Kawasaki-san-tte iu hito, shitteru?

Do you know the person called Kawasaki?

Situation 1: Mr. Sere and Mr. Mita are chatting about a coworker in Mr. Sere’s section.

セレ: 川崎さんっていう人、知ってる? その人、以前うちの課にいたんだって。

三田: うーん、知らないなあ。

Sere: Kawasaki-san-tte iu hito, shitteru? Sono hito, izen uchi no ka ni ita-n datte.

Mita: Ūn, shiranai nā.

Sere: Do you know the person called Kawasaki? That person, I heard they were in our section before.

Mita: Hmm, I don’t know.

When speaking to someone about something they don’t know, the pattern XというY or, more casually, XっていうY can be used. In this structure, “X” is the topic and “Y” is the category in which it belongs. In Situation 1, “X” is Kawasaki who is “Y,” a person. In English, the structure can literally be translated as, “a ‘Y’ that is called ‘X,'” but it may be more naturally translated as “a ‘Y’ known as ‘X'”:

ハンガリー料理(りょうり)店(てん)で、グヤーシュという料理を食(た)べた。 (I ate a dish known as goulash at a Hungarian restaurant.)

ハシビロコウという鳥(とり)は、ほとんど動(うご)かない。 (The bird known as the shoebill rarely moves.)

「ボヘミアン・ラプソディ」っていう映画(えいが)、見(み)た? (Did you see that movie called “Bohemian Rhapsody”?)

Situation 2: Continued from Situation 1.

セレ: 川崎さんは、残業はするべきではないという考えを持っていて、会議を減らしたり、仕事の効率化を進めたりしたんだって。

三田: へえ、働き方改革をずっと前から実行しようとしてたんだね。

Sere: Kawasaki-san wa, zangyō wa suru beki dewanai to iu kangae o motte-ite, kaigi o herashitari, shigoto no kōritsuka o susumetari shita-n datte.

Mita: Hē, hatarakikata kaikaku o zutto mae kara jikkō shiyō to shiteta-n da ne.

Sere: Kawasaki holds the idea that we shouldn’t have to do overtime, so I heard he reduced the number of meetings and proceeded to streamline our jobs.

Mita: Huh, it seems like he has hoped to reform our way of working since long ago.

The XというY structure can also be used when the topic, “X,” is more abstract, such as a 考え (かんがえ, thought), 意見 (いけん, opinion), 命令 (めいれい, order) or うわさ (rumor). It is also used for topics that express the content of information, such as 規則 (きそく, rule), 記事 (きじ, article) or 情報 (じょうほう, information):

わが社(しゃ)には副業(ふくぎょう)をしてもよいという規則がない。 (At our company there is no rule that says employees can do a side job.)

Furthermore, when the speaker wants to express an opinion about a topic, Xということ is used:

絵(え)を描(か)くということは難(むずか)しいが、いろいろな発見(はっけん)がある。 (Drawing pictures is difficult, but I discover something new every time.)

Bonus Dialogue: Continued from Situation 2.

セレ: でも、時間(じかん)どおりに仕事(しごと)を終(お)えるということは簡単(かんたん)じゃないね。

三田(みた): うん、突然(とつぜん)仕事が入(はい)ってくることもあるし。

セレ: うん。…そういえば、新聞(しんぶん)で、会社(かいしゃ)に行(い)かずに仕事ができるという記事を読(よ)んだ。MNソフトという会社、知(し)ってる?そこは全員(ぜんいん)が在宅(ざいたく)で仕事をするんだよ。

三田: へえ、在宅勤務(きんむ)か。そういう会社が増(ふ)えてきているね。

セレ: 通勤(つうきん)しなくていいから、時間が有効(ゆうこう)に使(つか)えるよ。子育(こそだ)て中(ちゅう)の人(ひと)とか、いいらしい。

三田: それはいいね。でも、仕事の種類(しゅるい)にもよるなあ。それに、こうして雑談(ざつだん)することもなくなるのか 。

セレ: ああ、それはさみしいね。仕事の効率(こうりつ)をよくするために、こういう息抜(いきぬ)きも必要(ひつよう)だなあ。

三田: 息抜きなら、いつでもつきあうよ。

Sere: However, it’s not easy to finish our work on time.

Mita: Yeah, there have been cases where we get a job to do suddenly (it’s hard).

Sere: Yeah. … Speaking of that, I read an article in the newspaper that you can work without going to the office. Do you know a company called MN Soft? There, all the employees work from home.

Mita: Eh, that’s teleworking, right? Those kinds of companies are on the rise.

Sere: You don’t have to commute, so you can use your time effectively. It seems like it would be good for people who are raising children.

Mita: That would be good, eh? However, it depends on the kind of job. Also, there’d be no more chit-chatting like this.

Sere: Ahh, that’s a bit sad, eh? In order to do your job efficiently, this kind of breather is necessary.

Mita: If you want a breather, come to me anytime.

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