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Three siblings have been abandoned by their parents and are to be split up and placed in different homes. They are understandably distraught and an adult family friend is trying to console them. He says:

どんな幸い時でも、こんなことに負けてたまるかって思うんだ

(You can defeat this by remembering all the happy times.)

俺だって、幸いことなんて山ほどあった。だが、負けなかった

(Even I had lots of misfortune (?), but I wasn’t defeated.)

I have put my attempt at translation in brackets.

Question: In the second sentence, it seems like 幸いことなんて should be something like misfortunes or unfortunate things (from the context) but shouldn’t that be 不幸い? Or is なんて a negating factor here (even though 山ほどあった seems neutral and 幸いこと is positive)?

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    Are you sure it says 幸い and not 辛い? – Aeon Akechi Jul 1 '17 at 1:46
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You're mixing 幸い (さいわい; happiness) and 辛い (つらい; hard, bitter, painful). They look similar but are totally different characters.

(幸い時 makes no sense, because 幸い is not even an i-adjective although it happens to end with い. 幸い時 would mean "happy time". 不幸 is also a na-adjective and 不幸い時 is wrong. Anyway, there should be no kanji 幸 in the first place.)

なんて is a word that is used to make light of what follows. See: Usage of なんて and なんか as emphasis

Also note that 辛い has another reading (からい; spicy hot).

  • You're absolutely right! It is 辛い. I mistook it for 幸い. Thanks for that.My question no longer has any merit. Should I delete it? – Noob Jul 1 '17 at 4:28
  • Hmm, this is a common mistake, and I personally feel this question might help future readers. – naruto Jul 1 '17 at 8:20

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