Category Archives: Yojijukugo

A galling surfeit of gall

大胆不敵 dai.tan.fu.teki Literally: big – liver/gallbladder / courage – non – enemy Alternately: Being, or at least acting, completely unafraid. Acting as confident as someone without any (meaningful) enemies. Notes: This is another compound comprising two near-synonyms. 大胆 is “brave(ry),” … Continue reading

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Samazama na arisama

三者三様 san.sha.san.you Literally: three – person – three – manner Alternately: Everybody is different. If you look at three people, you’ll find three different ways of thinking, three different ways of doing things. Notes: The number three may be replaced … Continue reading

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The old razzle-dazzle

歌舞音曲 ka.bu.on.kyoku Literally: sing – dance – sound – melody Alternately: Song and dance. Especially, a public performance of singing and dancing. More generally, performance or play using any of the flashy arts.

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Work, save, work, go!

More effective but less fun than “eat, pray, love”? Nah, just parallel. 勤倹力行 kin.ken.ri-.kkou Literally: diligence – frugality – power – go / carry out (an action) Alternately: Frugality and hard work. A modest lifestyle supported by copious elbow grease. … Continue reading

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Every stick and blade

一木一草 ichi.boku.i-.ssou Literally: one – tree – one – grass Alternately: Everything in the area; every last tree and blade of grass. In contrast, this phrase can also mean something of which there’s only a very small amount – a … Continue reading

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I see your Aeschylan harpies

And raise you LOVELY OPERA HARPIES 迦陵頻伽 ka.ryou.bin.ga Literally: “ka” (this character is only used phonetically) – imperial tomb – repeatedly – attend Alternately: A beautiful voice, or a person (especially a woman) who possesses one. This phrase refers to … Continue reading

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Not the good kind

自暴自棄 ji.bou.ji.ki Literally: self – violence – self – abandon Alternately: Coming unmoored and lashing out, to the point of actually harming one’s own self or interests, in a surfeit of disillusionment or desperation. Impulsive and self-destructive flailing without regard … Continue reading

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