Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Proverbial Fish (Part 2)

Part 2: More Expressions

Sakana (Fish)
The kanji character for fish has three different readings; "sakana," "uo," and "gyo." Here are the words including the character for fish. From top to bottom, "sakana-ya (fish store)," "uo-ichiba (fish market)," and "kingyo (goldfish)."

The kanji character for fishis included as part of most kanji characters for the names of fish. See the examples below: from left iwashi (sardine), sake (salmon), tara (cod), and same (shark). All of them have the character for fish as a radical.

"Uo-gokoro areba mizu-gokoro (魚心あれば水心)" came from the close relationship with fish and water, and it indicates that when one likes the other, the other will come to like you. It also means, if one helps the other, the other will respond to the kindness. It is considered as a useful tactic in business situations or love. It is similar to the English expression "One hand washes the other." The Japanese expression "Nigashita sakana wa ookii (逃がした魚は大きい)" is almost a literal translation of the English expression, "Every fish that escapes appears greater than it is". "Mizu o eta uo no you (水を得た魚のよう, Like fish in water)" indicates a person who takes an active part, or proves to be really capable in his/her favorite filed.

Although This is not really the name of a fish, there is a expression called "sushizume (すし詰め, packed like sushi)". Take-out sushi comes in a small box (sushi-ori), where the pieces of sushi are squeezed very close together. Therefore, this expression indicates a situation that people or things are packed close together, or very crowded. It is similar to the English expression "packed in like sardines".

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