1

Just going back over an old text book to refine some lost understanding and I've come across this paragraph:

あの時代がおかしかったんですよ」おやじさんが、口をはさんだ。同僚と長く続く不景気の話を始めたときのことだ。「作りさえすれば何でも売れた時代があったもんだから、調子に乗りすぎて自分の本当の姿を見失ってたんだよ、国全体がね」商社を途中で退職して、包丁を握ることにしたというおやじさんの言葉には、次第に熱が入ってきた。

I can read it all fine, but I'm wondering if there is some special nuance in the clause 何でも売れた時代があったもんだから? From my purely literal textbook understanding of Japanese, it reads "you know, there was a time when anything would sell..." Would it not be better if the old man said "何でも売れた時代だったもんだから, meaning "it was a time when anything would sell"?

I get that it's supposed to sound colloquial, but even colloquial utterances have their own grammar.

For the record here's my translation of the whole paragraph: "That was one strange time" the old man butted in. My colleague and I had started talking about the long continuing hard economic times. "You know, it was a time when anything that was made would sell, so I think we got carried away and lost sight of ourselves." We had warmed to the words of this old man who had quit a trading company to take up the knife.

3

I think both 時代だったもんだから ("because it was a time") and 時代があったもんだから ("because there was a time") perfectly make sense in this context, and neither is better than the other. The former is simply explaining the said 時代. The latter sounds like the speaker is trying to "re-introduce" the word 時代, which might be making the story slightly more dramatic, but the difference is subtle.

By the way, ~話を始めたときのことだ means "It was when when my colleague and I started ...".

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  • Ah, interesting. Reading it as a re-introduction of the 時代 makes sense. Thank you! – VeryCommonName Jan 4 at 8:22

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