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Lesson Transcript

さくら: さくらです。
Peter: Peter here.
さくら: 四字熟語
Peter: Lesson 14. Don’t Be Like This. Today, we have two great expressions.
さくら: はい
Peter: And I say this every time but…
さくら: そうですね。でも they are.
Peter: They really are.
さくら: Yes, yes.
Peter: And I particularly like the ones that come from like that have the Japanese Buddhist origin.
さくら: Ah…
Peter: Today we have one of those and the other one is not bad either. So again, in this series, we take two Japanese idiomatic phrases, we break them down and we show you the kanji that makes them up. Each one is made up of four kanji characters that kind of give you some insight into the way Japanese people reason and think. This is quite a fun series.
さくら: はい
Peter: And I often find myself using these when I am out with my friends.
さくら: カッコイイですね
Peter: ま、頑張ってますから
さくら: Good idea.
Peter: But it’s really interesting when I say it because they all kind of do a double take.
さくら: Haha..
Peter: Hah where did you learn that and so again, after listening to these, try them out with your friends.
さくら: 是非使ってみてください
Peter: Definitely try and use them.

Lesson focus

Peter: Okay on to the first one. Sakura san, what do we have first?
さくら: 前途多難
Peter: To be in for a lot of trouble up ahead.
さくら: Umm…
Peter: One more time nice and slow.
さくら: ぜんとたなん 前途多難
Peter: Now let’s take a look at the four kanji characters that make up this phrase. Sakura san, the first one.
さくら: 前
Peter: In front.
さくら: 途
Peter: Way.
さくら: 多
Peter: Many.
さくら: 難
Peter: Trouble. Now inside of this four kanji character compound, there are two – two kanji character compounds. Let’s take a look at the first two character kanji compound.
さくら: 前途
Peter: Which means in one’s own way. The second one
さくら: 多難
Peter: Means a lot of trouble.
さくら: はい
Peter: So when we put them together, we get.
さくら: 前途多難
Peter: What do you think Sakura san? Do we use this one a lot?
さくら: I think so. It’s used quite frequently I think.
Peter: In conversation, on the TV and books.
さくら: Umm そうですね。we use it in conversation as well actually 前途多難 あー前途多難だ
Peter: Things are looking not so good.
さくら: So…
Peter: Yeah but when you said it, I could really envision it like you just think about all the things that you have to do to get to your goal.
さくら: そうですね。
Peter: And it is just so many.
さくら: Yes.
Peter: Now the good thing is there is an opposite expression.
さくら: Yes 前途洋々
Peter: And this means
さくら: Have a great future ahead.
Peter: Or
さくら: Promise well.
Peter: Now what’s interesting here is, the character 洋what does this mean?
さくら: Ocean.
Peter: So we have this character two times. ようよう
さくら: 洋々
Peter: So think of two oceans and you get the kind of – you can envision something very wide.
さくら: Yes wide and open and nice.
Peter: So the future is wide open.
さくら: Yes.
Peter: Not a lot of trouble in your way.
さくら: そうですね。
Peter: Now let’s talk about the usage. We are jumping back to the original phrase.
さくら: Okay 前途多難
Peter: How is this used?
さくら: As a na adjective like 前途多難な
Peter: Something, something.
さくら: Or something は 前途多難だ
Peter: So much like the phrases in the previous lesson, it can be pronominal. So modifying a noun.
さくら: Yes.
Peter: In cases where it modifies a noun, the noun usually means to start. So you can kind of visualize when you are starting out and you can envision the goal.
さくら: Huh.
Peter: First and then after you envision the goal, you kind of imagine what it takes to get there and everything it’s going to take to get there. So can we have an example?
さくら: 前途多難な出発
Peter: So a start with a lot of trouble up ahead. How about another word for start?
さくら: 前途多難なスタート
Peter: Which is the same thing.
さくら: Yes.
Peter: A start with a lot of trouble up ahead. Let’s take a look at a few sample sentences.
さくら: 飛行機の出発が5時間も遅れ、前途多難な出発になった
Peter: The departure of my plane was delayed for 5 hours. It was a rocky start. How about another one?
さくら: ガソリンの値段が更に上がった。自動車業界は前途多難だ
Peter: The price of gasoline was raised again. The car industry has a lot of trouble ahead and last one.
さくら: やっと問題が一つ解決した。でもまだまだ前途多難だ
