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Advanced Japanese Lesson:ミソとキモとツボ(1)




Miso or “fermented soybean paste”, the fundamental ingredient in Japanese cooking. Now, what do you think the sentence “that’s the miso” means?  Well, miso holds the meaning of “something considered a speciality” or “a distinctive point”.

By the way, do you know the phrase, temaemiso. The word temae is used to mean something that is “in front of you or the one that is close to you,” and just like the expression temaedomo it is a way to refer to oneself in a downgrading way.   In other words temaedomo can be replaced by “we (formal)”. The temae in temaemiso means “me” and the direct translation would be “my miso = home-made miso.” This phrase came from boasting about miso made by oneself, and has come to be used when giving praise to oneself. It is the same meaning as jigajizan or “tooting one’s horn”.  So, what the sentence “that’s the miso” is trying to convey is “that is the point to be proud about.”
“This movie’s miso is that it is based on “Romeo and Juliet.”” You can interpret this sentence as “This movie’s characteristic is that it is based on “Romeo and Juliet””.

Here are some examples sentences using miso.

  • Our company’s new computer’s miso is that it only weighs 1kg.
  • The miso is to pour in a little wine vinegar.
  • You can say that their team’s miso is that their goal keeper has experience playing in the World Cup.