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[Free E-Book PDF] 101 Japanese Idioms

By e n j e r u - July 15, 2014

The picturesque, idiomatic phrase captures the true essence of a society better than its equivalent prosaic description. Saying, for example, in Japanese, "it was packed like sushi," to describe the morning commuter train rush, is a more colourful and we think, preferable way of saying, "it was very crowded." Besides, "packed like sushi" (sushizume) comes directly from the culture; virtually every Japanese knows that sushi is packed tightly in boxes typically sold in take-out sushi shops and at train stations.


Thus the idiom resonates; it quickly establishes rapport. A mastery of Japanese idioms will help you understand the culture and speak a more authentic style of Japanese.

When you use idioms such as sushizume among your Japanese friends, colleagues and business associates, you create emotional bonds that bring you closer to their culture. Since the Japanese are conditioned to believe that no people outside of the Japanese islands really know or care deeply about their culture, your use of a Japanese idioms in the appropriate context will both astound and delight them. More important, your command of Japanese idioms can lead to a deeper understanding of the Japanese people.

In this book, will introduce 101 popular Japanese idioms and expressions that we believe are both interesting and useful to students of Japanese language and culture. Each idiom is first introduced in romanization, followed by Japanese orthography, and then a literal translation. Literal translations are deliberate, since combined with the visual, they lead you to the source of the phrase, which comes directly out of Japanese mythology, nature imagery, animal associations, or the human body as metaphor.

This book is intended for anyone who has an interest in learning more about the Japanese language and culture. Whether you are currently enrolled in a Japanese language course, are planning a trip to Japan, are curious  about Japanese philosophy, or simply want to get to know you Japanese friends better you will refer to this anthology of colorful Japanese idioms again and again.

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