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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 12. Being Polite to Keep Distance.
なつこ: Huh so you put it that way?
Peter: I think so yeah.
なつこ: Wow!
Peter: You know, not letting somebody get close by being formal.
なつこ: Yes.
Peter: And this is one of our expressions today, the second one which is Natsuko san, how did you put it?
なつこ: The concept is I think you know very so Japanese.
Peter: And it is the reason we are doing these because looking into these four kanji compounds and seeing the idiomatic meaning really can help you understand you know, certain characteristics and aspects of Japan, Japanese people and Japanese culture.
なつこ: This is like a culture lesson.
Peter: Yeah with a really great phrase that if you use with some Japanese friends in a classroom, it’s going to wow people.
なつこ: Uhoo…

Lesson focus

Peter: So what is the first phrase we need to wow Natsuko san?
なつこ: 大胆不敵
Peter: To be fearless.
なつこ: だいてんふてき 大胆不敵
Peter: Let’s take a look at the four kanji characters one by one.
なつこ: 大
Peter: Big.
なつこ: 胆
Peter: Courage.
なつこ: 不
Peter: Negative.
なつこ: 敵
Peter: Enemy.
なつこ: Huh kind of getting the idea.
Peter: Big courage, negative enemy. Let’s take a look at the two-two. That’s right, the two-two because we have two-two kanji character compounds. So inside of the four, we have two in two.
なつこ: 大胆
Peter: It means a lot of guts.
なつこ: This is used by self very often.
Peter: What is 胆actually?
なつこ: It means liver. In our end, people used to believe that you have heart in the liver. It sounds strange but you know, where your mind is, you know, it’s like guts, isn’t it?
Peter: Yeah it comes from down there and heart meaning not the physical heart and again, this is a concept that it took me a little time to get adjusted to. When you see the character for heart, not the physical heart but the four stroke character for heart, it’s not just heart but it’s also mind.
なつこ: Yes.
Peter: So – and it could be you know, that’s down there is where the mind is.
なつこ: So 大胆 originally means big liver but it means you know, someone who has big courage.
Peter: And the second two kanji character compound?
なつこ: 不敵
Peter: Not afraid of your enemies at all. So big courage and not afraid equals
なつこ: 大胆不敵
Peter: And we translate that as
なつこ: Not afraid of anything. It’s usually used like expressing your surprised of what they are doing. You know, it’s so brave or unexpected that you are kind of surprised with the action.
Peter: So I think there is two perspectives to this. There is fearless from your perspective and there is what’s this guy doing from another perspective. Kind of like sometimes fearless equals necklace.
なつこ: Right.
Peter: So you got to kind of keep that in mind. Let’s take a look at the usage. How do we use this phrase?
なつこ: It’s often used as a na adjective which is 大胆不敵な
Peter: So it can be used to modify a person.
なつこ: 大胆不敵な人
Peter: A fearless person and it can also be used to modify a deed.
なつこ: 大胆不敵な行動
Peter: A daring deed.
なつこ: Yes daring might be a very good translation.
Peter: I kind of think it’s pretty good because it seems like when this word is used over the person doing the thing, it’s kind of taking a chance.
なつこ: Right.
Peter: So not so much fearless but daring, bold.
なつこ: Yes bold.
Peter: Let’s have a look at the first example and I think we can explain this better with some sample sentences.
なつこ: 山中さんは、社長に反対意見を言ったらしい。大胆不敵な人だ
Peter: Mr. Yamanaka expressed an opposing opinion to the president. He is bold. Okay let’s do literal translation. Kind of what this guy is saying is like Yamanaka, he just talked back to the president. Man, that guy is daring! I could think of a few better expressions to really sum it up but yeah, I can’t quite phrase them here but it’s kind of like from the person’s perspective, they don’t fear anything and they don’t really care but from some other people’s perspectives like are you really fearless, are you necklace. How about another example?
なつこ: 彼らは大胆不敵にも昨年の優勝チームに試合を申し込んだ
Peter: They were pretty brave to ask last year’s championship team to play with them. So Natsuko san, do you think the team that asked is going to be good match for the championship team?
なつこ: No.
Peter: Yeah it’s going to be 血祭り
なつこ: 血祭り 
Peter: Goodness!
なつこ: おかしい
Peter: It’s going to be a bloodbath and how about one more?
なつこ: プレゼンテーションの前に何も準備をしないとは、大胆不敵だ
