Jun ga naku to oro-oro shite-shimatte, dō shite ii ka wakaranakatta yo.

(Jun would cry and I’d get all panicked, I didn’t know what I should do.)


Situation 1: Mr. and Mrs. Shiba are talking about a friend of theirs who is raising a child and is having a bit of trouble with it.



Tsuma: Tomodachi no go-shujin ga ikukyū o totte, ganbatte-iru kedo, taihen mitai.

Otto: Boku mo hajime no koro wa, Jun ga naku to oro-oro shite-shimatte, dō shite ii ka wakaranakatta yo.

Wife: My friend’s husband has taken childcare leave, he’s trying his best but he seems to be struggling.

Husband: Me too at first, Jun would cry and I would get all panicked, I didn’t know what I should do.

The onomatopoeic words おろおろ and あたふた both convey a sense of panic. おろおろ is attached to the verb する (to do), and expresses the idea that someone gets all flustered and has know idea how to respond to something:


(When an earthquake comes, most everyone gets in a panic.)


(Noticing her passport was gone, she got completely flustered.)

おろおろ can be used as an adverb when と is attached to it:


(My father fell down and after calling for an ambulance, my mother paced around in circles in a panic.)


Situation 2: At the office, Ms. Tamachi asks Ms. Gray where Mr. Mita is.



Tamachi: Mita-san, doko ni iru ka shiranai?

Gurei: A, sakki mēru o mite, atafuta to deteitta yo. Nani ka kinkyū no renraku demo atta no kana.

Tamachi: Do you happen to know where Mr. Mita is?

Gray: Oh, earlier he checked his mail and left in a rush. I wonder if there was some sort of urgent message, hmm.


あたふた has a similar feeling to おろおろ but is used when someone does something even though they are in a state of panic. おろおろ is used when the person doesn’t know what to do:


(On examination day, Yuta barged into the classroom in a frantic rush.)


あたふた is also used with the verb する:


(I totally panicked when all the customers suddenly arrived.)


Bonus Dialogue: Continued from Situation 1.








Wife: My friend’s husband, he thought he wanted to be present for his wife’s delivery (childbirth) but, when push came to shove, he panicked and had no idea what to do.

Husband: That’s about it. I was the same.

Wife: After the birth, everything is new so everyone gets flustered.

Husband: Yeah. That was the case when Jun got a fever in the middle of the night. I took him to the doctor in a frantic rush.

Wife: That was just when I’d gone on a business trip, yeah? Honestly, I appreciated it.

Husband: Yeah. But I reckon there are still few husbands like me in Japan.

Wife: I wish more people took childcare leave, and raised their children right like you do.

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