I'm playing through the Toradora VN and I'm at a point where Ryuji comes home and spends a bit of time talking with his mom. However, his memory has not recovered and he is unsure what kind of relationship he is with his mom (He doesn't know yet that she is his mom.)

So after awhile in the conversation he says:


(泰子 is his mother and アレ is not a typo)

I understand the second half where he asks how they were related, but I don't understand the first part and the usage behind the katakana あれ。

I know that 今更 is "now ( after a long period of time)" and 聞くis to ask, but I can't figure out how they fit together with the rest of the sentence.

My guess is:

It's a little late asking this but...

2 Answers 2


「あれ/アレ」 here is a replacement word for a more concrete word or phrase with a rather negative meaning so that it would not sound too direct or, possibly, offensive (by the Japanese standards). It is used quite often in informal conversation in situations where the speaker is certain that the listener would properly infer what was meant by the ambiguous word.

「あれ/アレ」 most often replaces words/phrases such as 「(あまり)よくない」,「イマイチ」,「ちょっと変{へん}」,「不適切{ふてきせつ}」,「失礼{しつれい}」, etc.

In your particular context, 「アレ」 would mean "weird" in the sense that it is kind of too late to ask the essential question: "What relation am I to you?".



To ask at this point would be 'that' (i.e. socially unacceptable)

It's a relatively common thing to do to use あれ or アレ to refer to something that you don't really want to go into detail with (typically because it would be unpleasant in some way to do so).

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