Great! I also had interpreted something close to “the person who is her guardian” because of the 方 there. Many thanks!!
I’m not quite sure if I got how the pieces of the following sentence fit together:
My “pretty” translation would be like this:
I’m sorry… in that situation I didn’t even know what to do.
And the literal one would have to be:
I’m sorry… when the situation was (/arrived/happened), there wasn’t even what to do.
There are two parts with which I’m unsure.
I translated と as when, but I don’t know if the when-と can actually stand after だ.
Secondly I interpreted the “what to do” not being there as oniichan saying that he didn’t know what to do. Does that work? Or should it rather be, that he didn’t have what to do (/what it took).
Edit: I saw that my question was already kinda discussed (although without page number). I’m still not too sure about the どうしようなかった, though.
It looks like a も got lost long the way. Let’s reunite it with its flock:
My understanding is that どうしようもなかった breaks down as:
- どう = how, in what way
- しよう = method, way
- も = inclusive topic marker
- ない = doesn’t exist
Meaning essentially, “regarding a method of doing, that also doesn’t exist” or more briefly, “there is no way to do it”.
If you put the whole 「どうしようもない」 into a Japanese-to-English dictionary, you’ll probably get it back as an expression meaning “[adj-i,exp] it cannot be helped; there’s nothing for it; it’s no use fighting back; it’s hopeless; there is no way out of it”
With that in mind, I read this as “I’m sorry. When it’s that situation, nothing can be done.”
I see, I didn’t think of refering the どうしようもなかった to the whole situation, even though looking at the sentence that makes a lot more sense. I indeed forgt to put the も in my transcription, but didn’t forget in my translation.
Thanks for your help even 9 months after the bookclub, ChristopherFritz!