Category Archives: Japan: Language

J-WOTD: 波瀾万丈

はらんばんじょう (haranbanjyou)

* “J-WOTD” = “Japanese Word of the Day”

“Full of ups and downs” This pharse basically means that something has been eventful, but in a negative way.
Examples: 彼女の波瀾万丈な生活にずっとつきあってきたよ。 “I have put up with her rollercoaster of a life for so long”
It can be used for almost anything, even for more formal usages, 波瀾万丈な経歴 means a “checkered career” etc.
One More: 話が時代を超えて展開する時、波瀾万丈の物語の幕が開けます。”This creates an exciting saga as the story jumps through different periods in history”

J-WOTD: 物別れ

ものわかれ (monowakare)

* “J-WOTD” = “Japanese Word of the Day”

I thought this was a cool phrase, and I was surprised that I had never heard anyone use it before yesterday..

Basically points out a situation or a confrontation, or even just a discussion between two parties that did not go well, and ended with no conclusion. It also portrays that the meeting or discussion was a waste of time. This happens so much in Japan, that this phrase will be so useful for me.

end in disagreement, or without any conclusion.
I got a phone call saying the talks had broken down.
Talks between the two countries got nowhere.
remain stalemated

J-WOTD: 実るほど頭を垂れる稲穂かな

みのるほど こうべをたれる いなほかな (minoruhodo koubewotareru inahokana)

* “J-WOTD” = “Japanese Word of the Day”

“Those ears of rice that bear the most grain (people in high positions) should be the ones that bow lowest”
This is a kotowaza.. Heard it used (sarcastically) today about an 偉そうな guy at work, who is supposedly a head of a division, but in fact often is found boasting to his subordinates about how many airline miles he earned on his 6 last business class work trips to the US, and how he often gets upgraded to first class because of how often he uses business class. In this sense, he should be the last person in the company to be saying anything to subordinates (who rarely get to go anywhere, let alone by business class) about how much of a “VIP of the sky” he is.

J-WOTD: 力任せ

ちからまかせ (chikaramakase)

* “J-WOTD” = “Japanese Word of the Day”

“do something in an angry state” (not sure about this… some Japanese person, please leave a comment?)
The kid was angry with his parents, and just kicked the ball for hours in the garden.

J-WOTD: 形ばかり

かたちばかり (katachibakari)

* “J-WOTD” = “Japanese Word of the Day”

“token” “fake” (used for when someone does something, without really meaning it, or for ulterior motives)
slight token of gratitude, very small token of gratitude
reception given for form’s sake
put up only a token resistance
例(cchi):昨晩遅かった事をカタチばかり文句言ってみたら 今日は早く帰るって言って朝出ていった。

J-WOTD: 虫がいい

虫がいい (mushi ga ii)

* “J-WOTD” = “Japanese Word of the Day”

“push one’s luck” “take a lot for granted” “take too much for granted”
sounds too good
That’s asking too much
It would be pushing my luck to ask that we only meet when it suits me right?

J-WOTD: 侮れない

あなどれない (anadorenai)

* “J-WOTD” = “Japanese Word of the Day”

“look tough” “(be) a force to be reckoned with”
rival to be reckoned with
something to be reckoned with

Usage: An friend of mine in an old company, said this about a manager that was trying to make us work hard on the very last day of our assignment on a certain project.. I guess it meant, “She (the boss) is just trying to look tough..

J-WOTD: おちょくる

おちょくる (ochokuru)

* “J-WOTD” = “Japanese Word of the Day”

“make fun of” “wind up” “take the piss out of” etc..
make fun of.., make a mock of..
see the funny side of
“Are you taking the piss out of Japanese people!?”