Butterflyblue

火曜日, 1月 04, 2005

More Yojijukugo

...than you can shake a stick at.

A romantic one:

比翼連理
ひよくれんり

比翼 refers to a legendary bird that has one wing shared between the male and the female.

連理 refers to two trees that grow together to become one.

Put these two words together, and it means a couple that are extremely close.

Another romantic one:

一日三秋
いちじつさんしゅう

One day, three autumns

Every day I don't meet you is like three years to me.

Some more of my favorites:

百鬼夜行
ひゃっきやこう

hundred-demons-night-go

A situation where many suspicious individuals are secretly engaged in shady dealings.

玩物喪志
がんぶつそうし

Play-thing-lose-will

To become enraptured with a novel amusement and lose your sense of purpose. This is a way of life for us Internet addicts, I'm afraid.

対牛弾琴
たいぎゅうだんきん

Facing-cow-play-koto

Like playing a harp for a cow, in other words a wasted effort.

白河夜船
しらかわよふね

White-river-night-ship

"Fast asleep, without knowing what's going on."

This one is unusual because it originated in Japan, not China; therefore, the kanji are read with the Japanese readings. It apparently came from a joke about a farmer who went to the capital, Kyoto. When asked if he remembered "Shirakawa," the farmer thinks it's a river and answers "oh, we crossed that river by boat at night so I didn't see it clearly." Since it's not actually a river, his answer displays his ignorance.

朝令暮改
ちょうれいぼかい

Morning-orders-dusk-change

When the rules keep changing and you can't trust them from one day to the next.

晴耕雨読
せいこううどく

Fine day-till-rain-read

When the weather is good, you work in the fields; when the weather is bad, you read a book. A description of a quiet, pleasant life.

器用貧乏
きようびんぼう

Skillful, handy-poor

Jack of all trades, master of none

I like the English expression better, actually.

自他不二
じたふじ

Self-other-not-two

A Buddhist phrase. Not distinguishing between yourself and others, a desirable state of mind.

馬耳東風
ばじとうふう

Horse-ear-east-wind

Not paying any heed to other people's advice or warnings. It's like the east wind blowing in the ear of a horse.

我田引水
がでんいんすい

My own-rice field-pull-water

Watering your own field--only doing what's best for you without caring about other people.

The following three all mean basically the same thing.

金城鉄壁
きんじょうてつへき

Gold-castle-iron-wall

A very strong defence.

金城湯池
きんじょうとうち

The same - this time the moat is hot water.

難攻不落
なんこうふらく

Hard to attack, will not fall

Defensible terrain, or a well-defended position. I misunderstood this one at first to mean something like "an uphill battle" as we would say in English, but that expression is from the point of view of the attacker- this one actually has a positive meaning.


5 Comments:

  • At 2:28 午後, Blogger Coyote said…

    Hi, i am just a passing person in the maze of the blog sites but glad to find someone who is studying japanese language and culture. It is amazing that some of yojijukugos you are learning are difficult even to me, a japanese speaker.

    good luck to your teaching and study in Japan & hope you spent nice time in Japan!

     
  • At 4:33 午後, Anonymous 匿名 said…

    Howdy BB! I'm enjoying my Kyoto Starbucks mug that you sent me for Christmas very much! Thank you :-) Your Christmas present, as well as your last years Christmas present(!), are still waiting for me to get off my lazy arse and mail them to you! I couldn't quite make it through all the Yoji stuff, sorry. But I enjoyed hearing about your trip to Taiwan. Take care and have fun!

     
  • At 10:28 午前, Blogger butterflyblue said…

    Thanks for your comments, both of you!
    Well, I'll be back in Oly for a few weeks this summer, so I can get the Christmas present then, thank you! If you have any tips about how to organize a high school debate, (see next post) please let me know!

     
  • At 5:16 午後, Blogger Seneschal said…

    Hi, is there any rule for Yoji-Jukugo to see if they came from Chinese or were native Japanese combos? Seems like most of them came from Chinese, but how would I know if I started using them that they are not "Japanese"?

     
  • At 11:54 午前, Blogger butterflyblue said…

    Most of them come from China, but a few were made in Japan. An example is

    海千山千 うみせんやません

    - you can tell it's Japanese because it uses the kunyomi readings. However, some yojijukugo created in Japan use onyomi readings, so you can't tell for sure by that alone. Japanese yojijukugo are a bit like 和製英語 (English created in Japan); they tend to be two (two-character) words stuck together conveniently to make a word with a new meaning.

     

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