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I am reading Yotsubato! (Link) manga (Ch.82, Pg.3) in Japanese. I came across this sentence:

このフタは緊張感{きんちょうかん}がある。

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So far I have searched and the only meaning I came across is tension, nervousness etc., What I think is, the character looks at the plate (lid) in front of him and says that he is nervous because the plate doesn't have flat surface and it wobbles. But when I try to translate it into English,

このフタは (as for this lid) 緊張感{きんちょうかん} (nervousness) がある (exists)

Excuse my translating if it's not correct (I'm a beginner) but what I understood is, he is somehow feeling nervous about this plate or the plate is making him tense. What confuses me is the last part [がある].

If I am correct so far, this would mean something like, as for this lid, nervousness exists ? This is confusing me. Is this natural way of saying that something makes you feel nervous ?

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Yes, it's obvious from the context that the sentence basically means "using this lid (as a plate) requires me to tense" because it wobbles.

緊張感がある (or, more commonly, 緊張感が漂う) may be used with something like 教室 or 2人の関係, but usually not with a フタ. The sentence is definitely said in a comical, playful way. The "serious" version would be something like このフタを使うには緊張感が要る, but it would be less funny. Don't try to analyze this sentence too seriously.

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    If you would translate the sentence with comic effect in English, would it be something like "This plate is making me nervous" while a more serious way of saying this would be, "Using this plate is making me tense" or "Using this plate would require mental effort". Am I correct ? Is the serious way more common /natural way of saying it? Thanks for answer ! It cleared up a lot of things. :) – vadasambar Dec 24 '16 at 10:43
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My PC warns me against going to that link, so I might not be answering with enough context, but I see nothing strange or unusual with the expression 「~~がある」 here.

I think Japanese-learners have a tendency to translate 「~~がある」 only into "~~ exists" and "there is ~~".

I would like to suggest that you try using "(something/someone) gives off an air of ~~". It should work neatly for the sentence in question.

"This lid gives off an air of tension."

A freer (and possibly more natural) TL would be:

"I feel an air of tension from this lid."

  • Does "(something/someone) gives off an air of ~~" apply only to this sentence/case or there are other cases with 「~~がある」 where I can use this ? Thanks for the English analogy! It helps a lot. – vadasambar Dec 24 '16 at 10:47

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