I've been studying Japanese for years, but I still run into everyday language constructs that knock the wind out of me, and make me wonder if I slept through an entire week of Japanese class...
I stress that I am not talking about archaic Japanese, or technical writing, etc. I'm talking about everyday stuff.
Here's the latest:
I understand this means something like this (but please do correct me if I'm wrong!):
This is what is harsh about Japan.
What sends me for a loop is the "のここ" bit, because I expect the の particle to be followed by a noun, whereas I have always known ここ as something closer to an adverb.
OK, I know that in English (for example) one sometimes comes across the expression "the here and now", which renders "here" into a noun. Maybe something like this is going on with "のここ"?
My question is: does this contstruction generalize? Can one use phrases like "のそこ" or "のあそこ" or "の今" or "の明日", etc?
Can someone point to me to a detailed discussion of the linguistics/grammar that would encompass the language pattern exemplified by the quotation above?
EDIT: After I posted my question, I found the following example online:
While I can't say that this use of ここの strikes me as terribly familiar, I do find it quite intelligible. It does not have the same disconcerting effect for me that "日本のここが辛い" has. Arguably, this second sentence also nominalizes ここ, but note the difference in ordering: "ここの" vs. "のここ".
I can't quite explain why I find the first ("のここ") nominalization so much more bewildering than the second one ("ここの").
I suspect, however, that perhaps the translation into English that I gave to the first sentence is contributing to my disorientation. A literal translation like "Japan's 'here' is harsh" would sound a bit odd semantically (something I am by now quite used to when I read Japanese), but not all that odd syntactically. (BTW, if that literal translation were indeed correct, I would interpret it to mean something like "Being in Japan is harsh" or "Present reality in Japan is harsh".)
My point is this: the proper translation of my original example is a key aspect of this question. If my translation is wrong, it could be that the correct translation, by itself, may suffice to dispel my confusion.
Therefore, I decided to add translation to this question's tags, even though translation was not my original motivation for posting it.