ことわざ. Phrases with fixed words used as a single unit, typically with a meaning beyond what is obvious from its constituent parts.

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5
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0answers
140 views

Do Japanese people tend to be vague even when talking about people their listeners know?

I've noticed that a couple of my Japanese friends, when talking about their plans, might say something like 「友達に会う」, "I'm meeting a friend", even though the unnamed "friend" is someone we both know. ...
5
votes
2answers
145 views

Takasugi Shinsaku's quote

I ran across this quote from the famous samurai Takasugi Shinsaku: "動けば雷電の如く、発すれば風雨の如し". My (really) clumsy translation would be something like "If thunder and lightning were to waver, water and wind ...
3
votes
1answer
62 views

Can't understand this idiom, is this slang?

"デカくてトロくて." This is from a manga I'm reading, and here is the whole sentence "デカくてトロくて使いやすいジャンプ台だった." For context purposes, this is a soccer manga and refers to a part where a forward was sure to be ...
2
votes
1answer
123 views

Usage/context of 「私ね…」

Surely the biggest issue here is that I'm trying to learn usage from anime dialogue, which should almost always be taken with the biggest grain of salt possible. But it comes up often enough that it's ...
4
votes
1answer
74 views

魚心あれば水心あり: what does 心 do exactly?

According to JapanDict, this proverb literally means "if a fish is friendly toward water, water will be kind to the fish too" (although Wiktionary says it's the other way around...). Is that really a ...
8
votes
1answer
197 views

What is ~やまさりけん and what part of sentence is it used as?

In the scenes of fight in old stories, I sometimes encountered a phrase ~やまさりけん usually in the compound form: 力やまさりけん 腕やまさりけん What is the exact meaning of the phrase and what part of the ...
2
votes
1answer
74 views

Rain on your parade [closed]

How can I say something like "I hate to rain on your parade, but..." In Japanese? If there is no equivalent then kindly teach me how to say "Sorry to disappoint you, but..." Thanks!!!
11
votes
1answer
102 views

What is the image/feeling/concept behind 面白半分に◯◯する?

In a phrase like: 面白{おもしろ}半分に見る or 面白半分に言う What is the concept behind the 半分 and why is it connected with the verb using に? Is it like "all things have two parts/aspects": serious (真剣半分?) ...
4
votes
1answer
113 views

Hikaru no Go Manga - dialogue question

So this is a sentence I picked from Hikaru no Go, Vol. 1, that I am reading. どれもこれもパツとしないなあ What does パツ mean in this sentence and how do you usually find those kind words? When I searched on ...
2
votes
1answer
44 views

Vocabulary doubts: 「眼の所が少し高くなっているが、[…]一文字に結んでいる。」

I'm having vocabulary difficulties with this story about a frog hibernating in one's backyard: ちらっと見たぐらいでは、おそらく誰も蛙とは気がつかないであろう。わずかに、眼の所が少し高くなっているが、その眼をこれ以上は閉じられないほど、しっかりと一文字に結んでいる。 ― ああ、冬眠なのだ ― ...
7
votes
3answers
451 views

What's the meaning of すます in 耳をすませば?

What's the meaning of すます in 耳をすませば? How would you translate this?
1
vote
1answer
65 views

The meaning of 技術は習うものではなく盗むもの

技術は習うものではなく盗むもの I'm sure this is some sort of idiomatic expression, I just don't know exactly what it means. Searched everywhere but didn't find anything. Sometimes the "Gijutsu" part is replaced ...
3
votes
1answer
139 views

How to say “Don't stroke his ego”?

Is there an equivalent of "Don't stroke his ego" in Japanese? I assume that such a phrase would be relevant in Japanese, but I've never heard it. Thanks!
13
votes
2answers
1k views

Which part of speech is the 「ぞ」 in 「神のみぞ知るセカイ」?

「神{かみ}のみぞ知{し}るセカイ」 is the title of a manga/anime series but I'm not asking about the anime. I'm just curious about the 「ぞ」 part in the title. I know there is a ぞ particle that is similar to よ, such ...
7
votes
1answer
111 views

Is 立つ in 顔が立つ is always imperfective? If so why?

I understand that the word 立つ has various meanings, but basically can be used to describe a state (for inanimate and animate objects) as well as a process (for animate objects). To describe a state ...
10
votes
2answers
487 views

Japanese equivalent of the phrase “wrapped around your finger”?

