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The 14 Funniest Japanese Expressions (and How to Use Them)

Japan Languages
by Isabelle Despert-Okumura Mar 23, 2015

1. The Japanese aren’t boozehounds, they ‘become a tiger’ (tora ni naru).

2. The Japanese don’t get ‘amazed,’ their ‘nose opens’ (hana ga aku).

3. The Japanese don’t make fun of you, they ‘make you fish’ (sakana ni suru).

4. The Japanese are not ‘big-headed,’ they have a ‘high nose’ (hana ga takai).

5. The Japanese don’t ‘throw in the towel,’ they ‘throw away a spoon’ (saji o nageru).

6. The Japanese aren’t ‘chatterboxes,’ they were ‘born from a mouth’ (kuchi kara umareta).

7. The Japanese don’t ‘waste time,’ they ‘sell oil’ (abura o uru).

8. The Japanese don’t ‘bar hop,’ they ‘do the ladder’ (hashigo o suru).

9. The Japanese don’t ‘kiss up to someone,’ they ‘grind sesame’ (goma o suru).

10. When the Japanese say ‘you are sweet’ (amai), don’t be flattered. It really means ‘you are naive or shortsighted.’

11. The Japanese don’t tell you ‘you are cold and insincere,’ they will tell you that ‘you smell like water’ (mizukusai).

12. The Japanese don’t just ‘desperately want something,’ their ‘hand comes out of their throat’ (nodo kara te ga deru).

13. The Japanese don’t get angry or pissed off, their ‘stomach stands’ (hara ga tatsu). Alternatively, ‘it is coming toward their head’ (atama ni kuru).

14. The Japanese don’t get fired, they ‘get necked’ (kubi ni naru).

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