Maplopo Presents:

Intermediate Japanese Language Learning with Dazai Osamu

Complimentary Japanese Reading Lessons From Maplopo Schoolhouse

Season ONE—水仙 (Page thirty one)


EP.31 Spotlight: ともなれば, Dazai Osamu (太宰治), Daffodil (水仙)

Video file / Audio File / Online Intermediate Japanese Course

ともなれば, EP.31 transcript | Intermediate and Advanced Japanese

[Quiet Piano Jazz Music Playing]
As we approach the end of paragraph five, let’s talk a little bit about situational change.
First, let’s listen to Dazai’s passage.
(Speaking Japanese)
“If those of us living in a row house asked this,
‘Do you think I’m great?’
‘I don’t think so.’
And, just like that things would be over no problem. But, if a lord were to ask the same
question, things wouldn’t go so well.”
Your examples:
(Speaking Japanese—1st Reading)
(Speaking Japanese—2nd Reading)
“As a rising actor, I’d imagine there would be months of working without a day off.”
(Speaking Japanese—1st Reading)
(Speaking Japanese—2nd Reading)
“If the interview team from the magazine is coming next week, we’ll need to tidy up the living room.”
Our expression today is: ともなれば.
There’s a little bit of structure to pay attention to, but most of it is about meaning.
So, let’s first look at the structure, though.
Before ともなれば, you either have a verb or a noun.
So, in our first example, the “interview example” we have a verb.
And, in the “actor example” … and Dazai’s example, there is a noun preceding this expression.
Okay? Let’s talk about what this basically means.
So, as I said at the outset, this is some sort of situational change, right?
And, it’s centered around some sort of, um, time element, or age element… a role, or an event.
And, these things happen…, and then there is some inevitable change that occurs as a
result of that thing happening.
So, when this situation (let’s say, time) reaches a certain place, uh, the circumstances
surrounding that event then change accordingly.
To kind of paraphrase myself a little bit, if the situation reaches a certain stage,
then the circumstances will inevitably incur changes along with it.
So, if we’re talking about time for example, we might say something like:
“Well, when winter comes we’re definitely going to have to pull down the awnings.”
If we’re talking about age, we might say something like: “Well, um, as we get into adulthood,
there’s no doubt we’re gonna have to become more serious about life.”
Something like that, right?
And, to just kind of reiterate, if we wanted to think about a role, Dazai’s sentence is
a great example of that.
And, an event like the interview team coming to interview you for Vogue Magazine’s “75
Questions” … (maybe you’ll be at that stage someday), then, uh, that would cover that.
One thing that’s worth noting here with regard to this expression, is that there’s an element
of “you” in it (or, the speaker) in it.
It’s the speaker’s judgment that this thing, uh, that’s changing is going to result in some
additional changes, right?
So, not everybody thinks that becoming an adult requires “becoming an adult” and making
adult decisions, but generally speaking people do, and you do probably feel the same way, right?
Um, so there is this factor at play.
It’s clear in Dazai’s example, and it’s clear in these other examples (that I didn’t just
kind of whip up off the top of my head), I hope.
Um, that’s worth considering.
The other thing that might be worth pointing out here is that, um, you may be inclined
to think of this as similar to an if/then situation—especially if you find sentences
with “if” in the example.
But, it’s not, really.
It’s different.
It’s more about this motion or movement into another category.
So, you’re moving from one place to another, situationally, and you are kind of talking
about something that is happening now (or, might happen now).
Dazai’s example is a hypothetical situation, right?
But on the whole it’s not about being hypothetical, it’s about changing one place… one situation…
to another.
When that situation changes, another thing is basically going to happen.
[Quiet Piano Jazz Music Playing]

Japanese Practice Tests
Dazai Suisen Banner Ad Vertical, SP

Next Lesson

Or, return to lesson ONE!