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エネルギー消費の大きい生き方に敬礼
Those who expend great energy in their lives, I salute you.‌

I've seen this pattern used several times, Noun+の+adjective+Noun, but I've never really understood if the adjective is characterizing what comes before or what comes after, besides in this case it's a い adjective. I would like to know when the adjective will characterize what is in front of you and what it will characterize in this pattern "Noun+の+adjective+Noun".

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  • Seems applicable to English too. "Hats off to high energy consumers" - "high amount of energy" or "high population of consumers"? Kind of obvious but equally implicit, if you will.
    – dungarian
    Jan 29, 2022 at 2:16

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エネルギー消費の大きい is modifying 生き方 as a relative clause. This の is a subject marker used in relative clauses, and it's interchangeable with が. See: How does the の work in 「日本人の知らない日本語」?

Imagine this "double-subject" sentence:

この生き方はエネルギー消費が大きい。
As for this way of living, energy consumption is high.

From this, you can construct the following noun phrase with a relative clause:

エネルギー消費大きい生き方
a way of living where energy consumption is high

Which is the same as:

エネルギー消費大きい生き方
a way of living where energy consumption is high

Note that this person is saluting to the 生き方 itself, not "you" or anyone. The given translation is not wrong as a free translation, though.

Here are some simpler examples. が and の are interchangeable.

  • 背が高い人
    背の高い人
    a tall person (lit. a person whose height is high)
    (cf. 彼は背が高い。 He is tall.)
  • 鼻が長いゾウ
    鼻の長いゾウ
    an elephant with a long nose
  • 心が美しい人
    心の美しい人
    a beautiful-minded person
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    つまらないことですが、「背」って、 length っていうより height っぽくないですか?
    – chocolate
    Jan 28, 2022 at 17:10
  • 直しました、lengthだと体長って感じですよね…
    – naruto
    Jan 29, 2022 at 2:00

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