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だが、藤木{ふじき}はぼーっと空中を見たまんまだ
However, Fujiki vacantly looked at the sky.

Literally "...in a state where he looked at the sky".

I'm struggling to understand the difference between this sentence and the simpler だが、藤木はぼーっと空中を見た.

1) Why add まんまだ what nuances does this bring?

2) I'm confused over the mixture of tenses. I understood that relative clauses have a tense which is relative to that of the main clause. This suggests to me that the state he is in now is a state in which he had been looking at the sky, but is no longer doing so. I feel certain that this interpretation is wrong.

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I'd translate as follows:

だが、藤木はぼーっと空中を見たまんまだ。
However, Fujiki is still vacantly looking at the sky.

The "is" could be "was", depending on the context.


As you know, 「まんま」 (== 「まま」) means that a certain state is being kept unchanged. So it adds the nuance of "still looking" in this case.

If you say 「だが、藤木はぼーっと空中を見た」, it means he looked at a sky for a while and then perhaps looked at another thing.


Next, your understanding of tenses seems correct. Here 「見た」 is a past tense and this is relative to the main verb 「まんまだ」. Actually, his action of directing his eyes to the sky happened in the past. He is keeping his line of sight to that direction, resulting in the current state where he is looking at the sky.

So 「見た」 here refers to just directing his eyes to the object, rather than the whole from-start-to-end action of looking at something.

You can rephrase it using present tense as follows:

ただ、藤木はぼーっと空中を見ているまんまだ。
However, Fujiki is still vacantly looking at the sky.

  • I hadn't actually realised that まんま was the same as まま. I just found the dictionary definition of 'state'. Anyway, thanks for the explanation. – user3856370 Jan 3 '17 at 15:37

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