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Thread: A long sentence I can't understand

  1. #1
    Registered User 下級員 / Kakyuuin / Jr. Member Aarowaim's Avatar
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    A long sentence I can't understand

    Alright, I'm reading an older manga (early 70s) and I have found a portion which is a little to long for me to make sense of. The context is simply a very rainy day and a young girl comments on how depressing the weather is. An older man says in response to this:

    この雨が――稲作を中心にした日本の文化をつくる上で重要な役割を果たしている――とは知ってはいるものの……

    If I parse this sentence into smaller pieces, I get:
    この雨が
    This rain
    稲作を中心にした
    Centered on rice fields
    日本の文化をつくる
    Making Japanese civilization
    上で重要な役割絵を果たしている
    On top, playing an essential role
    とは知ってはいるものの
    Is something I know we need

    So, it seems that the meaning is along the lines of:
    More than that, I know for a fact that it (the rain) is playing an essential role in building Japan's civilization, which depends on rice farming.

    I'm not absolutely sure of this interpretation, mostly because the sentence is one of the longest I have had to read and has the most subordinate clauses. If anything, I can handle two or three concrete noun phrases at a time, but this one is pretty abstract. To add to my confusion, it's nested a full 6 layers deep. I don't have many problems with sentences that consist of 3 or 4 parts, besides the occasional silly mistake which good proofreading can catch, but this stretches the boundary of my ability to comprehend as of now.

    Thanks in advance for any help ^_^

    EDIT: I think the part that trips me up is the use of /上/ in this context. Perhaps it means something like 'on the bright side'? Also, the 知ってはいるものの part doesn't entirely make sense to me, as I haven't seen it before. I know テ形の動詞+も
    Last edited by Aarowaim; June 08, 2013 at 10:17 PM.
    There is a fine line between bad and good, and an even finer line between good and great.
    Even the most impossible dreams can become possible with time.

  2. #2
    Translator/Moderator 英雄メンバー / Eiyuu Menbaa / Hero Member
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    Re: A long sentence I can't understand

    ~の上で:~するにあたって, ~するという意味では, ~する時の (when doing~; in terms of ~)
    ~ものの:~が; けれど (Although ~ , Though~, ~ but)

    この雨が、(稲作を中心にした日本文化をつくるにあたって)重要な役割を果たしていると知っている... 

    This is actually not a full sentence. Abbreviated part that you don't translate after this partial sentence would be something opposite from the benefit of the rain, for example "I still don't like the rain." 

    Basic structure
    I know that XXX, but ...

  3. #3
    Registered User 下級員 / Kakyuuin / Jr. Member Aarowaim's Avatar
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    Re: A long sentence I can't understand

    Ah, thanks again mikkih! The 'opposite' that you mentioned happens to exist just before the incomplete sentence. Before he says that, he says 「まったくじゃな…」.

    With いる being in front of ものの, I was tempted to interpret it as いるもの + の, rather than as ものの, which I have encountered only once or twice before. The two portions which you defined for me were definitely what was tripping me up, as I hadn't really bumped into either one often enough to know them.
    There is a fine line between bad and good, and an even finer line between good and great.
    Even the most impossible dreams can become possible with time.

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