mjj (flemmings) wrote,

If I had read my Power Japanese books when I got them ie twenty plus years ago before I went to Japan, I'd know a heck of a lot more Japanese than I do now. Or maybe not. The problem with me and studying is that I get so anxious about not remembering what I'm studying that I remember very little. Certainly I hadn't learned, 20+ years ago, that what makes vocab stick is coming across it many many times.

So here I am reading Kanji Idioms again, or for the first time, whichever, and it's interesting to see what happens. There's Japanese text, English transliteration, and below that the explanation. Most of the four-character phrases are unfamiliar, just from the Japanese, but I can hazard a guess from the kanji themselves. Going from the English, half is gibberish that could mean anything-- kushin-santan, shinshutsu-kibotsu, or junshin-muku (which I *do* know to read but not to say.) Others my mind wants to find a meaning for, but not the correct one: tantou-chokunyuu ('the person in charge intervenes directly') or shiri-metsuretsu ('total destruction of the buttocks'). And then, bang! there are words: shoushin-shoumei, jigou-jitoku, ikken-rakuchaku. And those, I can tell you even after twenty years, I learned from jidai-geki TV shows. (Mind, daikon-yakusha, a ham actor, or shokubutsu-ningen, a human vegetable, I learned elsewhere. But do not underestimate the value of TV.)

kushinsantan-- 苦心惨憺-- much hard work and effort
shinshutsu-kibotsu-- 神出鬼没-- elusive, slippery, slips through one's fingers
junshin-muku-- 純真無垢-- pure and innocent
tantou-chokunyuu-- 単刀直入-- bluntly, directly, no beating about the bush
shiri-metsuretsu-- 支離滅裂-- gobbledeygook, incoherence
shoushin-shoumei-- 正真正銘-- the real thing, the genuine article
jigou-jitoku-- 自業自得-- 'serve him right', his own fault
ikken-rakuchaku-- 一件落着-- 'that wraps it up, guys.' Ahh, nostalgia for Touyama no Kinsan, the tattoed magistrate-- on account of a wastrel youth spent among yakuza-- who wound up every court case with that line.
Tags: japanese

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