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In short, what I mean is, how can I mention about one certain thing (not one thing in amount) in Japanese?

For example "one morning" in the following sentence:

As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.

I come across some usages like "あるX". For instance:

  • One morning -> ある
  • One day -> ある

Is this ある may be what am I looking for?

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    I believe the typical translation of ある朝 is "a certain morning" which is essentially the same as "one morning" the latter probably being more natural.
    – G-Cam
    Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 19:49

3 Answers 3

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As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.

One morning -> ある朝

Is this ある may be what am I looking for?

I can confirm it is the one, as a native speaker.

The kanji version is 或る, but more often it appears in ひらがな: ある人が…, ある時, あるところにおじいさんとおばあさんが, etc.

We also sometimes say とある: とある日曜の午後 (with rather a feel of popular literature).

某{ぼう} is yet another possibility, in the same manner: ex. 某日{ぼうじつ}, 某会社社長{ぼうかいしゃしゃちょう}, 某ファーストフード店{てん}, etc.

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  • Is 或る different from the ある in "机の上に本がある。" ? I mean are these two different words that have same pronounciation? Or even have they difference in pitch accent?
    – fenestra
    Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 19:51
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    It's different. To mean exist, the kanji is 在る. We usually stress あ of 或る, the one to mean 'a' particular something.
    – karlalou
    Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 19:54
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    @fenestra By the way, "to have"'s ある uses yet another kanji, 有る. But to be fair, those kanjis are really not used. In fact, when I was taking Japanese lessons, my teacher used to correct my 有るs into あるs. Besides, I once wrote an email and asked a workmate to check it, and he replaced 或る by ある.
    – Right leg
    Commented Jul 11, 2017 at 8:41
  • I got it! And will appreciate if you give an example to "to have"s ある in a sentence.
    – fenestra
    Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 3:17
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    We have expressions like 彼には仕事がある, meaning "He has a job." I think Right leg meant something like this. This one is another examples that are said to be better in hiragana. But all of these are rather the style issue.
    – karlalou
    Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 4:08
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I'd say "yes" to your final question.

You can definitely say something like ある朝 or ある朝のこと as a general way of saying "one morning".

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The other answers give good insight into Japanese, but in the particular example of Kafka's Metamorphosis I can also confirm that ある朝 is the preferred translation of "one morning":

ある朝、グレゴール・ザムザが気がかりな夢から目ざめたとき、自分がベッドの上で一匹の巨大な毒虫に変ってしまっているのに気づいた。

One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that in bed he had been changed into a monstrous verminous bug.

http://bilinguis.com/book/metamorphosis/jp/en/c1/

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