Here is a snippet of text from a JLPT(N1) question:


And here is the related question:


1 無駄{むだ}な努力{どりょく}である。

2 家族{かぞく}を満足{まんぞく}させている。

3 実用的{じつようてき}ではない。

4 自立{じりつ}のために不可欠{ふかけつ}だ。

I chose answer 1.

However, according to the book, the correct answer is 3. But I just don't see where the issue of practicality, 実用的{じつようてき} is made clear within the text.

Also, isn't saying something is impractical another way of saying that the effort is useless, as in 無駄{むだ}な努力{どりょく}? Is the distinction being made a subtle one, or am I not seeing something obvious in front of my face?

Why exactly is 3 the correct answer?

Please note: I am hoping that someone can point out the specific key words and phrases that I should be focusing on in order to help me see the meaning, not just summarize what the text is saying. I'm trying to understand the language of the text in the question, not just it's premise. Thanks!

  • By the way, the furigana is mine, not the book's, so please correct me if I've messed up somewhere.
    – Questioner
    Commented Nov 11, 2011 at 6:25
  • 5
    Man, it's such a pain to read with the furigana…
    – Axioplase
    Commented Nov 11, 2011 at 7:53
  • これを読むと角田光代の「料理」という小論を思い出させた。男の手料理は実用的ではないのテーマがあると思います。 Commented Nov 11, 2011 at 9:31
  • 2
    I think that you are confusing [動力]{どうりょく} and [努力]{どりょく}. As pharmine pointed out, 動力 in choice 1 is wrong. Commented Nov 11, 2011 at 14:49
  • @TsuyoshiIto: Whoops, typos. It is 努力{どりょく}, not 動力{どうりょく}. I've corrected the question.
    – Questioner
    Commented Nov 11, 2011 at 15:21

3 Answers 3


Re your edit, starting again trying to translate the entire thing:


To the male head who says braggingly "cooking is my specialty", the cost of ingredients and the time it takes, and who is going to clean up afterwards, those kind of problems don't exist.


In the end it's a hobby, it utilises high-priced meats and spices which are seldom used, it entails a lot of wasting (of money) while cooking.

(Note: 無駄を出す can mean "unnecessarily labour"/"waste money"/"waste resources" etc depending on the context I believe. This phrase might have been chosen deliberately to try to trip up the answerer.)


And it's the wife who often cleans the dirtied utensils.

The question is "What does the writer think about the man's/men's cooking?"

  1. 無駄な努力である: A waste of effort.
  2. 家族を満足させている: It's making the family satisfied.
  3. 実用的ではない: It's impractical.
  4. 自立のために不可欠だ: It's essential for independence (of the man/men.)

By those criteria, it's 3 as it isn't a total waste of effort to cook the food, but it isn't practical either.


I agree with the book's answer. It says that for {the guy,guys}, cooking has nothing to do with time and money spent of buying food and cooking, cleaning and so on. It's just a matter of choosing expensive and rare ingredients, without thinking of who'll clean (it's the wife's job).

To sum up: guys are clueless when it comes to cooking, completely unrealistic, far away from reality.

That's answer #3.


Axioplase explained why choice 3 is a correct answer. Here is why choice 1 (after the correction in revision 2 in the question) is incorrect: 無駄な努力 is at least a 努力 (effort; trying something hard), but the author does not view men’s cooking as an effort at all.

  • あくまで趣味なのですから is another indication why #3 is correct. 趣味 may not be entirely a waste of effort as it gives the cook (and maybe guests) some form of satisfaction and enjoyment.
    – DXV
    Commented Aug 6, 2018 at 7:10

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