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重みがあって、振ると音がする未開封のクッキーの箱が、開けてみると空っぽだったみたいに。

Hello there. I'm in the process of reading a complex text now, and I myself am not really good at Japanese right now (around N5, maybe a bit less skillful even), but I'd like to tackle complex topics, because I believe it'll help me learn the language faster.

Anyway, what I'd like to ask here in regards to this question, is going to follow after my attempt at translation:

Having some weight, it made sounds when I shook it: an unopened cookie jar that, when opened, seemed empty.

I'd like to point out that the context of this sentence is essentially a description of some magical box that can grant wishes. And it also seems unnaturally empty.

I'd like to ask you about the parts in bold. 「振ると」 here is essentially "when you shake it", this is not really difficult. However, the other "~と" part in the sentence, 「開けてみると」, bugs me a bit. It seems I don't understand the nuance in what the 「~てみる」part does here specifically. I'd translate it as "When I opened it, ...[it seemed empty]". However, I've translated this just as I would an ordinary 「~ると」 clause, and I don't think that's right. Also, almost all the examples on Tatoeba list the 「~てみると」 clause as either "When you do X, you find that..." or "If you did X, you'd find that...", and I can't shake a feeling that I'm not seeing some nuance here. Is there more to the last part of the sentence then just "When I opened it, it seemed empty"?

EDIT: Also yes, I should have mentioned that I've researched the fact that 「Vてみる」is "try and see what comes of it", but I'm not really getting how I can use that in my sentence. Also, both 「~ると」 and 「~てみると」are "When I did one thing, another thing followed" or "When you do one thing, another thing follows"? Essentially I may be off here on the point if the main character talks about things he already did (When I opened the box,...), or he describes what could have happened if that was done (When/if the box is opened, ...). No clarity yet on those fronts. Does the と part here include the completeness of the action or stating the fact about what could happen?

Does the last part become

"When I tried to open it, it seemed empty",

or

"If you try to open it, it seems empty"?

And if second option is true, how does 「だった」(past tense) fit here?

Thanks for all the help.

  • 相当激しく読み間違えてますね。これは架空の「クッキーの箱」についての話なので、誰も実際に開けてないし、重みも感じてないんですよ。だから、英訳しても "I" という人称代名詞は使えないんです。 – l'électeur Sep 2 '17 at 10:25
  • You parse it as 重み…クッキーの箱が開けて…{空っぽだった}みたい but it's actually {重み…箱が…開けて…空っぽだった}みたい – user4092 Sep 2 '17 at 23:02
  • @user4092 Oh, so you think the real sentence is "It was like..." and then everything else follows? Interesting. So then the sentence becomes "It seemed like it had some weight, made sounds when you shook it, was an unopened cookie jar and was empty when you tried opening it"? Something like that? – ArchAlessus Sep 3 '17 at 11:20
  • Another user commented the same thing earlier in the lower section, it seems. Yes, "like a cookie box that has weight ... but turns out empty when you open". – user4092 Sep 3 '17 at 13:43
  • @user4092 Yes, I'll try asking him to include all the findings into his final answer so I could accept it. – ArchAlessus Sep 3 '17 at 13:58
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Verb in て-form + みる = try doing verb (to see what happens).

開けてみると When I tried opening it

This makes logical sense because みる is 'to see'. So you are doing the verb and seeing (the result), which is exactly what 'trying' means.

  • Where do you get the pronoun "I"? Only from the questioner's own TL, which is way off? – l'électeur Sep 2 '17 at 10:34
  • @l'électeur could you please elaborate in English on "way off"? I want to understand what I did wrong, but I'm N5 as I said, so I'm not skilled enough to understand your explanation in Japanese. Only if you want me to spend 2 more hours to translate your explanation. – ArchAlessus Sep 2 '17 at 10:54
  • @ArchAlessus I think he's saying that you can't use the pronoun 'I' because this is a story about an imaginary box. My Japanese isn't good enough to understand how he came to that conclusion though. – user3856370 Sep 2 '17 at 11:07
  • @user3856370 That's weird, because the box is not imaginary, it's fictional, and it's more than real in the story which revolves around characters using that box and what comes of it. So yes, much confusion still. I think I understand what he was trying to say a bit too, but actual explanation in English would be good if he wanted to explain and not berate me. – ArchAlessus Sep 2 '17 at 11:13
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    @ArchAlessus I've been thinking about this a bit more (I may be way off), but the magical box (which is real) is being compared with a cookie box (which is a fictional). Here's my very tentative attempt: "It was like a cookie box which has weight and makes a sound when you shake it, but was empty when you tried opening it". – user3856370 Sep 2 '17 at 12:42

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