Apr 06

“That new bicycle is the cat’s meow.” 「あの新しい自転車がかっこいい」

猫の一番いいところは鳴き声ですか?The cat’s meowまたはthe cat’s pajamasは何かすごいものやかっこいいものを表します。今は古い表現ですが、猫に関する言葉遊びなどでは役に立ちます。1920年代のアメリカからくるフレーズです。

Is the meow the best part of a cat? “The cat’s meow” or “the cat’s pajamas” describes something very cool and awesome. It’s old-fashioned, but still useful for making cat-related puns. The phrase comes from the US in the 1920s.

Tagged with:
Mar 09

“What’s that word? It’s on the tip of my tongue, but I can’t remember it!” 「なんだっけ?言葉がもうちょっとで思い出せそうなのに思い出せない!」


When you’re looking for a word, and you’re sure you know it, but you can’t think of it at the moment, you can say the word is “on the tip of your tongue”. If you could get it off your tongue and out of your mouth, you could say the word!

Tagged with:
Dec 16

“If you did your best and had fun, that’s a win in my book.” 「頑張って楽しかったなら、私に言わせればそれが勝利だ。」

自分だけの意見や信じることをまとめた事典や百科事典のような本があると想像してみましょう。子供が野球の試合で負けて悲しいときに、負け犬だとおもわないで、違う「勝利」の意味を語って元気づけようとします。本屋や図書館の事典にはなくても「my book」ではそう書かれています。「My book」には色々な意見や信じることが集まっています。

Imagine that you have a dictionary or encyclopedia that contains all your opinions and beliefs. If your child’s team loses a baseball game, they may feel bad about losing. But you don’t think of them as losers. You cheer them up by telling them a different definition of “winning”. It isn’t in the dictionary on the shelf at the library or bookstore, but it is in “your book”. “Your book” can contain all kinds of alternate definitions and personal beliefs.

Tagged with:
Nov 18

“When the project fell apart, I was left holding the bag.” 「プロジェクトが失敗に終わったときは私が貧乏くじをひいた。」


The bag in this metaphor is a bag full of stolen items. A group of people cooperate to steal something, but when they are about to be caught, the others run away. The person left with the bag will be arrested and punished. We can use this phrase to say people escaped responsibility for a group failure, leaving someone less powerful to take the blame.

Tagged with:
Aug 27

uehonmachi_aug26“I’m going to tell his girlfriend I saw him talking to his ex.” 「彼が元カノとしゃべっていたことを彼の今の彼女に言おう。」
“Okay, whatever. It’s no skin off my nose.” 「まあ、いいけど、私は関係ないね。」

誰かが問題を起こしそうなことをしようとしている状況で、でもそれは自分とは関係のない時「It’s no skin off my nose」と言ったりします。相手がそうすることで問題が起こりそうだけど、自分とは関係ないし困らないので相手がしようとしていることを別に止めはしません。もちろん、「It’s no skin off my nose」と言うことでおすすめではないことをさりげなく伝える事ができます。

If someone is going to do something that will probably cause trouble, but it isn’t any of our business, we can say “it’s no skin off my nose”. We expect that there will be trouble, but we aren’t involved and won’t be hurt, so we won’t stop our friend from doing something that might not be very smart. Of course, by saying this, we gently suggest that it might not be a good idea.

Tagged with:
Jul 08

uehonmachi_july8“He’s always keeping me waiting, so tonight I’ll show up ten minutes late on purpose. See how he likes a taste of his own medicine!” 「彼はいつも私を待たせてるんだから、今日はわざと10分遅刻してやる。私の身にもなってもらおう!」




When someone who has done something bad to others receives the same treatment himself, we say he’s gotten “a taste of his own medicine”. This could be something very bad, like bullying, or something small, like an attack in a multiplayer video game. “You keep using the special attack against me, but now you’ll get a taste of your own medicine!”

Tagged with:
Jun 10

uehonmachi_june10“Don’t mind him. He’s got a chip on his shoulder since he didn’t make the baseball team.”





We say someone has a chip on his shoulder if he is holding a grudge or have a resentful attitude, because he thinks something was unfair. The “chip” refers to a woodchip, probably a piece of leftover wood that shipwrights were allowed to take home with them.

Tagged with:
May 13

uehonmachi_may13“I’m going to hit a home run!” 「ホームランを打つぞ!」
“Really? You’ve never done it before.” 「本当?打ったことないのに。」
“There’s a first time for everything!” 「何もかも初めてがある!」

“He says he’ll pay his rent on time this month.” 「今月は絶対時間通りに家賃を払うんだって。」
“Well, there’s a first time for everything. Maybe he will.” 「そうかもね。何もにも初めてはあるから。」

「there’s a first time for everything」(なにごとにも初めてがある)というフレーズは、今まで一度もなかったことでもあり得るという意味です。野球選手は前向きです。二つ目の例の話し手は、あの人が期限通りに支払うのは不可能ではなくてもあまり期待はしていません。

We say “there’s a first time for everything” to mean that something could happen even if it has never happened before. The baseball player is optimistic. The speaker in the second example thinks it is unlikely, but not impossible, that the man will pay his rent on time.

Tagged with:
Apr 01

uehonmachi_apr1“I’m just saying he may have had a little extra help, if you catch my drift.” 「ちょっと人より助けてもらったかもしれない。言ってることわかるかな?」
“Are you saying he cheated?” 「ずるしたとでも言いたいのか?」

“You’d better stop that, or there’s going to be trouble, if you catch my drift.” 「それ止めないとトラブルが起こるかもしれないぞ。わかったか?」


To catch somebody’s drift is to understand what they mean, even though they didn’t say it clearly. Maybe I think that someone did something bad, or I want to threaten or warn someone, but I don’t want to say exactly what I think. I can check that they understood the real message by asking if they caught my drift.

Tagged with:
Mar 04

uehonmachi_mar4“I don’t want to rain on your parade, but that photo probably isn’t real.” 「がっかりさせて申し訳ないけど、その写真はたぶん作り物ですよ。」
“I hate to rain on your parade, but you can’t go to the theme park today. It’s closed.” 「せっかく喜んでるのに悪いけど、テーマパークに行っても意味がないよ。今日はしまってる。」

「To rain on someone’s parade」は、喜んでいる気持ちを悪い知らせで台無しにすることです。普通、このフレーズを使う場合はその残念な知らせは「本当のこと」です。言ったほうが良い情報の場合(わざわざ今日閉まっているテーマパークまで行ったほうが損です)、真実だけど別に言う必要がない場合(「その写真は40年前のものだからその猫はとっくに死んでるよ」)があります。

To rain on someone’s parade is to spoil their happy mood with bad news. When this phrase is used, the disappointing news is usually true. Sometimes it’s important information that the happy person needs to know (it would be worse if they went all the way to the park only to find it closed) and other times it may be true, but isn’t necessary to say (“That picture is 40 years old, so that cat is definitely dead by now”).

Tagged with:
preload preload preload

Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: