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Kyatchibō ru-ni tekitō -na basho-wa nai-ka-nā (I wonder where there is a good place to play catch.)

Situation1: High school students are talking about practicing for their coming baseball match.

広: チーム練習のほかに、毎朝キャッチボールをやろうよ。

光男: うん。どこか、キャッチボールに適当な場所はないかなあ。

Hiroshi: Chīmu-renshū-no hoka-ni, maiasa kyatchibōru-wo yarō-yo.

Mitsuo: Un. Dokoka, kyatchibōru-ni tekitō-na basho-wa nai-ka-nā.

Hiroshi: Let’s play catch every morning, to add to the team’s practice.

Mitsuo: Yeah. I wonder where there is a good place to play catch.

Today, we will introduce the meanings and usage of the na-adjective 適当(てきとう)な (adequate). The pattern Xに適当 expresses the quantity, quality, character or anything else that meets the condition, purpose or requirement that is shown by X(noun/noun phrase), as in Mitsuo’s キャッチボールに適当(てきとう)な場所(ばしょ) (a good place to play catch). Mitsuo could say キャッチボールをするのに適当な場所, using the nominalized form of the verb する(to play), rather than the simple noun キャッチボール. 適当 also means what someone considers to be a suitable degree or amount, as in: 塩(しお)を適当に加(くわ)えてください (Please add an amount of salt that you think is suitable). Another example: 先方(せんぽう)に渡(わた)す書類(しょるい)は全部(ぜんぶ)ここにあるから、あとは、適当にたのむよ (Here are all the documents for him, so please deal with this matter properly).

Situation 2: At home, Mrs. Okubo talks to her son Mitsuo.

母: 親子面談は、いつだったかしら?

光男: えーっと…、明日だったかな…? いや、明後日かな? うん、たぶん明後日。

母: 光男ったら、またそんな適当なこと言って! ちゃんと確認してから言いなさい。

Haha: Oyako-mendan-wa, itsu-datta-kashira?

Mitsuo: Ētto …, ashita-datta-kana? Iya, asatte-kana? Un, tabun asatte.

Haha: Mitsuo-ttara, mata sonna tekitō-na koto itte! Chanto kakunin-shite-kara iinasai.

Mother: When is the consultation between teachers and their students and parents?

Mitsuo: Let’s see, maybe tomorrow. No, it might be the day after tomorrow. Yeah, perhaps the day after tomorrow.

Mother: Don’t give me a non-committal answer like that. You should answer after checking your schedule.

適当 is sometimes used with negative feeling, meaning non-accurate, irresponsible, half-hearted or perfunctory, as in the mother’s sentence in Situation 2 or as in: 夏休(なつやす)みの宿題(しゅくだい)なんか、適当にやればいいんだよ(We don’t have to do our summer vacation homework so seriously).

Bonus Dialogue: Section Chief Mr. Okubo is talking with Department Head Ms. Yamani.

大久保: 部長(ぶちょう)、ベトナム進出(しんっしゅつ)計画(けいかく)は、順調(じゅんちょう)ですか。

ヤマニ: ええ、問題(もんだい)なく進(すす)んでいますよ。そろそろ、ホーチミン市(し)支社(ししゃ)のオープニングスタッフを選(えら)ばなければなりません。適当(てきとう)な候補者(こうほしゃ)は、いませんか。

大久保: そうですね…、三田(みた)くんなんか、適任(てきにん)ではないでしょうか。学生(がくせい)時代(じだい)にアジアの国々(くにぐに)を旅行(りょこう)したそうです。ほかには、セレくんも適当だと思(おも)います。語学(ごがく)の才能(さいのう)がありますし、たいへんまじめで、努力家(どりょくか)です。

ヤマニ: ふむ。二人とも、そろそろ海外(かいがい)に出(だ)してもいい時期(じき)ですね。検討(けんとう)しておきましょう。

大久保: はい。よろしくおねがいいたします。(ひとりごと)ほんとうは、一番(いちばん)推薦(すいせん)したかったのはグレイくんだけど、グレイくんがいなくなると、うちの課(か)が困(こま)るから…。また適当な機会(きかい)を見(み)つけて、べつのポストに推薦(すいせん)するからな。グレイくん、ごめん…。

Okubo: Boss, is the project of making inroads to Vietnam going well?

Yamani: Yes, there’s been no problem. It’s almost time to select the opening staff of the Ho Chi Minh City Branch. Are there adequate candidates for that post?

Okubo: Let’s see, Mr. Mita might be adequate. He traveled in Asian countries in his university days. Also, Mr. Sere will be well-suited to that post. He’s a gifted person in foreign languages, is earnest and hardworking.

Yamani: I see. It must be good timing for them to get transferred to a foreign country. I’ll consider it.

Okubo: Yes. Please, boss. [To himself] Truthfully, the person I wanted to recommend was Ms. Gray, but if our section loses her, it’ll be a big problem. I’ll recommend her another time. Sorry, Ms. Gray.

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