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Good day. I have an inquiry regarding a line from Yotsubato, it reads:

俺は4分のところを6分待ってちょっとデロデロにするのが好きなんすわ

Which apparently translates to:

I like to wait six minutes instead of four so that it gets all nice and gloppy

What seems particularly strange to me is the のところ. Apparently, it behaved as some sort a comparative word, and if my translation is correct, the line can be taken as something along the lines of "In the place of 4 minutes, I wait 6 minutes."

I tried to do some research, but I cannot seem to find anything about this usage, so I am taking the question to this forum. Is my understanding of this usage correct?

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This ところ refers to a particular situation/scene, and ~ところを is a set phrase that means (本当は)~ところで or (普段/本来は)~なのに. See: Does ところを always mean the same thing as のに? What is the difference between ところへ and ところに?

4分のところ is a somewhat abbreviated expression, but it means 通常は4分のところ or 本来は4分待つところ, or "the situation where one normally waits for 4 minutes". 4分のところ means something like "in a situation where 4 minutes is normal" here.

Etymologically, I wonder if this を has something to do with を as a contrastive conjunction in archaic Japanese. ~を did sometimes mean だが or "despite ~" in the past, and ものを is still in use in modern Japanese.

From デジタル大辞泉:

ところを

[接助]《形式名詞「ところ」+格助詞「を」から》通常のやり方や予期・予定などに反することを行う意を表す。本当なら…のに。「こちらから行くべきところを来ていただく」「縦に並べるところを横にする」

Here are some examples found in BCCWJ:

  • 賛成票を投じるべきところを、どうしてもできないから棄権した。
  • 本来なら平行のまま床まで届くところを、途中でむりやり輪ゴムで束ねて一本にした。
  • マンションであれば、本来十階建てで抑えるべきところを、階高を圧縮して十一階建てとし、賑売戸数を稼ぐ手法も通例です。

Note that not all ところを means this. を can be a simple object marker as well (e.g., 笑っているところを写真に撮る).

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