Conditionals. In English all you have to do is stick on an 'if' and you're pretty much covered. (To be honest, they're pretty complicated in English, if you think about it. 'If I eat' vs 'If I had eaten' vs 'If I had eaten' vs 'If I ate' vs 'If I have eaten'... I suppose that isn't a problem of conditional conjugation, but of past/present/future and everything in between.) In Japanese, it's a little more complicated. Depending on what you're trying to say, you can choose from ～たら、～と、～ば、and なら.We've been reviewing the differences between each in class, and instead of studying for my test like a good student, I decided to doodle and call it studying. First in the series: "The Use of -tara #1".
This use is for use in ordering past events. Basically, "When/After X-ed, Y-ed!" When I woke up this morning, there was a Turtle Cat standing on my bed.
The catch is, the Y action has to be an uncontrollable/surprising occurrence. This means you can't use it to order things like your daily actions (ie, "when I woke up, I got out of bed") because you have control of them. You can use this to recount things that happened to you, or things that you noticed - basically things outside of yourself.
"When I got home, my friends were waiting outside." (OK)
"When I went to McDonald's, I sat in the booth on the right." (X)
In my textbook there was a line that confused me, because I felt it contradicted the rule: 「さきはいたら、だいぶよくなりました。」 "After I threw up earlier, I felt a lot better." My thought was she controls the way she feels, but really your health isn't something you control, so it adheres to the rule.
When using ～たら #1, your sentence may come out as either when or after, since depending on the content one will sound more natural than the other in English.