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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5
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3answers
1k 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
124 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
579 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?
9
votes
1answer
945 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
211 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 ...
16
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
94 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
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3answers
380 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
66 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
258 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
92 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
296 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
103 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
199 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
152 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
164 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
109 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 ...
33
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 ...
9
votes
1answer
200 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
504 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
104 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
59 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: ...
3
votes
2answers
182 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
53 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
344 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
287 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
197 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
66 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
171 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
264 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
409 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
181 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
147 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 ...
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votes
2answers
136 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
84 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
947 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
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1answer
87 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
192 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
75 views

Does the term 大和撫子 predate WWII, or was there an equivalent term for the ideal Japanese lady?

Does the term 「大和撫子」for describing the ideal Japanese lady predate WWII, or was there an equivalent term before that? These sites here and here indicate that the term was co-opted for propaganda ...
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 ...
12
votes
3answers
7k views

How do you ask for “the bill” at a restaurant?

This is probably a bit of a silly question, but what do you say in Japanese when you're asking for the bill in a restaurant? Or is it unusual to say anything at all? When I was in Japan I could never ...
22
votes
9answers
6k views

What to say after someone sneezes

It's happened several times: I'll be chattering away with a friend in Japanese, and they'll sneeze, and without even thinking about it I'll revert back to English to say "bless you." Is there a set ...
7
votes
1answer
266 views

Is it OK to keep saying ありがとう

I was asking a Japanese person for some help and noticed that I kept saying ありがとうございます over and over as they helped me more. Culturally, is it OK to keep saying it multiple times in Japanese? Would it ...
1
vote
1answer
258 views

Equivalent of “That said, Carthage must be destroyed” in Japanese

"Ceterum censeo, Carthaginem esse delendam," the famous phrase with which Cato the Elder used to finish all of his speeches, no matter how unrelated the topic was. It was probably an effective ...
5
votes
2answers
453 views

How to make comparisons using “like” in japanese?

So take the following (contrived) example in english. A: What does 'plane' mean? B: Which 'plane'? 'Plane' like 'the thing in the sky'? 'Plain' like 'hills on the ground'? Or 'plane' like 'a ...
7
votes
2answers
156 views

Is “俎板の上の鯉” related to the Vietnamese phrase “như cá nằm trên thớt”?

Is the Japanese phrase "俎板の上の鯉" - a carp laid on a chopping block related to the Vietnamese phrase "như cá nằm trên thớt" - like a fish on cutting board, either because Japanese got the phrase from ...
3
votes
1answer
135 views

How should the proverb “能ある鷹は爪を隠す” be understood?

The literal translation of "能ある鷹は爪を隠す" is “The wise hawk hides its talons.” But what should I understand the proverb as meaning? Is it just about humbleness, or about not letting your adversaries ...
2
votes
2answers
128 views

The usage of “性【しょう】に合う合わない”

I came across this sentence: 今後の自分には、そういった社交術が必要なのだと頭ではわかっていても、性に合う合わないというのはあるものだ。 Whats the meaning of "性に合う合わない" here? Does it indicate uncertainty or something like that?
0
votes
2answers
356 views

Why 'okane o haraimasu'?

In sentences such as: Jana will pay for the drinks. or Will the kids have to pay?. Why is it okane o haraimasu instead of ... o haraimasu? [Correct] Examples: Jana san wa nomimono no okane o ...