Nante kanshin-na ojōsan-nano!

by Akemi Tanahashi and Hitomi Tashiro

Nante kanshin-na ojōsan-nano! (What an admirable girl she is!)

Situation 1: At home, Takako is talking to her mother about a classmate of hers.

たか子: クラスメートの山崎さん、お母さんが入院したんだって。それで、毎日自分のおべんとうを作って持ってくるの。

母: まあ、何て感心なおじょうさんなの!

Takako: Kurasumēto-no Yamazaki-san, okāsan-ga nyūin-shita-n-datte. Sorede, mainichi jibun-no obentō-wo tsukutte motte-kuru-no.

Haha: Ma, nante kanshin-na ojōsan-nano!

Takako: I heard my classmate Yamazaki’s mother was hospitalized, so every day she makes her own bento (boxed lunch), which she brings to school.

Mother: Oh, what an admirable girl she is!

Today we will introduce the usage of the two nouns that are homonyms but are written with different kanji, かんしん(感心)and かんしん(関心), and their related expressions. 感心 (admiration) is a noun but is mainly used in the form of a na-adjective 感心な (admirable), as the mother uses it in Situation 1. It is a word to be used to praise others, but note that in this usage, it should not be used to praise the speaker’s superiors. Also the form of suru-verb 感心する is often used to express the speaker’s admiration as in: なかなかうまいことを言(い)うものだと感心した (I was impressed by how he described it).

Situation 2: Mr. Tian and his client Mr. Suzuki are chatting.

ティエン: いよいよ4月から、消費税が上がりますね。

鈴木: ええ。消費税は私達の生活に直結しますからね。政治に関心を持たないわけにはいきませんよ。

Tian: Iyoiyo shigatsu-kara, shōhizei-ga agarimasu-ne.

Suzuki: Ee. Shōhizei-wa watashitachi-no seikatsu-ni chokketsu-shimasu-kara-ne. Seiji-ni kanshin-wo motanai wake-niwa ikimasen-yo.

Tian: The consumption tax will finally be raised in April.

Suzuki: Yes. We can’t help having an interest in politics, since the consumption tax is directly connected with our lives.

関心(かんしん)is used in the form of a noun, as in ~に関心をもつ/がある (to be interested). There is no suru-verb form. Its na-adjective form is only in the negative form 無(む)関心な as follows: 政治に無関心な若者(わかもの)が増(ふ)えている (The number of the young people who are indifferent to the politics is growing).

Bonus Dialogue: Two young colleagues are chatting.

セレ: ソチオリンピックはいよいよ後半戦(こうはんせん)だ。

三田: とくに、フィギュアスケートは関心(かんしん)を集(あつ)めているね。

セレ: スキージャンプもすばらしかったよ。高梨(たかなし)沙羅(さら)、まだ高校(こうこう)生(せい)だって?

三田: 若(わか)いのに、あんなに自分(じぶん)をコントロールできるなんて、ほんとに感心(かんしん)するよ。ぼくも高校生のときスキーに行(い)ったけど動機(どうき)は不純(ふじゅん)だったな。スキー場(じょう)で人気者(にんきもの)になって、かわいいガールフレンドができるかも、と期待(きたい)したんだ。

セレ: 三田くんは、高校時代(じだい)の関心事(じ)も、ガールフレンドだったわけ?

三田: あれっ、だれでもそうじゃない? セレくんは、ちがうの?

セレ: え、まあ、そういえばそうだけど…。でも、オリンピック選手(せんしゅ)になるような人(ひと)たちは、その種目(しゅもく)の上達(じょうたつ)だけをしんけんに考(かんが)えているんじゃないかな。

三田: そうか、その結果(けっか)、人気者になるわけだ! じゃあぼくは、しっかり仕事(しごと)をがんばろう。そうすると、きっとかわいいガールフレンドができるはずだ。

Sere: The Sochi Olympics are now half way though.

Mita: The figure skating, especially, is getting a lot of interest, isn’t it?

Sere: The ski jumping was wonderful, too. Sara Takanashi is still a high school student, isn’t she?

Mita: I admire that she can control herself like that despite being so young. I used to go skiing when I was a high school student, but my motivation was not pure; I expected to be popular among the girls and get a pretty girlfriend on the slopes.

Sere: The main thing you were concerned with at high school was getting a girlfriend, right, Mita?

Mita: Oh, isn’t that every man’s greatest wish? Isn’t it yours?

Sere: Well, perhaps yes. But those who become Olympic athletes only think about improving their skills, I guess.

Mita: I see, and they become popular as a result. In that case I’ll become a hard worker in this office — then I’ll be able to get a pretty girlfriend.