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とても受動的な感じで、どんな場面でも「教えてもらう」という姿勢が精一杯だったと思います。

I think that [Please teach me] is in every occasion an attitude filled with passivity.

Is it correct?

Link:http://ameblo.jp/c-partners/entry-10009534016.html

Edit.Added link to the original sentence.

  • I think that your translation is off. Would you have some more context because it is indeed possible to translate the sentence as is but knowing a bit more the intent beside the sentence would be appreciated. – 永劫回帰 Jun 21 '16 at 10:52
  • I think the で might be the "tricky" point in terms of parsing here, given your translation. My initial thought was: "I think that, considering how very passive [they] seem, [they] had [their] hands full just maintaining an attitude of "no matter the situation, please teach me!". That is, the で marks information that supplements the context, it is parallel/explanatory to the thought that comes after. However, I am not confident enough in this translation and reasoning to post it as an answer ~ more context would definitely be helpful. – WeirdlyCheezy Jun 21 '16 at 10:57
  • I think she want to say like " I couldn't do more than passively studying like the attitude of "I was taught" in any case, that is to say, she wasn't actively studying on her own motive. – Yuuichi Tam Jun 22 '16 at 4:33
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精一杯 means both "eager / doing one's best" and "at best / all one can do".

「教えてもらう」という姿勢が精一杯だった

... is an ambiguous expression which can mean either:

  • one was so "eagerly passive", and did their best in order to be taught (精一杯 = "eagerly". "精一杯に消極的" is a sarcastic expression)
  • all one could do was showing the attitude of "I will learn from you" (精一杯 = "the best one can do")

At first sight, I took this phrase in the first, sarcastic sense, but after reading the original blog article, I realized that it is clearly used in the second sense. In the following sentence, she says she even had difficulty keeping such a passive "teach-it-for-me" attitude.

Examples:

  • 立っているのが精一杯だ。 = 立っているのがやっとだ。
    All I can do is to keep standing.
  • 彼は精一杯立っていた。 = He kept standing with all his might.
  • 彼は立ち上がろうと精一杯だった。 = He was doing his best trying to stand up.
  • が精一杯 could mean something like: I have my hands full with something and I am soing my best at it so I can't focus on anything else. Would this be correct? – Splikie Jun 22 '16 at 11:52
  • Yes, 精 is something like "energy" and 一杯 is "full/maximum", so "one's all might/capacity" is the shared underlying meaning. – naruto Jun 22 '16 at 12:56
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In the previous sentences, the author is describing that they didn't really see much of a difference between 教わる and 学ぶ when they were in school (or even when they first entered the work force), and that it is likely because they didn't like studying. Setting aside the 「とても受動的な感じで、」 clause for a second, the author is referring to themselves, and saying:

Taking on an attitude of "I will learn", no matter the situation, was quite a handful for me, I think.

This "quite a handful" is one way of translating 精一杯 that fits the context. Others that might work here is "(was) all that I could manage", "(was) at the limits of my ability", "required my best effort", etc. In other words, 精一杯 means that it was possible, but difficult, taking "everything" the author had (from the author's own point of view, at that particular point of time).

The とても受動的な感じで part seems to be a stumbling point in your translation, and I'm not sure either, so take the rest of this answer with a grain of salt. で is acting conjunctively (with the later だった, as 思う seems unlikely) to add "in a passive manner/with a feeling of passivity". It seems the author is describing their manner/attitude 姿勢 with respect to learning. From later sentences it appears the author felt that "actively learning" was too much trouble but they might as well make the best of opportunities to learn when they're already forced to be there. So a full but somewhat loose translation might be:

Taking on an attitude of "I will (at least) learn (in this situation)" when put in situations (where it is asked of me) was (already) quite a handful for me, I think. (So learning proactively outside such passively accepted situations was beyond me, at that time).

I struggled to find a way to use the direct translation "passive", but it seems difficult to capture the intended "feel" of the sentence that way.


This dictionary entry for 精一杯 says, roughly: "releasing all one's power; at the limits of one's power; to the best of their ability". There is both a component of "doing one's best", and also a component of it being "just barely/almost not enough".

  • Where is the component "just barely/almost not enough" being described in your link? – 永劫回帰 Jun 21 '16 at 12:39
  • For example, 持っている力のすべてを出すこと, "Putting forth all the power one holds". "all" implies there's a limit, and that that limit has been reached. This is also built directly into the phrase itself. The 一杯 can be taken as an "entirety", a "whole unit". A semi-literal translation is "the full amount of one's spirit". – WeirdlyCheezy Jun 21 '16 at 12:56
  • Although "do your best" is a pretty good direct translation in many cases, the problem is that there are common usages of 精一杯 where in English we probably wouldn't say "do your best". As you yourself said in your comment, "doing more would have been too much". That seems to be a key connotation of 精一杯 in many cases, in a way that "do your best" fails to capture. – WeirdlyCheezy Jun 21 '16 at 13:07
  • I tend to agree with your literal translation of 精一杯. The problem here is to translate 精一杯 as a noun in English, which is a difficult. – 永劫回帰 Jun 21 '16 at 13:27
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    「~が精一杯でした」は "~~ was all that I could manage" が近い感じがします。("All I could do" とか "The best that I could do" とか...?) – Chocolate Jun 21 '16 at 17:19

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