Japanese Advice: Idioms

Oh Japanese idioms. One would think that these don’t make sense at all, but actually we have to keep in mind that idioms never make any literal sense in any language. For example, see this English idiom:

“Ed kicked the bucket.”


This isn’t exactly what I had in mind, but okay.
Now, take the following Japanese idioms:

尻に火がつく (shiri ni hi ga tsuku):


As you may have guessed, translated, it means “my butt is on fire.” What it really describes though, is the pressure you feel when something urgent is approaching, say a deadline for example: “So much pressure! Feels like my butt is on fire! I gotta finish this blog post before the deadline!“
腕に縒りをかける (ude ni yori wo kakeru):


A very painful-sounding idiom, it literally means “to twist one’s arm,” but it’s used in a similar to頑張る (ganbaru). It kind of means to put your best effort into something: “I will do my best at this just like professional wrestlers try their best to break people’s arm by twisting them.”
And finally, 腕が鳴る (ude ga naru):


Terry Crews making sounds and music with his biceps? Yes, the literal translation means “to make sounds through one’s arm.” But again, it means something totally different than its literal translation; it’s a bit difficult to explain, but it roughly means to be excited or hype about something you will do: “I am so hype about watching Terry Crews in the movie White Chicks tomorrow!”
Like most idioms, these three are seen most often in writing. Only 腕が鳴る though, is a common staple in anime as well:



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