Many websites will tell you how to say 'hello' or 'I love you' in Japanese but how about original expressions that are typically Japanese and don't have their equivalent in English? Here is a selection of original Japanese Expressions you have probably never heard before.
Japanese Expressions You Have Never Heard Before
Want to learn more about nice/strange/original Japanese expressions? Here is a selection of them.
Flowers in Both Hands
Let us start with a poetic expression. What can "having a flower in both hands" mean? Being a flower fan and holding a flower in each hand? Being lucky? Not being meaningful?
Actually, this expression is simply used when a man is between two women. Isn't this a beautiful metaphor? There is no equivalent for a woman between two men and if you think about it, it is not so easy to come up with good suggestions.
This expression is written on the left and is pronounced "ryou te ni hana", "ryou te" meaning "both hands" and "hana" meaning "flower(s)" (no plural in Japanese).
A Cat's Tongue
Another one which could be hard to guess. A cat's tongue?! Does it mean someone who likes milk? Someone who is clean (cats like to lick their coats to make them clean)? Someone who tells lies (no relation to cats, but as a wild guess...)?
No, not at all. This expression is much more pragmatic as it is simply intended for someone who does not like to eat dishes that are really warm. Maybe you noticed it but some like their soup very hot, almost still boiling, others prefer a more lukewarm temperature. Well, according to this Japanese expression, cats belong to the second group.
And just for the record, "Cats' tongues" is the name of biscuits in English.
Recommended reading to avoid cliches about Japan
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The Other Stomach?
This expression is something children around the world would be happy to use.
So, imagine you are having a meal. Everything tastes good and you get full, you cannot eat anymore. Too bad, the dessert arrives and seems absolutely delicious. What to do? Use your other stomach!
"There is always room for dessert" would be the closest expression in English. In Japanese, the "other stomach" ("betsu bara") is a fictional second stomach people would have and that could be used for desserts when the main stomach gets full.
Of course, on a medical point of view (or for your teeth health), this expression is not really good.
These expressions, and many more not mentioned here, are what makes it so enjoyable to learn Japanese and foreign languages in general. Difficult, but so full of nice discoveries... Let us conclude with this Czech proverb: "Those who know many languages live as many lives as the languages they know."