Japanese Idiom Lesson:
aizuchi o utsu
sounds given during a conversation to show you are listening and engaged
Examples of あいづち aizuchi in Japanese are 「はい」hai, 「うん」un, 「へえ」hee, and「なるほど」naruhodo.
This idiom comes from the rhythm the blacksmith and his apprentice have when trading blows hammering hot metal. The “ai” means “together” and “tsuchi” is a hammer. “utsu” means to hit. Two people hammering hot metal require careful coordination as do people in conversation.
That person’s story was not interesting, but I listened while throwing in the occasional “uh huh” and “yes.”
あの人 ano hito—that person
話 hanashi—story; talk
面白くなかった omoshiroku nakatta—wasn’t interest
けれど keredo—but; however
一応 ichi ou—for the time being