Just passing through the domains of ‘tori’ and ‘dori’

by and

Omotedōri-wa yameta hō-ga ii-desu. (You should avoid the main street.)

Situation 1: Ms. Gray is leaving the office to visit a client.

グレイ:  大川商事に行ってきます。

大久保:  車で行くなら、表通りはやめたほうがいいよ。今日は お祭りがあるから。

Gray: Ōkawa-shōji-ni itte-kimasu.

Ōkubo: Kuruma-de iku-nara, omotedōri-wa yameta hō-ga ii-yo. Kyō-wa o-matsuri-ga aru-kara.

Gray: Right, I’m off to visit the Okawa trading company.

Okubo: If you go by car, you should avoid the main street; there’s a festival today.

Today we will introduce various meanings and uses of 通(とお)り, the nominalized form of the verb 通る (to pass by/go through). One way it is used is as follows: ここは風(かぜ)の通りがいい (A nice breeze passes through here). Furthermore, 通り can refer to a place where people or cars pass by, i.e., a street or road, as in: 通りのむこうにレストランができた (A restaurant has opened across the street). When 通り is combined with another noun or proper noun, its pronunciation changes to どおり, as it did when Mr. Okubo said おもてどおり (main street). The same applies to うらどおり(back street) and 銀座(ぎんざ)通(どお)り (Ginza Street), etc. 通り is also used as a counter for ways, methods and measures, as in: それには二通(ふたとお)りの方法(ほうほう)がある (There are two ways to approach this). The pitch accent of とおり is low-high-high, but that of the combined noun どおり becomes high-low-low.

Situation 2: Mrs. Okubo is struggling with her personal computer and asks her son Mitsuo for help.

母:    光男、パソコンが変なのよ。ちょっと来て、助けてよ。

光男:   また? いつも言っている通り、パソコンがフリーズしたら、一度電源を切るんだよ。

Haha: Mitsuo, pasokon-ga hen-nano-yo. Chotto kite, tasukete-yo.

Mitsuo: Mata? Itsumo itte-iru tōri, pasokon-ga furiizu-shitara, ichido dengen-o kiru-n-da-yo.

Mother: Mitsuo, something’s up with my computer. Come and help me, please.

Mitsuo: Again, Mom? As I always tell you, turn the power off when it freezes.

When とおり is modified by a verb phrase (X) as in Xとおり, it expresses that the state or condition is the same as X. X is the verb in dictionary form when the action is going to start, as in: 私(わたし)が指示(しじ)する通りにやってください (Please do as I tell you). When the action is what always or sometimes happens, X is in the form of ~ている, as it is in Mitsuo’s sentence in Situation 2. When the action is something that has already been done, X should be in its ta-form. Instead of a verb phrase, X can be a noun or noun phrase; in this case, 通りis pronounced as どおり, as in: こんなになったのを元(もと)どおりにするのは難(むずか)しい (It is difficult to restore anything that has become as terrible as this).

Bonus Dialogue: Continued from Situation 1.

母:    フリーズじゃなくて、このパソコン、全然(ぜんぜん)私(わたし)の思(おも)い通(どお)りに動(うご)いてくれないの。まるで光男(みつお)みたい。

光男:   そういう、よけいなことを言(い)うと、直(なお)してあげないよ。

母:    あ、今(いま)の、取(と)り消(け)すから、早(はや)く直して。文章(ぶんしょう)を書(か)きたいのに、数字(すうじ)ばかり出(で)てくるのよ。

光男:   なんだ、ナンバーロックになっているだけじゃないか。はい、直ったよ。

母:    うわー、光男、天才(てんさい)!どうやって直したの?

光男:   マニュアル通りだよ。マニュアル読(よ)んだ?

母:    私はね、マニュアル人間(にんげん)にはなりたくないのよ。

光男:  また、そんな変(へん)な理屈(りくつ)を言って、こまった人(ひと)だなあ。

母:    あ、それ、いつもこっちが言ってることだ…。

光男:  親子(おやこ)だからね。子供(こども)は親が育(そだ)てた通(とお)りに育つんだよ。

Mother: The computer isn’t freezing, but it’s not doing what I want it to. It’s just like you, Mitsuo.

Mitsuo: If you keep saying things like that, I won’t fix it.

Mother: Oops, I take it back. Please fix it quickly. I want to write sentences, but only numbers appear.

Mitsuo: Oh, it’s just that the number lock is on. Here it is — OK.

Mother: Wow, Mitsuo, you’re a genius! How did you fix it?

Mitsuo: I followed what it says in the manual. Did you read it?

Mother: I don’t want to be a “manual” type of person.

Mitsuo : Oh, that ridiculous argument again! You’re such a lot of trouble!

Mother: Ah, that’s what I always say about you.

Mitsuo: That’s because I’m your son. A child grows up according to how the parent brings him up.