I have two questions concerning the first clause in the following sentence:


When the NHK asked at 73 of the shelters in Kumamoto-shi, they (the sheltered people) said that there isn't enough food or water at many shelters.

The first question is regarding で. In this case, で indicates where the action occurred, right? That is, as opposed to "whom/what was asked" or "about what was asked". If so, how could the clause be changed to indicate the NHK specifically asked people in the shelter (避難に perhaps) or about people in the shelter (避難のことを maybe)?

Second, why does 73の避難所 not require a counter?

The full context and link to the article is below.



  • 1
    When the kind of ひとつ、ふたつ passes 10, it becomes simply the number its own.
    – user4092
    Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 8:34
  • I think "の避難所" means a kind of counters. The expression like "10ヶ国の国" is a redundant expression. Because a counter word is a kind of support words for showing a type of things. A polite expression is not needed for a data of large numbers at catastrophe.
    – nariuji
    Commented May 22, 2016 at 21:41

1 Answer 1

  1. You filled in "they" in the latter part of the sentence even there is no such word in the original, right? Then naturally you can add an implicit object in the first part, too.

    When NHK asked them at 73 shelters that are mainly located in Kumamoto, they said...

    Or if you're uncomfortable with the translation, you can reword it as:

    As NHK had interviews at 73 shelters that are mainly located in Kumamoto, we were told at many shelters that they are short of food.

    That's how it goes when the Japanese language omits pronouns.

  2. Good point. We have some situations that don't need counters:

    • buildings, facilities or geographic locations don't need them
    • abstract units don't need them, in many cases they are counters by themselves

      30頭の動物 30 (heads of) animals
      30の動物 30 animal species

    • counting numerical items rather than real objects doesn't need them (not applied to animate things)
    • using ratio, percentage etc. rather than numbers never has them

    In this case, you can use a counter as well. 箇所(ヶ所・カ所) would be suitable.


    PS There's a famous novel titled 『二十四の瞳』, lacking any counter, makes it terse and poetic.

  • We don't have another way to say 二十四の瞳, do we? 二十四個の瞳 would be 24 eyeballs instead of 24 eyes.
    – user4092
    Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 8:38
  • @broccoli forest: Thanks for the detailed answer. As a follow up, did you use the word "mainly" in your translation because the article's use of など implies that 熊本市 was not the only location?
    – G-Cam
    Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 14:19
  • @user4092 Yes, if with counter it just means pupils in eyes, but without counter it suggests something like "24 eyegazes". Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 15:13
  • @G-Cam Yes, that's what I assume. Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 15:14

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