What the Japanese really mean Part Two

“Sore wa chotto muzukashii”

Literal translation: “That is a little difficult”

Real translation: “No”

(By a delivery man) “Gomen kudasai”

Literal meaning- “Excuse me (sorry) please”

Real meaning: “Please notice how polite my language is rather than the fact that I just opened your front door without permission”

“O-tsukaresama deshita”

Literal meaning- “You were most honorably tired out”

Real meaning- “Good work/ You deserve a rest/ See you tomorrow”

(Speaking to a client on the phone) “Itsumo o-sewa ni natte orimasu”

Literal meaning- “You are always doing us a big favour”

Real meaning “Hi John”

More here.

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11 Responses to What the Japanese really mean Part Two

  1. Katie says:

    Ah, the more I hear of other languages, the more I appreciate Bosnian Serbian Croatian language (I won’t make a statement about whether it’s one or three…I don’t mind taking credit for semi-speaking three! Or just one with a long name…). Really, there is an informal and a polite “you” but beyond that, I really can’t think of anything idiomatic done for politeness. Humor or camaraderie, sure, but not politeness. I’ve heard that other countries nearby borrow from this language to swear.

  2. Alex Case says:

    Would love to start a page of favourite insults from around the world too- any printable favourites??

    “I spit in your general direction” Monty Python’s idea of French insults

    “May you live in interesting times” oft quoted Chinese insult, but sounds like an urban myth to me

  3. Laurent says:

    The Monty Python’s French insult is always best when completed though I find, and pronounced in a grating French accent, ‘you snotty Englishmen!’.

    Italian has some great insults, short, to the point and they sound poetic too, ha ha. ‘Va cagarre’ is one of my favourites.

  4. Katie says:

    I’ll see what I can dig up…but I’m not sure how printable it is or how translate-able!

  5. Alex Case says:

    Here’s a printable and quite telling one in Japanese:

    “Inaka kusai!”
    Literally: It smells like the country
    Real meaning: It’s only for country bumpkins

    Typical attitude of people whose grandparents still live there but who wish to ignore the fact…

  6. Alex Case says:

    Here’s a colourful and possibly not printable Spanish one:

    “Por los cojones”
    Literal meaning: “By the balls”
    Real meaning: “Whether he wants to do it or not”

  7. Alex Case says:

    Vaguely remember that Italian one:
    Literal meaning: go and have a dump???
    Real meaning: get out of here???

    Thinking about it, the best ones are probably ones like these that sound just as interesting when translated

    Keep them coming guys:

  8. Laurent says:

    ha ha yeah that’s pretty much it. I just like its sound, it rolls off the tongue 😉

    I like the French one ‘tu fais chier’ as well…
    Literal meaning: you make shit
    Real meaning: you’re breaking my balls

  9. Alex Case says:

    Like it. Keep them coming!

    Love the expression “breaking my balls” as well. My boss in Italy made all my mafia movie dreams come true by using that to describe me nagging him about fixing the aircon etc. Never did get the horse head on my pillow though…

  10. Laurent says:

    ha ha lol at the horse head on the pillow. Actually another Italian one i like is ‘fa scifo’ (not sure about spelling tho, my Italian writing is abysmal these days) – which isn’t so rude but a great one to use daily.
    I guess one of hte many translations is gross, but you can use it for so many things it’s great.

  11. Alex Case says:

    How often they use that phrase in Italian (Including “my clothes today fa schifo”) must say something about the country, in the same way as the Japanese addiction to kawaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

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