I'm not sure if I would consider myself advanced or n2 level just yet, but I bought a Japanese book recently (an autobiography) to get more input. I'm slowly translating words on Jisho, reading about a page a day, while also refusing to use google translate. I'm getting along fine for the most part, but there's this one sentence that I can't seem to wrap my head around. I can understand individual parts of it, but my head sort of freezes when it comes to combining it all into one sentence. I couldn't find other posts similar to this one, so I'm sorry if this isn't the appropriate website to post this.


From what I can understand, I think it means something close to this:"Concerning myself who says "like dangling a carrot in front of a horse to get it to run", "I want to be popular" type of guy will, even if the carrot is an organically grown carrot, even if a gourmet reviewer eats and thus "is this a fruit?" I will not understand but to the degree of commenting "something overdone" carrot it was." I know for sure this is wrong so I'm hoping someone can help explain to me how this sentence works, what I'm doing wrong, and if this isn't the correct site please let me know where I can go with this because I don't know where else to ask.

1 Answer 1


Ok, so the overall structure is like this:

([a]…たとえで言ったら、) 僕にとって「もてたい」ってやつは 人参でも[b]…程の人参だった。

(Using the metaphor [a],) for me, "I want to be popular" was a carrot, (not just an ordinary carrot, but) a carrot like [b].

The first part of the sentence goes:


Lit. If I say regarding the metaphor where you dangle a carrot in front of a horse to get it to run,. This may sound verbose, probably because the "carrot and stick" symbolisation is less frequent in Japanese.

僕にとって「もてたい」ってやつは …人参だった

For me, "I want to be popular (among girls: assuming this guy is heterosexual man)" was the carrot.


This part is tricky (and creative), but it just emphasises what a great carrot (i.e. motivation) it [the desire to be popular] is. Let's read it bit by bit.

人参でも (1)無農薬有機栽培の人参、(2) [グルメレポーターが食べたら…程の]人参

Among carrots, it's (1) an organic carrot, (2) a carrot so amazing that...

無農薬有機栽培 vegetables are, in general, considered of a higher quality, more expensive, tastier, classier, etc. I'm guessing this is the same anywhere.


when a gourmet reviewer eats it --- (Imagine a TV show, where a cast eats an carrot, and says...)


"Is this a fruit?" ("Hey, this carrot is so sweet and tasty as it is --- it's like eating a fruit of some sort!")


which (the comment above) is actually like "I don't really understand the detail, but it seems great".

This part about the gourmet reporter might need an explanation. At least in Japan, we often see TV shows where the crew visit farmers, eat their product, and get amazed at how tasty they are, especially sweet, surprisingly so when compared to vegetables we buy at supermarkets. {I'm somehow feeling that the same thing goes in other countries as well...} The 「よくわからないけど何かすごそう」 part is a slightly cynical reference to these casts, who don't necessarily appreciate the real difference.

Anyway, to sum up ---

Consider the metaphor, where you dangle a carrot in front of a horse to get it to run: For me, "I want to be popular" was the carrot --- an organic one, that kind of carrot which they say "Is this a fruit?" ---which is like "I don't understand well but it seems great"--- in the gourmet programmes on TV.

  • Great answer. For me the explanation about why someone may think a carrot is a fruit was key. Commented Sep 6, 2020 at 13:13
  • @user3856370 Thank you, I am very honoured. In case of bad grammar or clarification needed, please let me know or go ahead and edit it freely.
    – Yosh
    Commented Sep 6, 2020 at 13:34
  • Oh my god you're a hero. I would've never figured out that よくわからない part on my own. Now the rest of the book makes more sense, thanks.
    – arbol3000
    Commented Sep 6, 2020 at 18:32

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