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Lesson Transcript

なつこ: こんにちは、なつこです。
Peter: Peter here. Yojijukugo Lesson 4. Chinese Idiomatic Phrases, lesson 4. Natsuko san,
なつこ: こんにちは
Peter: こんにちはIt’s great to have you back. Last time, it was Sakura san.
なつこ: Oh really?
Peter: Yeah just old times.
なつこ: 懐かしいですね。
Peter: Very nostalgic.
Peter: Okay today, we have two more great phrases. The first one I really like in particular, Natsuko san, that phrase is
なつこ: 一進一退
Peter: One step forward and two steps back and to go back and forth. Now as always, in this format, we are first going to take a look at the characters that make up the Chinese idiomatic phrase or as it’s known in Japanese
なつこ: 四字熟語
Peter: The first character of the phrase.
なつこ: 一進一退
Peter: First we have
なつこ: 一
Peter: One.
なつこ: 進
Peter: Advance.
なつこ: 一
Peter: One.
なつこ: 退
Peter: Retreat.
なつこ: This 一will change to いっwith a short pause. So be careful.
Peter: When it’s combined with another character. So – but it sounded a little weird when we were trying to give them one by one and it was just I.
なつこ: そうですね。
Peter: So いちis like that but then when it’s followed by another character depending on the case and in this case, it’s E followed by a short pause. Okay now what we are going to do is we looked at individual characters. Now we are going to look at two character compounds because they actually create a word. What’s the first two character compound?
なつこ: 一進
Peter: One step forward. What’s the second two character compound?
なつこ: 一退
Peter: One step backward. So it’s kind of like advance and
なつこ: Retreat.
Peter: So kind of this is like going – moving back and forth.
なつこ: Yes back and forth, back and forth.
Peter: Now there is a similar expression that’s related to emotions and that is
なつこ: 一喜一憂
Peter: Which means to be glad and sad by changes in everyday situations.
なつこ: Yes usually used to express the emotional turbulence for kind of, you know trivial things.
Peter: Life in Tokyo.
なつこ: Maybe.
Peter: Maybe. Now usage, this phrase is used in various situations. So one of them, not such a positive nuance is medical conditions or in a game or I guess in the old days battles.
なつこ: そうですね。
Peter: This phrase seems to be used commonly in like history and things like this with battles and wars.
なつこ: Yes right.
Peter: Unfortunately…Maybe we can have a couple of example sentences. First one,
なつこ: 母の病状は一進一退で安心できない。
Peter: My mother’s condition has been getting better and worse. We really can’t relax. So kind of one day feeling really good, next day not.
なつこ: そうですね。 So in total, it’s not making a notable progress.
Peter: Which way it’s going is still not clear. How about another one?
なつこ: 試合は一進一退でどちらが勝つかわからない。
Peter: The two teams are going back and forth. We can’t be sure which team is going to win.
なつこ: これはThis one is pretty interesting right. So it’s a good game.
Peter: Yeah and this is a pretty common one if you are a sports fan. Natsuko san, you like horses. Do they use this like neck and neck like?
なつこ: Ah I don’t think so. I think this 一進一退 is usually used for team sports.
Peter: And finally we have
なつこ: 株価は一進一退を繰り返している
Peter: The share price keeps going up and down and again if you go back to the characters, it’s you know, one step forward, one step back.
なつこ: そうですね。 One means progress and one means retreat.
Peter: Pushing forward, pushing back and so, umm really good and this one is really versatile and I like also the relation to the emotional one I can relate.
なつこ: 一喜一憂
Peter: One more time.
なつこ: 一喜一憂Me too, I can relate.
Peter: See, life in Tokyo. Okay next we have
なつこ: 一長一短
Peter: Merits and demerits. Good and bad points.
なつこ: The structure of this one is similar to the first one.
Peter: Yeah the author まゆみ きしもと is really good at finding related stuff. So let’s go through the characters. First we have,
なつこ: 一
Peter: One.
なつこ: 長
Peter: Long.
なつこ: 一
Peter: One
なつこ: 短
Peter: Short. So 長 comes from
なつこ: 長所
Peter: Which means advantage or good point. Literally though it’s long place or long point.
なつこ: Yes right.
Peter: And 短 comes from
なつこ: 短所
Peter: Which means demerit or bad point. And of course, this literally means short point for this particular idiomatic phrase, there is association with long being something good and short being something negative. So can we have it one more time?
なつこ: 一長一短
Peter: So literally it means that if something or someone has a good point, they also have a bad point at the same time, kind of like a and
なつこ: Right.
Peter: So this expression is used in sentences like
なつこ: どうななんとかにも一長一短がある
Peter: Which means everything something, something has merits and demerits.
なつこ: Yes which is true.
Peter: Definitely true. Let’s have a sample sentence.
なつこ: どのカメラにも一長一短があって、決められない。
Peter: Every camera has good points and bad points. Every camera has merits and demerits and it’s hard to choose one.
なつこ: Maybe this person is at the store and he can’t decide which model to buy.
Peter: I can really relate and now, if you are in Japan and you go to ビッグカメラ you can really relate. There is like 50 cameras.
なつこ: I know.
Peter: 決められない
なつこ: Maybe it’s the same with mobile phone.
Peter: Ah but now with a iPhone, it’s easy to decide.
なつこ: Maybe.
Peter: That – yeah we can actually use that.
なつこ: iphoneにも一長一短があるよね
Peter: Like even the iPhone has good points and bad points.
なつこ: Right.
Peter: It’s really interesting because I was reading like it’s very advanced phone even for Japan.
なつこ: Yes.
Peter: But it doesn’t have the infrared message transmission, data transmission…
なつこ: Oh really?
Peter: Which a lot of phones have.
なつこ: Oh and I also heard that you can’t see the TV programs.
Peter: Yeah. So while it has all these great things to view the internet, there are still some shortcomings related to the Japanese market.
なつこ: Right.
Peter: Ah I like this phrase more and more. Let’s have one more.
なつこ: どうの案にも一長一短がある。
Peter: Every idea has both strong points and weak points.
なつこ: So this should be really useful.
Peter: This was a very good one. Okay, now inside the review track for this lesson, you get the Chinese idiomatic phrases plus the sentences that were used in. So you can listen to these expressions, master them and then use them with your friends to really shock some people.
なつこ: Shock! Yes.
Peter: Shock!
なつこ: Impress.
Peter: Yes. I think this goes above impressing. Natsuko, imagine one of our listeners comes to the office…
なつこ: Yeah.
Peter: And they use one of these phrases.
なつこ: 一長一短
Peter: Hopefully not about…
なつこ: Oh yeah..That might be pretty shocking.
Peter: Shocking.
なつこ: Aha!
Peter: Okay. So that is going to do for today. Thank you again. Natsuko san,
なつこ: Thank you.
Peter: いつも有難うございます。
なつこ: こちらこそ、有難うございます。
Peter: And listeners too,
なつこ: みなさんにも有難うございます。それじゃあまた今度
Peter: 頑張ってくだせー


