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Keizai-wa kaifuku-keikō-ni aru mono-no, wagasha-wa mada kibishii-desu (Though the economy seems to be recovering, our company is still in a tough situation)

Situation 1: Division chief Ms. Yamani is talking to her staff members in a meeting.

ヤマニ: 日本の経済は回復傾向にあるものの、わが社はまだ 厳しい状況にあります。

Yamani: Nihon-no keizai-wa kaifuku-keikō-ni aru mono-no, wagasha-wa mada kibishii jōkyō-ni arimasu.

Yamani: Though the Japanese economy seems to be recovering, our company is still in a tough situation.

Today we will introduce the proper use of “Xものの、Y,” which is used to connect contrasting phrases. “Xものの、Y” means “although X, Y,” and is used to express the fact that Y is not expected considering X, or that Y contradicts X. X is the past fact or present state that is admitted by the speaker. In the pattern of “Xものの、Y,” Y is what the speaker wants to emphasize. Examples: 甘(あま)い物(もの)の食(た)べすぎは体(からだ)に よくないとわかっているものの、なかなか減(へ)らすことができない。 (Though I know eating too many sweets is not good for your health, I can’t seem to cut down at all.); 彼女(かのじょ)は実力 (じつりょく)はあるものの、プレッシャーに弱(よわ)い。 (Even though she has the ability, she doesn’t perform well under pressure.). X can be a verb, i-adjective, a na-adjective in noun-modifying form or noun+である/だった, and Y is the clause. “Xものの、Y” is mainly used in written language or rather formal spoken language.

Situation 2: After the meeting, Ms. Yamani and section chief Mr. Okubo are chatting.

大久保: 梅雨入りしたとはいうものの、あまり雨が降りませんね。

ヤマニ: ええ、これでは水不足が心配ですね。

Okubo: Tsuyu-iri-shita-to-wa iu mono-no, amari ame-ga furimasen-ne.

Yamani: Ee, kore-de-wa mizu-busoku-ga shinpai-desu-ne.

Okubo: Though the rainy season has set in, it isn’t raining much.

Yamani: That’s right. I’m worried about water shortages.

“Xとはいうものの、Y” is similar in meaning to “Xものの、Y,” but in the former pattern, X is usually a commonly used phrase or a proverb. X can be a verb, i-adjective, na-adjective in noun-modifying form or noun+である/だった, and Y is a clause. Example: 時(とき)は金(かね)なりとはいうものの、たまにはのんびりと 過(す)ごしたい。 (They say “time is money,” but I want to spend time just relaxing every once in a while.). とはいうものの can also be used as a conjunction, to introduce a sentence that is not expected considering the previous one. Example: 高橋 (たかはし)さんは80歳(はちじゅっさい)になる。とはいうものの、今 (いま)でも山道(やまみち)を元気(げんき)に歩(ある)いている。 (Mr. Takahashi is 80 years old. But despite that, he still walks the mountain trail with a spring in his step.)

Bonus Dialogue: Ms. Shiba looks rather gloomy. Mr. Tian asks her why she looks so down.

芝: あしたのパーティーに出席(しゅっせき)すると返事(へんじ)をしたものの、あまり行(い)きたくないんです。

ティエン: えっ、どうしてですか。

芝: あのパーティでは、参加者(さんかしゃ)全員(ぜんいん)がスピーチをしなければならないんですけど、なかなか気(き)のきいた話(はなし)ができないんです。スピーチは短(みじか)いほうがいいとはいうものの、1分(いっぷん)で終(お)わらせるわけにもいかないし。悩(なや)んでいるんです。

ティエン: スピーチは難(むずか)しいですね。長(なが)いとたいくつだし、まじめすぎてもおもしろくないし。

芝: ええ、ちょっとユーモアのある話(はなし)ができるといいんですが、私(わたし)、そういうのが苦手(にがて)で、行くのをやめようかと思(おも)っていて。

ティエン: とはいうものの、会場(かいじょう)のホテルの料理(りょうり)はほんとうにおいしいんですよ。

芝: そうですか。うーん、…じゃ、がんばってスピーチを考(かんが)えて、参加することにします。

Shiba: I don’t want to go to tomorrow’s party, even though I replied saying that I would.

Tian: Oh. Why?

Shiba: All attendees have to give a speech, but I can’t give a good one. They say that shorter speeches are better, but I can’t finish mine in just a minute. I’m worried.

Tian: Giving speeches is difficult. Long speeches are boring, and ones that are too serious are no fun.

Shiba: Yeah, I’d like to make one that’s a bit funny, but I’m not good at that kind of thing. I’m thinking about not going.

Tian: But the food at the hotel for the party is really good.

Shiba: Oh, really? Well, then . . . in that case, I’ll do my best to prepare the speech and attend after all.

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