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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 18. Avoid This Japanese No-Win Situation. Sakura san,
さくら: はい
Peter: What do we do in these lessons?
さくら: We introduce Yojijukugo.
Peter: Japanese idiomatic phrases.
さくら: Made up of four kanji characters.
Peter: And why do we do this?
さくら: Umm it tells a lot about the way Japanese people think and like history, culture…
Peter: And above all,
さくら: そうね
Peter: And above all, it’s fun.
さくら: It is fun そうそう・・・・・
Peter: And 認めてください please admit it. You learn from these two.
さくら: Yes. そうなんです I’ve heard of a lot but I didn’t know where these words came from.
Peter: So the story behind it.
さくら: そうそう・・・・・
Peter: And that’s why these lessons are so good because they are very, very rich and they give you a talking topic when you meet your Japanese friends.
さくら: Definitely ね

Lesson focus

Peter: Okay let’s take a look at the first expression お願いします
さくら: 四面楚歌
Peter: To be completely outcast, a No-Win situation.
さくら: 嫌ですね
Peter: You have a feeling of like relation to this word.
さくら: No, no, no…
Peter: Break it down.
さくら: しめんそか 四面楚歌
Peter: The first character
さくら: 四
Peter: Four.
さくら: 面
Peter: Surface.
さくら: 楚
Peter: Whip.
さくら: 歌
Peter: Song. Four surface whip song. Let’s break it down by the two kanji character compounds. The first one we have is
さくら: 四面
Peter: Four directions. The second two kanji character compound.
さくら: 楚歌
Peter: So when we put it altogether, we get
さくら: 四面楚歌
Peter: Now the origin of this is a historical event in China, the specific event, the king of the country
さくら: Called 楚
Peter: Recognized ______ (0:02:10) when he heard songs of his own country. So from the people surrounding his castle. So Sakura san, he thought his subordinates had kind of given up to the enemy.
さくら: Right.
Peter: From that, it came to mean
さくら: Circumstances in which one is surrounded by enemies and opponents with nobody providing any support.
Peter: Now we had this long explanation but now let’s go back and look at the characters again. What’s the first two kanji character compound?
さくら: 四面
Peter: So surrounded, all four sides and the song
さくら: 楚歌
Peter: Of the 楚 kingdom 難しいですね
さくら: I think I learned this in 漢文 class.
Peter: What’s that?
さくら: 漢文is like Chinese literature class なのかな. It’s all in kanji. You know, we learned this original text in high school I think. There was the story about 四面楚歌.
Peter: But this is a very well known.
さくら: Yes.
Peter: Yes. Japanese expression right?
さくら: そうですね。
Peter: Okay how about its usage?
さくら: It’s used as a noun to express the situation where someone is completely outcast or someone doesn’t have any support from anybody, you can say someone は四面楚歌だ or someone は四面楚歌になる to become 四面楚歌
Peter: Kind of isolated without hope.
さくら: そうですね。
Peter: No win situation, completely outcast.
さくら: はい
Peter: Let’s have a look at some sample sentences.
さくら: 僕の意見はみんなに反対されて四面楚歌だった
Peter: Everyone was against my opinion and that was completely outcast.
さくら: Next 友達はタイガースファンばかりで、ジャイアンツファンの僕はいつも四面楚歌だ
Peter: Most of my friends are Tigers fans but I am a Giants fan so I am always completely outcast.
さくら: 可哀想
Peter: 可哀想ですね
さくら: そんな勝手ばかりしていると、四面楚歌になるよ
Peter: If you are always selfish like that, you will be forsaken by all of your friends. Sound – the great translation there.
さくら: そうですね。
Peter: All right. Let’s take a look at the second expression. Sakura san,
さくら: 順風満帆
Peter: I like the sound of that. Smooth sailing, on course and going full speed ahead.
さくら: じゅんぷうまんぱん 順風満帆
Peter: First character.
さくら: 順
Peter: Right.
さくら: 風
Peter: Wind.
さくら: 満
Peter: Full
さくら: 帆
Peter: Sale.
さくら: 順風満帆
Peter: The first two character compound is
さくら: 順風
Peter: Following wind. The second two character compound is
さくら: 満帆
Peter: Full sale. So put it all together
さくら: 順風満帆
Peter: And it means everything is going well like a boat sailing smoothly in a favorable wind.
さくら: Huh!
Peter:  良い表現ですね
さくら: 気持ちが良いですね
Peter: Can you use this if someone asks you how you are doing?
さくら: Umm I think so. 最近どうですか。順風満帆です
Peter: 良いですね
さくら: 良いですね
Peter: Interesting. Well, let’s find out a little bit more about this. First we have the usage.
さくら: It is used as a noun and to express the situation that everything is going well, you can say something は順風満帆だ
Peter: Now it can also be used as a na adjective. So when something starts smoothly, you can express it by
さくら: 順風満帆なスタート
Peter: Smooth start. Also you can use it as an adverbial. Basically, when we have adverbial, most of the time, we are going to use the particle.
さくら: に
Peter: So we have here
さくら: 順風満帆に進む
Peter: Which means to sail before the wind and of course it means things are going well. Okay let’s have a look at the sample sentences. First we have,
さくら: 新しい仕事は順風満帆だよ
Peter: Everything is going well with my new job. Next we have.
さくら: 新婚生活は順風満帆なスタートだった
Peter: Married life got off to a good start.
さくら: Just saw this 順風満帆なスタートだった which is past tense. So is it not going well now って思っちゃうね
Peter: I think so. Things started off so well.
さくら: そう
Peter: But.
さくら: 今も順風満帆ですなのかな Still 順風満帆
Peter: Yeah 弁護士を呼ぶ時間が来ましたじゃないですか
さくら: ほんとだ
Peter: Time to call the lawyers.
さくら: そうです
Peter: Okay. And finally we have
さくら: 新プロジェクトは順風満帆に進んでいる
Peter: The new project is sailing before the wind full steam ahead.
さくら: It is 良いですね
Peter: 素晴らしいですね Sakura san, out of these two we looked at today, which do you use more?
さくら: 順風満帆でしょうね
Peter: I love the sound of that.
さくら: Yes そうそうそう because you are not in 四面楚歌situation so often, hopefully not….
Peter: Depending on the persons.
さくら: 確かに
Peter: So after hearing this lesson, stop by japanesepod101.com. Try to use these expressions in a sentence of course in Japanese and we will let you know how the sentence went. Also, you can see how other community members are using these.
さくら: そうですね。
Peter: 勉強になりますよ
さくら: 勉強になります


Peter: All right, that’s going to do for today.
さくら: またね


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