I'm translating this manga, but I'm having a hard time because I don't know what's the best way to translate these words

Context: see pics... sorry that there are 7 pics, but I felt that explaining everything going on in there would be too hard and confusing. いっぱいいっぱい appears on page 3 and 6. Basically, I'm not sure if it's meant to have a positive or negative meaning in this context. I know that it's always used to talk about something negative. And 余裕, I understood it as having the mind at ease so I translated as laid-back, but I don't know if it's correct.

NOTE: before reading, I want to state that this is a romance story and Yuu has feelings for her senpai, but she's in denial/tsundere for many reasons.

In this conversation, Natsuki (short black hair) and Yuu are talking about senpai and Yuu's attitude regarding said senpai. Yuu is complaining about her senpai, and Natsuki laughs because it's the first time Yuu complains about something and says Yuu is いっぱいいっぱい. Then Natsuki talks about how Yuu used to be/have 余裕(laid-back?) all the time, and implies that the fact that Yuu isn't laid-back anymore now is because Yuu has found something (or someone in this case) that she actually cares about (that's why Natsuki mentions how Yuu never cried or showed emotion when they won or lost a softball match, unlike her teammates). Then Natsuki says that she just wanted to see Yuu being いっぱいいっぱい at least once. And at the end Natsuki thinks it's a bit frustrating that Yuu wasn't いっぱいいっぱい about softball.

That's why I'm confused, the word means something negative and since Yuu is complaining and judging by her confused reaction it should mean something negative, but Natsuki talks about this word as it is something positive. I don't know if I should translate it as "fed up" (negative) or something like "fulfilled" (positive). I can't get what Natsuki means by using いっぱいいっぱい. I find the use of 余裕 a bit confusing as well, but I guess both are related in this case. Thanks in advance.

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  • In general, we'd like to avoid edits that invalidate existing answers. In this case, one of the answers talks about いっぱいいっぱい, but the question was edited to ask about 余裕 as well after the question was posted. We'd prefer if you ask additional questions separately in cases like these; you can refer back to your original post with a link and let people know that it's a follow-on question. In this case I think we can leave the question as-is, but if possible it's something to keep in mind when posting future questions. – snailboat May 1 '18 at 4:51

Except for when it means the super-literal "one cup/glass after another", 「いっぱいいっぱい / 一杯一杯」 would always hold at least a somewhat negative meaning. Those meanings would include:

・ "up to one's neck"

・ "not in the right frame of mind"

・ "swamped"

・ "to have too much on one's plate"

・ "overwhelmed"

Hope you find one of the above fitting in the context this time.

  • Thanks, so my guess was right. Any idea of why Natsuki chose to use that word to talk about something positive (in her opinion)? I find the word choice weird, given that she could have used another word with a more positive connotation. Because her thought at the end, given that she loves softball, "If only my friend had been fed up about soft back then too" doesn't make much sense either. – Daniel Apr 6 '18 at 2:19

Goo's dictionary (デジタル大辞泉) has this definition:

1 少しの余裕もないさま。「もう一杯一杯で、これ以上は入らない」

2 特に、金銭の支払い・貸借などで、最大限に達しているさま。「銀行からも一杯一杯に借りている」

1 Without any [spare] room left. It's completely full, any more will not fit.

2 especially about money payments, lending and borrowing: arriving to the absolute limit. I'm borrowing all I can from the bank too.

EDICT (via Jisho) offers:

  1. to the limit; to the fullest extent; absolutely the limit; the best one can do; breaking even

So it's basically an opposite to 余裕(が)ある and is used in the similar way here.

Let's take the first passage:


here, いっぱいいっぱい follows 愚痴るくらい (possible translation "to go as far as [actually] complaining") and is contrasted against the following おまえいつもどこか余裕ある感じだったから ("you always seemed to have a lot of spare capacity", i.e. "laid back/relaxed").

なんて seems to emphasize the fact of Yuu being いっぱいいっぱい. It is always tricky to translate but one possible version could be:

Well, it's the first time I see see you become so preoccupied [with some matter] to go as far as vent about it, because you usually seem to be so laid back [about things].

Second one:

今 侑に余裕がないなら 

Again, 余裕 is mentioned along with いっぱいいっぱい.

My version:

I'm a little sorry to say that, but I'm happy to see you flustered. I've wanted to see you getting fully preoccupied with something at least once. Although I'm a little sad it was not about softball.

  • Thanks, I think that interpretation can fit as well. But is it fine to understand it as precoccupied in the second time the word is used as well? Since Natsuki says she's a bit happy to see Yuu like this and regrets she wasn't like that over softball. I do find the use the word-choice a bit tricky too. – Daniel Apr 6 '18 at 12:03
  • "To become full" is 「いっぱいになる」 and not 「いっぱいいっぱいになる」. Your answer is based on this misunderstanding. – l'électeur Apr 6 '18 at 12:43
  • @l'électeur: is it better now? – Igor Skochinsky Apr 6 '18 at 13:24

いっぱいいっぱい can be used to talk about feelings or work, but here it means "to be preoccupied/engrossed with sth/someone". As of 余裕, I'm not sure, but I think saying there's no 余裕 is a consequence of being preoccupied. So it would be being restless.

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