2008-02-07

Jíxiánghùa!

The Chinese kanji is 吉祥話 which means "Greeting" and is pronounced as "jee-zhee-ang-who-ah". (I'm making that up, I have NO idea how it is pronounced!)
The Japanese pronunciation of those same kanji is kichi-jo-banashi and there is no meaning whatsoever for that combination of kanji.

Okay, so why the Chinese lesson? Because it's officially Happy New Year according to the Chinese calendar.
Thus it is now officially, 鼠年, (nezumi-doshi) "The Year of the Rat."

Here are some expressions using Rat for your enjoyment.

大山鳴動して鼠一匹 (Taizan meidou shite nezumi ippiki) The mountain has labored and brought forth a mouse.
袋の鼠 (Fukuro no nezumi) A mouse in a trap.
頭の黒い鼠 (Atama no kuroi nezumi...Literally means, "a black-headed rat.") A snitch, a thief in the family, an unfaithful servant. (Use your best James Cagney, "You dirty rat" impression when you read this.)
窮鼠猫を噛む (Kyuuso neko o kamu...Literally means, "A cornered rat bites the cat.") A stag at bay is a dangerous foe. A baited cat may grow as fierce as a lion. When left with no option, even someone weak can fight. Or, even a coward is capable of bravery.
ただの鼠ではない (Tada no nezumi dewa nai) Somebody who can't be off your guard, somebody who is not common.
鼠に引かれる (Nezumi ni hikareru) Being at home alone.
鼠壁を忘る/ 壁鼠を忘れず (Nezumi kabe o wasuru/ Kabe nezumi o wasurezu) The victim can not forget their grudge against the harm done.
鼠が塩をひく (Nezumi ga shio o hiku) A big task can be completed in small pieces.
家に鼠 国に盗人 (Ie ni nezumi kuni ni nusutto) Bad people exist everywhere.
ねずみ算 (Nezumi-zan) Exponential progression (multiplying like rats.)
ネズミ講 (Nezumi-kou) Pyramid scheme.

Wow, Michael your Japanese is really improving! Hmm. I think I smell a rat!
(Caught me...Here is where I scammed the above.)

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