Kurarinetto-toka furūto-toka naratte-mitai-to omotte-iru-n-da. (I want to take clarinet or flute lessons or something.)

Situation 1: Ms. Tamachi and Ms. Gray are chatting about music lessons.

田町: 私、クラリネットとかフルートとか習ってみたいと思っているんだ。今、いい教室がないか、探しているの。

グレイ: へえ、楽しそう。私も子どものころ、ピアノを習っていたのよ。

Tamachi: Watashi, kurarinetto-toka furūto-toka naratte-mitai-to omotte-iru-n-da. Ima, ii kyōshitsu-ga nai-ka, sagashite-iru-no.

Gray: Hē, tanoshisō. Watashi-mo kodomo-no koro, piano-wo naratte-ita-no-yo.

Tamachi: I want to take clarinet or flute lessons or something. Now, I’m looking for a good class.

Gray: Oh, that sounds fun. I took piano lessons when I was a child.

Today, we will introduce some usages of とか, which lists examples. XとかYとか is used to show similar examples, and is almost the same in the meaning of XやYなど. But, XとかYとか is mainly used in casual spoken language. X and Y are nouns or verbs in plain form or adjectives. When X and Y are verbs, する attaches to the last とか as in XとかYとかする. When X and Y are nouns, the pattern of XとかYとかの/とかいったZ is also used, as in クラリネットとかフルートとかの/とかいった楽器(がっき)(musical instruments such as the clarinet or flute). In this pattern, X and Y is an example of Z. Xとか can be used for only one example as a representative one as in 夏休(なつやす)みには北海道(ほっかいどう)とか行(い)きたい (I want to go to somewhere, such as Hokkaido.)

Situation 2: Mr. Mita is chatting with Mr. Sere about a girl.

三田: 橋本さんはどんなことが好きかな。

セレ: そうだな、食べ歩きとか好きらしいよ。新しくできたレストランとか誘ってみたら?

Mita: Hashimoto-san-wa donna koto-ga suki-kana?

Sere: Sō-da-na. Tabearuki-toka suki-rashī-yo. Atarashiku dekita resutoran-toka sasotte-mitara?

Mita: I wonder what kind of things Ms. Hashimoto likes?

Sere: Let’s see, I heard that she likes going to restaurants. Why don’t you invite her out to a newly opened restaurant?

とか is also used to soften an assertive or pushy tone. Mr. Sere uses 食べ歩きとか, since he does not know a lot about Ms. Hashimoto. Mr. Sere also recommends Mr. Mita go to a restaurant for the date, but he doesn’t want to push the idea on him. Therefore, he uses レストランとか in order to show that going to the restaurant is merely one choice. This usage is a typically roundabout Japanese expression, but using it too much can relay an unpleasant feeling to the listener, so it should be used with caution.

Bonus Dialogue: Continued from Situation 1.

グレイ: 私(わたし)も日本(にほん)にいるんだから、三味線(しゃみせん)とかお琴(こと)とか習(なら)ってみたいと思(おも)っているの。

田町: あ、いいね。以前(いぜん)は三味線とかは、なんか古(ふる)くさいとか、年寄(としよ)りの趣味(しゅみ)だとか思(おも)う人が多(おお)かったんだけど、最近は変(か)わったみたい。

グレイ: へえ、そうなの。

田町: イケメンの若い男性(だんせい)が三味線とか弾(ひ)いていると、かっこいいとか新鮮(しんせん)だとかいうイメージになるのよね。

グレイ: うん、私もそう思うな。なんとか弾けるようになりたい。

田町: あ、そういう教室(きょうしつ)に通(かよ)うと、すてきな男性(だんせい)と新(あたら)しい出会(であ)いとかがあるかもしれないね。

グレイ: え、そういう目的(もくてき)はないけれど。…でも、ちょっと期待(きたい)できるかもしれない。私も教室を探(さが)してみようかな。

Gray: I’m thinking about taking shamisen (a three-stringed Japanese instrument resembling a banjo) or koto (a Japanese zither) lessons or something because I live in Japan.

Tamachi: Oh, that sounds good. Things like the shamisen used to have an image of being an old-fashioned instrument or an old person’s hobby, but it has changed.

Gray: Oh, really?

Tamachi: When we see a young, good-looking man playing shamisen or the like, he looks cool.

Gray: Yeah, I think so, too. I want to play one in any case.

Tamachi: Oh, when you go a class or something, you may get acquainted with a nice man.

Gray: What? That’s not the reason I’m doing it. … But, there may be a possibility. Perhaps I should also look a class or something.

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