pm215: (Default)

Not such an interesting one this time, but:

空気を読む [kuuki wo yomu] (lit. to read the air)
to read the situation; to sense the mood

Mostly I'm posting this because it came up in my Japanese lesson today and then again in the episode of Lucky Star (#20) which I watched this evening, and I like that kind of synchronicity.

Incidentally, in internet slang at the moment 空気を読めない is often abbreviated to 'KY', meaning somebody who can't sense a mood. The kanji pun 空気嫁 seems to have a similar meaning (though it comes from the imperative form of the verb rather than the negative potential).

pm215: (Default)
さばを読む [saba wo yomu] (lit. to read a mackerel)
to manipulate figures to one's advantage

Just ran into this one in an Asahi column [Japanese] where it was used in the context of somebody fibbing about their age. I suspect it of being one of those half-dead phrases people would recognise but not use. (How many people actually say 'a stitch in time saves nine' these days, for example?)

pm215: (Default)
けんかを売る [kenka wo uru] (lit: to sell a fight)
to pick a fight

In England if you want a fight all you have to do is go looking for one and eventually somebody will oblige; in Japan they're actually a marketable commodity. I wonder if they were historically in short supply or high demand?

I was going to illustrate this with a frame from the Ranma manga, but I don't have access to it here so you'll have to imagine it...

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