第269課: Circumstance: まま, 思いきや, & もと


As is“, with verbs it is primarily seen in the pattern ~たまま(で). It is used to show action “as is” in a certain state without any change in course or situation. However, it is not necessarily the case that the subject in question is still. However, there is a very similarly meaning particle, なり, that we will learn about later which requires the subject be still. So, this is something to keep in mind. 

It is not to say that this word is only used with the past tense, although for this meaning it most certainly is. However, in other usages you may see it used with the negative or demonstratives to show how a state is still the same without there being any change, which is of the same vein as above. 

Though not really different in meaning, there is also the pattern ままに which is used to show that one leaves something to the course of a situation or to show things are going as thought. In other words, it shows something being left to a natural course of action. You may see this after verbs in the non-past form and even in the passive. You may also see ~がままに, which is very formal and 書き言葉的. A common phrase utilizing this older grammar is 思うがままに. In more modern Japanese, this would become 思いのままに.  


1. 昔のままの風景だよね。
    This scenery is just as it was in the old times, isn’t it?

2. そのままにしておいた。
    I left it alone the way it was.

3. 何かをなまのままべたことがありますか。
    Have you ever eaten something raw?

4a. 意のままに(ったように)自由があるよ。
4b. 意のままに(思ったように)歌っていいんだよ。(More common) 
      I have the freedom to sing at will.

5. 彼は、本能のままに行動しただけです。
    He only acted out of instinct.

6. 窓けたままにしておいてください。
    Please leave the window open.

7. このままではんでしまう。
    As it is now, we will surely die.

8. 彼女は電気をつけたままちゃった。(砕けた)
    She slept with the lights on. 

9. このままおさい。(On the phone)
    Please hold the line.

10. 会議がありますから、椅子いすはこのままにしておいてください。
      There’s going to be a meeting, so please leave the chairs the way they are.

11. 身着みきのままでげること
      Running away with only one’s clothes. 

12. 自然のままで素敵すてきですわね。(Very feminine)
      It’s great keeping it natural. 

漢字 Note: まま can be written in 漢字 as either 儘・侭.

Variant/Pronunciation Note: Depending on the speaker, with region being a significant factor, this may also be seen/pronounced as まんま.  

ほしいまま, a very important phrase that uses mama that is written in 漢字 as either 恣, 縦, or 擅, means “selfish”. 

13. 権勢にする。
     To exert one’s power at will.

14. 世界最高日本語(の)教授としての名声をほしいままにしてるぞ!
      I enjoy the reputation of being the greatest Japanese professor in the world! 


    ~と思いきや is equivalent to either “despite having thought” or “contrary to expectations”. Its literal translation is “just as I thought…”. Tense is determined by the final verb.

15. あっさりられるといきや、彼女承諾しょうだくしてくれました。 
      Despite having thought that she would just refuse, she consented to it. 

16. このレストランはいといきや、会計は5000円以上だったよ。
      Contrary to thinking that this restaurant was cheap, the bill was over five thousand yen!

17. 彼はもうってきたといきや、にびっくりした。
     Just as I thought he had gone home, I was scared by him.  

18. 誰もあの講座出席しないといきや、しました。
      Despite having thought that no one would attend that lecture, a lot of people attended.

19. 日本はどこにっても渋滞じゅうたいくなるといきや、交通はアメリカのように普通だった。
Despite having thought that you would be made to slow down by congestion wherever you go in Japan, the traffic was normal like America.

Definition Note: 思いきや is equivalent to 思っていたところが.


     もと may be written in 漢字 in different ways depending on how it is interpreted. You will see this word again in regards to ~をもとにして.


     When written as such, it means “under” in a physical sense. It can also refer to be under rules, forces, etc. のもとで  and のもとに are both possible, but the former refers to action/movement whereas the latter refers to existence/static situation. Both expressions are rather literary, but the latter is even more so. 

20. 行政ぎょうせい保護徴収ちょうしゅうしている。
       I’m collecting taxes under the protection of the administration.

21. 法
      Under the law

22. 勇将の下に弱卒なし。
      There are no weak soldiers under a strong/brave general. 

23. 長男れた。
      The older brother left from under his parents.

24. 厳しい監視かれるのは{大変な・ひどい}ことでしょうね。
      Being placed under harsh surveillance is awful, isn’t it?

25. 販売予想にして我々製品生産停止することにしました。
      On the basis of the sales forecast, we have decided to halt the manufacturing of the product.

26. 太陽のもとで子供たちが遊んでいる。
      Kids are playing under the sun.

27. 街灯のもと{に・で}住民たちが集まっている。
      Residents are gathering underneath the street light(s). 


     When written as such, もと means “former/previous”. Lastly, it may be used in two important expressions. 

28. 元ったがいい。
      It’s best to return to the previous condition.

29a. 今日元同僚もとどうりょう偶然出会いましたよ。
29b. 今日、かつての同僚偶然会いましたよ。
        I happened to meet my former colleague suddenly today.  

30. 元さやまる。(Idiom)
      To bury the hatchet.31. 元木阿弥もくあみ。(Idiom)
      Ending up right where you started.


 1. Origin, source, root
 2. The basis of things, foundation. This usage may also be written in Kanji as 基.
 3. The cause. This usage may also be written in Kanji as 因.
 4. Funds, capital; cost price.
 5. Food stock, ingredients. This usage may also be written in Kanji as 素
 6. A counter that counts the number of stumps of plants.

Usage Notes:

1. 本・元 may also be in 元も子もない which means “losing everything”.

2. As you may have noticed, usage number 4 is the same as the third usage of 下・許.


32. 失敗成功だ。
      Failure is the source of success.

33. 惨事さんじもと辿たどろう。(Literary Spelling)
      I will pursue the origin of this horrible accident.

34. 木つけたか。
      Did you find the root of the tree?

35. 風邪は万病の元。
      The cold is the source of all sorts of diseases. 

36. 酒とタバコが健康を{損・害}う。
      You lose health due to alcohol and tobacco.

37. 元のかかる商売い。
      The transaction capital is high.

38. スープのもとはあるの。
      Do we have the soup stock?

39. 私は柳一本えた。
      I planted a single willow tree.