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user profile picture
Monday at 6:30 pm
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Mina-san, these are two really useful yojijukugo. You'll be able to fit these into a myriad of conversations! Give it a try now! がんばってくだせぇ!

user profile picture
July 30th, 2014 at 9:28 am
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kevinさん こんにちは。

You have a good question.

We use [person/item]には[abstract category/characteristics]がある as a phrase.

Those sentences use this pattern but they need も instead of は because they use a question word どんな to expression "any.."

So you can say;

このカメラには一長一短がある。 "This camera has good and bad points."

When you apply it to "any camera", you need to say;

どんなカメラにも一長一短がある。"Any cameras have good and bad points."

As for the rules of the particle mo and other particles, the usage is a bit different but please have a look at Bonus Courses Particles Lesson #12.


Hope this helps,


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July 30th, 2014 at 8:58 am
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Hello Mike

To make sure your mail is delivered please kindly write to us at all of the 3 following addresses contactus@japanesepod101.com , info@innovativelanguage.com and mobileapps@innovativelanguage.com .

I was unable to allocate your e-mail so far.



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Mike Cain
July 30th, 2014 at 8:04 am
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Hello this is mike and I been trying to get ahold of somebody to help me with my subscription. I've sent numerous emails over the last few days and no response. I paid for a mobile subscription and the app hasn't been working or recognizing my subscription. Please help!

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July 26th, 2014 at 4:47 pm
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wael san,

Unfortunately, the sentence is grammatically incorrect.

Could you please give me the English translation?

Yuki 由紀

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user profile picture
July 26th, 2014 at 7:11 am
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is this sentence is correct?

取れるために:is verb 取れる here represents "paasive or Potential"?

ために could be Preceded by passive verb?

user profile picture
July 25th, 2014 at 12:25 am
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Could you please explain the function of particles に and も when paired together? They are used at the end of the Lesson Notes in the expressions どんな〜にも一長一短がある. Also, why would は not be correct if used in these same sentences? If you could direct me to a Lesson covering this, that would be great.


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July 31st, 2013 at 2:43 pm
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Siva さん、



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July 29th, 2013 at 10:48 pm
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結婚生活 に 一長一短 が あります。

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Matt McCormick
August 8th, 2011 at 5:28 pm
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Thank you!

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August 8th, 2011 at 11:32 am
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Matt McCormick-san

Thank you for letting us know.

We've fixed the problem. :wink: