成句. Phrases with fixed words used as a single unit, such as idioms. For questions about a particular idiom, please use the tag "idioms".

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6
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2answers
164 views

Help for this expression: 猿は人間に毛が[三筋]{みすじ}足らぬ

I read this expression in a text. It seems to be an old proverb about monkeys. But I am not sure about its meaning. Why 筋, for instance? Does it mean muscle? reasoning faculty? Why would they be ...
18
votes
4answers
1k views

The significance of 前 {まえ} in Japanese language and culture

I noticed that the 前 is a handy kanji character in Japanese language. It is used in many words including but not limited to: 名前 {なまえ} : Given name 手前, お前 : You [当]{あ}たり[前]{まえ} : ...
3
votes
1answer
83 views

ことわざ for staying out of things you don't understand

Is there a ことわざ which means "don't talk about things you don't understand"?
1
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2answers
95 views

Meaning of このなかでは

I keep on hearing the term 「このなかでは」 and 「そのなかでは」from news, but I can't seem to find what it means anywhere. I found a meaning for 中, which is probably what なか refers to, as "while". Does it mean ...
7
votes
1answer
70 views

Can お[邪魔]{じゃま}します be used in cases of long-term stay?

So I need to write an email for an assignment where I am an exchange student who is going to Japan and staying at someone's house for a period of time. I want to begin with "thank you very much for ...
5
votes
2answers
293 views

To test appliance before buying

First, I would like to let you know that I'm aware of a few topics already made regarding "try" here: • Saying "try" in Japanese • Different ways to "try" But after reading ...
5
votes
1answer
62 views

Regarding どういたしまして usage

Japanese textbooks teach us to reply どういたしまして。 when people say ありがとうございます。So generally it means "You're welcome~" But I read that a lot of people saying that when we say どういたしまして。 it somewhat looks ...
1
vote
1answer
63 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!!!
6
votes
1answer
856 views

Is there a Japanese equivalent of knock-knock jokes?

For those (non-natives, etc.) who maybe aren't familiar, knock-knock jokes are one of the lowest, most basic forms of American "comedy". They follow this format: A: Knock, knock B: Who's ...
2
votes
2answers
176 views

Origin and meaning of the proverb 死人【しにん】に 口【くち】 無し【なし】

The proverb 死人【しにん】に 口【くち】 無し【なし】 (the dead do not have a mouth) is listed e.g. here and I've also heard it from my (native) teacher. Here's what I'm wondering: From what I've heard so far, it ...
1
vote
1answer
419 views

A word or short phrase for “Moving forward, taking the good things with, leaving the bad things behind”

Apparently there is a Japanese word for Moving forward taking the good things with you but leaving the bad things behind. Would any of you know what it is?
12
votes
3answers
2k views

“Strike while the iron is hot” - Japanese equivalent

Is there an equivalent expression in Japanese for "strike while the iron is hot"? I've seen a few questions on here with phrases and their equivalents. Does anybody know of a site where these are ...
3
votes
1answer
137 views

Context of “何様のつもりか”

I came across someone referring to the phrase "何様のつもりか" in the middle of an English-language discussion: if I were [person X], I would be shouting "何様のつもりか" (although I am not, and so I can't) ...
3
votes
1answer
649 views

End of semester farewell/thanks to teacher

We are approaching the end of this semester at my school. What is a good way to say thank you to my teacher? 「お世話になりましてありかとうございました。」 ? Are there any other suggestions/additions?
10
votes
1answer
960 views

Is「うそおっしゃい」to be taken literally here?

In the video game Ripening Tingle's Balloon Trip of Love, the protagonist Tingle meets a fortune teller who demonstrates her powers to him. She asks him, "You come from a far away town, right?" If ...
2
votes
3answers
247 views

Common ways of asking for someones phone number

I saw somewhere today that [電話]{でんわ}[番号]{ばんごう}は何番ですか is used to ask for someone's phone number. It seemed strange to me since I usually hear it as [電話]{でんわ}[番号]{ばんごう}何ですか, and also because the literal ...
17
votes
1answer
7k views

Getting your haircut in Japan

I have been living in Japan now for the last 3 months and my hair is starting to look like it needs a cut. But I have never been to a Japanese barbers before so as you can imagine I am a little ...
1
vote
2answers
99 views

Meaning of 声をそろえる

What is the meaning of 声をそろえる in this conversation: 「だからってドロボーの手伝いまですることないじゃない」 お姉ちゃんがあきれたように言うと、ヒロシも声をそろえた。 「そうだぞ。そんなバカなことしない人間に育てるために、厳しくする方がまる子のためだ。...」 Literally I think it means 'to ...
7
votes
3answers
415 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?
2
votes
1answer
89 views

verb-ている in potential form やってられないよ

A girl is moaning about how she is treated for not doing her homework then pauses and says: やってられないよ I assume this is a contraction of やっていられないよ which would literally be "I can't be doing it". ...
8
votes
1answer
259 views

Where's the missing い in ありがた迷惑【ありがた めいわく】?

One of the most useful turns of phrase in Japanese is ありがた迷惑{めいわく}, which is that of being helpful in a way that is not helpful. It can cover situations where one is being helpful to ...
5
votes
2answers
123 views

Is it ok to say 問題ない instead of 問題じゃない? Why?

問題ない vs 問題じゃない From what I understand the negative form of a noun is created with じゃない and not ない however my textbook uses 問題ない in an example (translated as "no problem"). Looking elsewhere on the ...
4
votes
2answers
320 views

What is the difference between しかも and それどころか?

しかも is pretty straight forward: 今度、「一番」ってお店のランチに行こうよ。あそこ、すごくおいしんだよ。しかも量もおおいよ。 Let's go get lunch at Ichiban next time. The food is great, also the servings are big. ...
1
vote
1answer
105 views

How do I interpret お釣りが来るほど?

豪邸を三つ作ってもお釣りが来るほどの価値がある一級品の武器の筈だ。 I'm not sure how to interpret this part of the sentence. Is it some kind of phrase? I feel that it means something like "It should be a first class weapon ...
3
votes
1answer
245 views

How to ask if someone is ready

I think I can ask something like もう学校に行く用意はできてるの for "Are you ready to go to school yet". I was wondering what is the most natural way to simply ask "Are you ready yet?". E.g. the wife is in the ...
6
votes
1answer
220 views

“Hey Bro!” how to call out friends

There is a variety of words such as ”友” ”相棒” ”仲間”, etc. to describe a person as a friend or partner. Is there a casual way to call out your friend in Japanese, instead of having to call his/her name ...
3
votes
1answer
182 views

Confusing use of と言えば

「おれは...」と田中が言えば、「おれは...」と吉田が言った。 Literally, "if Tanaka could say ... then Yoshida said ...". What is the meaning of this structure? I've seen Aと言えば to mean "speaking of A", but that doesn't ...
4
votes
1answer
114 views

Meaning of 身もフタもない

怒られるタイプの人のことを考えていて、自分が怒られたんじゃ、身もフタもないじゃないの I've been thinking about people who are the type to get scolded and, I scold myself... I can't make any sense out of the part in bold. Literally I ...
34
votes
5answers
3k views

Is it proper to thank waitstaff, cashiers, etc. for their service?

In my Japanese class we were taught that one does not need to thank a cashier when they check you out or a server when they bring you your meal, but I always feel awkward remaining silent. Was my ...
10
votes
1answer
222 views

Why is やりたい放題 used as opposed to やり放題?

A common word in Japanese, meaning "all-you-can-drink", is "飲み放題". It is "放題" - as much as you would like - appended to the verb-stem of "飲む". It is the same rule for instance, for: 食べ放題, 読み放題, ...
2
votes
2answers
529 views

Share your list of stock phrases / phrase templates

Do you keep a list of set phrases that you use often, or phrases that you'd use someday? I do. Here's mine, a list of phrases I've collected from work emails since three years ago. Such a list, while ...
6
votes
1answer
106 views

Meaning and usage of 運のツキ

何さ、いやな人たちだね。こんな家に生まれてきたのが運のツキだよ。 What!? I'm an unpleasant person am I? To be born in a house such as this ... Bit confused by the part in bold. 運 means "luck" and ツキ can also mean "luck". So is ...
5
votes
1answer
61 views

「私の緊張のあまり」 vs.「私は緊張のあまり」in this sentence?

sentence #1: 自分{じぶん}の番{ばん}が近{ちか}づいてきたとき、私{わたし}は緊張{きんちょう}のあまり頭{あたま}の中{なか}が真{ま}っ白{しろ}になってしまった。 sentence #2: 自分の番が近づいてきたとき、緊張のあまり、私は頭の中が真っ白になってしまった。 sentence #3: ...
4
votes
2answers
193 views

Meaning of nounってとこ

People are discussing the characters in a comedy show and one of them asks 高木ってとこじゃないの From the context I'm guessing it means "You like Takagi, don't you?" Again the dreaded って. Don't know if ...
3
votes
1answer
56 views

Meaning of じわれができる

その瞬間、まる子は、地割れができて、AとBとCの三人と、まる子とDとEに分けられてしまったような気がした。 Just then Maruko had a feeling that the group seemd to be divided into the three people A,B,C, and herself and D and E. The only meaning I ...
7
votes
2answers
348 views

“なし” used for both animate and inanimate things?

