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On twitter I saw this:


What does it mean?

This is the previous tweet: 最近だなー。食ったらすぐ食器洗うのが習慣になったの。実家に居た頃は全部母親がやってたから甘えちゃってた。仕事もしてて家事も完璧にやってた母親、今更ながら尊敬します。

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As a complete guess, "I want to tell them off". – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Jul 15 '11 at 1:44
Tell who of? It can't be inferred from the previous message? – language hacker Jul 15 '11 at 1:50
yup that's a mystery. It can be the speaker, i.e. "oi, why are you making your mother pay you?!", or the mother "what are you paying your kid for? It's his/her responsibility (for cleaning furo) too you know!" – syockit Jul 15 '11 at 15:14
up vote 9 down vote accepted

When this person used to live with the parent(s), the mother had a job and did household work, both completely. Nevertheless, this person recieved 100 yen from the mother each time for washing the bath tub (Washing the bath tub is a typical daily household job assigned to children in Japan). After living alone and learned to do household work by him/herself, this person now understands the burden of household work, and wants to scold himself/herself of the past for having received 100 yen for just doing a small portion of the household work without considering the hard work the mother had been doing.

Of course, you cannot actually go back to the past and scold yourself. This is only possible within imagination. If you couldn't take this meaning easily, probably this kind of mentality is difficult to understand for a native English speaker, who are more rational than literary.

やる means to do something resulting in either positive or negative effect on the person.

  • 子供におもちゃを買ってやる 'I will buy a toy for the child (with a positive effect).'
  • お前を叱ってやる 'I will scold you on you (with a negative effect).'
    Cf. お前を叱る 'I will scold you.'

A politer/slightly feminine form is あげる. This is only used for positive effect.

  • 子供におもちゃを買ってあげる 'I will buy a toy for the child (with a positive effect).'
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