Peter: Wow! You are a pretty daring guy to make that presentation without any preparation. So it’s like kind of two things. Either the guy really knows what he is doing and he doesn’t care about anything which is a good meaning or the guy has no idea what he is doing and he is just reckless, reckless abandon. Okay on to the second phrase.
なつこ: 他人行儀
Peter: Polite and formal. To be such a stranger, to be distinct.
なつこ: たにんぎょうぎ 他人行儀
Peter: Let’s take a look at the four characters, the meaning of the four characters.
なつこ: 他
Peter: Other.
なつこ: 人
Peter: Person.
なつこ: 行
Peter: Going.
なつこ: 儀
Peter: Ceremony.
なつこ: This also can be divided into two phrases which is 他人
Peter: Other person.
なつこ: 行儀
Peter: Manner.
なつこ: And this 他人 other person means not only someone like you know third party but it also means that someone outside the circle.
Peter: So it means to be polite or formal with a person who is close to you but you kind of treat them as if they are a stranger.
なつこ: Yes.
Peter: Now there is a similar expression. Right Natsuko san?
なつこ: Yes 水臭い
Peter: Which is secretive or to not be frank.
なつこ: Yes this is a negative phrase.
Peter: And it’s often used to keep something or secret from others or those who don’t ask directly. Now how about the usage?
なつこ: It’s used as a na adjective 他人行儀な
Peter: So when someone close to you behaves like a stranger to you and you want to say, don’t be such a stranger.
なつこ: Yeah be more casual, be more frank.
Peter: Yeah you can say
なつこ: 他人行儀なことするなよ
Peter: Come on, don’t be a stranger, don’t act distant. Natsuko san, can I use this when someone is using polite Japanese with me.
なつこ: Well it depends on who you are speaking to.
Peter: But I think it could be a way to ask right. You know, say you have a friend and he is just always very polite to you and you can say to him?
なつこ: Yes of course そんな他人行儀にしなくていいよ
Peter: You don’t have to be so polite. Don’t be so formal. I like this a lot. You could also say
なつこ: なになになんて、他人行儀だ
Peter: So something, something, something, it’s like they are being distant.
なつこ: So it’s usually about someone’s behavior.
Peter: Let’s have a sample sentence.
なつこ: 親友に世話になったお礼のお金を渡すなんて、他人行儀だ
Peter: You gave someone who is close to you money as a token of appreciation. You are so formal, kind of emphasizing the fact that that action was a little too excessive.
なつこ: Yes.
Peter: For the relationship you have with that person.
なつこ: Uhoo…
Peter: How about another one?
なつこ: 親によろしくお願いしますと言ったら、他人行儀な事を言うなと言われた
Peter: When I said to my parents よろしくお願いします thank you in advance, they said, don’t be such a stranger. Finally,
なつこ: 親が子供の名前を呼ぶ時に、さんをつけるのは他人行儀だと思う
Peter: I think you guys are so formal when you call your own son or daughter with a suffix san. I can’t believe I never knew this expression.
なつこ: Oh!
Peter: There are so many times that I wanted to use this.
なつこ: Oh really? So now you got the right phrase.
Peter: So Natsuko san, when we covered this and there were two verbs used with this phrase. One was suru to do and one was 言うto say. Can you just give us the recap on how we can tell a friend, listen, don’t be so formal, don’t be so distant.
なつこ: 他人行儀にするなよ So 他人行儀にする is like acting like a stranger.
Peter: Meaning not like weird, weird stranger but the formality you usually treat a stranger with and to that we added the order, the negative imperative な」. So するなdon’t do that. Come on, don’t act so distant and we also had.
なつこ: するな
Peter: To say very formal things. And of course the sample sentence said
なつこ: 他人行儀な事を言うな
Peter: Again the negative imperative. So you could see. It’s used in situations where there is an informal relationship but the action or what was said was extremely formal. So that’s why we can say the negative imperative because you usually don’t use this with people who you are very formal with.
なつこ: Yes because they are actually 他人
Peter: Yeah and I would have recommended this at the workplace.
なつこ: Umm well it depends on the situation.
Peter: 部長、他人行儀にするな is not recommended.
なつこ: No, no, no, no….
Peter: 部長 Don’t be so formal. Let’s you know, loosen up this work environment.
なつこ: 部長が言うのは Okay.
Peter: But not you to the 部長
なつこ: Yes.


Peter: But again, you could see that by the usage that the language is informal. So trying to persuade the person doing the formal speaking or actions to stop that. Natsuko san, 有難うございます these were two incredible phrases.
なつこ: 今日のフレーズも面白かったですね。それじゃあ今日はここまで


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