Peter: I finally took care of a problem but there is still a lot of trouble ahead. Okay now, on to our second phrase.
さくら: はい 他力本願
Peter: To rely or depend on others.
さくら: たりきほんがん 他力本願
Peter: Let’s take a look at the phrase character by character.
さくら: 他
Peter: Other.
さくら: 力
Peter: Power.
さくら: 本
Peter: Real.
さくら: 願
Peter: Wish. Other power real wish. Let’s take a look at the two kanji character compounds inside of this four character kanji compound.
さくら: 他力
Peter: It means powers by others but Sakura san, it has an original Buddhist meaning.
さくら: はい
Peter: Can you tell us that?
さくら: The Buddhist power.
Peter: That seems like a lot of power.
さくら: ね。ほんと
Peter: The second two kanji character compound is
さくら: 本願
Peter: Now this literally means real wish but we are going to go to our Buddhist expert. Sakura san, what does it originally mean?
さくら: It means the Buddhists wish to make the people go to the paradise.
Peter: So when we put it together, this expression is originally the Buddhist word or phrase which means people go to paradise by the power of Buddha. So you are going to paradise by the power of Buddha who is this other entity. So it came to take on the meaning to rely on others without making any effort.
さくら: はい
Peter: So it’s kind of like you have a free pass.
さくら: Umm そうですね
Peter: Because Buddha will take care of it.
さくら: It’s usually used in kind of negative sense, isn’t it though 他力本願
Peter: Yes but you can kind of trace it back and see, I guess.
さくら: But I was really impressed to learn the regional meaning. I didn’t know it had that kind of meaning.
Peter: Yes.
さくら: So 面白いですよね
Peter: とっても面白いです And that’s one of the best things about this series is because even when you are talking in Japanese or you have Japanese friends, a lot of the time it may be hard to get talking topics, things to talk about.
さくら: Yes.
Peter: And things that leave a lasting impression.
さくら: Umm…
Peter: You can talk about baseball of course with Tokyo Giants but this is nice. It’s so cultural.
さくら: Yes cultural ですね
Peter: And if you are at a party and speaking to a Japanese person and you tell them this, you can bet. The next day, they are going to be like, do you know I was at a party and I was talking to this foreigner and – or they are going to go home and check Wikipedia.
さくら: Yes.
Peter: Powerful stuff.
さくら: So I think so. We are not really aware of these you know original meanings, its fun.
Peter: Very fun.
さくら: はい
Peter: Now let’s take a look at the usage.
さくら: It can be used as a na adjective. Again 他力本願な人
Peter: A person who relies on others and as Sakura san said, it kind of indicates someone’s attitude like they don’t really make any effort and it’s a bit negative.
さくら: そうですね。
Peter: Let’s take a look at the sample sentences. I think hearing these sample sentences will really help to understand the context and meaning of this phrase.
さくら: 毎朝友達に電話で起こしてもらっているのか、そんな他力本願はダメだぞ
Peter: You are awakened every morning by your friend? You shouldn’t really rely on others, get an alarm clock, do it yourself.
さくら: そうですね。
Peter: Next.
さくら: あなたは旅行の計画を全部私に任せて他力本願よね
Peter: You are always relying on others. You left the planning of the trip up to me and you didn’t do anything.
さくら: Umm…
Peter: Umm I think I am a bit
さくら: そうなんですか。他力本願ですか
Peter: かもしれません  I think so yeah.
さくら: Umm.
Peter: Sakura san, how about you?
さくら: ちゃんとI plan my own trip I think.
Peter: Okay and one more.
さくら: 彼は人に頼ってばかりの他力本願の男だ
Peter: He is always relying on others. So umm I think I am a little guilty on this one.
さくら: Yeay, yeah yea…
Peter: Yeah そうです
さくら: またまた...So you say.


Peter: Okay again, stop by japanesepod101.com. In the comments section, we really encourage everyone to try to use these.
さくら: Yes.
Peter: And if you use it and its right, you will be showered with affection. If not, somebody will help you and they will correct it. So it’s a really nice way to get things checked for free.
さくら: Umm.. そうですね。
Peter: So stop by japanesepod101.com and be sure to leave us a comment. That is going to do for today.
さくら: またね


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