Language | WELL SAID

Introducing the usage of the adverbs ichiō and toriaezu

by Akemi Tanahashi and Hitomi Tashiro

Special To The Japan Times

Hōkokusho-wa ichiō yoku kakete-imashita. (This report of yours was generally well-written.)

Situation 1: At the office, Section Chief Okubo calls over his staff member Ms. Gray to review the report she wrote.

大久保: 報告書、一応よく書けていたよ。ただ、この部分の説明が、まだちょっと足りないな。

グレイ: はい、わかりました。では、さっそく書き足して 再提出します。

Ōkubo: Hōkokusho, ichiō yoku kakete-ita-yo. Tada, kono bubun-no setsumei-ga, mada chotto tarinai-na.

Gurei: Hai, wakarimashita. Dewa, sassoku kaki-tashite sai-teishutsu-shimasu.

Okubo: The report was generally well-written, except the explanation for this part here is still insufficient.

Gray: I see. OK, I’ll expand that part and hand it in again.

Today we’ll introduce the usage of the two adverbs 一応(いちおう) and とりあえず, both of which express something getting a temporary/makeshift/provisional/tentative treatment. 一応 also connotes that something is not perfect but acceptable, as in Mr. Okubo’s 一応よく書(か)けていた (It was generally well-written).

Situation 2: Mr. and Mrs. Shiba are at home. Mrs. Shiba finds their baby, Jun, in trouble.

妻: 大変! じゅんが、何かのどに詰まらせてる!

夫: 早く救急車を呼んで。とりあえず、その間にぼくが吐き出させてみるから。

Tsuma: Taihen! Jun-ga, nanika nodo-ni tsumarasete-ru!

Otto: Hayaku kyūkyūsha-o yonde. Toriaezu sono aida-ni boku-ga hakidasasete-miru-kara.

Wife: Oh, no! Jun’s got something stuck in his throat!

Husband: Quick, call an ambulance. In the meantime I’ll see if I can make him spit it out.

とりあえず also expresses tentativeness, but has a stronger feeling of urgency, as in the husband’s remark above. Another example: とりあえず、お母(かあ)さんだけには、このことを知(し)らせておいたほうがいいよ (You should at least let your mother know about this). Unlike 一応, とりあえず has the noun-modifying form とりあえずの. Example: とりあえずの答(こた)えでは満足(まんぞく)していただけないでしょうが (I doubt you’d be satisfied with a tentative answer, but …).

Bonus Dialogue: Mr. Sere and his girlfriend, Yuri, are on a date and talking about his transfer.

ゆり: この間(あいだ)の転勤(てんきん)の話(はなし)、 あれからどうなったの?

セレ: ああ、一応(いちおう)断(ことわ)ったよ。

ゆり: 一応? 「絶対(ぜったい)ノー」って言(い)わなかったの? じゃあ、やっぱり転勤の可能性(かのう せい)はあるのよね?

セレ: うん、まあ…。

ゆり: セレ、ほんとは、自分(じぶん)の国(くに)に転勤したいんでしょ? 最近(さいきん)、日本のおみやげを買(か)い集(あつ)めているじゃない?

セレ: 来週(らいしゅう)のヨーロッパ出張(しゅっちょう)のとき、とりあえず、ちょっと帰国(きこく)して、 母(はは)の様子(ようす)を見(み)てこようと思(おも)っているだけだよ。

ゆり: いったん帰国したら、もう戻(もど)ってきたくなくなるよ。

セレ: そんなこと、ないよ。日本には、ぼくの大切(たいせつ)なゆりがいるんだから、絶対、戻ってくる。 信(しん)じて。

ゆり: じゃあ…とりあえずはセレを信じてあげるか。

セレ: ゆり、「とりあえず」なんて言わないで、ぼくをちゃんと信じてよ。

Yuri: What happened to that talk of your transfer?

Sere: Well, I declined for now.

Yuri: For now? Didn’t you say “No, never”? That means there’s still a possibility of a transfer, doesn’t it?

Sere: Well, yeah …

Yuri: Sere, you actually do want to be transferred to your home country, don’t you? I’ve noticed you buying a lot of Japanese souvenirs recently.

Sere: I’m just thinking of going back home for a bit during my business trip to Europe next week to see how Mom is, that’s all.

Yuri: Once you go back home, you won’t want to return.

Sere: No, that won’t happen. I have my dearest Yuri here in Japan, I’ll definitely come back. Believe me.

Yuri: Well … all right. I’ll believe you for the time being, Sere.

Sere: Yuri, don’t say “for the time being.” Just believe me.

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