Rainen no Orinpikku ni mukete, achikochi de kōji o shite-iru-n da ne. (As we head toward next year’s Olympics, there’s construction being done all over the place.)

Situation 1: Mr. Sere and on of his senior colleagues, Mr. Ueno, are outside of a train station on their way to see a client.

セレ: あ、この駅も工事をしていますね。

上野: うん。来年のオリンピックに向けて、あちこちで工事をしているんだね。

Sere: A, kono eki mo kōji o shite-imasu ne.

Ueno: Un. Rainen no Orinpikku ni mukete, achikochi de kōji o shite-iru-n da ne.

Sere: Oh, this station is also under construction.

Ueno: Yeah. As we head toward next year’s Olympics, there’s construction being done all over the place.

The expression Xに向(む)けてY is used when you want to point out something that is being done toward a goal. The verb 向ける means “to direct” or “to point.” In the aforementioned structure, “X” represents the goal while “Y” represents what is being done to achieve it. Words that are commonly used in the “X” position include: 未来 (みらい, future), 契約 (けいやく, contract), 発表 (はっぴょう, presentation), 実現 (じつげん, realization), 成功 (せいこう, success) and 完成 (かんせい, completion):

来年(らいねん)の完成に向けて、作業(さぎょう)が急(きゅう)ピッチで進(すす)められている。 (Work is proceeding at a rapid pace in order for completion next year.)

スポーツ大会(たいかい)に向けて部員(ぶいん)は毎日(まいにち)3時間以上(さんじかんいじょう)練習(れんしゅう)をしている。 (The club members have been practicing for more than three hours every day for the sports competitions.)

平和的(へいわてき)な問題解決(もんだいかいけつ)に向けて、両国(りょうこく)は交渉(こうしょう)を行(おこな)った。 (The two countries engaged in negotiations toward the peaceful settlement.)

Xに向けてY is also used to indicate a physical direction or destination:

その歌手(かしゅ)は観衆(かんしゅう)に向けて手(て)を振(ふ)った。 (That singer waved her hand toward the audience.)

飛行機(ひこうき)は札幌(さっぽろ)に向けて空港(くうこう)を飛(と)び立(た)った。(The airplane left the airport for Sapporo.)

Situation 2: Continued from Situation 1. Mr. Ueno spots a young person dressed in a navy blue suit.

上野: あ、あの人は就活生だね。大変そうだなぁ。

セレ: 内定を目指して毎日歩き回っているんですね。ぼくもそのころを思い出します。

Ueno: A, ano hito wa shūkatsusei da ne. Taihen sō da nā.

Sere: Naitei o mezashite mainichi arukimawatte-iru-n desu ne. Boku mo sono koro o omoidashimasu.

Ueno: Oh, that person must be job hunting. Man, it looks tough.

Sere: He’s just walking around in circles trying to land job offers. I also remember those days.

The verb 目指(めざ)すmeans “to aim,” and Xを目指してY expresses the idea that you do “Y” with the aim of achieving “X.” While Xに向けてY implies a rather vague effort, Xを目指してY illustrates a more concrete goal:

彼(かれ)らは看護師(かんごし)を目指して勉強(べんきょう)に励(はげ)んでいる。(They are studying hard with the aim of being nurses.)

In Situation 2, Mr. Sere mentions the word “内定,” which is translated in English as “job offer.” Some companies view 内定 more as a promise that they’ll consider you for a job when hiring time comes around, though courts have said they are binding.

Bonus Dialogue: Continued from Situation 2.

上野(うえの): ぼくは学生(がくせい)のころ、テニス大会の優勝(ゆうしょう)を目指して練習をしていて、就活(しゅうかつ)も先輩(せんぱい)に助(たす)けてもらいながらがんばったよ。

セレ: ぼくはそのような思い出(おもいで)はほとんどないんです。その代(か)わり、あちこち旅行(りょこう)していました。

上野: そうか。若(わか)いころにいろいろ見(み)ておくと、視野(しや)が広(ひろ)くなるね。今(いま)の日本(にほん)の若者(わかもの)は、あまり外国(がいこく)に行(い)こうとしないけど、もっと目(め)を外(そと)に向けたほうがいいんだけどねえ。

セレ: 仕事(しごと)でどのくらい役立(やくだ)っているかわかりませんが。とりあえず、今のところはSB社(しゃ)との契約に向けてがんばります。

上野: うん、プレゼン、期待(きたい)しているよ。

Ueno: When I was a student, I practiced tennis in the hopes of winning the championship, and tried my best to find a job with the help of my seniors.

Sere: I don’t have those kinds of memories. Instead, I traveled around the world.

Ueno: I see. You broadened your horizons after seeing so much when you were young. Today’s young Japanese don’t go abroad so much, they should pay attention to the outside (world) more.

Sere: I don’t know how much it’s helping me in my job, though. Anyway, I will focus on the contract with SB Company.

Ueno: Yeah, I’m looking forward to your presentation.

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