(Fukouchuu no saiwai; “Happiness amidst misfortune.”)
A cloud’s silver lining. A small consolation in hard times or sadness. A small mercy that things weren’t worse.
This kotowaza is simply a noun phrase. 幸い (saiwai) is a noun indicating either good fortune or the happiness that arises from it. 不幸 (fukou) is another noun that attaches the negating 不 (fu) to the kanji 幸, changing its pronunciation and creating its literal antonym, “misfortune” or “unhappiness.” To the latter is attached the suffix ~中 (chuu), meaning “[in the] middle [of],” “during,” and so on. の (no) is our associative particle. Literally, the phrase becomes “Luck associated with the middle of un-luck.”
Supposedly, this saying can alternately refer to a blessing in disguise, although such usage seems to be rare.
Example sentence (source!):
(“Atatta no ga namamono ja nakute yokattatte, sou kangaereba fukouchuu no saiwaitte… …shake da~!”)
[“It’s good that what hit me wasn’t some raw food; if you think of it that way at least there’s a silver lining… …RAW SALMON!”]