Language | WELL SAID

The structure 'to itta' is a great example of the ways Japanese give examples

by Akemi Tanahashi and Hitomi Tashiro

Contributing Writers

Kusatsu toka Beppu to itta onsen ga zenkoku ni takusan arimasu yo. (You know, there are a lot of hot spring resorts across Japan, like Kusatsu and Beppu.)

Situation 1: Mr. Tien is speaking to Ms. Shiba at work.

ティエン: オーストラリアから両親が来て、温泉に行きたいって言うんですけど、どこがいいですか?

芝: 草津とか別府といった温泉が全国にたくさんありますよ。東京から近いところなら、箱根か熱海なんかいいんじゃないですか?

Tien: Ōsutoraria kara ryōshin ga kite, onsen ni ikitai-tte iu-n desu kedo, doko ga ii desu ka?

Shiba: Kusatsu toka Beppu to itta onsen ga zenkoku ni takusan arimasu yo. Tōkyō kara chikai tokoro nara, Hakone ka Atami nanka ii-n ja nai desu ka?

Tien: My parents came from Australia and they said they want to go to a hot spring resort, where’s good?

Shiba: You know, there are a lot of good hot springs across Japan, like Kusatsu and Beppu. If (you want) a place close to Tokyo, Hakone or Atami would be good, no?

When listing examples of something, the pattern to use is XとかYといったZ, where “X” and “Y” are specific examples of “Z.” The とか in the structure, which means “and” or “etc.” is optional and can be replaced by just a comma or や, which means “and.” This structure also implies there are other examples in addition to “X” and “Y,” you’re just not mentioning them:

トロントには、すしや天(てん)ぷらといった日本料理屋(にほんりょうりや)がたくさんある。 (There are a lot of Japanese restaurants in Toronto that serve things like sushi and tempura.)

Note that the similar expression XというY has a different meaning. If used in Situation 1, for example, it would read as: 草津という温泉 (a hot spring resort called Kusatsu).

Situation 2: Ms. Tamachi, who lives by herself, is talking to her friend Ms. Gray about getting a pet cat.

田町: 猫を飼ったら、食事とかトイレの始末といったように、いろんな世話をしなきゃいけないでしょう?だから、いいかげんな気持ちでは飼えないな。

グレイ: まあ、一人暮らしで飼っている人も結構いるよ。

Tamachi: Neko o kattara, shokuji toka toire no shimatsu to itta yō ni, ironna sewa o shinakya ikenai deshō? Dakara, ii kagenna kimochi dewa kaenai na.

Gurei: Mā, hitori-gurashi de katte-iru hito mo kekkō iru yo.

Tamachi: If I were to take care of a cat, I’d have various responsibilities like feeding it and dealing with the litter box, right? Therefore, I couldn’t care for it with some moderate feeling [I couldn’t care for it half-heartedly].

Gray: Yeah, but there are quite a lot of people who live alone and care for pets.

XとかYといったようにZ can be used when “X” and “Y” represent courses of action and “Z” is some kind of conclusion, like with Ms. Tamachi’s concerns about caring for a cat in Situation 2. She’d have to feed it and clean the litter box, and that means she’d have various responsibilities. There’s also no difference between the といったように and というように structures:

台風(たいふう)が来(き)たときは、会社(かいしゃ)は自宅(じたく)で仕事(しごと)をさせるとか休(やす)みをとらせるといったように、対策(たいさく)をとるべきだ。 (When a typhoon comes, companies should take measures such as letting us work from home and letting us take the day off).

Bonus Dialogue: Ms. Gray and Ms. Tamachi talk about diets.

グレイ: 田町(たまち)さんは運動(うんどう)をするとか、ダイエットフードを食(た)べるといったいろんなことをしているけど、どれが効果的(こうかてき)だった?

田町: それはその人(ひと)によるよ。… グレイさん、ダイエットをするの?

グレイ: うん、このごろちょっと太(ふと)ったので。

田町: へえ、そうなの。うーん、グレイさんなら、運動かな。野菜中心(やさいちゅうしん)とか、玄米食(げんまいしょく)といった健康的(けんこうてき)な食事(しょくじ)をしているでしょ。そこは改善(かいぜん)するところがないかもね。あ、チョコレートとか果物(くだもの)といったものは食べている?

グレイ: チョコレートも果物も健康(けんこう)にいいって聞(き)いて、たくさん食べている。

田町: でも、糖分(とうぶん)が多(おお)いから、結構(けっこう)太るよ。グレイさん、ダイエット番組(ばんぐみ)とか運動番組といった健康関係(かんけい)の番組をよくチェックしているでしょう?何(なん)でもやり過(す)ぎはよくないんじゃない?

グレイ: そうなんだ。そのとおりだなあ。

Gray: Ms. Tamachi, you’re doing various things like exercising and eating diet foods, which one has been most effective?

Tamachi: It depends on the person. … Ms. Gray, are you going on a diet?

Gray: Yeah, I’ve gotten a bit fat these days.

Tamachi: Oh, really. Well, if it’s you Ms. Gray, I think exercise. You eat healthy foods like vegetables and brown rice, so you don’t need to improve there. Oh, do you eat things like chocolate and fruit?

Gray: I heard things like chocolate and fruit are good for you, I eat them a lot.

Tamachi: But, there’s lots of sugar so you can get a bit fat. Ms. Gray, you check health programs like diet shows and exercise shows, right? Don’t overdo anything.

Gray: I see. That’s the way to do it.

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