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なつこ: こんにちは、なつこです。
Peter: Peter here.
なつこ: 四字熟語
Peter: Lesson 10. A Close Call.
なつこ: Hmm.
Peter: So today, we have a couple of exciting four kanji character phrases.
なつこ: Yes this seems pretty dramatic.
Peter: Yeah and I think the best way to kind of explain it is just to jump right in.

Lesson focus

Peter: So Natsuko san, what do we have first?
なつこ: 危機一髪
Peter: A close call, a close shave. Really good expression. Okay one more time nice and slow.
なつこ: ききいっぱつ 危機一髪
Peter: Now let’s take a look at the four kanji characters individually what they mean.
なつこ: 危
Peter: Dangerous.
なつこ: 機
Peter: Occasion.
なつこ: 一
Peter: One.
なつこ: ぱつ or かみ
Peter: Hair on the head. So literally we have dangerous occasion one hair on the head.
なつこ: What in the world is this?
Peter: It’s all going to make sense. I think what we want to do now is look at the two kanji character compounds and that will give us a – I think a bit of a clear idea. So what do we have first?
なつこ: 危機
Peter: So this is crisis or danger. What’s the second two character kanji compound?
なつこ: 一髪
Peter: A hair’s breath. So when we put it together
なつこ: 危機一髪
Peter: A situation in which danger comes within a hair’s breath.
なつこ: So a quite narrow escape, right.
Peter: Oh yes.
なつこ: Hair’s breath.
Peter: So it is a very, very close call, extremely close call. There is another phrase like I think it’d really sum it up well.
なつこ: Yes 九死に一生を得る
Peter: And it means to barely escape death or escape by hair’s breath. So you kind of get the severity of this phrase.
なつこ: 九死 means like 90% death and 一生is 10% life.
Peter: So you are able to get the 10% life out of a chance that was 90% death.
なつこ: Yes 9 to 1.
Peter: 9 to 1. Not good odds. So let’s take a look at how we use this phrase. This phrase is often used as an adverbial phrase like
なつこ: 危機一髪で
Peter: So with the particle で. For example,
なつこ: 飛行機から火が出たが、乗客は危機一髪で救助された
Peter: The plane caught fire but all the passengers escaped by a hair’s breath.
なつこ: 良かった
Peter: Oh yes. 良かったですね Now this can also be used as a noun. So when you come within a hair’s breath of something and you could say it was a close call. For example,
なつこ: 隣の家にトラックが突っ込んだんだ。危機一髪だったよ
Peter: A truck crashed into a house next door. It was a close call for the neighbors.
なつこ: 隣の家は Poor neighbors.
Peter: 何も言いませんLike I can – there is nothing to say like yeah for him, it’s the close call.
なつこ: Yes I hope no one was there.
Peter: Okay our second phrase is
なつこ: 喜怒哀楽
Peter: Emotions literally delight, anger, sorrow, pleasure. We will cover that in a minute but emotions.
なつこ: きどあいらく 喜怒哀楽
Peter: What’s the first character?
なつこ: 喜
Peter: Delight.
なつこ: 怒
Peter: Angry.
なつこ: 哀
Peter: Sorrow.
なつこ: 楽
Peter: Pleasure. So 喜怒哀楽 means various emotions people have in common and it’s not really limited to just these four.
なつこ: Yes it’s all kind of emotions that people have.
Peter: And these four happen to be the representatives. Okay how do we use this expression?
なつこ: You usually use it as a noun and it’s usually used for someone who is really emotional.
Peter: Heart on the sleeve.
なつこ: Yes.
Peter: Yeah and in Japan, if you ride a subway train, you can see that there is not too many people wearing their heart on their sleeve.
なつこ: そうですね。 Maybe you kind of see 怒 anger. Maybe not so many 喜 and 楽
Peter: Not too much delight and pleasure. Yeah usually on the morning train, I am pretty much the only one smiling if it’s a good day.
なつこ: You are smiling?
Peter: Sometimes I even greet people おはようございます
なつこ: Oh really, wow!
Peter: Yeah.
なつこ: How nice!
Peter: Umm it’s interesting. Interesting experiment. Okay so let’s take a look at some sample sentences to get a closer look at the usage.
なつこ: 私は喜怒哀楽が激しいので、もう少し穏やかになりたい
Peter: I am too emotional. I want to be a bit more subdued.
なつこ: Umm I kind of understand that. Me too.
Peter: See if you can understand these phrases and these sample sentences all written by a Japanese expert on this, then I think you could kind of really understand more how Japanese people think.
なつこ: Right.
Peter: Which is the main goal of you know, going through the Japanese wisdom. What do we have next?
なつこ: 彼は喜怒哀楽がすぐ顔にでる
Peter: So his feelings show on his face or his feelings show on his expression. It makes it seem like he is very emotional.
なつこ: But it also can mean you know, someone very frank.
Peter: Really.
なつこ: Yeah I think so.


Peter: Hmm 勉強になりました. Okay so inside the PDF, again there are the two four character kanji phrases plus the meaning of all the characters, the sample sentences and a further explanation. It is a really good chance to see the characters, listen to the podcast, see the characters. Also in the review track, you can repeat after a native speaker so you can really get the hang of saying this.
なつこ: それじゃあ今日はここまで
Peter: And an interesting point. While we are recording this, there was an earthquake. So if you want to see our natural reaction to the earthquake, stop by and get the bonus track.
なつこ: 危機一髪だったね。


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