Oh, My Ears are Burning! Japanese Idioms 耳が痛い

Oh, My Ears are Burning! Japanese Idioms 耳が痛い

耳が痛い
mimi ga itai
(of a reprimand) to make one’s ears burn; hit where it hurts

 

 

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When someone says something that hits on a touchy subject or reminds you of a weakness you have, then your “ears hurt.”

Literally, “ears hurt.” The “hurt” in your ears comes from hearing something you don’t want to hear.

彼の忠告を聞くのは、耳が痛い。

kare no chuukoku o kiku no wa, mimi ga itai.
Hearing his advice really hit a nerve.

kare—he
忠告  chuukoku—advice; warning
聞く kiku—to hear; to listen

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大きな顔をする To Look as if One is Important; Puffed Up

大きな顔をする To Look as if One is Important; Puffed Up

大きな顔をする To look as if one is important; puffed up

 

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Said when someone is overly proud (and the speaker thinks that he should be more humble).
Literally, “to make one’s face large.” Having a large face means people are more likely to take notice of you.

彼はまだ新入社員なのに、もう大きな顔をしている。

kare wa mada shin nyuu sha in na noni, mou ookina kao wo shiteiru.
Although he’s still a new employee, he sure acts like a big shot.

kare—he
まだ mada—still (only a new employee)
新入社員 shin nyuu sha in—new employee
[lit: 新 shin (new); 入 nyuu (enter); 社 sha (company); 員 in (member)] なのに nanoni—although; in spite of the fact…
もう mou—already


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My Mouth is Heavy! Not Saying Much with Japanese Idiom 口が重い

My Mouth is Heavy! Not Saying Much with Japanese Idiom 口が重い

Japanese Idiom Lesson:

口が重い
kuchi ga omoi
This is used when someone speaks only a little or is very quiet.


The antonym of this expression is 口が軽い。 kuchi ga karui. One’s mouth is light.


This idiom literally means, “mouth is heavy.” A heavy mouth doesn’t say much.


佐藤さんは、口が重いので、
デート中なにも話しませんでした。  

Because Sato is naturally quiet, she didn’t say anything during her date.

佐藤 satou—Sato (a Japanese last name)
wa—[topic particle] (written with hiragana “ha” but pronounced “wa” when used as particle.
ので node—therefore; because
デート中 de-to chuu—during a date
なにも nanimo—nothing; not at all
話しませんでした hanashimasen deshita—didn’t speak


Speaking Frankly, Japanese Idiom: 明け透けに言う

Speaking Frankly, Japanese Idiom: 明け透けに言う

Japanese Idiom Lesson:

あけすけに言う
akesuke ni iu
This idiom is used when someone says something in a blunt manner.


This idiom is used when someone says something in a blunt manner. “ake” means to reveal or to bring something to light; “suke” means to be transparent.


Another, and, probably original, usage of “akesuke” is that a gap has opened, and the other side is visible.


あの人、なんでもあけすけに言う。 
That person always speaks frankly.

あの人 ano hito—that person
wa—[topic particle] (written with hiragana “ha” but pronounced “wa” when used as particle.
なんでも nandemo—anything; everything
言う iu—to speak


Japanese Idiom: あいづちを打つ Making Sounds to Show Comprehension

Japanese Idiom: あいづちを打つ Making Sounds to Show Comprehension

Japanese Idiom Lesson:

あいづちを打つ
aizuchi o utsu
sounds given during a conversation to show you are listening and engaged



When talking with someone, to show you are engaged in the conversation, you may nod or say things like “That’s right” or “You don’t say!”

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.


あの人の話は面白くなかったけれど、一応あいづちを打ちながら聞いていた。
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
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
~ながら ~nagara—while


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