Brandy Bundt, meet your match

盗人上戸
nusu.bito.jou.go

Literally: steal – person – up – door

Alternately: Someone who likes both alcohol and sweets. Alternately, someone who doesn’t show any outward signs even after consuming a large quantity of alcohol.

Notes: The first pair of characters can also be pronounced nusutto.

This one seems to come way out of left field. How does “steal person up door” point toward preferences in food and drink? It turns out that 上戸 can refer, idiomatically, to someone who doesn’t hold their liquor well (and is thus assumed to like sweets; see below for more) while 盗人 can drink and drink without seeming to be affected. A 盗人上戸 is therefore someone with aspects of both “likes to drink” and “prefers sweets.”

Japanese culture actually contains the belief that people can be divided into two types – those who like sweets, and those who like to drink. (It’s possible that there’s some sexism buried in there?) Another set of terms for these categories are, respectively, 甘党 (amatou), “sweet faction,” and 辛党 (karatou), “spicy faction.” (You know a country’s cuisine is pretty bland when alcohol is referred to as “spicy”!) For me, the interesting thing is that a related belief peeks out briefly in a Western movie called Hobson’s Choice, when an alcoholic recoils from cake because all the drinking has rendered his body incapable of enjoying sugar. Of course, this leaves open the question of how to categorize people who like sweet drinks.

NusuBitoTabetaMen

The top results from Google image search are mostly noodles. Apparently this 四字熟語 is part of the tag-line of a food blogger.

About Confanity

I love the written word more than anything else I've had the chance to work with. I'm back in the States from Japan for grad school, but still studying Japanese with the hope of becoming a translator -- or writer, or even teacher -- as long as it's something language-related.
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