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The narrator says that he has a life flying around the world as a pilot, and then says:

そんなふうに生きてきたなかで、僕はいわゆる有能な人たちと、ずいぶんつきあってきた。 Living in this way, I have come to associate with many people who are supposedly capable people.

I don't think I've got the first clause correct, because I think I could translate 'Living in this way,...' simply as 「そんなふうに生きて、...」

My other guess is that it means "among the people who are living like this..." , but wouldn't that be そんなふうに生きてきた人のなかで? It seems a bit far-fetched to omit 人.

So, I don't know what なかで is doing here and I've also failed to get the auxiliary verb きた into my translation.

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  • Is it possible that なか is actually hiragana for 仲, relationship? Oct 15, 2017 at 20:17
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    @GabbyQuattrone I doubt it. I am pretty sure it denotes the span of time during which he has been living, or '中.'
    – seafood258
    Oct 15, 2017 at 21:40
  • Is it really 生きてきた not 生きていた? What is the relation between English and Japanese? Is it your translation? Which way?
    – macraf
    Oct 16, 2017 at 1:21
  • @macraf: We say そんなふうに生きてきた not そんなふうに生きていた in this context.
    – user20624
    Oct 16, 2017 at 6:37
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    @macraf 生きてきた (have lived... (up to now)) so つきあってきた (have associated with... (up to now)). 生きてたなかで... would mean "while I was living this way (in the past, but not now anymore)". 「生きていた・つきあっていた」と違って、「生きてきた・つきあってきた」は、今も続いている感じがするでしょう?
    – chocolate
    Oct 16, 2017 at 9:05

2 Answers 2

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I believe that the usage of 中 here is perhaps similar to that of the following sentences.

今まで生きてきたで、一番幸せです。I am happier than I have ever been in my life.

本日はお忙しい(お越し下さって)ありがとうございます。Thank you for coming today (even though you/you all are so busy).

As you can see, it can be used to denote not just a spatial center, but also a span of time or circumstances surrounding a person.

Jim Breen's JDIC also lists "during; while" as a definition of 中.

中 【なか】 (n) (1) inside; in; (2) among; within; (3) center (centre); middle; (4) during; while

Similarly,

そんなふうに生きてきたなかで、僕はいわゆる有能な人たちと、ずいぶんつきあってきた。

Here, what the author means is "while in .. situation (of living this way).." or "while living this way.."

It may be difficult to comprehend at first, but it is not an uncommon pattern. You should be able to find plenty of other examples as well.

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質問者および回答者の提供する「なか/中」を含む文の「なか/中」の部分を別の表現に置き換えて「なか/中」の意味の理解に供したいと思います。

  • そんなふうに生きてきたなかで、僕はいわゆる有能な人たちと、ずいぶんつきあってきた。
    そんなふうに生きてきた過程で、僕はいわゆる有能な人たちと、ずいぶんつきあってきた。

  • 今まで生きてきた中で、一番幸せです。
    今まで生きてきた時間の中でまたは境遇の中で、一番幸せです。

  • 本日はお忙しい(お越し下さって)ありがとうございます。
    本日はお忙しい状況/事情にも関わらず(お越し下さって)ありがとうございます。

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