I have read some similar answers, which mostly point out とばかりに as meaning "as if to say", but I am having trouble understanding this meaning in this excerpt I have from a manga I'm trying to read:

鬼は700年の眠りから覚めるや否やうさ晴らしとばかりにオレに襲いかかってきた。

What I can make out of this, is this:

As soon as the demon wakes up from its 700 years of sleep うさ晴らしとばかりに it rushed on towards me.

Now, うさ晴らし means distraction... so the demon rushed on towards me as if it was distracted? I don't know how to give this meaning.

addition: Now that I'm rereading the sentence I have another question... shouldn't 覚める be in the past tense as well? Because the 'demon RUSHED on towards me as soon as it WOKE up'...

Thank you very much.

up vote 14 down vote accepted

"Distraction" isn't really a very good translation of 憂さ晴らし. The word refers specifically to the act of doing something to take your mind off your own troubles (eg. drinking to distract yourself from the stress of work). It's kind of like "letting off steam". You can derive this meaning fairly easily from its component parts - 憂さ is a fancy word for "sadness", and to 晴らす is to clear something up, so an 憂さ晴らし is literally "clearing up your sadness" by doing something else.

So in this case, it sounds like the demon is rushing at the speaker as if to take out all of its pent-up frustration from being sealed away for 700 years on them.

As for the tense of 覚める, the structure ~や否や never takes a past-tense verb; the verb is always in plain form. This isn't particularly unusual - when linking multiple verbs together, it's usually only the final verb that needs to be marked for tense, since any other linked verbs take place relative to it. The same would apply if we were using a conditional like と (it's always 眠りから覚めると~, never 眠りから覚めたと~). And of course many ways of linking verbs, such as the basic て-form, don't even have any room for a past tense conjugation.

  • So in this context とばかりに would be the ''as if'? – NeonGabu Nov 9 at 14:54
  • Yes, that's right. – Ben Roffey Nov 9 at 18:09

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