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How can I say "on the drive home"? I could come up with 帰り道に but this really doesn't give any information about the fact that I was driving.

I am planning to use this phrase to say something

"Thinking about it made me still smile while I was driving home."

So one of my attempts at it would be

あれを考えて、帰り道にニコニコしちゃったよ。

But the problems with this are that for one, I lost the "still" and for another I am not sure this sentence is even correct Japanese.... and is あれ really a natural way to refer to "it/that"?

Another attempt would be:

あれを考えて、帰り道までにニコニコしちゃったよ。

or

あれを考えて、帰り道にもニコニコしちゃったよ。

Please could someone help me with this?

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    I would gladly post an answer if I did not have to discuss the phrase 「あれを考えてニコニコしちゃう」. I am way too bashful to do that. Wish you had not said it three times. – l'électeur Jul 20 '15 at 15:21
  • In fact, answering your primary question and correcting grammatical errors are easy, but making it into a natural passage would take a lot of work... – broccoli forest Jul 20 '15 at 15:40
  • I believe that, in the abstract, you use the phrase "while I was driving home" to mean "my work day was over" because in the USA everyone drives home to the suburbs, right? But, I suspect a Japanese person might key on the "driving" part of "while I was driving home" because driving is an unusual way to get home. And, surely the act of "driving" has nothing to do with your "smiling", so I'd eliminate "driving" just make the sentence crisper and to the point. I think that "帰ってきた" signals "the work day is over". – david Jul 20 '15 at 22:17
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    変なことを言っちゃったの?(T_T) – ナウシカ Jul 20 '15 at 22:35
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    @user213845 Nope, I think it's just his heart is tainted :P – broccoli forest Jul 21 '15 at 4:09
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If you need to explicitly include everything — "to home", "to return/go back" and "to drive" — you have to say "運転して家に帰る途中". But 家に is usually obvious, and can be omitted.

ニコニコする in this context sounds a bit funny to me. The common and handy word for this is 思い出し笑い, and the most common mimesis of 思い出し笑い is ニヤニヤ, not ニコニコ. ニヤニヤ is used both when one suddenly recalls some very funny joke, and when one recalls some happy news.

Using あれ/それ is not bad, but あのこと or そのこと may sound a bit neater.

  • 運転して帰る途中も、まだ思い出し笑いをしてたよ。
  • 運転して家に帰る間も、あのことを思い出してニヤニヤが止まらなかったよ。
  • I see, the "still" becomes まだ in Japanese (^o^)/ – ナウシカ Jul 20 '15 at 22:42
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As @naruto's answer already gives one of the best solutions based on your principle, I'd just like to show an example what I would naturally say it in Japanese, for your reference:

おかげで、帰りの車の中でまでニヤニヤしてたもん。

Apparently it's too hot today to explain how I've transformed your original English into mine.

  • Thank you! I like the おかげで。I think I might produce a fusion sentence using both of the answers I received. – ナウシカ Jul 21 '15 at 7:57

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