I grind my bones to make my bread


Literally: powder – bone – smash – body

Alternately: To work as hard as you can. To give your all. In English we may work our fingers to the bone, but in Japanese you work until your bones themselves have been crushed to dust. Figuratively, of course.

Notes: This expression apparently comes from a 9th-century CE Chinese novel centering on a courtesan and her lover, Huo Xiaoyu zhuan (霍小玉傳).

The characters can be rearranged to a degree – 粉身砕骨, 砕骨粉身, and 砕身粉骨 are rare but equally valid variations.


Perhaps it’s about risking life and limb in battle.


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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