The English phrase "wrapped around your finger" usually means that a male is so fond of a girl that she can get him to do almost anything she wants, or to give her whatever she wants. In my case, it ...
5
votes
2answers
172 views

~あらんことを: Slight Variations and Idiomatic Degree

Consider 神のご加護があらんことを How is あらんことを different from あろうことを ? (c.f. archaic -an conjugation) Apart from sounding archaic, are there other functional differences? How is {あらん・あろう}ことを different from ...
1
vote
1answer
79 views

Can the phrase 不条理劇 “a theatre of absurd” be used figuratively in Japanese?

Would it be valid in casual Japanese conversation to use the term 不条理劇{ふじょうりげき} or 不条理演劇{ふじょうりえんげき} to describe a situation in which for example two parties A and B are talking to each other using ...
5
votes
1answer
253 views

Is “背中に嫌な汗を掻いた” an idiomatic phrase?

Okay I read a light novel and found a phrase that seems nonsensical to me. The sentence is: "私を見ながら背中に嫌な汗を掻いた。" The context is that a character in the story just realize something about the Main ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Is there a Japanese equivalent to the phrase, “when in Rome”?

Is there a Japanese equivalent to the phrase, "when in Rome"?
11
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3answers
8k views

When/why did 電話する replace 電話をかける?

In some older learning material I came across, they use 「電話をかける」 for "to make a telephone call". When/why did this come to be replaced by 「電話する」 in popular usage?
5
votes
4answers
800 views

“over in the blink of an eye”?

What is the idiom "in the blink of an eye" in Japanese? I want to use it to say that two years will be over in the blink of an eye or "before you even notice". (For a detailed discussion and ...
2
votes
1answer
257 views

Meaning of 根づいていた / 根づく

In the opening to the popular anime Fairy tale, they say this: 魔法は 普通に売り買いされ 人々の生活に根づいていた。 This is translated in the subtitles as: Magic is traded like common goods. It has become a part of ...
12
votes
2answers
766 views

Japanese idiom equivalent to “take with a grain of salt”

Is there a Japanese idiom equivalent to "take with a grain of salt"? In other words, an idiom which means "don't accept this information as completely true or the complete truth".
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vote
1answer
75 views

Is 長生きはするもんな a set phrase?

Is 長生きはするもんだな a set phrase meaning "you live and learn"?
5
votes
2answers
221 views

根も葉も火種も — is it proverbial?

I suspect「根も葉も火種も」 is an allusion to something I do not recognize. To what does it refer? Consider this couplet from an amusing song released in March by IOSYS called 「ステマの女」(CD and promotional ...
22
votes
5answers
2k views

How would one convey “get over it” in Japanese?

As a foreigner in Japan, one has to get used to the fact that some Japanese will compliment you on things that are too mundane to really deserve mention. Like the fact that you can use chopsticks, eat ...
2
votes
1answer
91 views

A japanese saying “一をいうと十返ってくる”

I'm currently trying to read a japanese novel and I found this expression : 一をいうと十返ってくる It was meant to qualify a character, but I just don't get it. At first I thought it could mean "tell one ...
4
votes
2answers
553 views

“Something came up” in Japanese

I always use this in English to excuse myself from a planned meeting/meet up (professional or personal). Basically, I don't want to bother the interlocutor with the details and notify them I am busy. ...
3
votes
2answers
160 views

Does 児戯 have the same idiomatic value in Japanese as “child's play” does in English?

In English, "child's play" can literally mean "play performed by a child" or it can be used as an idiom to refer to "something easy". I see that Japanese 児戯 can also mean 子供の遊び (児の戯れ, I guess?) - ...
4
votes
1answer
216 views

Meaning and usage of ~としたことが

I came across the expression ~としたことが, for example: 私としたことが I'm trying to figure out the meaning and usage of this phrase, but I can't find any English resources that explain it. What does this ...
4
votes
1answer
233 views

How would you use どうもこうもない?

Found two example translations, one is "there is no alternative", the other is "sorry, it was awful". What is the scope of situations where it can be used? Is there a way to translate its nuance into ...
1
vote
2answers
71 views

貰{もら}える物は貰っておく (idiom?) meaning

How should the 貰っておく part be interpreted? What (I) can receive, I ... (?).
1
vote
1answer
219 views

Meaning of “頭に付く”?

