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I am trying to translate this news story from a sports paper.

The context is Sumo. It's an interview with wrestler Mitakeumi, in preparation for the tournament which is about to start next week.

As background, Mitakeumi is a top level wrestler of whom there are a lot of expectations, but in recent times he has gone into a rut and has not been able to do much more than survive at the top ranks.

Here is the paragraph in question (the part I'm confused about is in bold):

今場所は照ノ富士(伊勢ケ浜)が新横綱として土俵に立つ。御嶽海も刺激を受けている様子で「最近、番狂わせだったり波乱が起きなくなってしまったんで、起こせなくなってしまったんで、ちょっと新横綱に初黒星をつけたいなという気持ちではいますね」と闘志を燃やしている。

So this basho, Terunofuji is debuting as a Yokozuna. Mitakeumi uses that to motivate himself, and explains that for XYZ reason, he wants to give the new Yokozuna his first defeat.

Now I am confused about the reason he is giving. To be honest, I'm not even sure how I should split this sentence up. It has a たり clause but not in the classic 〜たり〜たりする format. Then there is something about 波乱が起きなくなってしまったんで, and then 起こせなくなってしまったんで, and I am not sure what he means. In the first part he seems to say he had upsets, and then he says ups-and-downs have not occured? That he hasn't been able to cause them? Don't those two parts kind of conflict? There have been upsets but ups-and-downs have not occurred?

What am I missing here?

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  • Where in the original does it say that he had upsets? Sep 9 at 14:15
  • That's how I interpret the "番狂わせだったり". Wrong? Sep 9 at 14:21
  • Sorry to be blunt, but it is wrong. Where is the verb, then, that you translated to "had"? Your translation/understanding of that part is just the opposite of what is actually being said. The original sentence makes perfect sense, BTW. I will say no more as this is a comment section. Sep 9 at 14:40
  • The second だったり is omitted after 波乱. This is related: How to interpret というか and だったり
    – aguijonazo
    Sep 9 at 23:51
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    OK, so you're saying it's something like "upsets or ups-and-downs etc. have ended up not happening, and I have not been able to cause them"? I'm still not sure what that means, but am I on the right track? Sep 10 at 7:10
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I got the impression from your comments that this is kind of lost-in-translation. 番狂わせ and 波乱 in the context both mean essentially an event of a wrestler of lower rank defeating a higher ranked one.

The speaker Mitakeumi is Sekiwake, which is two ranks (I think) lower than Yokozuna. He is saying These days, there haven't been any surprise win/defeat (= neither 番狂わせ nor 波乱), (I mean), I haven't been able to make them happen...

More simply he means that he hasn't been able to defeat wrestlers of higher rank recently.


Regarding だったり, as discussed in the comments, it is used for listing things. Here it can be understood essentially as and.

The sentence would look like, written in full, 番狂わせだったり波乱だったりといったことが起きなくなってしまった = Things like 番狂わせ or 波乱 haven't happened. Strictly speaking, the function of だったり is 例示 (giving examples).

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  • +1 Very nice and thorough answer. You very nicely explained the three points which for me too led to some confusion (1) the use of だったり (2) how to construe 番狂わせ and 波乱 (though I suspected they had a more suitable meaning than my dictionary was suggesting) and (3) how to understand the contrast between 起きなくなって and 起こせなくなって. Also, explaining the names for the ranks was very helpful too.
    – A.Ellett
    Sep 11 at 13:10

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