Archive for 'Language'

Japanese Idiom: To Vomit Mud

Photo Credit: Daniel Conway via

Photo Credit: Daniel Conway

While talking to a friend, she mentioned that the Japanese will sometimes day they “slept like mud” after a particularity hard sleep. That got me thinking about other “mud” idioms that the Japanese have. I don’t know if you’ll be happy that I found this one :P

Read more

Japanese Idiom: Hold Someone’s Drum

Photo Credit: hank_rhoads

Photo Credit: hank_rhoads

I’m sure you’re familiar with the English idiom “to beat one’s own drum”, and at first inspection I thought this Japanese idiom was the same thing. But while there’s some similarities, the results are much different.

Read more

Japanese Idiom: Start with a Dragon end with a Snake

Photo Credit: Christopher Chan

Photo Credit: Christopher Chan

At first glance, I had no idea what this Japanese idiom was about. Can you guess what it is? :)

Read more

Japanese Idiom: Pour Water into the Ear

Photo Credit: Maʝicdölphin

Photo Credit: Maʝicdölphin

Here’s another funny Japanese idiom – to pour water into the ear of someone sleeping.

Can you guess what it means? It probably means you need to find better friends :)

Read more

The Benefits of Learning Japanese as a Second Language

Photo Credit: Nomadic Lass

Photo Credit: Nomadic Lass

Learning a second language is a brilliant addition for your CV and your general set of skills.

Being bilingual positively affects your life and can open you up to numerous amazing opportunities. You will develop your mental capacities in that you will become much more attentive and your problem solving skills will become much sharper and quicker.

Read more

Japanese Idiom: Snakes Know Another Snake’s Path

Photo Credit: Dakiny

Photo Credit: Dakiny

Here’s a fun idiom to describe a rather slippery character. It reminds me of a similar English idiom “he’s a snake in the grass”, but this Japanese idiom has a bit more to do with comparing one snake to another.

Let’s take a look!

Read more

Japanese Idiom: Turn Your Body into Powder

Photo Credit: CEBImagery.com.

Photo Credit: CEBImagery.com.

Here’s another fun Japanese idiom that doesn’t really have an English counterpart – to turn one’s body into powder.

Let’s see what it means!

Read more

How Many Words Do You Need to Know to be Fluent in Japanese?

Photo by e.g.gatsby on Flickr

Photo by e.g.gatsby on Flickr

Granted, there is a debate on what exactly being fluent in Japanese means. Personally my aim is to be conversationally comfortable rather than try and pack in 30,000 words. Truth be told, even if I know 30,000 English words, how many of those will I actually use every day or even in a year? So here’s what I think it means to be fluent in Japanese and how many words that’s going take.

Read more

Japanese Idiom: To Crack a Star

Photo by Skiwalker on Flickr

Photo by Skiwalker on Flickr

This is one of the more unusual idioms that I’ve found and we don’t really have a comparable English one. The idiom is around cracking a star and the meaning is not what you think.

Read more

Saying “Sorry” in Japanese

Photo by Kalexanderson on Flickr

Photo by Kalexanderson on Flickr

A while back we did a post on how to say you’re sorry in Japanese. The post took a look at some simple ways on how even the most beginner Japanese learner or traveller can express themselves properly. I ran across a more in depth series on the different ways to say you’re sorry over on the LiguaLift blog.

Japan is a country where ostensive humility prevails over and above over almost any other social norm. Japanese people appear to say some variant of the word ‘sorry’ at almost every juncture during their day—even when they have done nothing wrong!

Check out Part 1 and Part 2 of the series. It’s well worth a read if you want a deeper understanding of the various ways and degrees of apologizing in Japanese.