2

目を強く擦る。俺はひとりなんかじゃないぞ。母さんがいるじゃないか。

母さんとは、連絡はずっと取り合っているが、あえて顔は合わせないようにしていた。あちらは新しい生活を始めているからだ。

でももう、身内を相手に遠慮もしていられないか。

Include prior two sentences for context. Speaker is in a tough situation.

however (now that it has gotten to this point), I cannot afford to hold back in regards to dealing with my relatives anymore can I?

I assume 遠慮もしていられない = cannot afford to hold back with extra emphasis from も

But how that interacts with 身内を相手に is very awkward for me. Literally i would read it as 身内を遠慮しない, but towards 相手 (one person in particular within the family, his mom?). But having both 相手 and 身内 is very confusing if 相手 is also 身内 as well...

THere's also the possibility of the speaker referring to himself in 3rd person as 相手 and using the passive tense, but i feel that has issues as well

What's the proper way to digest this sentence?

Thanks

  • 1
    Related: japanese.stackexchange.com/q/20854/7810 – broccoli forest Jul 18 '17 at 18:06
  • so... to not hesitate with 身内 , towards 相手?, still a bit strange... but for this structure was used a bit later in "いきなり共学の是非を生徒に問われても、困惑するしかないでしょう?」" / "to question the students with the pros and cons of co-education,..." it does make a lot more sense in this case. – charu Jul 18 '17 at 22:15
2

First, let me simplify the sentence to "身内 を相手に 遠慮する" for ease of exposition.

I think there's some sense, or at least expedience, in treating this "...を相手に" as one item, as if it were a ("phrasal") particle/postposition. It functions much like "...に対して": "toward ..." or "against ...".

The noun "身内" (the object, so to speak, of the postposition "...を相手に") means a close relative, often a family member, and in this context it indirectly but specifically refers to his mother.

The verb "遠慮する" here is intransitive, with the meaning of "to act with reserve/self-restraint".

In sum, therefore, "身内 を相手に 遠慮する" can be translated as "act with reserve toward a family member".

A letter-oriented translation of the original full sentence would be:

However, I can no longer afford to act reservedly toward my family member (i.e. his Mom) can I?

To explain a bit:

He has been restraining himself from seeing his mother in person, fearing how it might affect her in her new life. But given the urgency of the situation he is in, he thinks it's no time for such a self-restraint. After all, she's his own mother. He can turn to her for help and she will be only happy to help him.

  • 1
    hm would it also fall under the use of 身内 を相手に(して)遠慮。。。ejje.weblio.jp/content/…, – charu Jul 18 '17 at 23:28
  • Right. The construction is formed from the ellipsis of して in 相手にして, whether you see を相手に as a postposition or not. – goldbrick Jul 19 '17 at 13:06

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.