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I have read a story in Japanese about a taxi driver. It happened that one night he was near the cemetery in Aoyama and he met a young girl, alone. He picked her up and he brought her home. When they arrived she said that she had forgotten her wallet inside her house. She promised the driver to take the wallet and to come back to pay him. Then the story goes on with these two sentences:

しかし、運転手がどれだけ待っても、自宅から女性が現れる気配はない。

耐えかねた運転手がその家を訪問すると、その女性の家族の者と思われる年配の女性が現れ、『あなたが車に乗せた女性客というのは、すでに亡くなっている私の娘のことかもしれない』と告げられる」というものである。

In the first sentence I don't understand how to translate どれだけ in English. In the second one I don't understand why the author put the word 年配 there. I don't understand the meaning of the sentence so I can't translate it.

Thank you in advance for your help!

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どれだけ= "to what extent?", "how much?", so どれだけ待っても= "however much he waited", i.e. "However long he waited"

In the second sentence, 年配の女性 "elderly woman", is a noun phrase modified by the embedded sentence (or relative cause) その女性の家族の者と思われる "she appeared to be a member of that woman's family". 思われる, the passive of 思う, looks as though it should mean "is thought to be", but its sense is usually "appears to be", "seems to be".

This second sentence, in a fairly literal translation, goes: "When the driver, who could not bear it any more, went to the house, an elderly woman who seemed to be a member of the woman's family appeared [at the door] and he was informed 'The woman you carried in your vehicle may have been my daughter, who is already dead'".

I'm assuming that 告げられる is a passive, with the driver as the unstated subject. I can't think why the writer would be using the れる form as a respectful form with the elderly woman as subject.

If I were going for a free-er version designed to make the hair on the reader's neck stand up, it might go something like this: "Eventually, the driver got tired of waiting and went up to the house. An elderly woman, whom he took to be a relative of his passenger, came to the door. 'The woman you had in your taxi may have been my daughter' she said. 'But she's dead.'

  • +1 and agree with 告げられる being a passive. – Yosh Jun 7 '17 at 4:00

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