10 Interesting Japanese Expressions

Feb. 10, 2018

There are tons of interesting expressions in Japanese. Let’s have fun learning them. Here I’ll introduce you 10 funny and useful expressions.

  1. neko wo kaburu (wear a cat)
    Neko wo kaburu,” literally meaning “wear a cat,” is used when you behave quietly, hiding your nature.

    Ai is not the person you think. Maybe she’s “neko wo kabutte-iru” (wearing a cat) in front of you.

  2. saba wo yomu (read mackerel)
    Saba wo yomu,” literally “read mackerel,” is used when you lie about your age, weight or things like that.

    Chihiro said she will turn 38 years old this year, but I know she’s actually 42 now. She’s “saba wo yonde-iru” (reading mackerel) by 4 years.

  3. menkui (face eater)
    Menkui,” literally “face eater,” is a person who is romantically interested in only good-looking people.

    All your ex-girlfriends are beautiful. You are really “menkui”!

  4. hana ga takai (have a long nose)
    Hana ga takai,” literally “have a long nose,” means “be proud of something.”

    My son won the first prize at the competition, so I “hana ga takai.”

  5. hoppeta ga ochiru (my cheeks are falling off)
    Hoppeta ga ochiru,” literally “my cheeks are falling off,” is used when you eat delicious food.

    This cheese pizza is so good that “hoppeta ga ochiru”!

  6. kuchi ga karui (have a light-weighted mouth)
    Kuchi ga karui,” literally “have a light-weighted mouth,” means “have a big mouth” in English.

    Don’t talk about it to Miki. She “kuchi ga karui.”

  7. nodo kara te ga deru (a hand comes out of one’s throat)
    Nodo kara te ga deru,” literally “a hand comes out of one’s throat,” is used when you want something badly.

    I want a ticket for the concert “nodo kara te ga deru-hodo” (so much that my hand comes out of my throat).

  8. kubi ni suru (cut someone’s neck)
    Kubi ni suru,” or “cut someone’s neck,” means “fire someone.”

    The company “kubi ni shita” (cut necks of) 100 workers last month.

  9. hara ga tatsu (one’s stomach stands up)
    Hara ga tatsu,” literally “one’s stomach stands up,” means “feel annoyed.”

    Takeshi ignored me again. “Hara ga tatsu” (My stomach stands up)!

  10. hiza ga warau (one’s knees laugh)
    Hiza ga warau,” literally “one’s knees laugh,” is used when you have wobbly legs after a long walk or run.

    I walked in the mountains for more than two hours, so “hiza ga waratte-iru” (my knees are laughing).

hana ga takai (have a long nose)By Meg Konishi (Find Your Japan)