In a manga, two American boxers are talking about a guy they used to know who now lives in Japan.

Boxer A: あのブルドッグがリングに上がるって本当かよ。

Boxer B: ああ。ここ数年噂を聞かねェと思ったらボクサーになってたんだよ。日本でな。

I think 数年〜の噂を聞かない means "I haven't heard of 〜 for some years", so maybe the rough translation of the sentence is "I haven't heard of him for some years, it seems that he's become a boxer". But what is the meaning of 思ったら here? Thank you for your help!

1 Answer 1


So first of all, your assessment that:


Roughly means:

I haven't heard of 〜 for some years

Is accurate. 噂を聞く is a set phrase that typically means "to hear something about", and doesn't imply negativity the same way "hearing rumors about someone" does in English.

Moving on to 思ったら, this is at least somewhat related, although the linked answer focuses much more on the omitted clause than on the usage of 思ったら.

That said, I would think of this sentence:


Roughly like this:

Just when I was thinking I hadn't heard anything about 〜 for a couple years now, it turns out he's become a boxer in Japan.

Much the same way we do this with "think" in English, one can use conditional conjugations of 思う to express that an outcome is novel and/or contrary to what the speaker is expecting.

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