take as you bear a heavy weight. I almost feel as if the song drags me with it, making me a bit solemn or sad with each listen even if I’m not originally in a downcast mood. And is it weird that I kind of like the feeling of being slowed down and weighed down by this song? Or maybe it’s just that I feel like I can relate to it.

With this song, I posted a few translation notes that I thought worthy of mention under the cut. Also under the cut is Yoon Jongshin’s original version from 1993. It definitely has a quality different from Lee Jeok’s version, and I think it’s in a higher key (correct me if I’m wrong).

Translation Notes:

  1. The phrases “several suns have passed” and “several suns passed” seems to be a common, but more formal, Korean expression referring the passage of several years.
  2. Some lines can be phrased as questions or statements, and I phrased them as either according to what I thought sounded best. Such lines are marked with asterisks (*).
  3. The line “이해했던 만큼 미움도 커졌었지만,” or “As much as I understood, my hate grew, but,” might be better translated as “Although I understood, my hate grew just as much.” However, I thought that the placement of “만,” or “although/but” at the end of the line according to Korean grammar made it sound like the thought continued into the chorus, “Today I gave thanks,” thus making the thought expressed something like, “As much as I understood, my hate grew, but today I gave thanks…”

Korean:

교복을 벗고 처음으로 만났던 너
그때가 너도 가끔 생각나니
뭐가 그렇게도 좋았었는지 우리들만 있으면

너의 집 데려다 주던 길을 걸으며
수줍게 나눴던 많은 꿈
너를 지켜주겠다던 다짐 속에
그렇게 몇 해는 지나

너의 새 남자친구 얘길 들었지
나 제대하기 얼마 전
이해했던 만큼 미움도 커졌었지만

오늘 난 감사드렸어
몇 해 지나 얼핏 너를 봤을 때
누군가 널 그처럼 아름답게 지켜주고 있었음을
그리고 지금 내 곁엔
나만을 믿고 있는 한 여자와
잠 못 드는 나를 달래는 오래전 그 노래만이

새 학기가 시작되는 학교에는
그 옛날 우리의 모습이 있지
뭔가 분주하게 약속이 많은 스무 살의 설레임

너의 학교 그 앞을 난 가끔 거닐지
일상에 찌들어 갈 때면
우리 슬픈 계산은 없었던 시절
난 만날 수 있을 테니

너의 새 남자친구 얘길 들었지
나 제대하기 얼마 전
이해했던 만큼 미움도 커졌었지만

오늘 난 감사드렸어
몇 해 지나 얼핏 너를 봤을 때
누군가 널 그처럼 아름답게 지켜주고 있었음을
그리고 지금 내 곁엔
나만을 믿고 있는 한 여자와
잠 못 드는 나를 달래는 오래전 그 노래만이

English Translation:

You, who [I] met for the first time while taking off [my] school uniform,
Do you also sometimes think of that time?
Something/what [was it that] was so nice like that, as long as we were there*

As [we] walked on the road to your home,
the many dreams [we] shyly shared
In the promise that [I’d] protect you,
Like that, several suns have passed

I heard about your new boyfriend,
a little while before I was discharged from the military
As much as I understood, my hate grew, but

Today I gave thanks,
as I saw you for the first time since several suns have passed
Someone was beautifully protecting you like that
And now, at my side, is
a girl who believes only in me, with
that song from long ago that can only calm my sleepless self

At the school that is starting a new semester,
our figures from times long past are there
Something about the fluttering of being twenty, busy with promises

In front of your school, I sometimes walk
when I am worn by life on a daily basis
The time when we didn’t have sad calculations,
might I be able to meet it?*

I heard about your new boyfriend,
a little while before I was discharged from the military
As much as I understood, my hate grew, but

Today I gave thanks,
as I saw you for the first time since several suns have passed
Someone was beautifully protecting you like that
And now, at my side, is
a girl who believes only in me, with
that song from long ago that can only calm my sleepless self