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The context is this: two women are talking, with the first one (still unnamed) that asks the second girl (Himari) if her trip with her boyfriend went well. She says it was a very nice vacation and then:

陽葵の顔が、ぱーっと明るくなっていく。
Himari's face was lighting up in enthusiasm.

The second woman smiles for Himari's mood swing, but I can't understand exactly what the phrase means:

その変わり様を、彼女は現金だとでも言うように軽く笑う。

The phrase seems to mean in a literal sense something amongst the line of "She smiled for her change, as if it was cash", but I don't think that's the case. Apparently "現金" in a -na adjective can also mean "calculating/self-interested", but I'm not sure that you can construct a -そう-like phrase with "とでも言うように". Any help?

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  • What do you mean by a そう-like phrase?
    – aguijonazo
    Dec 8, 2021 at 12:12
  • @aguijonazo I meant adding そう as a suffix to adjectives, like "面白そう" for example.
    – Diripten
    Dec 8, 2021 at 12:36
  • How is it relevant in your example? It doesn't say 現金そう.
    – aguijonazo
    Dec 8, 2021 at 12:49
  • @aguijonazo Because I don't know if 現金だとでも言うように can be roughly equivalent to 現金そう in this instance, as in "calculating way". I already had trouble on finding the "calculating/self-interested" meaning of 現金, so while not knowing how this phrase can be translated, I made this guess.
    – Diripten
    Dec 8, 2021 at 12:53
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    That’s correct except “calculating” may not be the best translation as 現金 is often used jokingly and doesn’t sound so negative as, say, 打算的. In any case, your confusion seems to have been caused less by the construction with とでも言うように than by the usage of 現金 as an adjective. Then, the title could be misleading as it turned out.
    – aguijonazo
    Dec 8, 2021 at 13:31

1 Answer 1

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As it turned out as a result of our exchange in the comments, this question is more about the meaning of the adjective 現金 than about とでも言うように.

As an adjective, 現金 is used to describe, often in a casual and non-accusatory fashion, someone who easily changes their mood or attitude according to their (often short-term) prospects of gaining something. They don't necessarily try to deceive other people for their gains as the English word “calculating”, or even less negative “cunning”, might suggest.

It seems the word 現金 began to be used in this sense in the Edo era in reference to shopkeepers who changed their attitude, favorably, when they learned that the customer was going to pay in cash, instead of deferring the payment till the end of the month, or even the year, as was the norm at the time. [Reference: 1, 2]

〜とでも言うように simply means “as if to say …” The speaker smiled at Himari’s sudden mood swing as if to say she (Himari) was 現金 because just thinking about something good that happened to her, or the prospect of her relationship with her boyfriend going well, suddenly lightened up her face.

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