I'm reading through a book about learning Mandarin written in Japanese. There's a section describing the basics of initials (声母【せいぼ】) and finals (韻母【いんぼ】) in Chinese syllables with the following ...
4
votes
1answer
223 views

“Automatic Doors Don't Open For Him”

I remember hearing this idiom which meant someone was so lowly, they were not even considered a person. I don't know the source, but remember it was referred to as a 'common Japanese idiom'. ...
3
votes
1answer
279 views

Meaning of “gkbrです”

I have noticed the usage of gkbrです in sentences not related to the G insect: 田中さんに掘り返されたことでgkbrです。 恐怖でgkbrですが続きテツヤ待機。 Does it mean "I am afraid and want to crawl under the furniture"?
3
votes
1answer
226 views

Twitter idioms: Why do some Japanese have an “@” in the middle of their “names” (not usernames)?

I've noticed that some Japanese Twitter users put words/short sentences separated by an "@" symbol in the "name" field. A common one I've noticed is "abc123@LINEスタンプ販売中," which seems to imply they're ...
3
votes
1answer
108 views

Meaning of 家族ポイントを消費

What is the meaning of 家族ポイント and 家族ポイントを消費? Examples: 家族ポイントを消費して行くオプションもありましたが、年の初めから無理をすることもなかろうと看病モード。 かなりの家族ポイントを消費しつつ、札幌歴史ゲーム友の会の例会に久々に参加しました。 家庭にオーブン付レンジをお持ちのお父さん、...
3
votes
1answer
168 views

おきばりになさって! with the meaning of 頑張れ!

I was discussing with my Japanese colleagues about expressions peculiar to contemporary bourgeoisie. One expression I already knew was ご機嫌よう!, meaning またね!. My question is about another one: ...
4
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1answer
90 views

Meaning of タッグでやる

According to Wikipedia, a tag team is a two-person team of which only one person plays at a time. Speaking of a long-length work project, 小林 says: 田中とタッグでやる。 Is there any nuance difference with ...
1
vote
2answers
256 views

“Year of the X” - is there an idiom?

So, if we were talking about "this is the Year of the Dog", I think the correct rendering of that in Japanese would be 戌年, with the reading いぬどし. But does that extend outside of the astrological sense?...
4
votes
1answer
190 views

ムダ足だった == useless leg?

When I look up the phrase 無駄足だった, I see it translated as "It was a Wild goose chase." I found this bizarre, since it seems like it would mean "It was a useless foot/leg." is this some sort of figure ...
8
votes
1answer
236 views

Meaning of ~と言われればそれまでだが、…

I have found this sentence: 好みの問題と言われればそれまでだが、私はこの店の内装はなんとなく好きになれない。 To my poor understanding it sounds similar to: 好みの問題と言われても、私はこの店の内装はなんとなく好きになれない。 If it is completely different and I ...
2
votes
2answers
238 views

Can [面倒]{めんどう} be used as “boring”?

I've just heard many times [面倒]{めんどう} in anime, in translation is not troublesome but boring. Is it usual? Which is more appropriate? Example: 面倒な仕事です。
4
votes
2answers
753 views

How do you say “after all”, in the sense of reaffirming or justifying a previous statement?

For example: "You should wear a jacket. After all, it's snowing out there." "Of course I bought you a present! It's our anniversary after all." I tried an online dictionary but they gave me a lot ...
7
votes
1answer
242 views

Does 換骨奪胎 have negative connotation?

In the book ロボット学論集 by 瀬名 秀明, I saw this sentence (not exact since I'm solely depending on my memory) 2004 年公開の映画 "I, Robot" は,Isaac Asimov の同名の小説を換骨奪胎した別物である. I looked at several online ...
2
votes
1answer
253 views

What does 馬鹿も一芸 mean in English? [closed]

I'm wondering how 馬鹿も一芸 should be translated into English. EDICT-based dictionary sites list this phrase with the following translation: 馬鹿も一芸 even a fool has a talent Is this translation ...
4
votes
1answer
425 views

Meaning of あさっての方向 “Asatte no houkou”

I just heard something like: この話があさっての方向に向かっています Kono hanashi ga asatte no houkou ni mukatteimasu It was used when one of conversation partners said something off topic or loosely tied to it. ...
11
votes
2answers
3k views

Ways to end a phone conversation

Despite its being one of the most basic element of daily-life Japanese, I often find myself looking for a proper way to end certain phone conversations. Of course, I know the standard: [それでは]失礼します, ...
6
votes
3answers
735 views

How to say “all in all”

I have been many times blocked in a conversation because I have no way to translate "all in all" in those general contexts: All in all it takes 15 minutes to get there All in all this movie was ...