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Advanced Japanese Lesson:ミソとキモとツボ(3)










In the two sentences “that’s the miso” and “that’s the kimo” if you interpret them as the miso ingredient and the liver, then you cannot understand what they are trying to convey. I would like to introduce a word that is used in an eccentric way this time as well. It is the sentence “that’s the tsubo.”

Tsubo or “pot, vase” is written as 壺 in kanji, and indicates the container with the skinny neck and round body. However, even if you have this image in mind while taking a look at the sentence it wouldn’t make sense.

Now, have you heard of the expression “the wished for tsubo.” Used in this way “if you give a child candy every time it cries, then it is the tsubo the child wishes for” the meaning of “the tsubo wished for” is “the expected condition, just as planned.”

The bets that are often depicted in historical plays are done by shaking dice with a pot woven of bamboo or cane. The fun part of the bet was to guess what the face of the dice would be when it rolled out of the pot, and it is said an experienced pot shaker would be able to manipulate the face of the dice as they pleased. This is how the expression “the tsubo wished for” came about to mean “just as one wished for, an expected situation.”

Now, do you know the phrase “The tsubo of the conversation.” This means “the main point of the conversation”.  “Why did you marry him? ” “Because our laughing tsubo is the same.” The “laughing tsubo” in this conversation means “the part that is thought to be funny, sense of humor” and is far removed from the meaning of the pot.

As a matter of fact, the parts/points that have been investigated to be effective for alleviating pain felt in areas like the shoulder or back with shiatsu or moxa cautery (type of herbal medicine called mogusa which is used by placing it directly on the skin then lit on fire, which would treat the ailment through heat) is called tsubo. In other words, it is the main point for the treatment.

Let’s go back to the sentence at the beginning. Now you know the meaning of the sentence “that’s the tsubo.” You can interpret it as “that’s the main point.”

In the series of three posts, I introduced three words with a twist in their meanings: miso, kimo, and tsubo.