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ラナ「だってIT社長って、女優と付き合ってからが本番でしょ?」

Hi. What does 本番 mean or refer to here? I know 本番 literally means “the real thing”. Thank you.

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本番 is a little difficult to translate, but it refers to an "actual", "real", "live" or "production" part of something, as opposed to rehearsal, testing or preparatory parts.

Thus IT社長は女優と付き合ってからが本番だ (lit. "For IT presidents, 本番 comes after he dates an actress") means the presidents of IT companies are not "real" (or successful) presidents until he starts to date some actress. This joke is a reference to the fact that many famous actresses dated or married the presidents of tech companies (examples).

Another example would be 日本語の勉強は常用漢字を全部覚えてからが本番だ ("The main difficulty of learning Japanese starts after you've mastered all joyo kanji.").

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  • 1
    This last example is too real ;_; I didn't even know it was grammatically possible to put a が here 覚えてから"が". Long is the way... Apr 2 '20 at 14:15
  • So ~からのが is ungrammatical, I suppose?
    – rebuuilt
    May 10 '20 at 10:33
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    @rebuuilt Correct, although you can say 付き合ってからの方が本番だ.
    – naruto
    May 10 '20 at 10:34
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I suggest to think the opposite things of "本番".

The possible opposite words are like below.

  • training (トレーニング)
  • drilling (訓練)
  • practice (練習)
  • rehearsal (リハーサル)
  • testing (テスト)

As you may notice, these actions are not the real purpose of you generally. They are kind of acts toward a big goal. We call this goal "本番" in Japanese.
Generally speaking, we don't expect failure in "本番" situation but failure is common in "練習".

In some kind of situations like presentations at a conference, matches in a competition, recital concerts, and examinations of entrance, "本番" means such events, especially emphasizing a message like 'This is not practice!! You have been practicing for this!!'.
This is the original and most basic usage of "本番" in my understanding.

I think "本番" is basically an event like above, but it is very useful word to tell a situation like 'This is not practice!!'. So it's used in wide cases.

「だってIT社長って、女優と付き合ってからが本番でしょ?」

This indicates that the life of IT president who doesn't date an actress is NOT "本番".
In other words, the life of such a president is kind of 'practice'. (even though every life should be "本番" because no one would expect failure of his/her life) Therefore this line leads us to cynical impression.

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  • 1
    By “serif” did you mean 台詞? That’s not how it’s translated into English. May 11 '20 at 6:43
  • Sorry!! You're right!! I did the same misconception in another thread and I was given the same correction. I'll update. You're great Japanese-user. May 12 '20 at 8:18
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This 本番 means "most important phase". ラナ is saying, other phases of IT社長 are less important than the phase of dating with actress.

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