I was so surprised to read: 孝行をしたい時分に親はなし。 (paraphrase) When one finally wants to truly fulfill the obligation to his/her parents, they often have already passed away. (note): I would have ...
10
votes
5answers
304 views

Why “お食事の際は、…” instead of “ご飯を食べる際は、…”?

In the following, my textbook says that #1 is the correct choice. (1) お食事の 際は、こちらのテーブルをお使いいただけます。 (2) ご飯を食べる 際は、こちらのテーブルをお使いいただけます。 I think that both are grammatically correct and have the ...
5
votes
2answers
230 views

“お調べいただいた上、” vs. “お調べいただき、…”

What is the difference in meaning between: (1) お調べいただいた上、注文通りの品をお送り下さいますよう、お願いします。 (2) お調べいただき、注文通りの品を送り下さいますよう、お願いします。 I understand #2. (2) Upon your looking into the matter, please ...
2
votes
1answer
71 views

can i say “四者択一の問題”?

Since "二者択一の問題" is a multiple choice problem with 2 options, would it be understandable to say: "三者択一の問題" --> multiple choice with 3 options "四者択一の問題" --> multiple choice with 4 options ..... would ...
1
vote
1answer
177 views

How do you indicate sections in a report if there are more than 5? (まず、つぎに、さらに、そして、最後に)

If you need to indicate more sections in a report than five (beginning each section with 「まず」、「つぎに」、「さらに」、「そして」、「最後に」 respectively), what word(s) should you use to indicate the start of the additional ...
2
votes
1answer
284 views

In Japanese, how do you tell the reader that a quotation is literally translated from the original when the original sounds strange?

In cases where the original wording of a quotation sounds strange, and thus the Japanese translation of it sounds unnatural, my advisor says I need to add a note each time in my academic paper to tell ...
3
votes
1answer
430 views

How do you write “translation mine” in Japanese for academic writing?

When you translate a quoted citation, how do you write "translation mine" in Japanese to let the reader know that it is your own translation rather than an official one (or, to contrast yours to the ...
4
votes
2answers
193 views

In Japanese, how do you say you will skip ahead past one section for time's sake while reading aloud to an audience?

How do you succinctly say that you are going to skip ahead past the next section or paragraph for time's sake and tell the audience which spot you are picking up again when reading a paper aloud at an ...
1
vote
1answer
156 views

What do these sentences mean? [closed]

Recently, I heard (in a song) these 3 sentences and I can't translate some words in them. I've tried various translators but I'm still confused, so I hope you can help me. Sentences are. 紡いだ日々もあるよ ...
4
votes
2answers
141 views

What to say when answering the phone

I'm often unsure what to say when answering the telephone when I am the customer; people usually say their name and then wait for me to say something before stating their business. I'm guessing there ...
2
votes
2answers
91 views

Farewell message - 悔しさをバネに

On my last day my co-worker told me this. I'm not sure what バネに means. I tried looking it up but didn't get anywhere. ここでの悔しさをバネに、次のとこでもがんばってくださいね
0
votes
1answer
2k views

'nihongo ga wakarimasen' vs 'nihongo wo hanashimasen' ga and wo usage?

I'm afraid this question might be basic knowledge, but for the life of me, I cannot figure it out: So most of us know the phrase 'nihongo ga wakarimasen' (meaning: I don't understand japanese) but ...
1
vote
1answer
88 views

ヤマトナデシコ七変化 translation

What is the meaning of this phrase? I understand the lady and kabuki references but overall, what is it trying to say?
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 ...
8
votes
1answer
197 views

Understanding the particle や in the phrase “今や”

(Moved from Insertion of "y" sound between vowels since it appeared to be unrelated.) In the following quote: 私の世界へようこそ。 今やこの世界をコントロールできる唯一の人間だ。 What is the function of the particle や ...