Category Archives: Yojijukugo

A lance where your chin should be

枕戈待旦 chin.ka.tai.tan Literally: pillow – “spear”* – wait – sunrise Alternately: Always ready to give battle. Never dropping your guard or slacking off from necessary preparations. “Sleeping with a weapon as your pillow, awaiting the break of dawn.” Notes: This … Continue reading

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Make sure you get your ball back afterwards

一球入魂 i-.kkyuu.nyuu.kon Literally: one – sphere – enter / insert – soul Alternately: This phrase from the world of baseball refers to putting your full energy and focus into each action; specifically, putting everything you can into each throw of … Continue reading

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Why that two-faced rat

Well, he looks that way sometimes 首鼠両端 shu.so.ryou.tan Literally: neck – mouse / rat – both – edge Alternately: Caught in indecision, often between two choices. Vacillating; sitting on the fence. By extension, the phrase can also refer to someone … Continue reading

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Double rhyme; wastin’ time

(Imagine my horror when I realized that after a year of pushing through Pandemic Doldrums, I finally managed to completely blank out and miss last week’s yojijukugo. In “honor” of that unwonted error, I’ve chosen a compound containing the character … Continue reading

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For I am the ruler of all that I spoon

杓子定規 shaku.shi.jou.gi Literally: scoop – child – determine – measure Alternately: Assessing everything based on the same criteria, regardless of whether this is appropriate or not. Inflexible; clinging to a single set of rules no matter what. Like trying to … Continue reading

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Cheers to that

拍手喝采 haku.shu.ka-.ssai Literally: “musical beat” – hand – shout – gather Alternately: Applause and cheering. Vigorous praise and approval. Notes: 喝, in and of itself, is interesting. One dictionary I use translates it as “scold,” but a little deeper investigation … Continue reading

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The quick and the subtle

当意即妙 tou.i.soku.myou Literally: appropriate – mind / idea – instant – strange / delicate Alternately: Clever; quick-thinking. Able to handle a situation (appropriately!) as soon as it arises. Notes: This configuration is based on the Buddhist phrase 当位即妙. In this … Continue reading

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As clean and pure as burnished bronze

Yes, bronze is an alloy. You know what I mean. 清廉潔白 sei.ren.ke-.ppaku Literally: pure – pure – clean – white Alternately: Someone’s heart and mind – and their actions in the material world! – are unselfish and fair, moral and … Continue reading

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The preeminent hobby of the times

Only in small part due to the weather, sadly. 蟄居屏息 chi-.kkyo.hei.soku Literally: “hibernation of insects” – exist; reside – fence – breath Alternately: Staying indoors and keeping quiet. Waiting inside with bated breath. Notes: This was apparently also the name … Continue reading

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My friend Dan

一致団結 i-.cchi.dan.ketsu Literally: one – do – group – bind / join Alternately: Many people joining and working together for a common cause. Notes: This is a compound of compounds. 一致 is “agreement,” “union,” while 団結 is “grouping together,” “teaming … Continue reading

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